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So this past weekend, one of my oldest, dearest friends paid a visit to the great Northwest to celebrate the reunion of the mighty Devo at a special show downtown. A great deal of Diamond Knot IPA was quaffed, duck rillettes and banh mi were consumed, and a sidequest was undertaken to locate the perfect reuben in Seattle. Our journey took us far afield, Eastward into the foothills of North Bend, home of Twede’s Cafe, better known to us as the Double R Diner.
In fact we had not originally sought Twede’s as the answer to our reuben hunt, but rather as a site of pilgrimage. This was an homage, an expression of our unwavering devotion to Twin Peaks, David Lynch’s wonderful and strange serialized television drama from the early 1990’s. The original Twede’s (it was gutted by a fire and later remodeled) was the setting for the fictitious RR Diner, a primary recurring destination throughout the length of the series. Many of the surrounding environs from North Bend to Snoqualmie were also used as principal location shoots during filming, so a little road trip around the area is a lot of fun for hardcore fans (eg., giant nerds).
So anyhow, here we were at the RR Diner. I’d actually visited shortly after moving to the Northwest many years earlier, but it had been a long time so I was surprised when I walked into the neon-lit diner. The entire room was lined with plush, yellow Tweety birds – you know, like from the old Looney Tunes cartoons. So yeah, that’s Twede’s like the bird, not the fabric. There’s something willfully contentious about those stupid birds, something heretical about their presence in this hallowed space. We plopped down into a taped-up, red vinyl booth and perused the menu.
The joint is pure cheese, pure Americana. It’s about as diner as diner gets. Black and white checkerboard floor, postcards for sale, gnarley truck stop types rubbing shoulders with the occasional Twin Peaks fan. I found myself wondering exactly what the ratio of fans to locals was, somewhat surprised that we weren’t the only ones. One guy came through the door and asked to buy a coffee mug, another spent a long time lingering over the lengthy wall of memorabilia, mouth agape.
I knew from past experience that the famous “damn fine cup of coffee” was actually damn terrible, and neither of us felt like cherry pie. Still, it seemed a waste not to eat anything, and there was a baffling array of hamburgers on offer. From something called a Bombay burger seasoned with chutney (!) to a Pizza burger (?) to an “Aussie” burger with pickled beets (?!), there are well over 50 varieties of hamburger to try at Twede’s. Among other things. Like a reuben! A tasty reuben at that – lean corned beef, nicely toasted rye and melty Swiss with just the right amount of grease. The only thing that kept it from total greatness was a tragic paucity of sauerkraut. Still, it was a Twin Peaks miracle!
A Catfish Hoagy was also surprisingly good. Two lightly breaded fish filets piled high with onions, lettuce and tomato and slathered with mayonnaise on a massive loaf of French bread. It was quite a monster. Best of all was a side of onion rings – lightly fried, crispy, very good. Much better than the fries (which weren’t all that bad). Again, it’s a real diner. And the service was smoking fast and appropriately surly.
We headed outside into a sudden downpour, and as we ran back towards the car I was like “Dude that’s where Lynch’s nephew comes jumping out of the bushes and it’s all the Black Dog Runs at Night!! I know, right?!” We decided to head back down towards the Salish Lodge (aka the Great Northern hotel), but I’ll save that experience for another time.
So yeah Wow, thanks for letting me nerd out, guys. In return, I give you this – the freakin’ RR Diner Myspace page. It’s awesomely bad. My mind is officially blown.