Saturday, October 26, 2013

There is a Diner on Hi-Way 101…

that’s a real “blast from the past.” That, to explain to those under sixty, is something that suddenly and strongly makes you remember a previous time in your life. And I have always referred to the decade of the 1950’s as “the golden days of my youth.” The days of poodle skirts, bobby socks rolled—not folded—down to the ankles, cardigan sweaters worn backward, and sweatshirts worn inside out. You’re not familiar with these trends? Maybe they were Iowa things.

But the 50’s have been on my mind since our brief stop at the Nifty Fiftys Soda Fountain (Port Townsend) and when I learned that Sequim (WA) has a diner—the Hi-Way 101 Diner & Pizza—I knew that we needed to add a visit to our stay.
The diner was described by Kathy L. at as “a trip back in time, and it has good food and many food options. Excellent home-style cooking and many tasty varieties of classic diner foods and burgers alongside new spins on old favorites. Decorated with eclectic memorabilia from the 50s.”
We arrived at about 2:00 p.m. following our visit to the Market Faire and the “joint was jumping.” Almost every table and booth was filled, but we were lucky enough to grab one of the last. The crowd was a mix of “oldies but goodies,” like Chuck and me, and couples with young children.
The walls were hung with a profusion of posters, and for some reason those advertising James Dean movies were the most numerous.
I don’t know about you, but I never was a big James Dean fan. All that brooding intensity just didn’t do it for me.
And then, I was never a big Elvis fan either. So much for my 50’s creds.

The diner has an extensive menu, but what is the only thing to order when reliving the 50’s? Hamburgers, of course.
Being the hamburger purist that he is, Chuck ordered the Johnny B. Good—a plain hamburger with raw onions on a toasted sesame seed roll. And from the side options—bottomless steak fries, onion rings, potato salad, tossed green salad, and sweet potato fries—he went bottomless (or all you can eat).
I chose the Flying Saucer (Now that it is nearing Halloween shouldn’t TCM be soon showing the 1956 classic Earth vs. the Flying Saucers?) with cheese, mushrooms, and “frizzled” onions on a toasted onion roll.
These were first rate hamburgers. The diner’s kitchen managed to produce two hamburgers that at the same time were beautifully charred (This is shown to best effect on Chuck’s.) and extremely juicy. So juicy that the first bite of mine sent hot juices flowing down my chin. I have now officially abandoned medium rare for medium or even medium well as my choice of burger doneness. This is the only way you can be guaranteed of this crusty surface.

I thought that Chuck’s steak fries were a little small to be called steak fries. But that’s O.K. with me. I am not a big fan of thick steak fries. But these were crisp with a soft and steamy interior. And the portion was large enough that seconds weren’t necessary. The onion rings were less successful with a panko coating that I thought was too tough and chewy.

On our way out, we stopped to talk with this man at the cash register. He proved to be the diner’s owner and seemed pleased with our complimentary comments about our 4.0 Addie lunch—especially the hamburgers.
I didn’t mention the onion rings.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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