Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Grumpy's Bar-B-Que Roadhouse, Allentown

Road trip, boys, road trip. Here we are out on the highway, in the rain, peering around Big Gay Ed's Big Gay Head as he drives too close to other cars for comfort. This picture doesn't show the worst of it. Sheesh. Slow down, dude.

Why were we out there? Well, I think 'CF Martin' on the side of the building says it all, don't you? No? OK, we drove 2 hours from Pitman in order to visit the factory of Martin Guitars. This is where the good stuff gets made (they now have some Mexico production to keep up with the broader economy). Take note, they're also more than happy to look at your guitars for free - Carson and I both availed ourselves of this service. Just a little plug - we talked about it a lot, including the previous day when we went to Guitar Center and played every worthwhile acoustic they had. Martin is just right. It's how an acoustic guitar is supposed to sound.

And then, far too late in the day, we were off. Back down the road to Allentown, then off the highway for a fair piece, and finally to this roadhouse. I think it's fair for Grumpy's to call themselves a 'roadhouse', seeing as they're right by the road and all. It's also pretty fair for them to call themselves 'Grumpy's', because the menu has all kinds of disclaimers about what they will and won't do for you, and the service is mostly in the line of 'waddya want'?

In retrospect, now that I know what they will and won't do for customers, the weirdest part of Grumpy's was the grumpy-looking guys sitting at the bar at 2 PM on a Monday drinking beer (they had Franziskaner and some other nice things on tap with the Coors Light). Who are these people? Don't they work? Is it because they're living here in Allentown? And they're closing all the factories down? How can you be at Grumpy's without eating meat? You can't have any pudding at Grumpy's if you don't eat your meat.

We split some wings to start. Holy shit did we split some wings. These are barbecued wings, and by that I mean they're really barbecued, not grilled and then covered with barbecue sauce. They were, it's fair to say, redolent of smoke. And delicious. If I had to pick a bone to pick, I'd mention that they were barbecued and thus the skin was not at all crisp. But the smoke, and the flavor, and the ooh. I forgot to use the provided moist towelettes to clean my hands, and got the wonderful bonus of being able to smell my fingers for the rest of the day and pretend I was eating these wings again. Finger wings.

But wings doth not a lunch make. Actually they do, or they could. You could just get 10 wings like that, and call it a meal. But nooooo, we had to get multi-meat sampler platters. For $15, you get 3 meats, where the amount of each would be enough for one person's meal. I ate this for lunch, more for dinner, and left the rest for my parents (who complained that I didn't leave enough because it was so good). On the right you have your sides - collards, fried okra in tomato sauce. They're inessential. The pulled pork was a bit light on flavor, but was at least soft and moist. The sliced brisket was excellent, but needed a little sauce for moisture and flavor (no crime there). The ribs were perfect. Big Gay Ed was the clever one at the table, just getting half a rack of ribs. I know you're thinking half a rack isn't much, but they leave on the meaty (belly?) ends of the ribs, which means you get twice as much meat as a normal one. And it's all fan-tas-tic.

Again, this is making me cry that I can't go back any time soon. But nothing's stopping you.

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