Post #455 A Fun “New” Diner!

February 15, 2016 at 1:10 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #455 A Fun “New” Diner!

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a local eatery, but yesterday morning we went to one that tickled our funny bones in all the right places and made us decide we were going to go back to it all the time.  It’s a little diner, not more than a dozen tables and a short counter.  It’s got charm out the whazzoo and good food at reasonable prices.  It’s a combo made in paradise.

We collect diners.  We like their homespun charm and style.  When a diner is a “real” diner, it stands alone.  It’s unique in its décor and ambience.  Even though nearly every diner serves the same varied menu, each one does so with a character all its own.  We’ve eaten at places so far away from us that we had to plan the entire day to drive the many miles it takes to get there and back.  We’ve eaten at places that hosted celebrity chefs.  We’ve eaten at places whose décor was centered around a live alligator.  We’ve eaten at places in neighborhoods right around the corner.  They’re all good, and they all stand out for one thing:  personality.

This place was no different.  It’s a hidden jewel.

You see, Rt 50 runs from the top of the peninsula to the bottom and along the way, you’ll find small, out of the way gems if you pay attention.  It’s like a shorter reincarnation of the old Rt 66.  You can find junk shops, antique shops, old-style hardware stores, vegetable stands, farm markets, farm-to-table restaurants, tiny post offices, and tinier libraries.  And diners.  But you have to pay attention to find them.  Sometimes they’re right on the road.  Other times, they’re slightly off the beaten path.

Cindy’s Kitchen is one of those hidden gems, slightly off the beaten track.  In Spring, Summer, and Fall, it’s hard to see because all the plants are in bloom, obscuring line of sight.  In Winter, when all the leaves are down, and everything appears starkly, it stands out like a red beacon.

Cindys 01

It’s only a slight detour from the main road.  There’s a spur of a road.  It’s actually called a spur.  One end is residential and the other end houses a cemetery on one side and a budget car dealership on the other.  In the center of the spur is Cindy’s East Side Kitchen, and what a kitchen it is.  It apparently gets so busy that there’s parking on the opposite side of the small road it sits on.  It even boasts outside seating, although it was far too cold for that yesterday.

Partner/Spouse found it one day when we were driving to another town nearby for something and I was at the wheel.  He likes that because then he has time to look around, and he spotted it.  He’s been wanting to try it ever since.  We didn’t really have any idea how to get to it, but that’s always part of the adventure, right?

We walked in and it was about half full.  It had a heavy door outside, then a screen door inside.  An overhead bell tinkled as we pushed the door open, and I glance around and fell in love.  The soda fountain said Pepsi!  It wasn’t large, no more than 10-12 tables so we grabbed one and made ourselves comfortable.

Cindys 02

Despite its small size, it felt very roomy, not at all cramped like some restaurants I’ve been in.  And it was jam-packed full of knick-knacks.  Throughout our meal, we kept pointing at different ones and laughing.  My favorite I found as we were paying.  It was a small can with a crab on the front.  It sold “Crabby Assholes.”

There were two workers, both female, no idea which one was Cindy.  They were obviously business partners, but did I dare hope they were life partners, too?  Fingers crossed.  One was the sole waitress while the other was the lone cook.  Shortly after sitting down, the one appeared.

“What’ll you men have to drink?”

It’s a small thing, but one I find all over here on the Eastern Shore.  It’s a sense of community.  It’s a reaching out of one person to another with respect.  It’s an endearment that’s wholeheartedly meant honestly.  Since I’ve been here, I’ve been called “dear” “sweetie” “babe” “hon” and “sir” among a million other appellations and they’re all said with a disarming honesty and gentleness.  It’s meant.  They want to be your friend.  It’s small town.  It’s where I grew up.  And it was here in this restaurant in abundance.

We didn’t need a menu because it was all on a board over the counter.  We both went for our standard orders in a new diner.  Two eggs, hash browns/home fries, bacon/sausage, and toast.  I ordered my eggs sunny side up and Partner/Spouse had scrambled.  Home fries were part of the plate, and I had bacon while he had sausage.  We both love the pork products so we switch up and share so we can taste how a particular diner does them.  We can tell who orders locally and who buys from Walmart.

Cindy’s orders locally.  And we know the butcher.

While we waited for our orders to come up, we looked around.  The stuff on the walls was as interesting as our conversation.

Cindys 03

Varied and entertaining, I knew it was designed to keep tourists occupied during the wait.  I still liked it all.  Every inch of wall space was utilized, and even parts of the ceiling.  Amusing doesn’t begin to cover it.

All that went away when the food arrived.

It was basic, plentiful, and drop dead delicious.  To me, the most exquisite thing on the plate were the potatoes.  They were deceptively simple.  Cut to uniform size, and cooked to a perfect creamy deliciousness, but the first sear was done in cracked pepper in the perfect amount so the taters had a crunch from the sear, a bite from the salt, and the extra oomph from the pepper.  I ate every bite on my plate, which to anyone who’s watched me eat would be a surprise.

My eggs were cooked to perfection, too.  I play a little game with sunny side up eggs.  I have ever since I was a kid.  I use my fork to cut around the whites and leave the yolk by itself.  Then I lift the yolk and eat it with one bite.  No yolk on the plate to be wasted, all in my mouth to be savored.  If any yolk is on the plate, I lose.  Today I won.  And the yolk was cooked just right.

These women know what they’re doing.  And do it very well.

So!  If you’re ever in our neck of the woods, and you’re looking for an entertaining dining experience with basic food done elegantly, this is the place.  Just holler at me for directions, or look it up online.


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