Monday, May 08, 2006

Breaking Bread with Smokey


We're in Eutawville, SC, on yesterday's stormy Sunday and drawn up next to you-know-who. We figured that we were unlikely to get keyed here and if lightning was bold enough to hit a Highway Patrol car, then we were done for anyway.

Eutawville is famous for their Revolutionary War battlefield and, therefore, significant in South Carolina history. Recreational fishing is the current attraction with considerable lake access for boating as well. Rocks Pond campground is just a stone's throw from here and provides ample area for campers, recreational vehicles on long or short stays. Collectors of eclectic yard art will suffer envy at the hand of Rocks Pond's long term guests who display statuary from miniature lighthouses to ceramic youngsters with fishing rods in hand to windmills so small that miniature Don Quixotes are brought in for tilting matches. We hear that they are the tossed midgets from Myrtle Beach here in the off season.

Under darkened skies in the driving rain the " OPEN " neon of the Alpine drew us in as if an electromagnet had been turned toward our way. This was a reverse oasis phenomenon: finding a dry spot in a wet culinary wilderness. It was a good find. Watching the empty road through the sheeting rain upon the plate glass window was hypnotic. There was no sense of rush inside or out.

Absent from the " Guide Michelin " is the Alpine Restaurant, just about only full scale eatery open in Eutawville on this rainy Sunday afternoon. We consider " full scale " to mean a place offering food not ordered via an external squawk box, providing actual tables from which orders are taken, to which the food is brought. We consider plastic utensils to be part of the virtual world of dining and were happy that stainless goods were on the table

They served a very real and nicely rendered T-bone steak with great trimmings and a crisp salad absent of either trendy wilted greens or brown lettuce, but with blue cheese dressing which has been evicted from the fashionable tables. While the mashed potatoes seemed to be supplemented in some way, they contained none of the contaminants invented by tort seeking customers of fast food chains in the news.

The Alpine has a nice homey ambiance which is supplemented by a cheerful staff. The presence of the SC Highway Patrol was encouraging as well. Who's going to serve THEM bad food ! While we didn't get to share a table with Smokey, we did share a parking space. When someone hands us a piece of paper, we'd certainly prefer it be our bill from the waitress than from the gentleman who drives that car on the right, but each case they're usually pleasant and we've usually asked for it.


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