I don’t mean to pick on any one location, but I had a big example of this today in the tiny community of Huntington, AR. I saw a sign for a place called, I kid you not (see it there in the photo?) Hugs and Biscuits. A place with such a name just had to have some semblance of good food, right?
And maybe it did. Maybe I was asking too much. But after turning off Highway 71 I saw a sign touting the place’s barbecue. “Hot Links! Ribs! Brisket!” it hollered at me, and I found myself salivating. I was really looking forward to finding another barbecue joint.
“I hear you have barbecue,” I told the lone woman behind the counter when I entered.
“So, Hugs and Biscuits. Where’d the name come from?”
“I don’t know,” she told me. I paid up. Drinks in hand, my photographer and I went and sat in one of the booths to take a look at my parcel. I still at that point had some hopes for what I had picked up. The place was short of staff. They don’t ‘cue on Sundays. Something.
And it… well, there were big hunks of beef in it. Maybe I had been wrong. Maybe I had taken the short-staffed-ness of the place to heart a little too soon. The orangish barbecue sauce had permeated the meat and part of the seedless bun. It had some sweet and paprika flavors to the scent. Photos were taken.
And then I tried it. And it was not bad. The meat was soft enough, there was a slight smoky tang to the whole thing and it wasn’t offensive.
And I swear, it came from Sam’s Club in a tub.
I quietly consumed the sandwich without further remark, and we slunk (is it slunk or slanked? Whatever the past tense of “slink” happens to be) out the door and down the road, where a far better repast was found (I’ll tell you about that one later). A belch or two reminded me of what I had put on the line for the sake of a review.
Now I tell you this because it’s what happened to me. I have a real thought about this. I bet the place didn’t have those ribs or brisket or hot links because it was Sunday, and as we all know in the South the Godliest, best barbecue comes from joints that observe the holy day. Well, for the most part, they do. And maybe that’s what’s in action here.
At least I hope that’s the case. Because heaven help me, that ‘cue on a bun coulda come from a high school cafeteria.
I just hate it when my expectations are raised by signage and such and find out that my expectations were for naught. Bet you’ve had the same sort of experience yourself at some point.