I’ve painted up my lips and rolled and curled my tinted hair; there’s no contemplating it, I am going somewhere…to Ruby’s Restaurant, 1737 S. Green Street, in Purcell.
As I’ve steadily learned over the past few years, to get that true “blue plate special” diner taste, usually you’ve got to exit the city and all their millennial-flavored irony and head for the insecticide-drenched pastures of small-town Oklahoma, where food is scooped and dumped and you better like it Hoss, ‘cause that’s all you’re getting.
This past week I took my love (figurative) on out of town and to Ruby’s Restaurant which, in case you meet a comely gal at the Wal-Mart next-door, is also connected to a moderately-priced motel. Established in 1967, per the coffee cups, from the faded table-tops to the open-kitchen design, Ruby’s defiantly wears every year since then, hair proudly dyed red, a pencil behind her ear and a Virginia Slims hanging between her lips.
Finding a comfortable seat among the wizened booths, a short perusal of the red, white and blue menu led to me doing my patriotic chore and ordering up a true Okie classic: a Chicken Fried Steak “Open Hot Sandwich” ($8.95), complete with a trip to the salad bar, a choice of potato, and, my personal favorite, gravy on toast.
Oh Ruby, that’s all the company I need.
While waiting on my “Open Hot Sandwich” I walked over to the salad bar, which very much encompassed the feeling of what we, as Americans, thought was a nutritious and necessary part of a meal in the early 1970s, including a highly-suspect but mildly-addictive green peas in butter-like concoction. Any help in finding a name or recipe for this dish would be wholly welcomed.
After a few minutes of picking at this puzzling delight, I was able to finally dig deep into my Chicken Fried Steak as it was delivered to my table; it was served on two slices of hearty toast and deluged with layers of white gravy—open-faced, I believe the elders call it. With a crunchy pan-fried casing made deliciously soft through the indomitable gravy, the steak itself was a tender piece of meat so fresh it was as if I got my own gun and put that cow in the ground myself.
Finished up with my lunch and about to turn the key to take my love (figurative) back to Oklahoma City, I took one more look at Ruby’s in my rear-view and thought about those homemade crème pies I just walked right on by…for God’s sake, turn around. Cómpralo ya!