Friday, July 25, 2008

A Little Slice of Heaven

Dante's Paradise (c. 1308) narrates a tour thru nine spheres of heaven. But while Dante’s account is interesting, it is pretty obviously fake. Obviously he can’t really have gone to heaven, because his books mention neither Big Buck Hunter or Chicken Fried Steak. There is one place in this earthly realm, however, where you can find both of these … Mary’s Café in Strawn, Texas (2 hrs east of Dallas).

Mary Trettler is one of the last restauranteurs who still prepares Chicken Fried Steak in the traditional method. Not in the battered & deep-fried method made popular by culinary giants such as Swanson’s TV dinners.

Discerning customers will come far and wide to pay homage to the authentic Chicken Fried Steak. The dish is still lovingly prepared in the original recipe, exactly as it was passed down from the ancient Aztecs. Kim Pierce of the Dallas Morning News writes:

“Mary is so protective of her chicken-fried steak and other dishes that employees must sign an agreement drawn up by a lawyer not to share the recipes, nor even the way the restaurant plates meals.”

“At Mary's, the only deep-fried foods are things such as hand-cut french fries, breaded okra, tortilla chips and calf fries (bull testicles).”

This is starting to sound like my kind of place. The clincher? In the lobby… next to the stacks of guessed it…Big Buck Hunter.

Chicken Fried Steak and Big Buck Hunter…like Batman and Robin.

Of course the real question is, when you go to Mary’s Café, do you eat first or play first?

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