I know why I never noticed that little cafe before; it's in that old section of Yuba City next to the levee, but not quite on the part of the street that is on the way to somewhere. We were tooling around town thrifting and visiting the antique malls when the name on the glass popped out at me: "Sundowner Cafe - Home of the Diesel Burger." While I, by myself would have been a little wary, I had two men in the car with me. I heard the faint sounds of "Hubba Hubba!" as we circled the block for a parking spot in the shade.
Sandwiched in between a huge gift store and an office was the little, almost hole-in-the-wall cafe with the handpainted name on it, quaintly decorated with sundown type illustrations. Just the word "diesel" , which starts the same as "diner" made me think of something manly and greasy with lots of torque. But it was a sweet little place; well, not really sweet, but clean and pleasant-looking. I only glanced at the menu; of course I had to get the signature product. "Three Diesel Burgers, please. The waitress nodded approvingly as she wrote it down.
"For your side, do you want potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, or fries?"
What the heck, if I'm going to cholesterol hell, I'll take first class. "Fries."
The waitress grinned and nodded as she scribbled it down. "Good choice!"
Before I even had time to regret my choice she was back with 3 heaping platters. It needed to be a platter so the fries could find a perch beside the Diesel Burger. This sucka was like the burgers your momma used to make when poppa rode in after a long day herding cattle. "Woman! What's for dinner? I could eat a cow!" It was hot, it was delicious. The beef was fresh and about 3/4 of an inch thick. A big slab of purple onion, a couple fresh tomato slices, pickles and lettuce kept it company. So many things kept falling out of it, I had to finish it with a fork.
As we lingered through the last bites of fries (fresh, skin-on fries), the cook/owner came out and stood with the waitress, glancing over at us.
"How'd you like it?'
"Excellet!" I managed to say, through the fan of lettuce in my mouth.
"Great! Come again!"
"Oh, we will!" I was already eying my neighbor's thin and crispy stack of pancakes hanging off the edge of her platter...
1939 - Thimble Summer
3 weeks ago