One of the best things about living where I live is that it's within a short drive of at least five major cities (depending on how you define major, I guess). When I hear about something going on in one of them, it's generally only a quick trip where I am and we can go partake of the fun and still be in our own beds that night. By just driving not more than two hours in any specific direction, we can hit Washington, D.C., Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dover, Lancaster county, the Bay, the mountains, the ocean, and a host of stuff in between.

What this means is that a lot of stuff I hear about on television, I can actually go do... and it's awesome.

Such was the story when several months back, I saw an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network. This show features random chef-types talking about their favorite dishes at their favorite restaurants. This episode in particular had Duff Goldman, who's a big Baltimore personality now. We've been fans of his work even before he got the whole Ace of Cakes gig though I've never been able to afford one of his cakes. Let's just say if I'd known about him back when I was planning my wedding, it might have been in a whole other state. The best thing Duff ever ate, in that episode at least (on this show, there are sometimes repeat appearances by the same people, which tends to take credibility from the title, "OK, I said before that this was the best thing I ever ate, but now this, THIS, is the best thing I ever ate." But I guess One of the Best Things I Ever Ate wouldn't have made nearly as catchy a title.


The best thing Duff Goldman ever ate (at least on the filming day) was Huevos Montuleños at the Golden West Cafe. It intrigued me because the whole dish consisted of ingredients that sounded like they should not even be on the same plate together:

Huevos Montuleños
Two fried eggs and beans atop two whole kernel yellow corn cakes with chile sauce, feta cheese, salsa fresca, a fried banana and a flour tortilla.

The cacophony of ingredients was so crazy, it just might work. I simply had to try it. So a couple of weeks ago, we drove up to B'more for breakfast and I partook. And it was so yummy. It made no sense, whatsoever, but it was simply awesome. So now The KingofHearts has his triple fried egg, chili, cheese and chutney sandwich and I have my Huevos Montuleños.

The Golden West is an odd little place. Kind of - and I mean this in only the best of senses - hole in the wall-y. First off, from the name, I would have expected Chinese food. You walk inside and it turns out to be completely fitting for the neighborhood of Hampden, with your grandma's Formica tabletops and mismatched chairs, eclectically decorated in Early Thrift Store.

I have a thing for antique bottles

I tried to steal this for my kitchen, but it was too big for my purse

Loved the tin ceiling in my favorite color: Cherokee Red

They also have what I consider to be a flash of brilliance: a waiting area with kids books and toys.

The Dormouse has been on a reading jag lately.
She devours books as though they are food.

While I went in the door knowing exactly what I wanted, The KingofHearts picked something off the menu after we were seated. I don't remember what it was, but then I looked down at the men and saw this:

Left column, second line

and I said, "You should totally try the Chef's Revenge," and pointed out the description:


I think it was the extra exclamation points that got me. The KoH wasn't so sure, because he'd already chosen something from the menu that also looked pretty good and he said, "That's funny... but eh... I don't know..."

Which is when I said something that, in our marriage at least, is irrefutable:

"Duuuude! Do it!!"

And once that gauntlet was thrown down, he clearly had no choice.

Apparently, the Chef's Revenge is based on just whatever the chef wants to make each day. And it's seldom the same thing. What it ended up being that day was two banana corn cakes, with a fried egg cooked over easy inside each one, then served with chipped beef and gravy over the top. And dude? It. Was. Amazing. I know it sounds weird, but I'm pretty sure I would give vital parts of my anatomy if someone were willing to cook this for me once a week. I liked my Huevos Montuleños - Duff was right - as weird and quirky as it seemed, it really was one of the best things I ever ate. But this was So. Much. Better.

So if you're even in Baltimore, you must go get yourself something at The Golden West. I hear the first waitress who sells a Chef's Revenge in the morning scores a Long Island Iced Tea after quitting time.