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Smokey Valley Truck Stop

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Warning: Amateur Restaurant Review to Follow

As I am wont to do at such establishments, I ordered the localest thing: smoked pork chop, pinto beans, real cornbread and turnip greens, with another side of cottage cheese. A lot of food, ridiculously inexpensive, and good, too. The chop was a bit dry, as is all 21st century pork loin, but very tasty. The turnip greens, kinda limp and canny. Pinto beans were great. Cottage cheese was 4% milkfat. I approve. I like a place that has four sides. I wish Zick's place offered four sides. I'll have to talk to the cook.

The cornbread was authentically salty and gritty; the margarine-oleo-yucch spread for it the only disappointment. That's vinegar for the turnip greens. It perked them up.

Because I am a coin-asser of coconut cream pie, and because I'd read glowing reviews, I ordered it. It was a mile high, for sure, just like my waitress' hair. I just want you to know it takes a lotta nerve to set your camera on the table and steal a soul like this. If she knew I was immortalizing her, she didn't mind. She probably sees a lot of geeky wanna-be restaurant reviewers come through her place. We're not hard to spot. The camera is a real tipoff.

Hate to say it, but Smokey Valley Truck Stop's CCP just isn't my kind of coconut cream pie. Though some may consider meringue a fit topping for CCP, I don't. It makes an impressive looking pie, photogenic and exciting on the approach, but there was nothing creamy about it. The whole thing, both filling and topping, had a wiggly, keratiny, Jelloey texture that turned me off. Next time I'll get the peanut butter pie. Oh yes. There will be a next time. How could you go wrong with peanut butter pie? Sadly, there are myriad ways to go wrong with coconut cream. So far my favorite has been at Moody's Diner in Waldoboro, Maine. It takes the "cream" part seriously. Cream pie should be creamy, not wiggly. Bleh.

Still--a feed like that for under $10? Unheard of in my land. And excellent people watching to boot.

I pushed onward. Truth be told, I needed a break from watching for box turtles. The whole weekend was cool and rainy, perfect weather for box turtles to be on the move, looking for mates. I saw probably 30 that didn't make it across the highway on my way from southeast Ohio to western Kentucky. I stopped for several that looked OK, only to find them beyond help. That's hard on the soul. 

This little female and another male were the only two I was able to save. Well, I picked them up and carried them across the way they were headed, if you call that "saving." 

And then had to run the gauntlet to get back to my car, which is hard for me, a primate who can sprint. Imagine being a reptile who can only crawl.

Putting them back in habitat makes it all worthwhile. Pick them up, carry them across.

I had to do something with the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that seeing so many turtles killed inspired in me, so I wrote a song called "Little Soldiers." I think you'd like it. When it's ready, I'll give you a listen. Until then, you can poke around on our Facebook page, where our recent recording of Bill's song "I Can't Believe" is rumbling around. Check it out.

The Rain Crows will be recording this summer, and I can't wait! CD to come!


That cornbread looked a little dark around the edges too.
In Junior and Kate's FFA Fair days, the swine judges would often pontificate sadly, about the industry's focus on lean pigs due to "the other white meat" campaign.
"We need to swing back the other way a bit to get away from dry pork."

Don't ask me why I remember a swine judge's thoughts at a fair two years ago.

Thank you for the turtle rescue.

Thanks for the turtle save. I do that also, but most of my recent help has been to red-eared sliders who, I think are looking for water as pond after pond and ditch after ditch dries up.

I'll be happy to cook you some good greens and cornbread - maybe with Cajun red beans and rice. Just let me know when you are headed my way.

I just love your blog. Such rich and tasty prose with the right dollop of fascinating photographs. Yumm!

Ruthie and I stopped at a little diner in Abbotsford, Wisconsin on our road trip to see you in Wasau. I had THE BEST slice of coconut cream pie there. It made me whimper! There was a mural painted on the wall behind the door in the ladies room. It was a painting of man looking into the room through a window, smoking a cigarette. Kinda freaked me out. And the toilet paper was pink. It was a memorable diner.

Thank you for helping the turtles.

I love home town restaurant reviews, and great pictures as well. Good job. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon county.

Hi Julie,

I have an award for you on my blog. Please stop by.


You probably coulda done better with sawdust pie, a Kentucky specialty out this way. They definitely woulda/shoulda had it. I saved a box turtle on our way back from Daniel Boone National Forest a couple weekends ago. We almost got rearended doing it but it was entirely worth it. The little guy/gal (sorry, I can't tell the difference) was unharmed and poked its head back further inside before I carried him on across for the rest of his journey. I still consider that one of the highlights of our trip.

Oh you can totally go wrong with peanut butter pie. That's the sort of thing you get once every fifteen years because that's how long it takes to forget why it did you in the last time.

And thanks for the post. Now I know exactly what I'm going to (get Dave to) make you for dinner when you come out.

Maaannnn! Only thing better than a big slice of CCP is a big slice followed by a big slice of banana cream pie. You can look at that filling and tell that piece of pie will be second-rate at best. I hate lumps in my CCP!

CD! Yay!

Rainy day today in South Florida. The Capcha word is pepiliss. Comes close.

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