So here I am in Oooooooklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains as everyone has been singing at me for the past 10 years that I've lived in New York. Interestingly, nobody sings that one about the slutty girl who just "cain't say no," although it is perhaps more relevant to my life.
Anyway, I am here hanging out with my my newly-90 Grandma Helen Earl, and let me tell you, retirement home living is the bomb. We eat leftover birthday cake, play a few games of Scrabble, go through Helen's massive pile of birthday cards, do a few crossword puzzles, then shuffle on down to the dining hall and order whatever we want while also raiding the salad bar for Jello and coleslaw, then get ice cream to go and eat it while we play more Scrabble. They also have laundry, a salon, a chapel and a bar on the premises. I am seriously ready to move in.
Aside from Helen, what I really miss about Oklahoma is THE FOOD. I swear that Oklahoma and Texas have more regional-only food chains than any other place I've been besides maybe Buffalo. Every time I come here, I almost bust a gut trying to eat everything I miss in like 2 days. We have my favorite pizza place, Mazzios, my favorite ice cream place, Braum's.... Anybody have any idea what I'm talking about? Not to mention all the more widespread chains that you still can't get in New York like Sonic, Long John Silver's, Craker Barrell, Whataburger, Hardee's, Arby's, Chick Fil-A, Steak 'n' Shake, Carl's Jr, etc. etc. etc.
So this time I am trying to take it kind of easy on the gluttony -- I even went to a yoga class! -- but I had to have my old favorite taco place, Taco Bueno. It's fast food Mexican, but so much better and fresher and more delicious than Taco Bell. Plus, it's where me and the other bad kids used to hang out and mouthbreathe all over each other and smoke pot out of Coke cans after junior high, so it holds a special place in my heart.
I went there yesterday and had my muchaco (is this even a real item anywhere else? It's a soft taco with an inner layer or refried beans) and my Mexi-dips and chips (hellloooo, edible queso bowl!) and it was all good, except that I ate far too much of it and currently feel like I weigh approximately 85,000 pounds.
Anyway, I got to wondering about everybody's can-only-get-it-at-home food favorites. Not the one-of-a-kind hometown restaurants, but the quirky regional chains -- the Taco Buenos or the Mighty Tacos of the world. Please, share the wonders of your regional cuisines in the comments, as we barrell inevitably toward one homogenized food culture.
I'm off to get my ass handed to me by an old lady at Scrabble.