10.17.2006

Hush Puppies and Diner Desserts

Monday is the day that my boyfriend and I actually get to spend the whole day together and we spend it doing the activity we enjoy most, eating.

We recently moved to a town in South Carolina about 15 minutes from Charlotte, North Carolina's outer limits, so we do most of our dining in the Charlotte area. Our town isn't exactly notorious for anything foodwise or other, unless you count Siler Chapman. He was a part of the US Pizza Team in 2004 and was recently on the Food Network (the only channel I watch) for the Food Network Pizza Challange.

Anyway, our breakfast meal began late at a place not even worth mentioning but, I will, to warn you, called Good Ol' Days in Charlotte. Luckily, I had forgotton my camera. The only notable was the kitchy 50's decor which was sparse but at least the attempt was nice. Everything was sub-standard, We could have made a better omelettes and pancakes at home. The bacon omelette had little bacon bits on top of the folded over egg (?!?), the pancakes; not any better than bisquik, and the biscuits looked like they came from a Pilsbury can with microwaved rubbery texture. Let's just say, we won't be back.

I also could note our poor return visit to an area bakery but I'll spare you.

However, our late night dinner at the Penguin Drive-In near downtown Charlotte was great. A dark, bar-like scene with great drive-in style food. The menu selection was complete with appetizers like wings, soup and stews, a multitude of different burgers, dogs, sandwiches, and sides.

We ordered my new southern favorite, hush puppies! Hush puppies are basically a doughy mixture of flour, white cornmeal, buttermilk, eggs, etc... then deep fried. They come out dark golden brown in golf ball sized rounds fresh from the deep fryer and stay warm until your finished devouring them because of their wonderful density. I like to call them my Southern zeppoles.

After finishing my stew and his burger, we were on the dessert prowl. We had passed the Landmark Diner on our frustrating man-hunt to find the Penguin Drive-In and I had heard tales of their wonderful desserts. We back tracked in high hopes of mountainess cream pies and thick, rich cakes and Landmark did not dissappoint. The bakery case was easy to spot right to your left at you enter the door and it was just at I pictured it, filled with all sorts of typical diner delights: carrot cake, banana cream pie, strawberry cheesecake, key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, coconut pineapple cake, chocolate cake, boston cream pie, I could go on.

Indecision was inevitable. We gazed at the case for a while and chatted with a very large, pleasant Southern woman sitting close by who educated us on the bakery case ropes; "the chocolate cake is so good and rich, you almost won't like chocolate when your done" she drawled.

When we returned home with our chocolate cake, banana cream pie and stawberry cheesecake, the excitement took over and the desserts went from the large boxes into are large bellies and pictures were forgotton! I know we'll head back their soon, maybe we'll dine in with our new Southern neighbors.

dive-in drive-in:
Penguin Drive-In
1921 Commonwealth Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205

www.penguindrivein.com

diner's finest:
Landmark DIner
4429 Central Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205

Today's mission: buy lots of flour and find a way to use leftover pumkin.

3 comments:

Alicat said...

ooooo -- I wish we had a place here in my area that had really great cakes and other desserts. I've never had a really good banana cream pie or carrot cake for that matter. Lucky you!! :)

Rachel said...

I love the Penguin! I was there and had fried pickles! Yum!

Natalia said...

You're dating a celebrity! :) Aren't hush puppies the best? I love them, but I haven't had them in a long time. I think I need to fix that...