Last weekend we travelled down to East Tennessee en famille to see The Special One’s nearest and dearest. And a very pleasant time was had by all, celebrating the 90th birthday of GeeGeeBee. But after all the family excesses, The Special One and I gleefully seized with open arms the opportunity to spend an hour or two of solitude together. If that makes any sense.
Given that it was lunchtime, a nice meal on the town was clearly the order of the day. Having had pizza from The Best Pizza Joint Ever (my name, not theirs) the night before, we had to look further afield than normal for our sustenance. But when it comes down to it, once you get outside the (many) major cities of America – sweeping generalization alert! – your meal options decrease rapidly.
Looking for somewhere to spend a romantic stolen lunch together, The Special One and I were presented with a mile of back-to-back restaurants that lined up as follows: McDonalds, Taco Bell, Applebee’s, Krystal’s, Wendy’s and Sonic. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which an Applebee’s is considered an upmarket option, but you can’t argue with the greatness of boneless buffalo wings.
In the end, we opted for the sixth member of the Fast Food Mile, a chain called Long John Silver’s. Now, I’ve heard of Burger King and McDonalds, and I know Taco Bell, KFC, Domino’s and Pizza Hut. I’m cognisant of Wendy’s and Applebee’s, TGI Friday and even White Castle. But Long John Silver’s has completely passed me by.
Yet somehow there are 1200 of these outlets all around the world according to their website. I’m assuming that in this case we’re using the American meaning of “all around the world” which roughly translates as “all around America” but nevertheless it’s a big chain.
Long John Silver’s fame may increase exponentially if ever cars that run off used cooking oil go into mass production. This place could become the BP or Exxon of the new era, such is their commitment to deep frying. I didn’t go into the bathroom, but I assume that the taps were coated in breadcrumbs and that the paper towels were dipped in batter and plunged into scalding hot oil. It all tasted great (what’s not to like about deep fried
prawnsshrimps, after all), but it’s one of the few places I’ve ever been where my arteries furred up before I’d even opened the door.
Ten days on, I’m still trying to get the smell out of my clothes. But you can rest assured that I’ll be straight back there next time I’m in Tennessee. Chicken planks and clams, here I come.