Greasy spoons are some of the greatest restaurants in the country – giving people access to hearty food and the gamut of surly to humorous waitstaff. One place you may not expect to find such a place is Ojai, California – which is more known for a level of spiritual pretentiousness than greasy food, yet I found myself at Bonnie Lu’s – a quintessential greasy spoon right on the main drag. Of course, it was next door to a paleo-vegan-gluten-free vomit factory, so I knew I was still in Ojai.
I quickly made up my mind to order Bobby’s Bowling Alley. a sandwich with tri-tip steak, Ortega chile and cheddar on grilled sourdough. For my side I picked fresh fruit because I was feeling feisty. Unfortunately, I was not informed that there would also be pickles on my plate. This was, of course, the first thing I noticed when I saw my meal and it left a bad taste in both my mouth and on the bit of bread that had brushed with the juices.
Yet, it wasn’t really the pickles that ended up being the problem here. There was just a general lack of freshness in the sandwich that I can’t fully explain. You know how beef can sometimes take on a “soapy” flavor? Well, there was a hint of that here. Sure. I ate it all, and enjoyed the greasiness of the perfectly grilled bread and melted cheese, but it just didn’t treat me the way I’ve come to expect from greasy spoon sandwiches.