We pull out of Nashville at 10:30. It’s still 90 degrees despite pouring buckets last night. Our second stop after gassing up is White Castle at Rob’s insistence. CAUTION, FOODIES: CHAIN RESTAURANT ALERT. I agree to this stop only because Rob says we can eat in the car, a peculiar quirk of mine. We are breaking the rule for a number of reasons.
1. We have never eaten at White Castle.
2. They don’t operate in Canada.
3. It is a part of food history – It’s the very first hamburger chain.
4. Rob says they never would have made a movie called Harold and Kumar go to McDonald’s.
We get a combo that consists of a small order of well made krinkle cut fries which could use some salt, a diet coke and 4 sliders with cheese. The sliders are actually quite tasty. Something about that marriage of pickle, processed cheese and onion. The quality of the meat? Not sure I want to investigate further. It was less a part of the taste than the whole of the bun and the limited dressings. One of the four was dried out significantly. I wasn’t keen on the idea of steamed buns as I don’t care for wet bread, but this was good and soft and went well with the sandwich. These burgers are small; four of them makes a typical order, and you can even buy them in packs of 30. They are cooked on an onion covered flat top with steam holes providing much of the heat. Cheese and pickle are added and then the top bun is placed on the burger and the whole assembly is “slid” onto the bottom bun (hence the name “slider”). It is this cooking technique and their oniony taste which makes them quite unique.
We hit the road as the temp drops to 81 degrees outside the city. It starts to rain lightly, the first time on this trip. We have really had excellent weather. Our drive today takes us out of Tennessee, past fields of corn stubble, rows of maturing corn, mansions and cute, well maintained bungalows typical of the area, neat trailers with mowed lawns. It is Sunday and the South is closed for church.
We enter Kentucky with no formal notice, past Springfield on highway 431 which did not mark the state line. The small towns and back roads of rural Kentucky are picturesque.
American flags wave on dwellings, corn fields and hay bales glow gold, horses and cows dot hills and fenced paddocks, pale, lime-green tobacco plants stand tall and an earlier crop hangs to dry in rustic sheds, and black livestock shelters particular to this area, stand in stunning contrast to the grey skies and rich green hills and farmland. Small towns notify of their particular claim to fame: Home of the Everly Brothers (Central City, KY), and Purple Martin Capital of the World (Lewisburg, KY).
After a time, a large bridge span looms ahead of us. We cross the Ohio river and enter Indiana., where we turn around so we can capture the elusive Welcome to Kentucky sign, turn back around and head into Evansville, Indiana, our stop over for tonight.
Alton Brown came this way on “Feasting on Asphalt” season one. He tried a regional specialty, a fried pig brain sandwich, a favorite here and still sold in a few mom and pop places. Even Alton wasn’t all that keen on it and we think we will pass. Thanks for taking one for the road food team, Alton!
We are tired tonight and think we are just going to order in a pizza and chill. See y’all in St. Louis!