Diner Dud

After the wine wore off at a Valentine's Day event with Julia's work, we and the couple giving us a ride home were left a little hungry. So despite being 100 percent formal-clad, we stopped at a local favorite, if not institution, Bob & Edith's Diner, or B&E's familiarly. This was a place I had heard countless people mention as being a great spot for late-night eating, serving an extensive diner menu including breakfast 24 hours per day. Not to mention that it is so popular that during many parts of the day and night there is a line out the door to sit down in one of its 15 or 20 tables. Luckily, we got there just before the bars closed, so we were able to sit down right away, but it was definitely bustling for 1:30 AM. Who knew this many people were out and about and craving diner grub in South Arlington on a February evening?

As soon as I looked at the menu and saw the rows upon rows of classic sandwiches, burgers, egg plates and sides, my stomach perked up as it needed a little of this kind of food, well drunk food. After ordering the cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onion and no mayo, and Julia ordered two sunny-side-up eggs, wheat toast and potatoes, and the others at our table ordered eggs and corn beef hash, I was relatively excited to taste this amazing diner food. Or drunk food. Whatever you want to call it.

The first problem is that what we ordered was not exactly what we got. The second problem is that what we got was not exactly good. My cheeseburger was actually skimpier than a fast food burger but it had less taste and seemed even less beef-like. Eek. Plus it came with huge glops of mayo on both buns after I specifically mentioned “no mayo” and the waiter confirmed it. The onions were 86, the tomato was mealy and the lettuce had to be sacrificed to wipe off all the mayonnaise. I will say the fries were pretty good, but a pretty skimpy portion for a diner.

The egg orderers at the table may have had it even worse. Both came with “corned beef hash” although Julia the vegetarian had not ordered it. So she had to fish her way around it, which couldn't have been pleasant. Besides, see how I said “corned beef hash” up there? Corned beef hash it was not – it was Spam hash. Not totally shocking that there would be Spam in a diner, but if it's Spam, please say Spam. The toast, rather than being buttered well or served dry with the butter on the side, was served cold with enormous globs of butter literally chilling on one end or the other. Each piece probably had enough for the entire plate. Then there were the eggs themselves. My favorite! Each one of the four eggs at our table had a big slobber of raw egg white chilling on top of each sunny-side-up egg yolk. Ugh. I guess they really meant something when they put the “eat raw or undercooked foods at your own risk” disclaimer asterisk next to each and every egg dish on the menu. Needless to say, raw egg white does not belong on any plate. I get told sometimes that my tastes are a little frou-frou. Well if I have to be labeled “frou-frou” to get a decent burger and cooked eggs, then color me whatever you want.

Needless to say, I wasn't a huge fan of B&E's. Hey, it was cheap, so that's always nice. Plus I enjoyed the company and conversation immensely and am happy that I can finally say I ate there.

My friend Cody said to me the next day that we might as well have gone to Taco Bell, the real American late-night, drunk, diner grub joint. The “frou-frou” in me wanted to defend the American diner over fast food, since I typically abhor fast food above all. But this time I would have taken the Taco Bell or the McDonald's gladly over B&E's. So touché to Cody. This time. Next time I'll know better, or drink more first.

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