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A couple of Virginian mini-chain meals

Harters | Oct 3, 201302:20 AM

We were on the road all day, heading back south on our way to Atlanta airport. It’s taken us three weeks of holidaying to reach Northern Virginia and we’ll take a couple of days to meander back. But you know what it’s like if you’re travelling. You’ve no idea where you’ll be when it’s lunchtime and you’re staying overnight near the Interstate, so will take pot luck for dinner. In the event, we didn’t do too bad.

Lunch found us in Troutville and we went into Country Cookin’ for no other reasons that we’d never heard of it and there were lots of cars outside.

It’s certainly bargain food and not at all bad for quality. The deal is you buy your main course, which will be served to you and everything else is included – salads, soups, vegetables, desserts – by way of help yourself buffet. Main courses were what I’d regard as diner type food – burgers, chicken, liver & onions, country fried steak. I went with the meatloaf which was a success – moist, slightly spiced and well seasoned and it came grilled, rather than baked, so you had an interesting charred texture. My partner had a burger which was also suitably decent. Of course, this isn’t high quality food but, for less than $9, we effectively had a bargain three course meal. I think the only surprise was to see quotations from the Bible on the menu. Not something that I’d see in my culture.

Evening found us in Wytheville and having dinner at Sagebrush Steakhouse – a small North Carolina chain which has a handful of branches in neighbouring states. Seemed popular with truck drivers. Now, truth be told, I don’t eat a lot of beef when I visit America. I find it rather a bland flavour but, sometimes, a steak is just what you want for dinner. In my case, that was a New York strip and it was OK. Similarly OK, was my partner’s prime rib. Freshly cooked vegetables come with them – broccoli in my case, mixed zucchini and squash across the table. Two perfectly acceptable plates of food.

So, for very little money, we’d had two decent meals and I’d happily eat at either mini-chain if ever in the area again.

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