Corona is too Classy For Me

Neal Gee
February 20, 2015

In this second installment of Nealís Meals, I answer the question: What does a buffet look like that is directly across the street from a Trauma center? The answer: Old Country Buffet, aka Ole Cuntyís Barf-ay.
Readers may remember my last foray into a buffet. It was a field trip of sorts to the Golden Corral in Elkton MD with my good friend Brett. What distinguished this eatery from, say a Le Bec-Fin, was the fact that the restaurant was literally located in a truck stop gas station. Michelin star judges, please look elsewhere. The natural follow up to that review would be its competitor (McDowellís to its McDonaldís): the Old Country Buffet. Now had you simply transplanted that restaurant from a gas station to a parking lot opposite a Home Depot, TJ Maxx, and Best Buy, and placed it across the street from a Hospital, well, there you have it. In fact, I would describe the clientele as post-op gastric-bypass patients who feel theyíve been living to conservative a food life-style.

So Iím sitting here one hour after dining, in a world of pain like CM Punk after he was clearly concussed during his last match at the Royal Rumble. As I usually do in times like these, I question life choices that led me astray. I also feel like Iím just sitting here writing this review waiting to soil myself. But, Iím sure I wouldnít be the first patron of Old Country to do that (in or out of the restaurant!). Anyhow, with the overall vibe of the restaurant and the stations of food, I was simply determined to sample as many food items as possible and get the hell outta there before puking or acquiring Hepatitis A. Therefore what I present to you, the reader, is an itemized list of items consumed with a brief review of each one, for your own consideration before dining on the same.

Plate #1 (aka south of the border)

Chicken burrito: I appreciated the DIY nature of this meal. I pulled a soggy flour tortilla out of a Rubbermaid container, slathered on some beans, rice, and what I would describe as diaper-deposited chicken, and rolled it up like a Seinfeld style Cuban cigar. It honestly wasnít gross.
Jalapeno cornbread: But this was. Not that the cornbread wasnít tasty Ė Iíve had Jiffy cornbread my whole life. But Iíll be damned if I know what happened to the jalapenos in the cooking process.
Bowl of chili: So if you call condensed tomato soup with horse meat chili, I guess this qualifies. The amount of MSG and salt made this taste as good as the worst chili Iíve ever had.

Plate #2 (aka south of the US)

Chicken fried steak: I saw Brett grab this one first and it looked pretty good. I mean, who doesnít love deep fried steak (except the judges on Top Chef a few seasons back). It was pretty good overall, my award winner of the day, and probably the reason Brett had four servings of it and is now pooing out the matinee show.
Roast chicken: Thereís not much you can do with Boston Market style chicken, except maybe burn it then serve it at the Old Country Buffet.

Mashed potatoes: Ah, instant potatoes. Yet somehow there were still lumps in them. I donít want to know.
Corn: Takes me back to my days of eating cafeteria food in middle school. Cooked in so much butter, that the corn takes on this radioactive glow that looks like it came from Yucca Flats in the 1950s. I enjoyed looking at it going in, and Iím sure Iíll enjoy seeing it on the way out, still glowing.

Plate #3 (aka the blue plate special)

Chicken pot pie: Our waitress ďAnnieĒ recommended this as the plat du jour, the blue plate special. Ok, Iíll bite; I mean itís not costing me anything more than my dignity. It was presented kind of nice, in its own little ceramic cup, like a single serving should be. But when I put the plate back down on our table, the top literally popped right off (in one whole piece!). This is one of those instances where I shudder to think how the sausage is made or worse yet, what the kitchen looks like making said sausage.

Plate #4 (aka plate #4)

Kielbasa and sauerkraut: My wildcard pick. Quite honestly completely out of place on this buffet, yet oddly taste-wise it fit right in. Burnt sausage on burn cabbage. Chalk it up as a win-win.
Waffle fries: I donít think I made a big of stink on this one as I should at the time. I love a good waffle fry. Hey, I even like matzoh. But what do you get when you cross waffle fries with matzoh? Something even Moses wouldnít eat after 40 years in the desert.

Broccoli: This was probably the only thing that 1) wasn’t burnt, and 2) tasted like it should. Clearly was the shot of medicine I needed to keep going.

Beef stew on rice: I donít have high beef stew standards. I think Stouffers makes a pretty mean one. Regardless of how this is cooked or the ingredients contained therein it pretty much all tastes the same (tastes like brown). Happily this was no exception. But at this point my taste buds were too burnt out to know any different.

Dessert plate #1 (aka when it really gets sad)

Sorbet/ice cream: This was a welcome palette cleanser, if only suffering from a bit of freezer burn. The saddest part of this course was the gentleman in front of me. As soon as he pulled the handle on the soft serve machine to dispense, it bubble and erupted ice cream all over his shirt. Unfortunately, it didnít matter. It really didnít.

Molten chocolate cake: Chocolate pudding does not count as a substitute for chocolate sauce. ĎNuff said.
Carrot cake: Why was this crunchy? Seriously, why? Oh and also Brett made an astute observation that carrot cake is really something you never order elsewhere. I canít recall ever ordering carrot cake over something else. I think thereís a reason why.

Dessert plate #2 (aka the silver lining)

Coconut cream pie: The dessert winner of the day. Had coconut, had cream, had pie crust. In otherwise tasty conclusion to a diarrhea-inducing meal.

Hot tea: I didnít pay for a beverage, but theyíd only be doing me a favor by throwing me out at this point.

Aperitif

5 tums: Iím just trying to stave off pooping myself till I get home and can be a little more comfortable in my environment.

In conclusion, you may ask why I would go to a restaurant only to be disappointed and whine about it in an article. If you have to ask, youíll never know. To quote a fellow diner: ďCorona is too classy for meĒ.

neal.gee@brutalhorse.com
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