A Tale of Two Cities

…and their respective Meatloaf Sammiches. Warning: iPhone photos ahead! Apologies for the powdered milk patina.

So, I’ve been out of town a lot for work. It’s a controversial project that I can’t discuss, but I do a lot of driving and hiking. In the rain. Through brush so thick it bruises me. I love the sugar pine and manzanita on the east side, and the salal and evergreen huckleberry on the west side, but lord if that shit ain’t make a tough stroll.

I live on a chintzy per diem on this project and usually eat a lot of trail mix and peanut butter to keep the change, but whenever I’m in Klamath Falls I eat at Mollie’s at least once. It’s a truck stop across the parking lot from the Super 8, and when I was out here for weeks on end a couple years ago, I used to spend my lonely evenings at the adjoining bar for cocktails, karaoke and dancing with strangers.

Mollie’s is a place where you get The Special. You get the “Supper”, as in “Broasted Chicken Supper”, or “Salisbury Steak Supper”. The supper includes a potato “your way” (baked, mashed or French-fried), soup or salad (you always get the salad, with thousand island, because you just do), and a vegetable (usually corn or the peas/carrots centimeter-cubed, but sometimes an over-steamed zuke or broccoli). Or, like me, you buck tradition and get the meatloaf sandwich served open-face and topped with rich brown gravy that may not come from a can.

Note the perfect lake of gravy nestled in the back-of-the-scoop crater.

This sandwich was perfect in every way, except that you couldn’t pick it up with your hands and shove it into your trembling face fast enough. The baked-on ketchup skin lets you know that this is real leftover meatloaf, not a shoddy patty with gravy. The minced celery and onion in the meat was a homey touch.

Then there’s Kozy Kitchen, which is apparently a chain along the southern Oregon coast. There was one next to my hotel in Coos Bay, but we ate at the one in Myrtle Point (sardonically called “Turtle Point” by coworker Chris). They, too, had a meatloaf sammich-type offering, this time the “BBQ Meatloaf Cheddar Melt”. I was skeptical, yet intrigued.

You can hardly stop staring at those chili fries, can’t you. I’m right there with you – you can tell how enamored of them I was by the fact that they are front-and-center in the photo and the sandwich is shrinking behind their glory. In fact, when I saw them on the menu I almost just ordered those; instead, I asked for my requisite side-of-fries to be topped with chili and cheese. The waitress forgot the onions, but I forgave her.

This meatloaf sammich wasn’t quite what I was craving. It was great, don’t get me wrong, but it was trying too hard to be a patty melt or a sloppy joe. The sauce cloyed, the loaf was too crumbly and the fries easily stole the show. I did, however, enjoy the toasted bread that had about a stick of butter on each slice.

I coveted Chris’ order of the Country-Fried (or was it Chicken-Fried?) Steak Scramble. I think the difference between chicken-fried and country-fried is in the type of gravy, but this is an unscientific assumption.

Mollie’s handily won the meatloaf sammich contest, but Kozy Kitchen gets props for thinking outside the box, and for having a sassy old broad cookie instead of a grumbly felon on the line. Kozy Kitchen also had the Obama burger as the special, which featured bacon, horseradish, fried onions and blue cheese crumbles. I couldn’t tell if this was supposed to be some kind of joke, so I avoided asking.

Mollie’s Truck Stop
3817 US 97 N
Klamath Falls , OR

Kozy Kitchen
531 8th Street
Myrtle Point, OR