This is quite possibly the worst restaurant dinner in my recent and distant memories. There is one high point, though.
It may come as a complete surprise, but this Southern girl has never before eaten at Cracker Barrel, the ubiquitous (they're every where, not just in the South) Southern-themed country cooking chain.
Why? There was that whole anti-gay policy of theirs in the early 90's (I never forget), and, hey, lookie, I missed this, but it seems they discriminated based on race in the 2000's (don't worry, I'll never be back).
So, why dinner now? Caught driving in that East Coast snow storm of December 2009, we decided to call it quits in Virginia (good thing, because the highway was littered with stranded cars when we woke up) for a hotel and the nearby Cracker Barrel. Lame excuse, but it is what it is.
The plate you see above is their veggie plate incorporating most of the veggies that are meat-free (nothing out of the ordinary there with country cooking). The corn is straight out of the can. The sweet carrots are mechanically whittled "baby" carrots. The macaroni and cheese is Velveeta-esque. The biscuits taste like those from a fast food chain (I do like fast food biscuits for guilty pleasure reasons, but much prefer homemade biscuits). Cornbread was skipped because it's not vegetarian (nothing out of the ordinary here, either — boxed cornbread mixes often contain lard).
Really, I was expecting a little more effort on Cracker Barrel's part. I've had better at cafeterias. Here is the high point: perfectly crisp and non-greasy fried okra. The okra was outstanding. But not outstanding enough to forgive them for their sins (culinary and otherwise) and make a return visit.