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Shut Up....It Works! [CBD} | Main | Early Morning Thread 11/23/14: Something Borrowed, Something Blue edition [krakatoa]
November 22, 2014

Overnight Open Thread, 11-22-2014 -- My Hometown Edition

Hello there, fellow Morons. It's been a while since our paths crossed. Once again, your regular contributor to this space has drummed up some cockamamie excuse to shirk his duties and left the heavy lifting to the resident RINO so he can gallivant with drunkards and whores. But, that's OK. It's Saturday night. And, if I weren't doing this, I'd just be sitting around the house wishing I could be out gallivanting with drunkards and whores.

So, knowing I had to come up with something to fill this space in his absence, I decided to get out and do something that could plausibly be described as productive. As anyone who knows me will readily attest, that's a big breakthrough for me when it comes to my typical weekend activities. You see, I'm an irredeemable layabout by nature. Today, though, I thought I'd get out and take a few photos by way of introduction to the little corner of the world I inhabit.

As some of you may know, I live in the far reaches of western Kentucky, not far from the confluence of the Mississippi and the Ohio River. It's a largely rural area populated by mostly friendly folk, albeit sparsely -- the sort of place where people wave or raise an acknowledging finger as you pass them while driving down the road. And when those people speak of going to "town", they're talking about Paducah.

You may not have heard of this bustling metropolis of 25,000 (give or take) or know how to pronounce it (puh-DOO-kuh) -- and that's just fine. The people of Paducah are perfectly content with their anonymity. In fact, the biggest annual event that draws attention from far-flung corners of the earth -- the annual American Quilters Society convention -- strikes fear and loathing in the hearts of the local population. It seems the town will never quite come to terms with the yearly onslaught of marauding, blue-haired, wrong-way drivers clogging the local highways and byways. But, once that week passes and people settle back into their normal routines, they luxuriate in the relative bliss of obscurity.

Of course, that doesn't mean Paducahans are unwelcoming of visitors. Quite the contrary, in fact. They're actually quite friendly to those who hail from the hinterlands, provided they don't arrive in throngs. And, if you should find yourself traveling through the area on I-24, feel free to stop in for a bit and have a bite to eat. While it may not be the go-to city for five-star dining, for a town its size, Paducah is overflowing with culinary options. But, if you're looking for a memorable culinary experience, don't limit yourself to the chain restaurants and franchises that line the main thoroughfares just off the interstate. You'd be cheating yourself badly.

Every part of the country thinks it has a lock on the "Best Burger Anywhere" title. But, unless that part of the country includes Paducah, Kentucky -- well, they're wrong. Because, you see, that title goes to Just Hamburgers. I've had In-N-Out. I've had Five Guys. And, while I admittedly have yet to try a Whataburger, I don't need to. I've had Just Hamburgers, and they can't be beat. Below, you'll see the Buffalo Burger. Normally it would be adorned with bleu cheese crumbles, but they'd run out of it today, so I substituted it with gouda. It was so good that when I finished it, I felt compelled to compromise my virtue.

Not only are their burgers the best in the galaxy, their t-shirts are the coolest you'll find anywhere. Robert Waller is the most recent of three generations of owner-operators, and he's made his own unique mark on the business while maintaining the high standards of the previous generations, including fresh-grinding the beef in-house daily -- twice if needed -- and sticking to the same fifty-year-old family secret mix of spices. Do yourself a favor: Go there. Do that. Buy the t-shirt.

Say you find yourself in Paducah with a hankerin' for epicurean debauchery, but it's too early for burgers. Perhaps you're looking for a Krispy Kreme franchise. Sorry. You're out of luck in this town. There ain't one. But, at the same time, you're in luck. Because, you just happen to be in the town where the recipe for Krispy Kreme originated, and the home of the donut shop that perfected it: Red's Donuts.

Once you've tried the real thing, you will throw rocks at the North Carolina-based pretenders. Behold the sinful delicacy that has become the institution for fried pastries in Paducah and set the standard for sugar-glazed, fat-laden, yeast-based, deep-fried dough.

The University of North Carolina Library Archives says "Vernon Rudolph opened his first doughnut shop in 1933 in the town of Paducah, Kentucky, with a recipe his uncle had purchased from a chef in New Orleans. Within a few years, he had moved his business to several other Southern cities, and was focused on selling his doughnuts wholesale to local grocery stores. He still had not found the perfect location to establish his business. It wasn't until the summer of 1937 that Rudolph set off for Winston-Salem, NC, with little more than twenty dollars in his pocket, two friends, and the intention of opening a new doughnut shop."

And then there's barbeque. Just about every state in the union claims to be the home of "the real thing" when it comes to the stuff. Each has its own unique characteristics, whether it's in the sauce, the rub, or the cooking technique. But, you can go wherever you want and you'll not find better pork ribs than the ones you'll find at Backwoods BBQ. These aren't the honey-based sauce-slathered ribs your uncle incinerates over fluid-soaked charcoal every year in his Kiss the Cook apron. No, these are a whole different game. You won't find yourself gesticulating toward your cousin in a plea for the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the fist-sized globule of fat from your windpipe. These are the falling-off-the-bone, no-sauce-needed, slow-smoked-the-way-God-intended ribs you can only get at Backwoods.

And while you're there, you might as well enjoy a cold mug from their small, but excellent, selection of beers to wash it down. If you drop in, be sure to tell them Walt sent you. Hell, I may even be there, myself.

So, there you have it. If you find yourself in Paducah, Kentucky in search of good eats, you have no excuse for not finding any. And if you leave without trying at least one of them -- well, you've screwed up and sentenced yourself to a lifetime of second-tier burgers, donuts and barbequed pork ribs. But, hey -- if you can live with it, so be it.

Tonight's ONT brought to you by Paducah native and Benny Hill soundtrack creator, Boots Randolph.

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posted by Damn Dirty RINO at 10:00 PM

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