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Desert Cheese

Sometimes when I drive through the desert I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

This afternoon, Blythe put a damper on my spirits. Blythe is a small desert community 230 miles outside of Los Angeles city limits. It exists because the highway exists and persists because there ain’t much else in a 60 mile radius, save for a prison and the state line. There are a couple of motels and gas stations and fast fooderies in Blythe. I decided to give the one sit down joint – The Town Square Cafe a try. So did most of Interstate 10. Half the seating was closed so I waited for a bit before being shown a table. Now I don’t fault over taxed waitstaff or even marginal quality food – after all, we are in the middle of nowhere. However, when I order a grilled cheese with tomato, toasted bread with a cold, unmelted cheese center is not acceptable. I sent my order back – an action I am not prone to do, save for if a rack of ribs ends up on my plate – and am served, a short while later, the sandwich with clear spatula impressions and burnt cheese covering the entire underside. I gather the cook was not pleased. I ate it and it was pretty gross. I tried not to imagine what went on in the back kitchen.

The cheese slices were strange… awfully reminiscent of the “cheese” from the 99 Cent Only store that Ma tried to serve up in an omelet. (For the record, I tried to discourage its use from the get-go.) No matter how hard she tried, that “cheese” would not melt: it would remain a warm, shape-in-tact lump on the sizzling skillet. Then she looked at the “cheese” packet and discovered that the “cheese” was not cheese at all and rather a “cheese product.” I became intrigued and was going to eat it but Ma became grossed out and threw the “cheese” and the omelet away – something I’ve never before witnessed.

Luckily I threw a few bananas in the satchel before I skipped off and, later, found The Super Dragon.


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