BOONE, NC - -I’d been waiting 3 days to go to Melanie’s Food Fantasy restaurant.
The restaurant is well known as a 'hot' vegetarian site and is always crowded. It has the reputation as being the No. 1 vegetarian restaurant, not only in the town, but in the entire region.
My traveling companions are all proud carnivores. It was the last place they wanted to go for a dining experience, but I’d been going with them to BBQ and other meat joints. But me? I have no memory of ever tasting fowl or pork. I did eat beef for a few years, but quit completely in the mid-80s. I do eat seafood and dairy products.
Once when I picked up a family takeout order at Taco Bell several years ago, I ordered my usual - bean burrito supreme. I got beef tacos and stuff for rest of the family and drove about 10 minutes to the house.
The takeout meal was spread on the table. I grabbed the burrito and started to take a bite when I noticed it was a BEEF BURRITO. I was furious. Hungry! Only option? Go back 10 minutes to Taco Bell. Arriving, I found about 8-10 people standing in the line with the order taker I’d ordered from.
Not willing to wait, I walked around those waiting and went to the front of the line, slammed the burrito down on the counter beside the cash register so hard the filling squirted out onto the floor.
I announced in a LOUD - VERY LOUD AND ANGRY VOICE: “I ordered a bean burrito. You gave me a beef burrito. You know what would have happened if I had eaten this thing? I would have gone nuts, stripped off all my clothes, moved in a circle honking like a goose and then I’d sh-t in the floor. And you know what else? I would have to go to the hospital and I would come back and sue you and sue Taco Bell!”
Instantly my ‘fresh’ bean burrito arrived with many apologies. I went home to eat. That’s the kind of vegetarian I am. Devoted. Serious. Finicky.
My mouth had been watering the past few days thinking about all the vegetarian fare at Melanie’s which is located at 664 W. King Street in beautiful downtown Boone. Planning to eat breakfast Thursday with its promise of tasty vegetarian gravy, grits, pancakes - my kind of food. , we just happened to be in Boone at lunch time on Wednesday.
So unwilling to wait until the next morning (my first bad decision), I talked the others into having lunch @ Melanie’s while we were right across the street at lunch time.
What a menu! My other 3 companions quickly found carnivore food on the menu. I spotted a really appetizing: Boone’s Best Veggie Burger! Homemade by Melanie.
It sat there under Melanie’s Burger featuring hand pattied lean ground chuck ... and The Butter Burger ... A Melanie’s burger stuff with your choice of butter, pesto, herb, garlic... Melanie’s Ultimate Burger, start with your choice of the Melanie’s burger or the butter burger. Finished off with sauteed onion, lettuce, tomato...and the Boone’s Best Veggie Burger - potato, carrot, onion, squash, and zucchini makes this vegan treat the best burger ever. Made fresh and topped off with lettuce, tomato and sprouts.
God it sounded so good! The others ordered and I could hardly control myself. Finally I was getting to eat in the best vegetarian restaurant in the area. Some reviewers even rated it a full 5-stars.
When the waitress got to me, I blurted out, "I want the Melanie’s Ultimate Burger with everything and home fries."
I commented when it arrived I couldn’t believe what a great burger this was. “It’s a good thing we don’t live here, I’d eat here every day...” as I savored the coating of garlic butter and herbs, the freshest of tomatoes, lettuce and sprouts.
This is where I should probably stop the story, but (my 2nd bad decision) truth must be told. After eating about 3/4 of the burger, the overpowering flavoring of the fixin's was gone and something didn’t taste just right. I took my fork searching for potatoes, carrots? Squash? Onion? The sprouts were there. No zucchini? That’s weird. I left rest of it on my plate.
When the waitress returned with our bill, I meekly got her off to the side, away, I thought from earshot of the others and asked, “What kind of burger did I have?” “It was the Melanie’s Ultimate Burger,” she explained. “The Melanie’s Ultimate Burger? What is it made of?” was my next question. “Ground beef..” she started out. “Stop! I thought I ordered the veggie burger.”
“No,” she explained, “the veggie burger is the Boone’s Best...” she said.
By this time the others were more or less dying. Laughing hysterically and telling the little girl I was a vegetarian. “Oh, my God. Are you? How long has it been since you’ve eaten meat?” “15-20 years,” said I, explaining my experience at Taco Bell years ago. “Where’s the closest hospital?” I inquired, half-joking by this time.
She apologized profusely and promised not to tell anyone. That lasted just second before everyone in the restaurant was snickering.
"Are you going to be alright?" she inquired. I assured her that while I might die, it would not be from Melanie’s Ultimate Burger, my death would come from mortal embarrassment and humiliation.
My wife couldn’t wait to tell the kids, calling them as soon as she got a cell signal (scarce here in these parts). They texted everyone they knew who knew me and my demanding, crazy, outrageous behavior over even the thought of eating meat. Many invitations have been texted inviting me to ‘come over for a veggie beef burger.’
So there it’s out. It's my story and I’ve told it my way.
Melanie's is TOPS! Regardless.
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