Cowboy Grub or Urban Kitsch?

          I was visiting my in-laws for the holidays in a suburb of Salt Lake City, called Holladay. Before too long, I get that familiar itch for B&G. So I did the natural thing and started asking around -- and none too shortly I was sure I'd found a gem . . . a restaurant called "Cowboy Grub" -- hot dog! How could I lose?

          But just for caution's sake I called ahead. When it comes to B&G, I don't take anything for granted -- not since me and JP drove forty miles at 7:00 am to Bubba's Big Biscuit Breakfast, which advertises "Baking Escondido's biggest biscuit and frequently adding country sausage gravy." Escondido, California is no pleasure drive, so when we got there and found a minor hitch in our plans, well, we weren't too excited. B&G is serious business.

          So we get there and the waiter says "we don't serve B&G anymore." He swears, however, that Bubba's "served the best in town." Gotcha. Right. Sure. I guess success was just too much for Bubba. Profits were eatin' up his free time. Damn shame. So when I came upon Cowboy Grub, I thought a little research never hurt. The conversation went something like this:

          CG: Mornin'

          JL: You serve B&G?

          CG: 'Skuse me?

          JL: Biscuits and gravy. Do you serve it?

          CG: Uh, no, we don't.

          JL: What do you have for breakfast?

          CG: Well, we specialize in quiche and scones.

          JL: :::silence::: Did I call Cowboy Grub?

          CG: You certainly did.

          Say no more. I never bothered to ask Slim if he served quiche or scones from his chuckwagon on the last cattle drive to Kansas City. I'm a greenhorn as far as chuckwagon cookin' goes but, I dunno, I just had a gut feelin'. Thought I'd play it safe.

          Now, the hunt for B&G takes determination, foresight, and leaves no room for bashfulness at asking a hair-sprayed, lip-sticked stranger woman, "where d'ya get good biscuits and gravy around here." Nope. No bashfulness. Not even in Los Angeles, or New York, if you happen to find yourself there.

          You never know when you'll hit a B&G jackpot. But like any pioneer, it takes a strong stomach and a taste for adventure. When your B&G adventure is through, even if you've just been dragged across the untamed frontier of some novice cook's kitchen experiment, you'll always have something to talk about with strangers, like, "biscuits and gravy is a rather attractive dish, don't you agree?" Or, "some say B&G is deadly, but I've always considered it like the Japanese delicacy, fugu." The rule is, never take your B&G on appearances or judge a restaurant by name alone, because you may wind-up with cowboy style quiche and scones. Imagine that.

          -Jack Lamb