There was just no way that John and I could sit in the house all day yesterday. We had a long nap, but when we woke up, Shel's absence was just too obvious, and too fresh. So we went for one of our Sunday drives. We discussed places to eat, and John suggested a BBQ place we'd passed several times before (it was near an earlier house possibility).
I'll be honest -- I wanted to go because the place looks like one of those food trailers they have at carnivals, and I like corn dogs. There, I said it. I also like them with ketchup. I guess I'd never paid attention to the signs, because John kept referring to it as a BBQ. Anyway, it was always pretty busy when we passed.
We pulled in, parked, and decided to eat outside at one of the big picnic tables, then proceeded to the window to look at a menu. I knew right away that this was not your standard carnival fare, when we were handed full-color menus with mouth-watering pictures (which we made sure to bring home). When the proprietor, Sheena, found out that it was our first time, she led us around back to the grills (giant smokers) and showed us all the food that just waiting. Then she ran back to the kitchen for one of her Soul Rolls, donned some gloves (very clean establishment) and started cutting pieces off of things for us to try: smoked pork butt, red hot, beef soul roll.
(A Soul Roll is, essentially, a cross between an egg roll and a chimichanga. Chimichanga-size, it's a flour shell, stuffed with fresh cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, and something else (maybe parsley?), plus whatever meat you fancy, deep-fried in peanut oil. John hates cabbage and even he liked the sample he got.)
Oh, dear. This was pretty fabulous food. What to do, what to do?! Reminding ourselves that it wasn't a terrible drive, so we could come back (and therefore didn't have to order one of everything (although we wanted to)), we settled on our orders. I went with a shrimp Soul Roll and a side of Hush Puppies; John had a harder time deciding, and got a pulled pork sandwich combo and a Red Hot, taking half of each sandwich home for later. We both ordered lemonade.
- Lemonade: it was cold, tasted fresh and was the perfect accompaniment to the food. It only comes in one size, though, so next time I'll probably bring a bottle of water or something. Again, another thing John isn't terribly fond of, because mixes & fountain lemonade make him choke up a little, but he had no reaction to it at all, leading us to believe that it was home-made.
- Hush Puppies: The hush puppies were excellent and plentiful (I took several home to have as a snack later). I can't quite place the flavoring - they weren't traditional corn meal and onion, but they were fantastic.
- Soul Roll: Real treat. Big fresh helping of some veggies, with, in this case, some small shrimp (not tiny eggroll ones though). Because they're deep-fried, they do end up a little messy toward the end, but they're worth it.
I didn't notice that they had mini versions on the menu -- this would allow me to have one of these and the pulled pork sammich.
- Pulled Pork Sandwich: I tasted the pork butt when we got our samples (yum), but didn't try John's sandwich. However, he said that it was ideal: really nice sauce, but only just enough to accent the flavor of the perfectly-smoked pork (as opposed to mediocre pork swimming in sauce). I will probably try this next time. It comes with a layer of fresh coleslaw on it, so John, who doesn't like coleslaw, will have to order it without next time. As coleslaw goes (I had a nibble), it's also quite good.
- Red Hot: John says, "best red hot I ever had." I'm sure it's the smoking that makes it so, although I have no experience. I did get a taste of it right off the grill, and it was quite yummy.
- Fries: It's really hard to mess up fries, but sometimes, they can be so good they're memorable. Wow, seriously wow. Sheena sprinkles some kind of lemony seasoning over them the moment they come out of the fryer, and (not related) they seem to stay hot for a long time. I didn't regret getting Hush Puppies, but I was glad John was willing to trade!
Sheena Barnes BBQ Bones
The prices are actually quite reasonable, if you can resist ordering many things (Soul Rolls are $3.95 & the sandwich combos (including the fabulous fries) are $7.29). We learned that the trailer is their temporary location, while the permanent building next door is being finished. There is a vacant, kind of old-fashion gas station across the street that I'd love to buy and turn into a business. It's precisely in the center of no & where, but there is a lot of traffic passing regularly.
The only bummer is that they're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and I'm craving more of the fantastic food!
If you go, make sure to grab a stack of napkins and a fork, because there's so much food the buns/shells can't hold it all. Don't want it to go to waste!
There was another restaurant we've found that I've really wanted to write about (I even took pictures), because they have the best soup, but then we had a scary encounter with some sweet 'n sour chicken with cinnamon rice pilaf that kind of killed that whole idea. Still... really excellent soup (at least 3 kinds every night, on the soup bar). You just have to stick to the menu and avoid the specials.