I keep going back to the theme, recalling various instances -- both incredibly sexy and horribly creepy (as motels can be) where I found myself in one of those strange little rooms. It's fun -- like going on a road trip. It's also fun to remember the meals in the odd and interesting restaurants & diners that surround motels. Dollar pancakes. Banana splits. Biscuits & gravy. Hash browns. Link sausage. Percolator coffee. Salisbury steak. Grits & butter.
There was the time in college when the Motel 6 offered to leave the light on for us and give us a cheap (we went Dutch) escape from parents and roommates. That night made me feel as much a grown-up as anything I'd experienced up to that point. There was a marathon red wine session at with another couple at the divey little place in a beach town. Yes, we had "Red, Red Wine" blaring on a cassette tape. There was a place called "The Spur" in Flagstaff, Arizona. I'll never forget the scary room without a view in my college town that I stayed at alone while apartment hunting. I slept with my knife open next to my pillow. My favorite dive is one I shared with my hubby. We were so desperate for one another that we drove and drove from what seemed like far ends of the earth to be together....and we brightened that dingy little off-the-freeway place sure enough, lit up the night with fireworks.
Such a simple thing.....M-O-T-E-L....to launch a billion thought bubbles. Thanks A.T.!
Here's another bit of simple joy. Chocolate cake -- the kind you'd see in one of those glass displays near the front counter of a diner along Route 66. And with Icing, not frosting. Pour a cup of joe and have a slice while you write.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake with Glossy Chocolate Icing
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 cups hot water
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Glossy chocolate Icing
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract