.One evening Caroline and I are over at our friend’s house, River Road neighborhood, and we get a little hungry.”I sure wish I had real bar-be-que, ” I say, and our friend says; “I think there’s supposed to be a good bar-b-que place around here, let me look it up.”
Which is how I found a place locally called “the hole in the wall bar-be-que”, and we read all the comments about the food, on their website. “All these commendations, it must be good,” says my friend, and all 3 of us are in favor of a late-night snack. Our friend calls up, gets it ordered, and we wait,salivating.
We decide to order a “meat special, hot links, smoked brisket, and a side of fresh-that-day-french fries, green beans.I have been dieting, and I need some REAL BAR-BE-QUE I haven’t had for years. Bar-be-que sauce comes with the order.I can’t wait, remembering other places I have eaten long ago.–that thick,rich sauce; luscious beef,moist,smoked; hot links. —and everything flavorful and Southern.
But you realize you are so in OREGON, way up NORTH, when you try to eat bar-be-que in the land of cheap beer-guzzlers.
We got our order, packed in a styrofoam-package; “Are those FRESH french fries?” queries Caroline, holding up a limp,soft,greasy, not even hot, mushy frie. “It looks and tastes like so much worse than Carls’ Junior or the worst McDonalds!” “They must have kept it since yesterday, in motor-oil!” I say. “I never saw or ate such old, greasy, unflavorful french-fries! Are these really sardines packed in oil and brine?” “I am so disappointed,” says our friend, sadly.”This place was recommended to me. ” “Must have been someone who never ATE bar-be-que before,” I reply, trying to eat the dry, “un-smoked”-smoked brisket, which tasted like cardboard.
Besides the TRUE smoked flavor of the meat, (which didn’t seem to be in this meat,) the other test of real bar-be-que is in the bar-be-que sauce. The best ones are thick,rich, even tomatoey,or molasses, and not too HOT–just delicious. Our litle plastic container held; very watery catsup, with little flavor and a ton of dissolved jalapeno seeds. Too spicy, off the charts, to hide the fact that it WAS watered-down catsup with tabasco sauce in it. “Crap!” said our friend, getting out a bottle of commercial bar-be-que sauce, and using it instead;”this bottled super-market sauce is even better!” “The dinner- order’s stuff burns my mouth,” complained Caroline. “Is real bar-b-que sauce supposed to be so HOT? I didn’t know the South was full of Mexicans “‘.
I could see why the place was called the hole in the wall; they cooked all their meat in a CLOSET instead of a smoker or real bar-e-que oven. YUCK. I had eaten real bar-be–que in a different state; Southerners were right when they claimed that real bar–be-que did not exist north off the Mason-Dixon Line. And here in Eugene, uninformed Eugenians thought that “bar-be-que” meant literaly “dissolved jalapeno seeds in water.” “French fries” translated into “greasy, mushy,soft, slimey thin potato-peelings fried in a skillet.”
Did Eugenians know what bar–be-que really tasted like, except for something soft to mop up and absorb all the beer? Had anyone in Eugene ever seen a real bar-be-que sauce recipe? Did “the Hole in the Wall Bar-be-que ” even know what a “recipe” was? Or what bar-be-que ovens were? So far, from the feel of their food, I surmised they just FRIED EVERYTHING in a large skillet with plenty of beef-fat or corn-oil. –or soy-oil. Oh, crap! I keep forgetting. that Eugene’s view of the big, wide, amazing outside world was at the bottom of an empty pitcher of Bud-Weizer. Enough of that, and you can’t TASTE anything any how.
No wonder the South still hated the North; it wasn’t about the Civil War. They hated us because we took the words “bar-be-que” and slapped it onto the side of a package of corn chips! And now I sure didn’t blame them for their hate. Even this northerner would not call a wet tub of beef-soup with jalapenos “BAR-BE-QUE SAUCE!”
(more to come later….) 😉
(Sandraminadotty reserves the right to subjectively review anyone. If your restaurant got tarred and feathered by her, we would like your comments and feedback; or if you’ve EATEN AT Hole-In-The-Wall-BBQ, in Eugene, and want to comment about your own eating experience, please leave any comments or swear words. —no matter who the swear words are aimed at.If you know of EXCELLENT bar-be-que anywhere near, or far from Lane County, please tell us about it here. We would sure like to know, partner.
It’s true, we’re not in the South of the USA; and its true there even restaurants here that are “a spin on Jewish and Kosher traditional food, and Israeli food” in Lane County. So far, Sandramina has not been brave enough to to try a “spin on Jewish food” this far away from a great Jewish Restaurant in Northern California, which shall go unnamed, or a good east-coast Jewish restaurant owned by real Jews. That’s not even counting the delicatessen in San Francisco that was in the theatre district named “Davids'” (or perhaps “Solomon’s”) which had fantastic traditional goodies.Plus, a downtown bakery with CHOCOLATE MACAROONS; and “The Bagel House” out on Geary blvd. near 15th ave, which HAD real Jewish bagels(baked correctly) and even good challah, and onion pastries to die for. Plus, they regularly sold day-old bagels and baked goods,in large plastic bags, bulk. (You have never eaten unless you have had a good SALT BAGEL; or at least a good onion, or the stupendous GARLIC BAGEL.
Rabbis often theorize if you have been a good Jew,(i.e. studied the Torah and the Talmud, worked hard, and “did deeds of loving kindness ” during your lifetime, you may, when you die, go to a Heaven exactly like a very good old fashioned New York delicatessan, and not have to pay anything to eat there. It beats out kanoodling with 72 Muslim virgins in Paradise. And the chopped liver is really DIVINE. -and yes, they will have noodle-kugel. We won’t discuss the excellent smoked salmon here, we don’t want any nice Jews resorting to suicide. There is probably still enough lox left on earth.–we hope. There used to be plenty of lox, even at the Jewish San Francisco teaching hospital, which is now teamed up with UC MED CENTER AT PARNASSUS, because of the shared financial problems ALL “not-for-profit” community hospitals are facing from fed.govt. cuts under our great national leaders. (All those great waspy officials don’t have to worry about shortages of lox; they still munching on tenderloin of pork with a side of white bread and mayonaise. )