What makes comfort food so comforting? What is it about crackling fried chicken legs and heavily-iced carrot cake that triggers that full feeing of well being? Are we all (as I suspect) just little chunky fat kids on the inside terrified of being picked last for gym? Do we just remember the smell of Grandma's kitchen and melt into a puddle of adolescent need and longing? Do we crave comfort food for deeper reasons than our bodies' basic need?
Goose Creek Diner is one of those places that dishes up feelings along with their food: emotions like snugness and repose and satisfaction. The prices are akin to Cracker Barrel, but the food is eight bajillion times fresher and better. Goose Creek has this fascinating eighties diner vibe; I expected sitcom characters to be lolling around those comically multi-colored booths and making inappropriate jokes with canned laughter and applause in the background. This place is caught at the sweet spot between a greasy spoon and a family joint.
The fried green tomatoes at Goose Creek Diner are the best I've ever had, and I speak as someone with a master's degree in fried foods. These fried green tomatoes maintain the sour green tomatoes tang and structure without soaking the whole thing in grease. The breading is really crisp without that unpleasant filmy aftertaste that hangs around after so many deep fried fripperies, and this salsa ranch sauce complements the little disks admirably. The fried chicken is dark meat (unless specially requested), juicy and hot beneath the crisp exterior. The meatloaf is slightly sweeter than most meatloaf, with a hint of Asian zing in the barbecue sauce dripping over the top. There is a rotating case of desserts in the front of the diner, and the pecan pie from said case was passably good; nothing to write home about. Much more satisfying were the loaded potato skins and macaroni with cheese, old standards done well.
There really isn't anything like the food your mom or your grandma used to make for you, the food you smelled as you walked in the door after a long day at school. Sometimes after a long day at the office, I really don't feel like firing up the deep fat fryer and thawing some chicken thighs--for days like that, Goose Creek Diner is perfection.
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