Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tinned Eats

In 2006, Hawaii BBQ on Olive Boulevard claimed an uncontested victory in the “Best Use of Worst Meat” category in the Riverfront Times’ “Best of St. Louis” competition. The blue ribbon dish was “Spam Musubi.” According to our local free weekly (though “local” here meaning “owned by a New York-based media company”), “Hawaii leads all states in per-capita SPAM consumption.”

Upon reading this statement, I went straight to the official SPAM website for confirmation. What I found was some of the most disturbing web content on the Internet. The main page apparently over-taxed my wireless connection, breaking down the opening montage into a David Lynchian horror show. The “What is SPAM?” question and answer section features the voice of an actor playing God who fields tough ones like, “What does SPAM taste like?” and “Is SPAM only for emergencies?”

This aimless research started with my own query, “What can a restaurant legitimately include on its menu?”

At the Tin Can Tavern and Grille, located south of Tower Grove Park, the answer lies between the rosemary gravy-covered pot roast and the grilled cheese served with sweet tomato bisque. For $5.25 diners can either relive frugal childhood years or sail into uncharted waters with the fried bologna sandwich presented on Texas toast with American cheese.

When I checked out “The Can” last weekend with my friends, Tim and Beth, I opted for the “Bottom Dweller,” a cornmeal-encrusted, fried catfish sandwich. It was good. Tim said his pork steak was a little dry and Beth guessed that the salad dressing was bottled. I was more taken with the ambiance. Despite some dodgy outdoor seating, the place pulls off a well-lit medium between diner and bar.

To the right of the entrance, personalized can cozies await several hundred regulars who I assume are not drinking draft.

This may seem excessively odd, but, then again, nothing offends the sensitive palate more than a tepid wine cooler.


august said...

Wow. I've spent the last three years trying to explore nyc and the previous 20 something being lazy in StL. You've trumped me with your adventures!

Your spam reference reminds me of this internet classic

Edan said...

On tonight's "Top Chef" Brian used Spam in the Quickfire challenge! Your blog is on the pulse, man, the pulse...