Hop-on Nancy here. I was so intrigued by Cliff's trip to PK's Homestyle Cooking in Spartanburg that I vowed that the next time I was in the Upstate I would make it my meal. Last Sunday presented such an opportunity, so we did it. Had a lovely stroll first at the Mary Black Rail Trail, one of those repurposed railroad tracks running right through the middle of town, and what a gorgeous day for it.
So with a well-primed appetite, we approached PK's, about five minutes away from the trail. We were seated at probably the same booth Cliff got. There was a nice crowd there, everybody chatting and animated. Our waitress gave us menus and took drink orders and we focused on the specials board:
I'll let you sit with that a moment. I nearly never turn down a chance to have good turkey and dressing; it's one of my very favorite comfort foods, so I settled on that, with limas and crowder peas on the side (I can never decide when it comes to legumes.)
I cannot recall the last time I've had a plate of food this utterly lovely in front of me. The turkey was downright succulent--perfectly cooked, and so flavorful. You need to know that I personally am known for my dressing--family members make sure it's on the roster when they're coming for Thanksgiving--and this was just about as good. (And if I'm being really honest, a lot moister.) The gravy was the perfect accompaniment--a tasty moistener without overtaking anything.
I don't want to overuse the word 'perfect' but the limas were--there's a point you can take baby limas to where they're completely soft inside but not disintegrating and gummy yet, and these were exactly at that point. The crowder peas were delicious and nutty, filled with tiny slivers of white onion cooked in them. I don't have a good picture of it but Julie (wisely saving room for dessert) opted for just a bowl of pinto beans and the old fashioned cornbread (which you can see in the corners of this picture) which were also delicious. The pintos still had some tooth to them, which could have been the only quibble, and very minor at that.
Cliff had noted in his original post here that he didn't care much for the old fashioned cornbread and our waitress explained that the difference is that 'old fashioned' is the cast-iron-skillet-baked unsweetened circle that many of us grew up with and the other style is, as she put it, 'you know, Jiffy corn mix.' Or very sweet. There's no real wrong answer here, just what you're used to. I thought this was a very good example of that kind of cornbread, but I can see where it's underwhelming if you're used to the second.
Now back to that board. Do you have a question about it? Because I did. They added the item 'Better Than Sex Cake' while we were sitting there, and I immediately started bobbing up and down in my seat trying to get somebody to splain Lucy splain to me. The waitress for the table behind us didn't know. I took a trip over to the dessert case:
(see its flickr original http://www.flickr.com/pho...set-72157624237202146/
for the version with notes) and could only see a large serving bowl on top of the dessert case sitting in an even larger bowl of ice. Eventually Miss Peggy (PK herself) started wandering out of the kitchen and touting the amazing qualities of the Better Than Sex cake. I had to have some.
Eventually I pieced together from her description that it is two layers of cake with a filling made of pineapple (she said it was fresh, but cooked, and I didn't get further clarification of what she meant by that), pecans, vanilla pudding, with cool whip and cherries layered on top. Man oh man it was good. Sweaty from the walk and with a belly full of turkey and legumes, I made room for Better Than Sex Cake, and boy am I glad I did.
But of course, the topic of the name was going to come up again, as you would expect. I went up to the cash register to pay and was standing next to a gentleman when Peggy swung by to check on how we'd liked things--I believe his table had a bowl of it as well. She looked at me and said 'so what did you think' and I said, 'well, it was awfully good.' She went on: 'honey, if he's not treating you right, you just need some of this cake and you'll be fine.' I was just grinning and nodding and saying 'yes ma'am' because who am I to argue with the inventor of Better Than Sex Cake? After a couple of minutes the gentleman piped up: 'but I don't even know her!' At which point everybody busted out laughing.
I'm already planning my next trip. I think I have to try the fish.