In the middle of America is a place called “The Thirsty Pony,” offering all the excess that is wrong with the country and all the abundance that makes us a great big nation.
It is a hoot. It’s the rare spot that follows through on the gonzo vibe promised from the road. Both the decor and the food are packed with kitschy, silly tidbits. Drenched in “try the cheese glop” atmosphere. A Zoltar fortune-teller greets you when you walk in.
The over-the-top bar food is – vitally – actually pretty good. And that is what transmutes this place from deplorable excess into celebratory abundance.
Potato Trio – Flawlessly fried tots, seasoned fries and cinammon-y sweet potato waffle fries. You get three dips to mix-and-match, each of which is house made from an inspired recipe. The cheese glop is thick and flavorful, and you may want a side order of extra-goo even though they’ll charge for it. A creamy sweet dip made with real cream cheese goes well with the sweet-potatos, though palate-fatigue sets in quickly with that one. The sweet-and-hot dark, tarry ectoplasm is absolutely delicious. And may have whiskey in it.
Super Nachos – One time I was at a county fair and saw a horse that was bigger than I am. Literally a ton of gleaming muscle. As I looked up into those calm, black Percheron eyes I felt a sort of respect that was probably biological.
These nachos caused a similar reaction when they hit the table.
Six tostadas form a mountain range of gringo goodness. Lots of meat, lots of beans, lots of cheese, and a truly “super” amount of everything. Never before in a restaurant have I met nachos that there was enough of. All the ingredients are of good quality, and tasty in an American-Mexican way if not up to authentic-family-recipe standards. More stuff will fall off of these and onto the pizza pan while you try eating them than you get in many whole meals.
1935 Cleveland Rd
“What America Tastes Like” is an exploration of sub-cultures in the US by way of food. Eating is something all people do, and it also happens to be one of the few expressions of “difference and diversity” in culture that just about all people are ready to celebrate. Regardless of our politics and religion and ontologies, we all like to eat food with our mouths.
Food makes family happen.