Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eating at the Gas Station

650 Eating at the Gas Station

There should be a Zagat guide or a Michelin guide to these places just as there are for all the other fine dining spots around the world.

Gas station food is almost universally lousy. If you like eating hockey pucks, try the burgers. But when you buy one, make sure it's what you ordered. The foil wrapper may say "cheeseburger," but open it before you leave, because sometimes they leave the cheese off. And a hockey puck without cheese is like, well, a hockey puck.

Don't buy the pizza. It's completely universally lousy. First, it's usually frozen and you can thaw and microwave one of these yourself and at far less cost. When you go to a gas station to "fill 'er up" restrict yourself to gasoline. Or maybe gasoline and coffee (but not at the same time, of course.)

The coffee can be good. Here in the east it's better than out west, generally. One place in Inglewood, California appears to age its coffee like fine wine. But unlike fine wine, 2006 vintage coffee does not taste as good in 2010 as it did in 2006.

Most of the gas station coffee comes from grinders and roasters whose names you know. Maxwell House, Green Mountain, Folgers. Beware of the places that sell their own brands. They're never as good.

What's puzzling, though, is the undetectable differences between "100% Colombian," "Dark Roast," "Regular" and "House Blend." What is a house blend, anyway? Is it coffee mixed in with building materials? A blend of coffee and plasterboard or PVC toilet piping? Sometimes it's easy to think so.

Don't eat the fries. They were made last month. Opt for packaged potato chips or popcorn.

A lot of gas stations have hot dog machines, those roller thingies that keep turning. Do not buy the hot dogs unless you can ascertain they contain no dog and haven't been spinning on the roller thingies long enough to blacken.

This should do you until Zagat or Michelin come out with their own ratings, which could happen any day now.

Shrapnel:

--Guy with a gun walks into a hotel, robs a guy in the men's room, a police officer in civilian clothes. The crook has ignored or missed seeing all the police cars in the parking lot, and all the signs welcoming cops to a convention. The jury found him guilty -- taking about two hours to decide.

--Mark McGwire used steroids during the '98 season when he hit 70 homers? What a shock. In announcing this, McGwire moaned and groaned and got all teary-eyed. Are those withdrawal symptoms?

--McG and Sosa busted Roger Maris' home run record in 1998. That's decades after Babe Ruth hit 60 in a much shorter season. Ruth's drugs of choice were cigars and beer, and that's the guy we still remember -- even those of us who weren't born yet.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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