I've been lucky enough to have a few truly excellent meals since heading out across the eastern U.S.; a couple of them have already been mentioned around here. But I'd be remiss if I didn't highlight an off-the-beaten-path place that I have a feeling I'm going to remember for a very long time.
It's called the White Light Diner, and it's supposedly the oldest restaurant in Frankfort, Kentucky -- run by an "opinionated" gentleman named Rick, who would be a dead ringer for Ernest Hemingway if Hemingway had decided to forgo the cable-knit sweaters in favor of Crocs and baggy pants with pictures of jalapenos all over them. The White Light is barely more than a single worn lunch counter, but the whole place exudes so much charm and history that it feels like the walls -- which are plastered with old pictures and various relics of the area -- are breathing with life. There's so much genuine nostalgia on display that you get the feeling you've walked onto a set in a Tarantino movie.
And the food -- just freaking incredible.
The cook's name is Slim and he fries up a mean crab cake, with a remoulade that's so spicy it'll melt your tongue. He serves fresh corn chowder in mismatched mugs and makes barbeque sandwiches with pork that's been smoked on a massive barrel-style covered grill that sits right out in front of the place. (Needless to say, the entire block smells fantastic.) The customers are pretty much all regulars and the conversation just adds to the whole experience. I could spend the next twenty minutes trying to explain what makes a place like the White Light so damn special, but it's really one of those things you have to see and taste for yourself to fully comprehend.
If you're ever passing through Frankfort, Kentucky -- this is one stop you have to make.
Gotta thank Drew for making sure I did just that.