Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Swanson's Banquet Dinner - CFS Homestead, TX

Not being a CFS snob, and with Mrs. CFS out of town for a few days, Tater Tot and I decided to try something new: Swanson’s frozen “Chicken Fried Beef Steak Meal" with "Country Style Gravy." You can probably predict how it ended.

Inspecting it initially, the entombed, frozen components in the plastic tray made for a very unappealing “eat with your eyes experience.”
After the instructed microwave time, we dug in. The breading was soggy as a sponge. There was a hint if meat flavor but otherwise very bland. The gravy didn’t even resemble gravy – it looked like a marshmallow puff type gravy that congealed around the meat. It came with two sides. The mashed potato was bland and looked like wet cotton candy. The corn, oddly, was fine - plump and sweet, not expected from a meal locked in a freezer for three months.

Although I usually encourage Tater Tot to eat more of his dinner, I wasn’t displeased that he didn’t want to continue. Fortunately, in the same trip to the grocery, we bought (and devoured) a medium sized watermelon.

I didn’t expect much and didn’t get much. We’ll stick to watermelon next time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Star Cafe - Crosby, TX

Chicken Fried Neighbor and I happened across Star Café by accident. Getting a bit lost one day east of Lake Houston, we stumbled upon this jem of a place. Betwixt fields of cows and more fields of cows, Star Café is a perfect roadhouse café.

The inside is chock full of old movie posters and pictures of movie stars from the 1930s and 1940s. The hardwood floors compliment the classic diner table tops. The menu was pretty big, along with breakfast items which looked great, and mostly included diner-type fare.

The CFS: Superb. A tender and juicy cube steak that was cooked perfectly.

(I promise to get a better picture next time.)

Breading: Southern style – thick and crispy. My first impression was that the breading was a bit salty, but this actually turned out to be a perfect complement to the creaminess of the gravy.

Gravy: A nice, white cream gravy. Nothing really special here but the consistency was great and the flavor was a great complement to the CFS.

Knife: Steak knife. The steak was tender enough to eat with a fork but I used the knife so I could eat more of the awesome CFS faster.

Sides: Choice of potato (mashed, fried or baked) and one additional side. I went with the mashed potato and fried okra. The mashed potatoes were great – lumpy, creamy and full of flavor. Like the breading on the CFS, it was a bit salty but, again complimented by the gravy, the relationship was perfect.

Cost: $11.50. A little on the high side but the quality was great and worth the price. Hell, I’m still full.

Service: Wonderful. Our waitress was chatty and efficient. Chicken Fried Neighbor asked how large the CFS was and her coy reply was “you’ll see” with a sly smile.

Music Selection: Oldies (Elvis, Buddy Holly, Chubby Checker). Check out some of their antique juke boxes.

Despite the out of the way location, it’s well worth a trip. You won’t be sorry. There’s also a “golf facility” in the compound of buildings, but I didn’t see what this meant. After that CFS, I needed a nap, not a round of golf, miniature or otherwise.

21522 FM 2100
Crosby, Texas 77532

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