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The Food King: Out and About

From Oxford Town 217, October 9, 1997.

THE FOOD KING

"Your Mama is a Gyro."- graffiti spied by the FK at Kalo's Tavern

Well folks, it's been a busy couple of weeks, what with all this Faulkner statue/centennial/homecoming stuff, and the Food King's been on his horse nonstop. This of course means that there ain't no food in the 'fridge, and everyone at Food King International has been eatin' out like crazy, so tag along and find out what was good and what wasn't. We had lots of hits and a few surprising misses, so come along as we wander the food troughs of Oxpatch in search of our daily bread.

But first, what passes for a disclaimer. The Food King is about good food, not trying to make folks look bad. He likes all food, from the McMuffin to the Stromboli to the Fat Larry to the Shrimp and grits, it's all, as the kids say, good. He also makes allowances for the difference in quality between a $3.50 veggie plate at Ruth and Jimmie's and a fillet at the Grill, so if he fires a good-natured salvo your way, don't wig out, just check the kitchen and make sure your food's ok.

For example, we love Proud Larry's. On a good night, the Fat Larry is the best pizza in town, the catfish sandwich is usually wonderful, Molson Mondays with EJP, blah, blah, blah. If the food always seemed just a bit on the pricey side, the quality was always so good that we didn't really mind. But unfortunately, the last three times the Food King has ordered a pasta dish, he's been more than just slightly disappointed with the quality. The sauces seem to be getting blander, and the consistency has been most unappetizing as well. We don't know if the cat's away and the kitchen mice are just kicking it or what, but somebody needs to tighten up a little bit. We didn't send anything back, because when you've got one of Larry's legendary hard working fabulous babes taking care of you, well, you guys know how that goes…

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Speaking of mediocre lunches, we also stopped in at The Old Venice Pizza Kitchen last week. The Food King has had several good dinners there (the Shrimp Luciano, shrimp and broccoli fetuccine in garlic sauce has been consistently good) and he's very glad that they have seemed to correct their problem with the overly-cheesy, "Olive Garden-esque" muzak. Their lunch special is a great deal (two slabs and a salad for under $5) as long as the pizza is good, but The Food King has a problem with the alleged Italian sausage that was served on his slices. He knows it's hard to find good Italian sausage in this neck of the woods, but hey, if I wanted a breakfast biscuit, I'd go down to the Chevron.

And speaking of Chevron, if you find yourself in need of a GOOD, quick plate lunch, stop by McPhail's Chevron at Four Corners. The best value in town at $3.50, the vegetables are almost never overcooked, the hamburger steak kicks much booty, and if you're lucky enough to be there on a day when Miss Shirley makes her Milky Way pie, you should fling your foolish diet to the winds and scarf a piece. You'll be glad you did.

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The Food King and his Court love to go to Kalo's Tavern for gyros (I love mispronouncing that word just to see who's gonna correct me) and they never fail to please. Shrimp, crawdad, steak, or the regular lamb (my fave), the pita wraps are consistently excellent (except you have to beat the help for any extra tziziki sauce) and the service is usually prompt, too. But the FK had never tried one of those pita pizza's (it sounded too much like a Little Caesar's commercial with a lithp) until just the other day, and baby let me tell you, it's been my loss.

It was great. I had the Greek, with lots of Feta Cheese, roasted garlic, artichokes and grilled chicken substituted for olives (too much fat) and it was the grooviest thing I've ordered in town in several months. Readers by now are familiar with the Food King's generosity, and in his munificence he shared a bit of this most welcome surprise with his companions, and spent the rest of the meal valiantly beating them off with a fork and empty beer mug. (Don't worry, I won.) In the interest of fair and accurate journalism, I selflessly returned after only a few days and ordered another, just to make sure the first one wasn't a fluke. Happy to report it was just as good the second time around. Samples of the hamburger and the lasagna were also catalogued, much to the pleasure of the research squad. Those boys at Kalo's have stepped up the food lately, and it's been most excellent. Now, about that $3.50 for the only draft beer in the house…

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Ye olde Food King was lucky enough to be invited to the Yocona River Inn as part of a highly secret commando raid masquerading as a birthday party, and he's happy to report that the food was as good as ever out there. The Oyster/artichoke puff pastry appetizer proved so popular that fights almost broke out, (I let the girls win this time) and the cajun pasta was most righteous. (You know the food's good when grown women are soppin' the biscuit with the leftovers in public.) When they weren't busy stealing my food, my companions had the roasted chicken, the steak with oyster stuffing, and just about everything else on the menu, all of which passed inspection with flying colors. The Yocona River Inn is one of the only places in town where the Food King has never had a bad meal; he only wishes they still printed a partial menu in the paper so he could see what's up before making that drive. I think we'll have to try Yocona to Go soon…

Next week…

Oxford's yin and yang, Pizza Den (we promise) and the City Grocery.