Saturday, January 14, 2006

Pennsylvania road food

An after-the-fact note about a couple of eateries I visited with The Lurker and Perfect Tommy on a trip to Pennsylvania in search of a rare bird (not to mention some Ikea scouting).

Yocco's Hot Dogs: Perfect Tommy is a hot dog fan, and his craving lately has been for Yocco's, a mini-chain in the Lehigh Valley area. The hot dogs are rather thin, which is why the average serving preferred by aficionados is two or three dogs. Each hot dog is dressed in chili sauce, onions and mustard. I wasn't sure how easily digestible the hot dogs and their topping would be, so I only ordered a single with a side of fries. I needn't have worried; it went down just fine. The fries were crinkle-cut and not greasy.

That evening, when we'd finished wandering around Ikea, we stumbled onto a sports bar called Champps, another chain (albeit of the bigger, glossier, less homespun sort than Yocco's). Both Perfect Tommy and I had the "Shanghai steamer," an assortment of pork, shrimp and chicken dumplings served with dipping sauce. It was pretty good, all told. I tend to avoid ordering Asian-style dishes in western restaurants (particularly chains), because who knows what their interpretation of Asian food will be like. But the dumplings were fine and the teriyaki dipping sauce was fine. The "Thai peanut slaw" that accompanied the dumplings turned out to be your basic cole slaw with just a hint of peanut flavor in the dressing. It was definitely not the assertive symphony of tastes that is a hallmark of real Thai food.

The most amusing moment of the evening (for the three of us, anyway) was when our server read off the night's specials, including a special martini, the "Flirtini." All of us ordered Cokes, since none of us are "swingers" by any stretch of the imagination. That poor waiter, little knowing he was offering a Flirtini to three of the least flirtaceous people one could find anywhere. Oh, well, that's life.

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