Off the Press
January 10, 2012
By Christina Lords
Eatin’ away heartache — Issaquah style
This isn’t something I’d wish on a worst enemy — even you, Celine Dion.
It creeps up on me when I wake up in the morning. That instant thought of … something really bad happened, didn’t it? And then I remember. And it hits me with shock and awe, like a pie to the face.
I’ve cried, sure. I’ve also rotated through the five stages of grief. Why is it that the whole denial phase always seems so much more attractive than, say, that … wait, what is that last one? Acceptance?
Yeah. Acceptance. I’ve been dumped.
I’ve been walking a fine line of plate after plate of french fries and Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” on unwavering repeat for two weeks now. Greasy food and great music has offered me superior comfort to anything else so far devised, so I’m rolling with it.
The problem is I’m still fairly new around here and most of my favorite comfort food spots are at least 300 agonizing miles east in the potato starch capital of the world: Idaho.
So I put on my big girl belt and set out for a survival plan to eating (and, to a responsible extent, drinking) away heartache in Issaquah. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Red Robin — Everybody knows this chain offers endless golden brown steak fries to accompany its famous burgers, but are you aware you can cut out the middleman and order only endless fries? No pretense. No front. More importantly, no judgment. Just fries. And keep the sides of honey mustard coming, please.
Jay Berry’s Café — First, let me say this place’s menu has some of the best offerings for comfort food this side of the Mississippi. And as someone who can burn water, a tendency that consequently leads me to eating out often, that’s saying a lot.
Since The Change, I’ve discovered — and rediscovered — Jay Berry’s baked penne. A four-cheese sauce loaded with browned cheese melted on top of buttery, cheesy noodles? Yes, please. I’m convinced this meal takes at least 72 hours off my life each time I eat it and a heart attack is still forthcoming, but it’s worth every bite.
Rollin’ Log Tavern — I’ve discovered that exactly two and a half 16-ounce Pabst Blue Ribbon’s (cans, of course, no one is exactly aiming for class when they’re rapping at the door of rock bottom’s basement) is my threshold for feeling better. Anything more and things take a turn toward the morose. But who can abandon those last few gulps to be tossed aside? There are too many sober people in Utah for that kind of talk.
Thankfully, the bar staff and fellow patrons have sat through several rounds of my Aretha Franklin songs flowing from the jukebox as their cook fries up yet another late-night Philly cheese steak dripping with Cheddar cheese for me. Bless their hearts.
XXX Rootbeer Drive-in — The ex and I once shared a chocolate malt during a car show this summer under blue skies and sunshine at this iconic Issaquah eatery — real sugar-and-rainbows stuff. But since The Change, every time I’ve driven by there all I can do is fantasize about torching the table where we sat. Unfortunately, the idea of a first-degree arson charge doesn’t really offer much comfort, either.
Maybe conquering a malt of my own might be a more constructive exercise.
Have you seen these things? They come out overflowing with delicious malt goodness, with whipped cream oozing over frosty glass rims. The wait staff practically needs a flatbed truck to haul it out to your table. I was convinced you really did need two people to finish this monster off, but no more. A female scorned can put away this massive malt, a ’49 Woody and fries and still have room to wash it all down with their famous root beer. I am woman, hear me roar, and all that jazz.
And finally, for dessert …
Confetti Cupcakes — Some say they’re too pretty to eat. I say sometimes you just gotta dig deep and destroy something beautiful.
So while everyone keeps reminding me that there are other fish in the sea — and deep down, I know there are — I keep reminding them of something English novelist and poet George Meredith said long, long ago.
Kissing don’t last, but cookery do.
And by God, a girl’s gotta eat.