Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Unbelievables Go To Washington (State, That Is)

The guys had all but abandoned the Snohomish Yelp review clue since hearing the soundbite from Petit, or someone claiming to be Petit. To me, it sounded like Inspector Clouseau doing a bad Herve Villechaize impersonation (or perhaps the other way around), but since Clouseau was a fictional character famously brought to life by the great and most definitely late Peter Sellers, and Mr. Villechaize was similarly deceased, we knew it couldn't be either of them.

I decided to go back to the Yelp clue for one last time. I hit gold. Pay dirt. The Motherlode. Not from the monster burger bit, but from the words "Swingtime Express". Immediately I zeroed in on a quaint tavern in downtown Snohomish called the Oxford Saloon.

Looking at the reviews, they didn't seem to have a monster burger, but they seemed to have other burgers which were definitely huge, as well as a dish that caught my eye - the Prosciutto truffle Mac'n'cheese.

As soon as I told the guys about this I was ready for them to be champing at the bit to head to Washington State, but they seemed to be only partially interested. That is, until I mentioned the words "Prosciutto Truffle Mac'n'cheese".

"I'll drive!" they both shouted, fighting over the car keys. I waded in sharpish, and grabbed the keychain, putting an end to their childish banter. "I'LL drive, lads" I commanded, "I happen to know the owner of The Oxford and if you're lucky, I'll talk him into letting you have an extra helping."

During the grueling yet picturesque journey, Clark earwigged me during a gas-and-potty stop. "How do you happen to know the owner of a place that does Prosciutto Truffle Mac'n'cheese and yet we didn't know about this?"

"An old pal from days of yore," I said. "How do you think I acquired my skills in the whipped potato department?"

Clark scratched his head and bugged his eyes out in wonderment. He slowly walked back to the car with his convenience store purchases in his arms (3 tubes of Pringles, 15 Twinkies and a case of PayDay bars, plus a Big Gulp of Mountain Dew), muttering something about hardly knowing me at all, to where Michael was sitting in the 'Vette with his purchases (a double espresso and a bar of Ritter Sport, plus a copy of Woman's Own which he apparently buys for the recipes, despite seldom, if ever, cooking anything) listening to Glen Campbell's Dreams Of An Everyday Housewife with tears rolling down his cheeks and sobbing like a child.

"He's gone, he's gone," Michael blubbed. "First Bowie, now Glen..."

A few hours later we reached our destination - the pretty little Northwest town of Snohomish, a hidden gem full of neat shops and bars and restaurants. I pulled up the 'Vette outside the Oxford Saloon and we all took a minute to compose ourselves after having had an emotional sing-along to Glen Campbell's Greatest Hits in honor of the great man.

I strode into the bar and was greeted by the young and unfamiliar bartender.

"Hey, fellas, what can I get you?" said the barkeep.

"Actually, I'd like to speak to the owner," I replied. "And get these guys two big plates of that Prosciutto Truffle Mac'n'cheese while you're at it!"

"Right away, sir," he answered, and scuttled off.

A moment later, my old buddy Ernie came out into the bar area. When he saw me he greeted me heartily, slapped me on the back and asked what the heck I was doing in this neck of the woods? I gave him a brief run-down of the story so far and then played him the strange message that appeared on Michael's SoundCloud account. At this, he grew pale.

"Did he say... no-goodnicks?" he asked, visibly shaken.

"Yes, why??" I enquired.

"Well, I recently had a run-in with the owner of a local bar in nearby Granite Falls..."

"What bar?" mumbled Clark through his mouthfuls of the most incredible mac'n'cheese ever created.

"Well," answered Ernie, "it's a place called No-Good Nick's..."

"What are we waiting for?" said Michael. "Three plates of Prosciutto Truffle Mac'n'Cheese to go, Ernie!"

Tune in on Friday for more...

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