MISS MENDON – AN OLD DINER LIVES AGAIN – Garry Armstrong

I know Marilyn has posted pictures of Miss Mendon, but I think (I hope) that I’ve gotten a slightly different “view” of the place.

The Entryway
Welcome!
Dinner!

In an area where there are few decent restaurants, Miss Mendon stands out as a good place to eat and the only place where you can get breakfast all day.

Behind the counter
Waiting to be seated

It was originally a Worcester dining car. A big one, because I’ve seen others and usually, that are smaller than Miss Mendon.

Miss Mendon began life as Miss Newport — Worcester Dining Car number #823. She has been repainted, re-tiled, given a bigger dining room and a modern kitchen. She’s had a long life and seen hard times, but despite everything, she has survived with grace and character.

Where the old diner meets the newer pavilion
Miss Mendon’s Pavillion
Three o’clock and time to pick up the car!

And today, I’m getting my new hearing equipment! More about that to come!

PICKLES: THE ONLY FOOD OUR DOGS WON’T EAT – Marilyn Armstrong

I love pickles, but the dogs don’t

Picking up on the theme of “placate” from Fandango’s FOWC, pickles are the only known food our dogs will not eat. To be fair, none of them are overly fond of plain old cucumbers, either … but pickles? They get them in their mouths, make a very strange face (for a dog) and drop them on the floor. They then stare at us with a look that screams: “What IS this stuff? What are you trying to do to us?”

I always point out that they were the ones who asked for it. I didn’t go into the fridge looking for pickles for them. I wanted one for me. I’m particularly fond of the big sour or half-sour dill pickles. I think they might actually eat the sweet ones, but I’m not nearly as fond of them and always go for the dills.

If we had more pickles in the house and fewer tasteless crunchy treats, the dogs would be slimmer and possibly I would be slimmer too. You can eat a huge number of pickles without putting on an ounce. It’s like eating a cucumber with super-powers.

This morning, my darling Garry and I are actually socializing, going for brunch with another couple. He’s an old Channel 7 colleague and she, like me, is the other part of the couple. Two stars and their less famous (but not unworthy) wives.

We’ll make a dynamic duo at the J & M Diner in Framingham!

PUT THE FORK DOWN AND BACK AWAY FROM THE TABLE …

We moved to the Valley from Boston. I have been assured that from a gourmet point of view, Boston isn’t one of the great cities. I would not know since I’m not a gourmet, but I do know the difference between a good meal, a well-prepared meal, and … well … the food they serve in most of the local restaurants.

Garry and I ate out a lot when we were courting. Less after we got married because that was exactly when Garry discovered he liked meatloaf and I discovered I preferred very polite wait staff. We compromised and although we didn’t go out quite as often as we had, we still went out on our days off, whenever they were.

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The thing about cities is you can find any kind of cuisine you want. Nothing is so obscure you can’t find a restaurant specializing in it. Hungarian? Vietnamese? Every kind of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and Italian from Florence to Sicily. Not to mention German, Brazilian, and English Pub. And so much more. If it isn’t world-class, it’s nonetheless really good. And there’s no place that does better with seafood of all kinds. Boston specializes in chowder (pronounced chow-dah, if you please).

We moved to the Valley. However idyllic the river and dams might be, the gastronomic scenery was — to put it kindly — disappointing. This is an area where garlic is an exotic spice and black pepper considered adventurous. Food — no matter what the supposed origin — is bland, usually overcooked and probably drowned in brown gravy. With a side of white bread.

Even the so-called Chinese restaurants include white bread with the take-out.

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We had moved from the land of Really Great Seafood to the Valley of tasteless glop. The only bright spot was (is) breakfast. Good coffee, eggs, and bacon with a side of pancakes are the pinnacle of haute cuisine.

Until Wanakura (in Milford) arrived, a Japanese restaurant that serves excellent Japanese cuisine. Over the years, word has spread, so it has become popular and rather pricey. Nonetheless, it remains our top destination for birthday and anniversary celebrations.

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Otherwise, may I strongly recommend to those visiting our beautiful Blackstone Valley who would like to avoid disappointment?  Don’t choose fancy restaurants. They will charge you more money for mediocre or outright bad food. Keep it simple. You can count on almost any restaurant to produce a pretty good burger and fries.

Pizza? This is not Brooklyn or even Queens. They do not grasp the concept of a crispy crust. It’s edible. Mostly. Some places deliver. We prefer the frozen pizza from the grocery store. If you want good Italian food, I’ll cook you something.

Enjoy a hearty breakfast at Mom’s in the middle of town, or any one of the little diner-type hole-in-the-wall breakfast places. The coffee is good and hot. As for dinner, check out the diner in Mendon. I don’t know how late it’s open, so you might want to call first. Otherwise, there’s an Asian fusion place in North Smithfield (RI) and the aforementioned Wanakura. Or hike on up to Worcester, or better yet, down to Providence.

What do I do when guests come calling?

I cook. Even my lesser efforts are better than almost all the local eateries.

DISAPPOINTMENT – DINING IN THE VALLEY IS NO GASTRONOMIC TRIUMPH

MISS MENDON

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Miss Mendon was born on the drawing board at the Worcester Dining Car Company in 1950 in Worcester, Massachusetts. After 64 years of traveling, she found a home in Mendon in the Blackstone Valley.

Miss Mendon began life as Miss Newport — Worcester Dining Car number #823. She has been repainted, re-tiled, given a bigger dining room and a modern kitchen. She’s had a long life and seen hard times, but despite everything, she has survived with grace and character.

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LUNCH AT MISS MENDON

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Miss Mendon was born on the drawing board at the Worcester Dining Car Company in 1950 in Worcester, Massachusetts. After 64 years of traveling, she found a home in Mendon in the Blackstone Valley.

Miss Mendon began life as Miss Newport — Worcester Dining Car number #823. She has been repainted, re-tiled, given a bigger dining room and a modern kitchen. She’s had a long life and seen hard times, but despite everything, she has survived with grace and character.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.