Saturday, February 12, 2011

Broken Clocks, Blind Squirrels & Liberals

Tomato Jam Café
379 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, NC

Liberals are so easy to ridicule.

Whether it is city commissions banning toys from happy meals or “global warming” conferees stranded in the blizzard of the century or simultaneous pleas to save baby seals and kill baby humans (you know, ‘cause one of those humans might grow up one day to kill a seal), there is no limit to liberal idiocy.

Except when they are right.

Or -- as my recent trip to leftist heaven Asheville, North Carolina began to convince me -- when the labels are just wrong.

While our conversation didn’t evolve much beyond what I wanted for breakfast, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if the owner of Tomato Jam Café, Rebecca Daun-Widner, and I agree on very little about how the world works.

A funky, eclectic place that serves nothing but organic, locally sourced food, Tomato Jam Café is the kind of place liberals love.

I consider myself a conservative. A traditionalist.

I recognize, understand and appreciate those things that make the world work properly - just as God intended – without interference by bureaucrats, government, Ben Bernanke, and nanny-state do-gooders who screw it all up.

When I find these things, I value them, cherish them, desire to “conserve” them.

Well, one bite of the locally grown, organic tomatoes, biscuits, sausage, eggs and apples at Tomato Jam Café, and I knew THIS was something worth valuing and conserving.

Think about it. What could possibly be more traditional and conservative than growing your own tomatoes free of government regulated/mandated pesticides, herbicides and God-knows-what-else?

The bulletin board behind the cash register where you order breakfast lists all the local farmers that supply every ingredient in the delicious food you are about to eat.

Now THAT is what I call traditional.

That is 19th Century know-where-your-food-comes-from old-school. It is breakfast by-passing Big Business, Big Government and Big Labor all in one fell swoop.

Who knew that biscuits and gravy at 9am on a Wednesday could be such a philosophically awakening moment?

But that’s what makes Asheville, North Carolina, generally, and the Tomato Jam Café, specifically, such a unique spot.

It’s a place where government-loving new age liberals flock to celebrate the most traditional of values: good food.

Strangely situated in a doctors’ office park on the busy main drag south of town, Tomato Jam Café is a small, cozy, easy-going place.

No waitresses, hostesses or bus boys.

You place your order when you walk in the front door and bus your own table when you’re done.

It’s the kind of place where you can be sure the orange juice is fresh squeezed – and served in a Ball mason jar for good measure.

And where the apple sauce doesn’t come from an industrial sized tub in the fridge. These Smoky Mountain apples are roasted and hand crushed, served warm in a bowl with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

But the specialty of the house is biscuits.

“Cat head” biscuits. So named because they are big as a funky shaped cat’s head – though I suspect, much more delicious. Made from scratch from whole grain flour, these are darker and tastier than your run-of-the-mill Southern buttermilk biscuits.

Unfortunately, I very nearly missed this entire whole-grain-inspired philosophical awakening.

I nabbed the last biscuit of the day! And the place had only been open for business for an hour.

Tragedy averted.

That presented me a great burden. As ridiculous as it may have seemed considering their size, I had planned to cop out and order a couple biscuits.

Maybe the BLT-of-my-dreams: all-natural, nitrate-free thick-sliced apple wood-smoked bacon with organic roasted tomato slices, lettuce and mayonnaise on one of those one-of-a-kind biscuits.

Or maybe just a plain biscuit, warmed up and dripping in butter.

And what about the Café’s name-sake condiment, home-made tomato jam? Gotta try that on one of those scratch-made cat heads.

But alas, there would be no easy-way-out gluttony today. I had to be a responsible adult and choose.

As you might expect, I chose to go WAY over the top. Literally.

I ordered the “Wendy Lou”: the final, precious biscuit of the day split open and smothered over the top with home-made sausage gravy and scrambled eggs.

Those two big halves of biscuit were completely buried in a messy mountain of deliciousness. All-natural local eggs and creamy warm gravy loaded with fresh sausage, this was biscuits and gravy for the gods.

I consider myself something of a sausage gravy connoisseur.

Let me tell you, this isn’t that wimpy Huddle House sausage gravy with mere specks of sausage.

No. We’re talking big hunks of zesty made-from-scratch organic, hormone-free, free-range, humanely-pampered pigs who probably enjoyed a higher standard of living than you or me.

Feel free to inject liberal ridicule here.

Isn’t pampering mud-wallowing animals who are destined to be my breakfast anyway kind of weird? Pretentious? Lefty nutty?

Yes. Yes. And yes.

But, what is most important when dining on succulent dead pig?

Does it TASTE good?

Yes. Again.

And there, my friends, is where those wacky liberals actually get it right – completely by accident. Like a blind squirrel. Or a broken clock at the right time of day.

While they are busy tending to the poor piggy’s delicate psyche and self-esteem, they end up producing a darn tasty pig for my sausage gravy breakfast.

After all, that’s the only purpose of a pig. To taste good.

If pampering porky like some Guantanamo Bay terrorist on a Caribbean vacation makes him taste better – and the evidence seems to be growing that it does – then by all means, give him the Laz-Y-Boy, remote and a lap dance.

To end up in Tomato Jam Café’s delicious sausage gravy over a cat head biscuit should be the ultimate fulfillment of any pig’s life.

If that won’t boost porky’s self-esteem, nothing will.

Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt.

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