We eat at In-N-Out Burger at least once a week. One of the
small/great pleasures of living in America, in the Wild Wild West!!
Go to www.in-n-out.com
It is 1962 when my parents inform me that two "American Snack Bars" have just opened in Milano, the Gonzales and the Biffi.
So at the first chance, my brother and I take the trip from Como to Milano (about 50 minutes by car) to check out this new "Gonzales Snack Bar".
It's located in the outskirts ("la perifieria") of Milano, and, what strikes me immediately, is how modern the place is! Not at all like the usual Italian trattoria, this place is full of chrome, and vinyl with gold sparkles imbedded into it, and plenty of Formica as well. The colors are bright and crazy: reds and turquoises and lime yellows.
And, miracle of miracles, there is even air conditioning, something not usually found in Italian restaurants in those days.
In-N-Out Burger is an authentic 1950s hang out.
As soon as we walk in, we hear the jukebox playing "Jailhouse Rock"! I knew we were in the right place!! The menu was full of wonderful stuff I had never seen before: Cheeseburgers, Club Sandwiches, Ruben Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, Jumbo Banana Splits, Hot Fudge Sundaes, and a very weird concoction they called "Root Beer Float"! What on earth could that be???
Ah, and let's not forget "Cole Slaw"!
I did not know where to start, but finally settled on a Club Sandwich with Cole Slaw, had a Root Beer Float, and finished it all off with a Jumbo Banana Split!
Wow! Is this how Americans eat every day? Unreal! I was in heaven, becoming more and more Americanized by the minute!
I also notice a couple of American kids (blue jeans, T-shirts) and they are doing the nuttiest thing I've ever seen: they are dipping their French fries (patatine fritte) in some red sauce!!! I ask them, what is that red sauce you are putting your French fries into?? They reply, it's Katcha...... what??? Ketchup indeed, the juice which lubricates the American Way Of Life!!
Bob's Big Boy with his outrageous rockabilly pompadour is as an
American Icon as a 1959 Cadillac or a Hot Fudge Sundae!
Go to the site www.bobs.net for more!
The siren call of those luscious Hot Fudge Sundaes and juicy Cheeseburgers made us return to Gonzales and Biffi many times, until we finally moved to the United States in 1965.
Needless to say I became a great lover of American Cuisine, and a frequent visitor of diners, drive-ins, and "snack bars", as they were called in Italy.
What a cat!!!
In Los Angeles our favorite hangout was Bob's Big Boy. As soon as you drove by the place, you immediately noticed the statue of the Big Boy wearing checkered overalls, and sporting the most outrageous pompadour this side of the Mississippi!! With this kinda look, you knew that this was THE place for the Rock'n'Roll cats!
In Van Nuys, there was also a "Biff's", not "Biffi", and yes, it was just like it sounded! And let's not forget Tiny Naylor's if you really were in the mood for a freak show! On the other hand Coco's was already experimenting with hanging ferns 20 years ahead of its time!!
Diner-Mite Diners are not to be missed!
Go to: www.dinermite.com
After moving to Las Vegas we have been hitting the many great buffets with exotic foods from all the world, nevertheless we remain attached to 1950s locales such as the In-N-Out Burger, the Sonics Drive-in, and the Blueberry Hill diner, where you'll often hear Bill Haley or Fats Domino or Gene Vincent on the juke box.
Recently we had the great pleasant surprise to find a new Bob's Big Boy, a place which I was under the impression had gone out of business many years ago!
Taking my kids to these locales gives them a chance to appreciate how great America was in the 1950s, and how great America is still today!
(For a great site on diners go to: www.dinercity.com/index.html
Diner-Mite: quite a swingin' joint!
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Col. #53 for 01/02 - The COWBOY WAY
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Col. #38 for 10/00 - JERRY LEE LEWIS IS 65
Col. #37 for 09/00 - THE STARLIGHT DRIFTERS
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Col. #34 for 06/00 - THE CHOP TOPS AT ROLLIN' ROCK!!
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Col. #20 for 4/99 - ROCKABILLY REBEL: A SHORT HISTORY
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Col. #16 - 11/98 - GROOVEY JOE POOVEY: Reminiscing
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Col. # 1 - 8/97 - 25 YEARS OF ROLLIN' ROCK RECORDS