When I was going through my difficult time last year, the phrase I used to describe it was “trainwrecked”. It worked in lots of different ways. I was “trainwrecked”. I was in “trainwreck” mode or sometimes I was actively in a state of “trainwrecking”. I guess you could say that was trying to make light of the situation to try and balance out everything else I was feeling.
Well, one of the previous days when Josh and I were searching for our next meal, the list included a place that he had forgotten about.. the Trainwreck Saloon. When we saw that, we knew we had to go. Knowing it was a bar and would most certainly have a nice selection of cheeseburgers, was just icing on the cake.
We headed there straight after our Forest Park walk and i really did not look at any other parts of the menu besides the burger section. Josh ordered the triple cheese and I opted for the cheddar bacon made with Bison meat. The waitress talked me into the broccoli-cauliflower salad and he had sweet potato fries. What started out as something magical where the universe was once again giving me exactly what I needed, ended up as a set of big fat checkmarks in the “lessons learned” category. The sad part about that, was these were all things I know already.
– When going to a new place, get the baseline burger with cheese. Not too fancy. In doing this you will avoid anything going wrong with something the restaurant is trying to do which might alter the experience in a negative way. I went for the Bison, when I should have stuck with delicious cow.
– If there is something special, which isn’t normal terminology – question it. In this case it was “soft cheddar” cheese. I didn’t think anything of it, but the cheese was just not to my liking at all. The taste was OK, but the texture was not appealing at all.
– Never, ever, under any circumstances order a side that is not French fries. Sorry for the double negative. Let me make it perfectly clear.. Always Order French Fries. Done. And yes, the side is a part of the total experience and it matters.
I admit I didn’t follow my own rules on this one, but I was just trying to allow serendipity to keep working her magic on this trip. However, even without my mistakes, the experience would have probably been just average.
The bun was an average bun that may have been multi-grain or perhaps had some sesame on it, but I could not tell. It was not toasted, and I prefer a toasted bun. The server did not ask me how I wanted my burger cooked, which was very odd for a place that advertises good burgers. Fortunately for me, medium is the standard and that is what I typically will order. As I stated, the cheese flavor was ok, but it was gooey and chunky and kind of pasty and really dripped all over the place. The bison was also OK, but I have definitely had better. And yes, shame on me, but the broccoli-cauliflower salad was actually not good at all so I am not sure what the server meant when she said it was “the best”. It was like they cut a few raw veggies and tossed it in watered down mayo. Not a lot of flavor. All things considered, I would go 2.5 out of 5 on this Cheeseburger experience.
I did manage to get not one or two, but three bites from Josh’s burger which was a quite a cut above my own. If things were flipped, I’d probably have gone perhaps as high as 3.5 on it. In the end, I was just pouty that his was better than mine and I carried that with me as we headed back to Ademir’s place to say good-bye.
We rested for just a few minutes there before packing the rest of the things in the car. By that time, the day had already gotten long and the sun was on the verge of setting. I was not really looking forward to a 7 hour drive back home and having not had the best sleep in a couple of days, I knew it might get rough.
I did OK until I hit the Iowa border and that’s when I started to get very sleepy and kind of punchy. When I got to Josh’s place I helped him unload and thanked him for being my tour guide and showing me his home away from home. I got a little emotional (or a little more than a little emotional) and then had to kind of take off in a hurry. It was also 2AM and we were both in desperate need of sleep.
A very good trip indeed. Hard to pick a favorite moment, or five. I would definitely go again, given the opportunity.
Home again, home again,