Friday, December 17, 2010

Hankerin' for "Hash" Browns

AJ's Restaurant
West Warwick, RI

If you're like Suit420, over the Thanksgiving holidays -- or any holiday -- you wake up hungover and feeling like crap virtually every single day.

And if you're like Suit420, you'll agree that the best cure for that hangover is a greasy breakfast full of meat and eggs.

Well, actually, the best cure is Suit420's favorite smoke, but that just leads to greasy food so it's kind of a one-two punch to kill a hangover.

And this Thanksgiving Suit420 found himself up in West Warwick, Rhode Island.

Now, being from South Georgia, there's one thing I've learned over the past few years about Yankees.

Them folks can draink!

And I don't mean sipping on beer.  I'm talking shots.  Lots of them.

But if I were one of the unfortunate folks who were born up North, I'd probably drink a lot as well to hide my misery, as well.

On this particular morning, Suit420 had taken a lot of shots the night before, and was feeling like pure crap.

I needed a smoke, followed by a greasy spoon breakfast.

And it just so happened that West Warwick, Rhode Island has the perfect place for that:


AJ's is a small, mom and pop diner that's been around for -- depending on who you ask -- "several years."

And AJ's happens to be known for it's superb breakfast.

So Suit420 grabbed a smoke for the ride, and headed up to AJ's, which was only a 3-mile drive from where I was staying -- which was a good thing because I was still a tad buzzy from the night before and was working on another one on the ride.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot I knew that this was the place for me.

It looked like I was pulling up to an old house or some type of apartment.

Definitely not a Denny's or Waffle House.

I got out of my car, walked around the corner, and finally found the main entrance.

Ignore the fancy BMW out front. AJ's isn't that type of place at all.

When I opened the main door I was surprised.

The place was full of people -- which is always a good sign.

There was a young couple sitting in the corner.

A table full of old men sitting around talking about the weather.

And a table full of old ladies talking about old men.

The waitresses were busy hustling around the restaurant.

One of the neatest things was they had a small counter top -- no they don't serve alcohol -- where you could sit and eat and watch them cook the food.

I always like places where you can see the cooks in plain sight.

It makes me worry less about finding someone's nasty hair in my food.   Or the cooks doing something to my food.

You never know about them Yankees.

I was approached by a nice waitress, and she led me to a table for two.

I ordered some orange juice, water and iced coffee, and opened up my menu.

Holy crap.

They had everything I wanted, and the prices were dirt cheap.

I'm talking five dollar omelets, and ribeye and eggs for 8 bucks.

Since I was hungover -- and had the munchies -- I decided to order a lot of food.

And that was one of the fun parts.

Being from the deep South, there is a big language barrier between me and New England folks.

In fact, virtually every person I talk to -- even if just asking one question -- immediately responds, "where in the hell are you from?"

I get so tired of it I start responding, without missing a beat, "Long Island."

And the waitress at AJ's didn't disappoint me.

Suit420 decided to go with the Virginia ham, eggs, hash browns -- my favorite of all the browns -- bacon and toast.

All that for right around 6 bucks. So I ordered my food and decided to look around and check out the scenery.

That's when I discovered that there is an entire other section to AJ's, and it was full of customers as well.

And that's about the time I saw a girl walk in wearing a "Connecticut, USSA" sweatshirt.


Normally, I would use that as an opportunity to start a conversation, and find some special smokes while on the road.

But I had no need for that on this trip.  My Yankee friends took care of me and my cloves.

I didn't have long to look around.

At AJ's, despite the place being jam packed, they pride themselves in having your food ready quickly.

It actually was on my table in less than 6 minutes.


But even more impressive was the taste.

I'll start with the ham.

It was Virginia Baked ham, so you know it has to be good. And it was fried perfectly.

I could cut it with a fork, and there wasn't any fat on it.

I ate it my normal way -- covered in syrup.

Suit420 has a habit of putting syrup on all breakfast food. You should try it sometime.

Next, the eggs.

The eggs were just average. That may be because Suit420 prefers grits mixed with his eggs, but Yankees don't know anything about that.

The bacon was, well, bacon.  Awesome.

But the best part of the meal was the hash browns.

In fact, they were -- without a doubt -- the best I'd ever eaten.

They were fried to a crisp, yet still maintained their potato-like inside. The outside was brown and crispy, and made for some good eating.

When the bill came due, I tried to pay with my debit card, but AJ's only accepts cash.

Good thing they had an ATM.

So I got my cash out and paid the waitress.

With a full stomach, Suit420s hangover was now on its way out.

All I needed now was a post-meal puff, and I would be ready to take shots again with Yankees that evening.

Which would give me another excuse to visit AJ's the next morning!

Rating: Would have bought the shirt if they had one.

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