That mothering instinct is an enduring one. My oldest is in his mid-twenties, has graduated from college and lives in another city. All the same, when I learned that he had injured his eye, I had to see for myself how he was doing. Loading a truck with the equipment for his band’s first show, the far end of the shock cord came loose and struck him just below his brow with enough force to knock him to the ground. The sight of a fully bandaged eye on his facebook page kept me from sleeping well most of the night. Very early Saturday morning we had the car loaded. We were on the road well before first light and at his house before breakfast.
Once the doctor has been visited and the wound bandaged, what’s a mother to do? Provide food, of course. I came with a bag of goodies from my own kitchen but once we had stopped by the house and picked up my son I relied on area providers to secure a little comfort food for our morning meal. A good old-fashioned breakfast was what we needed to sustain us while he filled us in on the details of what had happened.
A quick iPhone search suggested Flo-Anna’s Diner for a hearty homespun breakfast. I can’t say it looked like much from the outside but the reviews were decent and diner food sounded perfect. Still early on a Saturday we had no trouble finding an empty booth and sat down to order. I have been eager to find the perfect waffle the past few months so I ordered Waffle Combo #1. My husband ordered a Western Omelette and my son had Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs.
I wouldn’t say I found the perfect waffle but the one I had was tender and hot if rather predictable in taste. The bacon was fine and my over-medium egg was cooked perfectly. Chicken Fried Steak smothered in Country Gravy is not my favorite dish but this time the gravy looked to be of a nice consistency and my son ate every bite. The Hash Browns were fresh, crispy on the outside and not at all greasy. The Western Omelette was quite full of peppers, ham and cheese.
I was reminded of many a diner meal eaten on the road with my dad. Friendly service, good coffee in a sturdy mug that never got cold or empty and a decent meal served with ample condiments made getting a meal on the road a reliable pleasure. The look of Flo-Anna's Diner and the casual but efficient atmosphere took me back to those good old days. My son ate well. By the time we were leaving the place was packed and there were folks waiting for tables. Overall it was a good experience.
After breakfast we attended to some chores before seeking out another substantial meal to complete the Mom treatment. This time we drove a little farther up the road to Rainin’ Ribs BBQ & Smokehouse. Having been born in Texas my son likes barbecue and has tasted his fair share of the real thing. Sharing authentic southern style barbecue takes us all back to old times and is a real treat when it’s good.
The exterior of Rainin' Ribs was cute but not a real draw. Inside, however, the colors were warm and inviting and the atmosphere was interesting. After ordering Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket sandwiches with sides of Sweet Potato Fries, Green Beans and Hush Puppies we walked out into a covered tented area to find a picnic-style table to our liking. We chose one looking out to the back. It offered a view of Lake Washington, which might be a real draw on a brighter day when you can find one in this part of the world.
Though the weather outside was dreary the eating area was clean and bright. We gathered utensils and extra sauce and soon our sandwiches were served. They came in baskets lined with a cheerful checkered paper. The meat was piled on deliciously fresh buns. After smothering our meat with the house BBQ sauce, served on the side, the soft bun cradled the meat perfectly, holding it firmly but yielding with the tender meat at each bite.
The sauce was perfect with a bit of sweet distinction and an adequate amount of fire. The sides were also enjoyable. The Sweet Potato Fries were crisp and not at all greasy, the Green Beans were surprisingly roasted and slathered in an oily but delicious dressing, and the Hush Puppies were a tender cornmeal treat, the kind that can be hard to come by in the Pacific Northwest. In fact the sides were so good I would stop by just for a meal of delicious and homey vegetables. I’m eager to try the Collard Greens, Fried Okra and maybe the Beans and Rice on my next visit.
Hopefully our next visit will be compelled by a happier event. Luckily the prognosis for my son’s eye is good. He bruised the retina and must wear an eye patch for several weeks but the doctor is hopeful that the eye will heal completely. I guess all of that could have been conveyed over the phone or via the Internet. Still I am glad to have been able to see it for myself and to offer what little comfort I could. I am convinced that a little visiting and a couple of homestyle meals did us all some good.