Friday, September 26, 2014

Gotta Eat! Across Ohio

Taco Bell.  Doughnuts.  Biscuits and Gravy.  Burgers.  BBQ.  Pizza.  Shredded Chicken Sandwiches.  More Doughnuts.  That was about my week while traveling to Iowa and then Ohio with stops in Denver and Detroit.  One of my usual stops on my trips back to the heartland is Bob Evans, the down on the farm restaurant chain that stops in Texas serving up "farm fresh" dishes like eggs, skillets, pancakes and of course, biscuits and a bowl of sausage gravy.  I'm prone to steak and eggs, a biscuit and gravy and a side of broccoli for roughage. Taco Bells out there also still offer Chili Cheese Burritos, not sure where those stop but there ain't no chili at the Bell in California.  Santa Monica just opened a Dunkin' Donuts, the Massachusetts coffeehouse founded in 1950.  Lines have been in the 2 hour range which shows just how dumb and bored Californians are to stand and wait for some frigging doughnuts.  I didn't grab any Dunkin's in Des Moines this time but loaded up in Columbus, Ohio.  Also hit up Tim Horton's for their delicious Honey Crueller, the Canadian café and bake shop chain that was bought by Columbus' own Wendy's Hamburger Restaurant in the 90's then spun back off onto it's own.  This summer, Burger King acquired Timmy's for a sweet $11 billion with rumors of BK HQ moving to Canada for tax purposes amid much criticism.  With 550 locations in the U.S., you can get your Timbo fix in all 50 states.

I'm always up for a new spot versus a huge chain so a friend took me to Melt Bar & Grilled, a gourmet grilled cheese joint that serves beer and booze.  Menus were on the flipsides of old vinyl's and you there's a plethora of sammiches with plain cheese or stacked with meat between.  The Texas style toast was a bit much but my BBQ topped sando was pretty good.  The Gun Slinger, their take on a Whiskey Ginger, was excellent.  Smooth and refreshing.  For you bottomless pit types, there's an eating challenge with a triple decker sandwich containing 13 varieties of cheese along with fries and coleslaw for a final tally of 5 gooey pounds...

You know what I learned while preparing for my trip?  That central Ohio has it's own regionally exclusive grub in the form of style of pizza, shredded chicken sandwiches and Trail Bologna.  The pizza is square cut with crust that isn't too thin or thick, with toppings piled high.  If you let it cool a minute it congeals into a warm brick of dense cheesy goodness.  I never knew Trail Bologna was specific to my hometown area because it's so delicious I can't understand why the rest of the state, country and world wouldn't want it.  You ever had summer sausage?  That super hard, greasy and salty stuff to eat with cheese and crackers?  Yeah it's way better than that.  The Troyer family has been cranking out meaty links since 1912 of the U.S. raised and processed beef with no fillers.  It's savory, tender, not too salty and oh so tasty.  You could say Trail Bologna helped change my life.  When I started getting educated about training and nutrition in college, many a meal freshman year consisted of trail bologna, Swiss cheese and a couple of crackers.  I did learn how to eat better from there...

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