A couple of weeks ago we went down to Fife, Washington. On purpose! Yay! We went down there to meet a future bride and groom to talk weddings, but what we really went down there to do was to eat some barbecue.
That’s really not true. We had no idea that we were going to eat barbecue until we were driving around Fife trying to figure out where to eat dinner and finally drove past a place called Warthog. Who wouldn’t stop at a place called Warthog? With painted sawblades advertising thick milkshakes?
The restaurant itself is a log cabin that once was exhibited inside the Tacoma Dome to sell log homes. It’s small, but that translates to cozy instead of cramped because by the time we’d left the place, we’d chit-chatted with every table in the place. And by the time we’d left, the place was packed.
I love a menu with the word “Nasty” on it. James ordered the special, ribs, and I had the pork sandwich.
The Warthog has “wet” barbecue, which is my favorite. Dry rubs are alright, but I always end up adding more sauce to make it, well, not dry. The pork sandwich was awesome, although I don’t care for kaiser rolls. Too much bread, but all the better to house the sweet and spicy Warthog sauce. There was a bottle of the house’s hot sauce on the table that, when I picked it up to sample, James just started shaking his head at me. ”It’s hot,” he warned. ”I just want to try it,” I said. So I did. And it was a full five minutes later that the feeling returned to the tip of my tongue. Before everything went numb, it was really tasty, though. The ribs were meaty and juicy without being too greasy and the baked beans were full of flavor. We like flavor!
The ribs came with a hunk of cornbread that was so sweet and moist, it didn’t need to be dipped into honey butter. That’s not to say I didn’t dip, because maybe I did.
The manager of the place, Theresa, makes all the pies they sell at Warthog, and it’s rare that I order pecan pie because a.) each slice has 5,000 calories in it, and b.) if I’m eating 5,000 calories in one slice, it had better be mind-blowing. Theresa’s pie was worth every calorie that I still haven’t completely worked off yet. It was perfect–I like pecan pie cooked a little longer than most because the filling develops that caramelized flavor better and the Warthog’s was baked perfectly.
Eating dinner at this place is more than just re-fueling on good barbecue. It’s walking into your neighborhood eatery, saying hello to people like there’s no such thing as strangers, talking to the folks who work there like they’re your neighbors who’ve invited you over to a barbecue, and eating food that tastes like it was cooked in your Aunt Vicki’s kitchen. If Theresa ever does make a caramel cake that tastes like my Aunt Vicki’s, I’m putting a shed out back of that cabin and moving in.
I wonder if we can convince that bride and groom about having a reception in a log cabin with this thing hanging from the rafters for decoration….
Maybe if they dangled baby’s breath and carnations over the snout. What I really wonder is if Warthog has ever served a pig on a door….