MAY IT PLEASE THE PALATE: Dam good noodles

By Nick Roumel

Now I know two joints called the Dam Site Inn.

One is in Hell, Michigan. As I tell my daughter, it's the only time you can say Dam and Hell in the same sentence, and not be swearing. The Dam Site Inn in Hell is, on most nights, a biker bar. And by "bikes" I do not mean Schwinn, or even Kawasaki. In fact if you drove anything but a Harley into the parking lot, I believe it would soon end up at the bottom of Mickey Lake. And then you would have to apologize for polluting the lake, if you wanted to get out of Hell alive.

The other Dam Site Inn I discovered this weekend. Here I am in Harbor Springs for depositions. Harbor Springs is like any other town in Michigan except they have money. And a lake, with really nice boats. The guys here look like guys in, say, Flint; except instead of bowling shirts they are wearing clothes from those catalogs where models are putting their hands on other models' shoulders, and gazing vacuously into the distance. The women here look just like women in Ypsilanti, except for the tans, the $150 hairdos, and the boutique shopping bags filled with goat milk soap and sweaters for their Yorkies.

Paradoxically, when walking into the Harbor Springs Dam Site Inn, it was like walking through a magic portal and transporting myself out of this very toney resort town, and into another time and place. Think a combination of Frankenmuth, and a musty living room where Aunt Tillie might have died behind the couch and not been found for a week.

"Best Chicken In The World!" their menu modestly clucks. Seniors gussied up, and lined up, for the all-you-can-eat crispy fried bird. They drove for miles to Brutus, just north of Harbor Springs, on the banks of the Maple River. Friendly servers bring platters of fried chicken with gravy; homemade biscuits with butter and honey; buttered peas; buttered mashed potatoes; and homemade mashed potatoes, doing the backstroke in a pool of butter. Oh, and just in case you need it, a random rectangle of a half pound of butter.

After dinner, they probably had cherry pie; after all, 'tis the season in these parts. I did not inquire. Instead I had three cups of coffee, so that I could be sure to stay awake and digest this meal -- and contemplate the random discovery of Aunt Tillie's body. I watched happy couples waddle to the parking lot, the men dressed in their best rayon shirts, the women out of curlers for a big night. These couples will go home and fall into bed, full of homemade buttered noodles.

Homemade Buttered Noodles

(allrecipes.com)

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

More butter. As much as you dare.

1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and melted butter together with a fork. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until dough becomes stiff. Knead on a lightly floured surface or in the bowl for a few minutes to blend completely.

2. Divide the dough into thirds. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a sheet about 1/16 of an inch thick. Place each sheet onto a dry cloth and set aside for 30 to 45 minutes to partially dry.

3. When the noodle sheets are somewhat dry, roll up one at a time into a loose spiral and cut into strips as wide as you want using a sharp knife. Spread out the noodles to dry for about 1 hour before cooking or storing in freezer containers. To use frozen noodles, thaw in the container before using.

4. To cook the noodles, drop into rapidly boiling water or broth, and cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

5. Serve with an ocean full of butter. Eat. Waddle into bed, and moan with delight.

Dam straight.

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Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard, and Walker PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for "Current" magazine in Ann Arbor. He occasionally updates his blog at http://mayitpleasethepalate.blogspot.com/.

Published: Fri, Jul 26, 2013