I recently traveled to Tennessee to visit extended family for the funeral services of Mary Ann. On the last day, we wanted to eat brunch before we left our separate ways and tried to determine where to go for a Southern experience. There was a good discussion of Midlands vs. Cracker Barrel vs. Waffle House and the general consensus was the need for waffles, so Waffle House seemed the natural choice.
As I have been to several areas of the South, I was familiar with the building but haven’t stepped inside a Waffle House to try the cuisine yet. The Southerners assured we were in for a true greasy spoon experience. I wasn’t quite sure if I would appreciate that or be completely disgusted but I was game for trying!
This small diner wasn’t equipped to handle a group of eight seated together, so we chose two booths and got comfortable for the parade of food that was to come. It had a counter and several small tables for 2 or four and a jukebox for customizing your personal soundtrack for the meal.
My table of four quickly began negotiating an array of food so we would sample as much as possible and share favorites. The next table’s approach was to order “smothered” items as they were pros and knew what they liked! I’m not even sure I’ve seen the word “smothered” in a menu in California?
Food began to arrive and I wasn’t sure there would be enough room on the table. There were cheesy eggs, bacon, raisin toast, grilled biscuits, grits and of course waffles. We ate and shared, and ate and shared and I think we all enjoyed the cheesy eggs and felt the waffles were a good standard waffle. No complaints. My breakfast was pretty much all carbs but I was going to just eat and deal with the consequences of that later.
This was a meal that I don’t have to do every time I go to the South but I’m glad we took the time and made this the choice. The staff didn’t know what hit them when we all walked in, but they did well and we didn’t overwhelm them too much. There were plenty of locals in the diner which contributed to the ambiance for me.
It was a quick trip to Tennessee and I grow fonder of the area due to the warmness of the people and how different it is from home. They say I am “Southern” too, as in Southern California. After the Waffle House, I feel I had a right of passage and am officially a Glutton for Southernment.
When you visit the South, what’s your favorite place? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!