11/28/07

Truck Stop Eggs Benedict Ole!

I have just had the most puzzling and perplexing meal ever and not in that El Bulli, Ferran Adria and Alinea, Grant Achatz molecular gastronomy way either. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Rich and I dropped off all the sous chefs at school today with the idea we'd go out to breakfast after. So, we head to our favorite hole in the wall, Chucks. This is a Stockton institution. Pancakes as big as a man-hole covers. You can order every meal as either a full or half order, and only someone with a death wish orders a full order because they are HUGE! It's been around for-ev-er (you gotta say it like the kid in Sandlot) say it with me, for-ev-er. Well, it seems to be that no one in Stockton works on a Tuesday morning (including us) because there was a line out the door. On a Tuesday morning, Wtf?

On to plan 2. Rich says, "Let's go to Carl's." and off we go. Carl's is a diner/ truck stop off of the 99 Freeway. Good food, breakfast all day, kinda place. Now mind you, all I want is a BLT and fries. The perfect breakfast in my humble opinion. It has toast, bacon, potatoes, and even some veggies thrown in. What's not to love, right? Well, you could say eggs, but I'm not a huge egg fan, so oh well. Looking through the menu I don't see a BLT but I do see this: Eggs Benedict Ole! Two grilled english muffins, two chorizo patties, and two poached eggs covered in a chipotle hollandaise sauce.

" What are you going to order?" Rich asks me. Does every married couple do this? I know by experience, if I order the same thing he does, neither one of us will change our order. So why ask?

" I'm intrigued." I said. Yes, I actually said that. Wouldn't you, after seeing Eggs Benedict Ole! It's intruging. This seems to catch his attention.

" Intrigued? Why intrigued?"

I read him the description and say " This has the potential of being really good or really, really bad."

" Are you chicken? Because don't you always get mad at me for not trying new things. Don't you always say "Try it, you might just like it. How do you know if its good unless you try."" Rich sing-songed, staring right at me.

Shit! My husband just threw the gauntlet down at my feet. Do I step up and have truck stop hollandaise? Bourdain warns you about hollandaise sauce and eggs benedict in Kitchen Confidental. I could imagine what he would say about truck stop hollandaise sauce. Maybe I should wisely back down and hear him mock me until I'm on my death bed. Hell, he'd mock me on my death-bed. Then on my tombstone, he would put "She didn't try the Eggs Benedict Ole!"

" So, what'll you have?" the waitress asked.

Bet you know what I ordered. That's right "Eggs Benedict Ole" There is no way I am going to hear him make fun of me for the rest of my life.

When breakfast arrived, it looked like eggs benedict except the hollandaise sauce had a smokey red color to it. Alright, this isn't going to be a disaster, I thought to myself. The impression after my first bite was that it needed to be hotter (temperature wise). My second bite was a little spicier and a lot more puzzling. I couldn't figure it out.

" Try it." I told Rich laughing.

Rich took a bite and said, " It's oddly good but it needs to hotter and something is missing, though."

" That's what I thought."

" But you want to keep eating it." Rich said, also laughing.

"Strange, huh?"

I know I'll never forget this meal because I have been alternately giggling and puzzling over it. The hollandaise sauce was really smoky in flavor instead of lemony and buttery, so I don't know if that's why it was so strange. Or if it was the spiciness of the chorizo patties instead of the salty Canadian bacon. It was the oddest taste sensation. Will I order it again? Probably not. Did I regret ordering it? Nah, because on my death-bed I won't have to hear Rich say I didn't try the "Eggs Benedict Ole!" and as the Master-Card commercial says that's "priceless."