Category Archives: omelet

Greenbelt located in Boise, Idaho

Within a 10 minute Bike ride

I live a block off State Street in a little log cabin. I have come to refer to my noisy, congested and sometimes-violent neighbor as the little monster. The four-lane beast runs east and west connecting Boise, Eagle, Star and Middleton transforming these little towns into one big town all suckling off the State Street tit. The other day, Amy and I decided to explore our neighborhood breakfast options on State Street.

We started at The Lift and then quickly moved on to Eddie’s Diner. I will mention that the servers at both restaurants had great conversational skills and friendly smiles. From my observations, I concur that genuine smiles do not correlate with the quality of food. None of the servers came across with that used car salesperson disposition. The servers aren’t having conversations like,
“Hey Johnny, I’m gonna charge this guy $8.00 and feed him processed crap. Let’s see if he catches on that I just sold him canned beans and mushrooms.”
or
“Hey Johnny, my table just asked for maple syrup, so I gave them syrup that has no maple, only chemical flavoring. HA! HA! Cutting corners. Making money for the man.”

I believe servers can honestly sell their product with a smile because they have to assume the diners know they are ordering substandard food. For instance, at my place of employment, sometimes a customer will order a large hot chocolate with caramel syrup and extra whipped cream followed by a pointing pudgy parental finger at the rice crispy treat. The parent loudly declares so that the people in line can hear, “you’ve been such a good boy not complaining about taking your medication and passing your 4th grade standardized tests. You get the biggest and fattest treat.” The parent pats the kid on the head and thinks, “my child will never academically be left behind. Walking – now, that’s another story. My little whippersnapper must have an out of whack thyroid.”

At my job I assume the parents know the type of food they are buying puts their children at a greater risk for certain diseases and the purchase is simply motivated by the greater good of cheapness, oral fixations, and education. I happily hand over the congratulatory snack of diabetes. I can do this with a genuine smile and without my conscious bothering me because diabetes is a small price to pay if it’s the snack that motivates learning. I can deal with cracked heals and obesity but not stupidity. Big tobacco should lobby to have cigarettes used as a motivation for education. Once again here is my motto: I can deal with long-winded hacking and smelly breath but not stupidity.

Enough of this madness — no more wasting writing about the dysfunction of the food industry! I am going to take a positive approach and not take the typical lazy American approach of diddling time away; waiting for new legislation, a new president, a new religion, a new Dr. Phil or a new self help book to promote change in my life.

Within a 10-minute bike ride of our cabin, sandwiched roughly between Albertson’s and Wal-Mart is a beautiful world of omelet fine dining. For delicious omelet ingredients, there are three farms that have an abundance of vegetables and chicken eggs. The farms are City Gardens, Earthly Delights, and Peaceful Belly. In addition, Smokey Davis offers a selection of smoked meats and cheeses. Finally, for the perfect omelet setting there’s the Boise River that runs parallel to the little monster.

On my way to the Boise River, I stopped at Turner’s. This locally owned store offers a plethora of fishing gear next to a bar where a patron can get a shot of Old Crow Whiskey and a bottle PBR for $5. I figured if Turner’s did not sell some sort of conventional fuel, I could by some Vodka to burn.

To turn eggs into omelets, thanks to Back Bone Media and Tracy Wilson, I had a Brunton Vapor AF All Fuel Expedition Stove. The biggest selling point about the Vapor AF is that it can burn basically any type of fuel including butane, bio diesel and jet fuel. As a traveler, I enjoy the peace of mind knowing wherever I go there will be fuel that is compatible with the stove. Once I had figured out how to operate the stove, the flame became as easy to control as a conventional kitchen stove.

So here it is – one of the finest omelets I have ever eaten – a spinach, Idaho trout, and havarti dill cheese omelet made along the Boise River within minutes of the little monster and its big box stores.

The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa located in Riverside, California

A Couple, a President, and Me

Conversing in their kitchen while making omelets, a couple in Redlands, California agree their current church is an unsuitable place to worship God. Some people go to church to express their style in designer clothes, fancy cars, and pockets full of the latest electronic gadgets. The couple has style but not in the typical consumer sense. They decide to approach the pastor about the matter.

They say, “Pastor, do you mind if we eat omelets while you preach? We would really like to praise the Lord with our omelet style and show off how blessed we our with fresh eggs and imported fancy cheeses from Europe.”

The pastor did not want anything to do with these omelet Christians. He remembers the story about his great-grandfather, Pastor Harold, who caved in to the automobile Christians who wanted to come to church with their cars. Soon the automobile Christians outnumbered the horse, foot, and trolley Christians. In fact, as space issues arose, the automobile Christians voted to stop converting the heathens, building larger parking lots instead of a larger church.

To the atheist, this might seem like an odd, nonsensical start to an omelet review. However, one of the key components to Christ worship is the place of worship. A person who worships Christ without a proper place to kneel is like a duck without water. It was this integral part of worship that led the couple to the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.

The story of the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa begins in 1876. The Inn was primarily a hotel and spa until 1910 when the St. Cecilia Chapel and catacombs were built. Today the Mission Inn consists of a swanky chapel and four restaurants that combine the freshest and finest ingredients to make anyone’s dinning experience memorable.

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The Mission Inn boasts visits by eight U.S. presidents. Of these, William Howard Taft was by far the largest. When Amy and I sat in his chair, we felt like little babies sitting in the backseat of a suburban. The only spatial relationship I have to Taft is Taft Street in Boise, Idaho. His street isn’t any larger then the two-lane Jefferson or Adams. To be true to its name, Taft Street really needs to be a six-lane street with a wide turning lane in the middle.

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The last presidential portrait hanging on the wall is George W. Bush. I don’t know how much George W. Bush cares about fresh ingredients. He never mentions his love of organic local fresh vegetables only his dislike of terrorists because they want to eat Americans. If he did value fresh food, I’m sure he would turn part of the White House lawn into a vegetable garden and would declare war on global warming. His first stance would be to proclaim that all chairs or boards used in water board torture be made of 100% recycled material. To conserve water, his torture victims would be choked on gray water or out of date milk. The water or milk coughed up from the torture victims lungs will be used to hydrate the office plants. To ease Americans’ minds about the new torture technique, Bush would call the treatment, “Watering the Office Plants.”

My personal view of the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa: The restaurant offers a fantastic omelet experience! I would like to first mention that I worked at an establishment whose chef threw daily temper tantrums behind the swinging kitchen door. I’m now a fan of the open kitchen.

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As you can see from the photo, the Inn takes the open kitchen to a fun level. A guest walks up to the chef, decides what she’d like on her omelet, and watches the chef go to work. Not only does the guest have the pleasure of seeing the fresh omelet ingredients but also gets to watch skillfully quick hands and enjoy the chef’s witty banter. While eating the omelet, roaming musicians will stop and grace your omelet eating with beautiful music. The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa gets four stars based on a delicious omelet, live music, and polite chefs.

Special Thanks to Diane Ronayne of the Idaho Statesman

Thank you, Diane Ronayne! Sunday, January 13 the Idaho Statesman published the following article that she wrote about Earthworm Envy.diane.jpg

Chef Lou’s at 8th Street located in Boise, Idaho

Breaking Habits

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Saturday morning, I call Chef Lou’s at 8th Street to find they serve breakfast all day. I like this because time and sleepiness are usually the biggest enemies of omelet eating. I go back to bed and sleep in peace.

My first Chef Lou experience was at the impressionable age of 12. I rode in the back of my parents’ vehicle to the Western Idaho Fair. Between the goats, amusement rides, and hordes of people, I tasted my first Chef Lou meal–an ice cream potato. As a kid, the best way to celebrate the ending to a great Idaho summer was a plate of ice cream styled with cinnamon and whipped cream to look deceitfully like Idaho’s famous tuber.

Now I celebrate the end of summer with a leisurely bike ride down the Greenbelt from Garden City. The beginning of fall is one of the best times to cruise the Greenbelt: the aspens are changing color, the water levels in the Boise River have dropped to expose riverbanks, and there is less traffic to clog the narrow paved trail. My ride takes me through the Anne Frank Memorial and past the Library! to historic 8th Street.

Something else you should know about Chef Lou: besides being the proud parent of the Idaho ice cream potato, Chef Lou runs the popular Westside Drive-in, voted Boise’s Best Drive-in for the past eight years. As you know, many successful drive-in restaurant owners tend to a pattern of clogging the roadways with more drive-ins or locating smaller versions of their restaurants in truck stops or airports. Chef Lou has broken this trend by opening Chef Lou’s at 8th Street, which is not another Westside Drive-in but a one-of-a-kind restaurant located in a pedestrian friendly area of downtown Boise.

Chef Lou’s resides in one of the old brick buildings on 8th Street. We settle into a comfy booth, and the host brings out a carafe of freshly brewed coffee. Footballs fly across three television screens placed in a feng shui way throughout the restaurant so that not a single diner will miss out on the televised action.

If you are trying to break a Saturday football habit of not showering, drinking cheap beer, eating cardboard pizza and taking long trips to the bathroom with your fantasy football magazine, then Chef Lou’s might be a needed change. A person can watch his or her favorite team while enjoying an omelet and frothy cappuccino.

The menu does not offer a predestined omelet selection. The omelets at Chef Lou’s are similar to fantasy football. I agree with the football fan who wants all his or her favorite players on one team. I like my omelet veggies and cheeses to not be limited by the Denver omelet team or the meat eaters omelet team. Chef Lou lets the omelet connoisseur create his or her fantasy omelet with a variety of different cheeses, meats, and veggies. I overheard one football fan say, “My first football fantasy was to be the player with the ball and have all those large men chase me and then pile up on me. Now my football fantasy is to have all my favorite football men wrapped up in an omelet for me to eat.”

Besides the bright televisions inside Chef Lou’s, the brick walls boast black and white photos of an older Boise. The pictures leave the omelet eater and football fan with a sense that Chef Lou’s will be a Boise establishment for generations to come.
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Brandon Follett Performs Dec 7

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8PM on Dec 7
Experience S.E. Asia through an American palate. Short stories, poetry, film, and music by Brandon Follett.

With musical guest, How’s Your Family?

Flying M Coffee Garage
1314 Second St.
Nampa, ID
(208) 467-5533

Cricket Cafe located in Portland, Oregon

Jesus tastes mmmm good
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At the Cricket Café in Portland, Oregon, I have to keep pulling myself upright. The slick booth and gravity keep dragging me to the floor. I’m suffering from the indulgence of a night out on the town. The hangover has rendered me almost speechless, and I can only stare at my friend, Eric, across the table.

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The only thought my mind is willing to contemplate: ‘What the hell was I doing last night?’ I’m too old to be living this lifestyle. My throat is sore, nasal passages burn, head hurts, and stomach feels queasy. The omelet is good but bed sounds better. I should be feeling upbeat and happy about trying fake sausage in my omelet for the first time.

I am not a god-fearing individual, but an odd thing takes place at the Cricket Café that many Christians claim can happen in moments like these. I hear the door open and look up to see an angel. The woman does not have large angel wings but large breasts and a t-shirt that reads “Jesus.”

I never had faith in the divine, but the way I’m feeling I’m willing to take a chance on the idea that Jesus might use angel breasts and silkscreen to speak to me. I decide to open my heart and listen for Jesus’s soft voice. This is what I hear:
“Brandon, I want you to become a disciple of consumer Jesus. Everything you purchase must be in my name. This includes everything from automobiles to plastic toys and ashtrays.”

All of a sudden, I see a flash of light and these images.

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I feel like the Apostle Paul thrown off his horse.
“Jesus, I will give my life to your ministry of consumerism. Lord, can I do more than just max out my credit card in your name?”

Jesus appears in a business suit. “Yes, son, you can help me with my specialty food line. I need a product as popular as cheap fast food hamburgers and tastes as good as bacon. I want you to promote my new line of food on Earthworm Envy. Here’s my idea based loosely around that fake sausage in your omelet. You eat a fake pig. Why not eat a fake Jesus?”

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He opens his Last Supper lunch box and pulls out some drawings. One drawing shows a stick figure cutting Jesus open with a fork and knife. Another shows Jesus’s open chest cavity with little lambs inside wearing dollar sign necklaces. In the last drawing, a stick figure has a little lamb on his fork and says, “Jesus tastes like lamb.”

Jesus proudly proclaims, “I was the first to promote fake meat. Do you remember my words at the Last Supper? Take this bread and eat it, for this is my flesh.” He straightens his tie, raises his arms and continues, “Consumer Jesus disciples and heathens need Jesus fake meat. There’s a lot of evil and money to be made in this world, and if I can’t be in the sinners’ hearts, then at least I’ll be in their bellies! Can I get an Amen?”

Poof! Jesus disappears and my body quivers. I feel rejuvenated and bounce up and down in the booth like a young 22-year-old with a hangover drinking Red Bull. I eat the rest of my omelet with a glow and start muttering, “Amen, Jesus is my CEO and he tastes mmmm good!”

Palmer Cafe located in Stanley, Idaho

Hallelujah, Processed Food

photo taken at Sawtooth Fish Hatchery

While pedaling to lower Stanley, Idaho for an omelet, my eyes keep following the Salmon River. Right now, a majority of the Fish and Game salmon are returning to the fish hatchery. This is a remarkable feat because they float all the way to the big wide Pacific Ocean, and then for some reason, they decide to swim all the way back to where they are born in these large cement bathtubs.

A person can identify a fish hatchery salmon from a native salmon because the Fish and Game make sure to exclude the adipose fin from their salmon.

Cruising past the fish hatchery with my eyes still focused on the river, I see a bald eagle sitting on a post. We both happen to be looking at the same stretch of river. I feel bad for it because this week the Fish and Game have stopped stocking the Salmon River with rainbow trout for the season. I suppose it’s time for the eagle to fly south where it’s warm and where the rivers are stocked year round. Taking a closer look at the bald eagle, I notice it has all of its body parts. I don’t think the eagle was hatched by the Fish and Game. I yell at the bird, “Shoo, shoo, fly to Alabama where it’s warm.”

Our eyes meet, but I don’t think the eagle understands. It remains sitting on the post. I suppose we are too different to connect. The eagle has mom and dad eagle parents; I have mom and dad human parents. With so many animals and fish bred in captivity, I bet test-tube babies can commune more naturally with nature, both being conceived in a similar sort of scientifically engineered environment. If I were a test-tube baby, I would want my animal spirit to be a Fish and Game hatched salmon. Like the fish hatchery salmon, when I have lived a full life, I will feel a tug on my heart and crawl to a rest home to die. Like the farm raised salmon in the grocery store, when I die, someone will come along and add some pink to my cheeks so that I may look presentable at my funeral.


I arrive at lower Stanley in time for breakfast. Choosing a restaurant in lower Stanley is easy because it does not have sprawl like upper Stanley. The town has to compete for space with Highway 75 in the middle, mountains to one side, and the Salmon River to the other.

The restaurant I choose, Palmer’s Café, is adjacent to a whitewater rafting company. I notice the person next to me eating pancakes off of disposable breakfast ware. His snow-white fork and knife do not have a smudge. His clean silverware a reminder that my hands are dirty. I get up to use the bathroom.

The men’s room is shared between the café and raft company. On the wall there are pictures of rafters in unsafe floating situations.

I think it odd that a raft company would voluntarily post pictures of possible drownings. The only other time I saw this odd advertising was in Thailand. The cigarette companies have to place a picture showing the consequences of smoking. So while lighting up, you get to admire tubes coming out of someone’s mouth and nose. The person looks like they could have lung cancer. I don’t think this form of advertising has slowed down the smokers or rafters. Teenagers and young adults love to flirt with death in the form of smoke and water filling the lungs.

The bathroom looks as if it hasn’t been cleaned for a while. The smudge of poop on the toilet leads me to this conclusion. To add to my horror, the soap dispenser does not have any soap.

The dirty bathroom reminds me of Anthony Bourdain’s cleanliness comments in Kitchen Confidential:
“I won’t eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms. This isn’t a hard call. They let you see the bathrooms. If the restaurant can’t be bothered to replace the puck in the urinal or keep the toilets and floors clean, then just imagine what their refrigeration and work spaces look like. Bathrooms are relatively easy to clean. Kitchens are not. In fact, if you see the chef sitting unshaven at the bar, with a dirty apron on, one finger halfway up his nose, you can assume he’s not handling your food any better behind closed doors. Your waiter looks like he just woke up under a bridge? If management allows him to wander out on the floor looking like that, God knows what they’re doing to your shrimp!”

Despite agreeing with Mr. Bourdain that poop on the toilet seat should raise a red flag, I have already ordered my food and I’m hungry enough to risk an afternoon of being sick. Don’t get me wrong, thoughts of dirty fingers touching my omelet scare me. I calm myself by visualizing latex-gloved fingers cracking eggs, American cheese protected by plastic wrap, beans spooned out of a freshly opened can, and salsa squeezed out of a tube. I can’t believe I’m saying out loud, “Thank god for processed food!”

Here comes my omelet on a paper plate. Oh, fuck. It looks fresh.

Somewhere in Cambodia (short film)

I’m eating a Cambodian-style fried egg omelet when I hear an oink-oink…


click photo to watch short film

Drawn into the Egg-Centric Vortex (guest omelet review)

by John Alonge, proprietor of The San Diego Wine and Culinary Center

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On most days, the rustic-but-comfortable dining room at the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch is a pretty lively place at breakfast time. There’s a fire burning in the oversized 1930s fireplace and a big buffet spread of coffee, juice, cereal, bread, muffins and other delights. At every table, animated conversations can be heard. Ranch guests, bent over steaming platters of eggs, bacon and hash browns, wax on rhapsodically about their plans for the day. Some will hike to distant alpine lakes high in the Sawtooth mountains. Others will take a fly fishing lesson. A few will raft or kayak some portion of the Salmon River. Everyone has some energetic plan for the day and wants to tell their tablemates what they’ll be doing before dinner.

So, on this particular day in July, when a hush fell over the dining room shortly after 8 AM, I looked up from my banana pancakes quizzically, wondering what had happened. Glancing to my left, I saw Brandon (one of the Ranch staff members) spinning around a table snapping photos. Paige, one of the other Ranch guests, was sitting squarely before a plate which cradled an egg creation of some sort swathed in a rich overcoat of red salsa and flanked by several quarter-folded tortillas and a bunch of plump, purple grapes. I wondered what all the fuss was about.

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I jumped up from my seat to investigate. “What’s going on, Brandon?” I asked.

“Look at it!” he exclaimed with tantamount enthusiasm. “It’s an all yolk omelet!”

I peered down into Paige’s plate. Sure enough, her omelet exhibited a rich, deep golden hue of an intensity far beyond that of the ordinary egg scramble. I gazed upon it with rapture. I knew instantly that this was one of those moments of extraordinary significance that life reserves for us on very rare occasions. The extreme importance of the moment was just beginning to sink in.

Brandon continued to dance in circles around the table like a dingledodie, snapping photos at a frenetic pace. More and more people gathered to see what all the commotion was about. Soon, the focus of everyone in the dining room was the golden mass on Paige’s plate. Sandra, the General Manager, walked in and was instantly drawn irremediably into the egg-centric vortex. The fragile silence reigned like an ephemeral ice crystal on an aspen branch.

At last, after an anxious eternity, Paige picked up her fork and planted it in the preternatural pile of egg. Slowly, like a glacier advancing down a mountain couloir, she lifted the first all-yolk forkful to her mouth and engulfed it. Someone behind me gasped with emotion.

Immediately, I had a vision of tiny alevins, post-embryonic salmon rising from the gravel of the riverbed, a yolk sack attached to their tiny bodies for sustenance. Like some primeval ritual, the forkful of all yolk omelet being consumed by Paige joined the rich, protein-laced protuberance on the underbelly of the fledgling fish in a paroxysm of primitive life force. All the evolution of every species on the planet was suddenly nourished by that one single bite.

For that one, perfect instant, the future of the human race was assured.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

John Alongé, proprietor of San Diego Wine & Culinary Center, known as The San Diego Wine Heretic, personally presents a variety of classes, tastings and seminars, demystifying the sometimes arcane world of wine and entertaining groups of all sizes. He is a much sought after speaker for corporate and private groups all over the country.

Stanley Baking CO. & Cafe located in Stanley, Idaho

Eating, Reading, and Drinking in Stanley, Idaho
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The self-serve water dispenser is the first thing I notice at the Stanley Baking CO. & Cafe. Having just cycled nine miles on Highway 75 from Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, the free water is a welcome sight. The restaurant, like all of Stanley, Idaho, does not have a bike rack. However, I’m not concerned about my bike being stolen. Maybe it’s the Tibetan prayer flags flapping in the breeze beside the Bakery and subduing my anxiety. Or it’s the looming Sawtooth Mountains that are always watching and keep the bike thieves at bay.

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The inside of the restaurant does not have the usual dead animal motif. In fact, I couldn’t find any fur or scales on the wall. The only thing dying on the wall are pictures of snowy Sawtooth Mountains and an aging Dali Lama. The Sawtooths in the pictures are covered in old winter snow that hangs on throughout the summer. Now summer snow peaks are as rare as the returning salmon. Like the rivers that need the Fish and Game fish hatcheries to help maintain a semblance of a healthy stream, the mountains will need the Forest Service to haul up snow making equipment to keep the peaks looking majestic.

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While waiting for my omelet, I notice the aprons strung across the kitchen. The aprons remind me of the recent MaryJanesFarm magazine and the words of Jeannie Pierce: “Seeing a woman wear an apron lets you know she loves to create. Her creations may be pies or paintings or pottery, but she also produces an aura of comfort, ease, and curiosity. You just naturally think, ‘What is she making?” The cooks in the kitchen created a delicious omelet made with feta, cheddar, and tomato.

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After breakfast, I follow the dirt road from the Stanley Baking Co. & Cafe towards the mountains. The road becomes steep and bumpy leading up to a plateau, and the view from the top is worth the leg burn. The view is so amazing that some sort of human structure had to be built. Instead of a large house, a meditation chapel was erected, open to weekly church services and private special events. Next to the chapel, there’s a park. I choose the swing set over the chapel. I’d like to meet god swinging through the air, pretending that I’m a teenage sparrow rather than listening to a man dressed as a politician speaking god’s will.

Riding down the hill from the park, I pick up speed quickly. In a blink, I might cruise through the town of Stanley and end up back on Highway 75. I dash madly down the hill past the Bakery, then apply the brakes and turn left at the stop sign because the library is a great place to hang out.

The library keeps unusual hours. Luckily, today the library is open with two chairs unoccupied. With the library being so small, they wisely chose to fill the space with books instead of couches or large sofa type chairs. Sometimes when I’m at other libraries and the book I want is not available, I think, “Maybe if there weren’t so many chairs there would be room for the book I asked about!” The library has a small amount of magazines, but once again the librarian was thinking about space. Instead of filling up precious room with People or Vogue, there are copies of magazines like the National Geographic and Smithsonian. I pick up a magazine and read about people celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. I decide it’s time for an afternoon cocktail.

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There are two bars close to the library: The Rod-N-Gun Saloon and The Kasino Club. The Kasino Club has open mic on Thursday nights and it happens to be smoke free. The Rod-N-Gun Saloon is not smoke free but opens at 2PM. I’ve been a fan of the Rod-N-Gun for a number of years. When I got my first poem published, Johnny Ray (the owner) let me recite it on stage. Back then, along with two of Stanley’s former mayors, Johnny Ray used to be in a cover band that played on the weekends.

At 2PM nothing’s happening. Johnny Ray and his wife are trying to talk me into buying tickets to see the comedian, Jason Resler, who’s appeared on Comedy Central and will be appearing at the Rod-N-Gun tonight. I’d go to the show, but I don’t feel comfortable riding my bicycle at night while sharing the highway with deer and drunk drivers.

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I order a cranvodka and listen to Jane’s Addiction on the jukebox. Part of the ceiling is covered in women’s panties. I can’t find a good quote about panties in MaryJanesFarm magazine. If panties had a pocket on the front, they could act as aprons.

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Here’s another quote by Jeannie Pierce from MaryJanesFarm magazine, edited to fit the context of the panties at the Rod-N-Gun Saloon: “With my panties, I carry snap peas, peppers, and cherry tomatoes after picking. I wipe my hands while canning and baking. I store tissues for my granddaughter’s occasional runny nose. My panties even give me a place to park my thimble and quilting thread. They make me feel like being busy with my hands.” I get my hands busy by taking the straw out of my cranvodka. Now I have to bring my drink to my lips. My afternoon cocktail gets me through $1 worth of Jane’s Addiction songs. I decide it’s time to go because trying to focus on riding between the white line and gravel edge of the road for nine miles can be a challenge sober much less buzzed.

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