I have two food fetishes, and both are kind of dirty. The first is my fetish for weird meat: goat, sea cucumber, quail, rabbit, tongue, frog, alligator, duckling, buffalo, whatever. The second is old people restaurants--places that serve weak coffee, strong drinks, and steak for lunch. I enjoy these little oases not only because the food is decent and cheap, but because I'm immediately on vacation--I'm in Baton Rouge, or Flint, or Dayton, or Medford. I'm on a road trip or evading arrest, but I'm not sitting at the booth next to that stupid bitch from my gym.
My latest find in obscure old people dining is a spot you and I have both passed by a thousand times: Sir Loins. A weathered, orange, shack-like restaurant on the way to the airport, Sir Loins is actually hiding an expansive, quaintly decorated dining room and servers who treat you like family (or, in my case, much nicer).
Sir Loins specializes in--you guessed it--steak. The menu strays beyond the requisite top sirloin entrees, offering rib-eyes and filet mignons with bacon, and surf options from cod to scallops to oysters--all fried. A thrifty daily special gives you a six-ounce sirloin, four or five shrimp or scallops, baked or mashed potatoes, soup or salad, and bread for $8.75. Seafood comes with tartar sauce, steak comes with ketchup and A-1, potatoes come with a huge scoop of butter and sour cream--at Sir Loins, you'll want for nothing, except cloth napkins, hip fashions, and the White Stripes on the stereo.
Sandwich options at this little airport paradise will barely cost you six bucks, and come loaded with toppings, like the ham-stuffed, tasty-fried Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich topped with cheese, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and mayo, or the quarter-pound burger topped with cheese, ham, bacon, fried egg, and veggies. Because prices at Sir Loins are so cheap already, you'll find yourself splurging on a 25 or 50-cent side of tartar sauce, or 50-cent grilled onions for your already mile-high burger.
Granted, Sir Loins is no El Gaucho--rib-eye steaks taste similar to sirloins, and fish filets are delivered fresh from the freezer. On the upside, though, you don't have to mourn the loss of your entire paycheck if dinner wasn't an exercise in culinary brilliance.
A few other perks I should mention: Sir Loins serves beer, so you can happily down a few Budweisers with lunch. Sir Loins also serves breakfast until 2 pm, so you can down a few Budweisers with breakfast while that guy you don't want anyone to see you with simultaneously downs a few Budweisers with a 12-ounce rib-eye. My point: Sir Loins offers versatility, privacy, and quality grub. Plus, it's conveniently located, so after you drop your annoying parents, brother, or old college roommate off at PDX, you can quickly return to a normal life of red meat, beer, and homey restaurants that few people would write home about.