Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Peg House -- Never Don't Stop (a food review post)

Okay, sitting down to write this, the first thing I'm realizing is that I don't have any pictures of the place and, if you'd seen it, you'd understand why. It looks like pretty much dozens of other roadside... let's say "general" stores... scattered around the US. Shack-like buildings selling junk food, alcohol, souvenirs, and trinkets, uniquely situated at a distance where travelers need to stretch legs, get snacks, and go to the bathroom. Of course, they're filled with all sorts of things to attract the eyes of children, somewhat forcing you to spend money on junk that mostly goes into the trash once the vacation (or whatever) is over. If the junk even makes it home at all.

Not that I'm saying that The Peg House is that kind of store. I'm also not not saying that.

Of course, The Peg House is slightly different because it's actually a somewhat historic building in that it was put together with wooden pegs rather than nails, hence the name. Not that that makes it historic. My impression is that the building has been there a while, which may or may not be true; it's just my impression.

But you thought this was a food review, right?
Which is the point. If you were driving past this place without knowing what it really is, you would never be enticed to stop if you didn't have a little kid in the back seat threatening to water your seat covers. It looks like a general store, even once you walk inside. I mean, all of the kid traps, including special $5 and $10 grab bags placed right on the floor just inside the door, are right up at the front where you walk in. All of which is why my wife and I didn't stop there last year when we were driving up to Eureka; there's nothing special about it from the outside. Or the inside, for that matter.

But, this time, we already knew we were stopping there for burgers and that they are supposed to be some of the best burgers on the west coast. Even so, we were confused when we walked in. So confused that we walked back out and looked around outside to make sure we were at the right place. Going in a little farther, there was a menu over the counter, but it still wasn't clear where to order the food, since there was nowhere to cook anything in the store we were in. Yes, I asked, and we placed our orders. We were close enough to the right place for it to count.

Honestly, I was a little bit skeptical of everything at that point.

After placing our orders, burgers and cole slaw, because they don't have a deep fryer for fries. Yeah, that's what I said: They don't offer fries with their burgers because they don't have a way to cook them. Do you wonder why I was skeptical? And I'm not really a fan of cole slaw because, mostly, unless you make it yourself, cole slaw sucks.

Anyway, after placing our orders, we poked around in the store for a while, which was, actually, a moderate amount of fun. Kind of like treasure hunting because they had so much odd stuff in there. Not that the stuff in-and-of-itself was odd, but it was all rather -- and I hate this word -- random, so you couldn't tell what you were going to come across. But I digress from the food, which came without too much of a wait.

If you've been paying attention, you may have surmised that there's no interior seating. They do have a large patio area around the side-back set up with picnic tables. Of course, it was raining. They also have a small covered area with a couple of tables, so we were able to get out of what was then, fortunately, just a drizzle and sit down to eat our food.

Which brings us to the crux of this whole thing. As I've mentioned previously, we're always scouting burger joints (and I've done at least two burger review posts already), and Sunset magazine says The Peg House has the best burgers on the west coast. [Of course, Sunset magazine has never had burgers at my house but, then again, I also don't sell those burgers to the general public. Or any public.] That's a tall statement to live up to.

Now, I'm not going to say that these were the best burgers ever, or even the best burgers on the west coast, but they were very good. They're definitely in the category of burgers worth making a special stop for. I'm all in on the "never don't stop" catch phrase they have. But let me get to the real reason you should never don't stop: the cole slaw.

Remember how I said I'm not really much for cole slaw? Maybe that's because my idea of cole slaw was formed at a young age by what was then Kentucky Fried Chicken. Nasty stuff, still to this day. Or the day that was the last time I ate there, which was years ago. It's unusual to come across any cole slaw that I feel is worth eating. By worth eating, I mean it's fine. Fine enough to eat but still not great. However...

However, this was by far the best cole slaw I've ever had, which might not be saying a lot based on what I just said about cole slaw, so let me restate it: The cole slaw was awesome. Better than the burgers. I did already say that the burgers are good enough to warrant a special stop, right? Well, they are. And the cole slaw is even better. I was blown away. I mean, I just took a bite of it out of what amounts to politeness, and it was like a flavor explosion in my mouth. Man, now I want some of that cole slaw!

Fortunately, my kids are not into that kind of stuff. You basically have to force my son to try anything vegetable based that isn't a potato, and my daughter... Well, she's waffley. She did, at least, taste hers. Long story short, my wife and I scored extra cole slaw! So worth it! Seriously, if you're ever travelling up 101 and going through Leggett, stop for the burgers, but make sure you get the slaw!

Full disclosure: We did not stop on our way back south but not because we all didn't want to. It's just that we were somewhat recently stuffed on grilled cheese, but that's a review for another time.

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