Monday, January 12, 2009

Restaurant Review - Dreamland

Last week, I was treated to one of my favorite meals and the mainstay of Alabama Crimson Tide football - DreamLand ribs. Having never ordered from inside the restaurant before, I wasn't sure what to expect. I imagine it takes a while for ribs to cook on the 'ole grill, so I was prepared to turn around and leave. Instead, I arrived third in line to order at the take-out counter. I waited. and waited. and waited. It seems each order is placed, prepared, rung up, paid for and delivered in that order before the next order is placed. It gave me some time to view the scenery, which was interesting at least. I wasn't sure about the celebrity signed take-out boxes, though. You couldn't read the names, so why bother? I imagined going home and clipping newspaper pictures and mailing them in as an unsolicited suggestion.

When it was my turn to order, I first asked how long it would take to process my order. The man answered, "thirty minutes", without looking up. The waitress in front of him sorting her tickets snickered (more like snorted) and I wondered, "what's the joke? Is it me?" A few seconds later, he changed his answer to "two minutes". Again, without looking up. I was a little perturbed. I have a sense of humor, but come on. After waiting for as long as I had on a work day, and then made to feel like a joke, I wasn't playing along. Not smiling along with him, I placed my order. Fortunately, but perturbingly as well, it was about five minutes.

Back in the car, I weighed my options. I needed to get back to work, quickly, but I also needed to run an errand. If I ate in my car (not a wise choice if you are eating ribs), I could run the errand and get back to work in the same amount of time it would take to get back to work and eat at my desk. I was not wise. I made the wrong decision.

The whole meal was packaged in one of those aforementioned take-out boxes (but this one was unsigned by anyone famous). Inside was a plate of ribs topped by waxed paper topped by several slices of white bread all wrapped up tightly in several layers of aluminum foil. (Due to the complexity of the whole arrangement, I imagined one of the jobs there was order smasher.) I also bought a side of potato salad and sweet tea. Immediately after uncovering the ribs, I dug in. Immediately after digging in, I reached in the small bag for a napkin.

None. Nope. Nada.

None in my car either.

I used the paper bag to wipe off the barbeque sauce and tucked the ribs away. At least I could eat the potato salad if I was careful. Except, there was no fork.

I could, however, drink my tea, which was simply divine! Such a southern mainstay in the south. I know, I know....and yes, there was a straw - the one accessory that wasn't necessary was included. I questioned my ability to eat potato salad with a straw. It is my belief that it can be done with enough determination.

I finished my ribs in a more convenient location, but I didn't finish all of them. I only ate three ribs, because, as you all know if you've ever had Dreamland, there's a lot of meat on 'them ribs! At first, I struggled with this. After all, I had just paid $2 a piece for those ribs. How could I think of wasting even one of them? $2 worth each of heavenly goodness... $2 each to put extra fat on my body... $2 each....okay, the thought of paying to have fat added to my body was enough to make me stop eating.

The potato salad was only average. It didn't taste home-cooked. It tasted, at best, like Publix's potato salad.

One more note, the ribs were not as good as I remembered them being. The first bite was amazing, but the rest of the rib was a little chewy and greasy and bland, which is what ribs are sadly known for in other restaurants. I was disappointed in the meat, but the barbeque sauce has yet to be upstaged!

After finishing my meal, I was careful to discard all evidence. My family would never forgive me for eating Dreamland without them.

Will I go back? Probably not.

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