How far would I travel for the best meal of my life? I suspect I’m more of an “eat to live” type than a “live to eat” type. I can make something in the kitchen that, at least to my palette, rivals anything I can get in a restaurant.
But don’t get me wrong, I do love dining out, trying new and unusual fare. It’s often how I bring new tastes into my kitchen. There are also places I like to go to that serve up old favorites, especially dishes that are too messy to attempt at home.
One such place is in a rural setting in the U.S. State of Indiana, in a little town called Eugene. It’s an out-of-the-way place called the Covered Bridge Restaurant. It got its name from the old covered bridge on the edge of the property that once carried the County highway across the Vermilion River that runs along the north side of the establishment. The old bridge was long ago replaced with a new, modern, soulless concrete span, but the last time I was there the old covered bridge was still standing. I hope it’s still standing.
My old favorite at the Covered Bridge is deep fried catfish. Yeah, sounds really healthy, doesn’t it? Whole catfish, sans head and innards and fins, tail intact, breaded in a cornmeal mixture, deep fried to golden brown perfection (I should write advertising copy). It’s an all you can eat affair, though I was rarely able to eat more than two.
When I was younger, and visited my parents in the old hometown, we would make the journey to the Covered Bridge. It was nearly an hour’s drive, over the river, through the woods, around the bend, down to the end of the last road on the left, although not that far as the crow flies. Roads in that area go their own way. Many of them followed wildlife trails or old Indian paths. But it was always worth the drive.
These days, since my parents no longer live in the old hometown, I rarely visit there. I live many hours from the Covered Bridge Restaurant, and although I would enjoy my old favorite, I’m afraid that may be A Bridge Too Far.
Maybe I’ll stop at McDonald’s, order a McFish, close my eyes, and imagine I’m at the Covered Bridge Restaurant. Might not be exactly the same, but I’ll probably live.