by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here! Due to some computer issues, this column is a week later, but hey better late than never.
It’s October, time for trick-or-treat, and I tricked myself into a treat. I had planned a review for several months, and had checked to see if I needed reservations. Told I didn’t, I lay down for a short rest…and woke up more than an hour later. It was getting dark, and I didn’t want to drive to a new town in the dark, so I took my family somewhere I knew I could find, The Spike N’ Rail Steak House in Selma. This monument to Scandinavian traditional architecture had taken the place of the Pea Soup Anderson Restaurant by Freeway 99, windmill and all.
I had been there in the past, but usually in a tired mood, not ready to appreciate what I was served. As we walked into the restaurant, a server passed us with a tray that made lots of noise and trailed clouds of steam. I said, “Follow that.” It turned out to be Sizzling Sirloin ($19.99), a massive mound of meat surrounded by red and green peppers and onions. It came with a gigantic baked potato that probably had its own Zip Code. Oh, is it delightful!
One of the surprises I found on the menu was Frikadeller ($14.99). My part-Danish mother served a church mission in the land of Hans Christian Anderson, and brought home this recipe. In my family, the dish was like meatballs made of a ground-up mixture of beef and pork. At Spike N Rail, the meat was formed into oblong patties. Either way, it’s good stuff. On a previous visit, Frikadellers were served with red cabbage that had been cured in applesauce and basil, creating something that is a little gentler than sauerkraut. This time, they were out of cabbage, alas, but they plated some nice sautéed veggies, instead…but hope for cabbage.
Country Fried steak ($12.99) at other restaurants can be a cardboard-eating experience, but this version was soft and tender, topped with a fluffy gravy. The side veggies were undistinguished, but we had already been gorging on the pillowy (that means: soft and light, not: tasting like feathers) bread, and the meal was a joyous experience that gave us lots of leftovers (We have no pets to share with, at present, so we’re eating it all, ourselves).
Oh, wait! I forgot about the soup! A remnant of the Anderson’s days, they serve a delectable pea soup that holds spritely bits of carrot. The soup of the day we sampled was a Red Pepper Potato soup that was more skin-on potatoes in a pinkish-orange sauce. We wanted to order a quart to take home.
There is a friendly bar in the building with lots of laughing/talking people, and a fire pit and occasional concerts outside. If you’re on the way to somewhere, it’s a nice place to stop. Otherwise, it’s still a nice place to go. Treat yourself. 2910 Pea Soup Anderson Blvd, Selma. (559) 891-7000.
Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section.