On our way back from the mountain, Anne and I made a series of mistakes, culminating in disaster.
I wanted to stop in the wee town of Elbe, to take pictures of the big spooky train and Hobo Inn for uncledisgusting. This was mistake number one.
It was around this time that we both realized that we were very, very, very hungry, and hey! One of the trains is a diner train! Mistake number two.
When we approached the door, there was a sign that enthusiastically proclaimed they had the best food on the mountain. There were some important things that we didn’t consider. Best compared to what? Trashdiving behind the visitor center? Can you trust anything written on a impermanent surface such as a whiteboard? Not asking these questions? Mistake number three.
When we entered the train, it was like a goddamn Precious Moments store had exploded, spraying everything with a fine mist of creepy eyes and disembodied heads. Not turning around and immediately leaving? Mistake four.
The dining area looked like something out of a John Waters movie, if only he were a bit more twisted; and immediately after we ordered, we noticed we were surrounded by the three most annoying Cs in existence. Loud wailing children, annoying lovey couples, and country music. I’m pretty certain Anne didn’t believe me when I whispered to her that the people seated across the train aisle to my left were acting like the tiny diner table was an enormous chasm for their love to cross, but she and I nearly died laughing when they pulled the waitress aside and asked to be moved to the lounge so they could be seated next to one another instead of across.
I got more vicious while I waited for my food; there is a certain point of extreme low blood sugar where the switch on my back flips from good-natured humor to just plain evil, and I came out swinging. I wished gruesome death on everyone in Elbe. I openly prayed the train would start up and take us to a gas chamber because death would be preferable to hearing more yowling from the country singers and squalling from the children. I started asking Anne if we could please, please, please ditch before the food showed up, because I was pretty convinced that nothing goood could come of this venture. Anne is much more good-hearted than me, one of those ‘born with a conscience’ types and resolved to ask the waitress if they’d made our food first instead of just running out into the night. Mistake five.
The waitress snapped that it was almost done, and came out bearing plates of what should have been lasagna but instead were congealed brown masses of…brown flavored swill. Brown sauce? Brown noodles? Entire garlic cloves?What the hell kind of foul lasagna was this? Both of us were incredibly hungry, yet neither one of us could manage more than a couple of bites before pushing our plates away in disgust. I’ve never had to fight harder to keep my lips together when the waitress dropped by and asked how everything tasted. ARE YOU JOKING, LADY? This is the food of the damned! This food is too cruel and unusual to be served to prisoners! What sort of sadistic wench ARE you?
She swooped by our table and asked if we wanted to take home our leftovers in a large foil swan–this, I momentarily considered as I thought it might be humorous to take a giant carving knife to the belly of the foil swan to expose the rotten lasagna guts, but I thought better of it and decided I did not want the car to smell like that wretched food for the remainder of the trip home.
As soon as the check was paid, we practically ran out of the place and gunned it to the nearest gas station* for mints to rid our mouths of the foul lasagna coating.
So, what have we learned? Do not stop in creepy little towns for any reason. Any cutesy meal place with a theme is going to be rotten. Anyplace that proclaims to have ‘the best’ ANYTHING is invariably lying. If a place is bad, it does not necessarily have to get better; we have not yet plumbed the depths of awful. Do not be plagued by matters of conscience when doing otherwise means feeling vaguely ill for two days afterward.
I could hardly believe it–almost down the mountain, and the FOOD is where we make the misstep.
*Wherein I witnessed the most wondrous/horrifying Harry Potter velvet painting, but that’s neither here nor there.