Devil’s Elbow was named for an awkwardly bad bend in the Big Piney River. There was a large boulder in the river at this point that lumberjacks swore was put there by the devil just to annoy them. Lumberjacks would float logs down the river and they would seem to always jam due to the rock and the bend in the river. The community of Devil’s Elbow started as a logging camp after the civil war. When Route 66 came through during the 1930s Devil’s Elbow was a resort community with cabins, canoes, and the famous Munger Moss Sandwich Shop which is now the Elbow Inn Bar and BBQ. The Elbow Inn Bar has acquired its own fame because of the hundreds of women’s bras that are hung from the ceiling. It also has great food and is a wonderful place to stop for lunch. Devils Elbow is located in Pulaski County about 25 miles west of Rolla. To get to there, take I-44 west to the Hwy J Exit (exit 169). Turn left on Hwy J and cross the interstate. Take an immediate right on Hwy Z. Follow Hwy Z,( a newer four-lane stretch of Route 66), for two or so miles until you get to Teardrop Road. Turn left here. Follow Teardrop Road for a quarter mile or so and you will arrive at the Elbow Inn Bar. The old truss bridge is next to the bar and the town of Devil’s Elbow is just on the other side of the river.
My mother learned how to make this dish from a native of Quito while we were living there in the early 1960’s. She has been making it every Thanksgiving and Christmas since then. Unlike ceviches of other places, the recipe she learned starts with cooked shrimp. The original recipe called for a handful of popcorn to be laid on top just before serving. My mother was not a fan of popcorn so she always made it without.
1 pound small shrimp
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Tabasco sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
If the shrimp is not cooked, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and boil the shrimp for one to two minutes, until just cooked. Drain shrimp and rinse with cold water. De-vein the shrimp and trim off the tails, and place in a bowl.
Whisk together the juices, ketchup, Tabasco, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Add the onion and shrimp. Stir together, then place in refrigerator for several hours. Overnight works best.
With all the snow, ice, freezing drizzle and being warned to stay off the roads for the past few weeks it’s no wonder I got “cabin fever”. I needed to go somewhere! I have been wanting to have breakfast at a mom and pop diner in my area for about a year now. I’ve put it off because it was so close that I figured I could go there anytime. I’m such a procrastinator. With the uncertain road conditions I decided that this was the perfect time to go. Not that I was driving, my husband Rick was the chauffer. It was far enough to be a nice drive and close enough so that if the road was bad we wouldn’t mind. The road was actually pretty good.
The destination was Lillee’s Sunrise Grill &Catering in Reeds Spring, Missouri, about 30 miles to the south of us.
The town was built around a spring, which had a wall built around it and a roof put over it, many, many years ago. One hundred years ago Reeds Spring was a bustling town. At one time it had the fame of being the capital of railroad tie production in the USA. There was also a very large tomato canning factory in the area because the weather was very favorable for tomato farming.
Another claim to fame for Reeds Spring is that one day in 1934, several weeks before they were killed, Bonnie & Clyde drove into town in a stolen car, had a shootout with the local police, and kidnapped a local man so that they could make a getaway. The 3rd Annual Bonnie & Clyde Days event was held in Reeds Spring in October 2013.
Lillee’s Sunrise Grill is easy to spot on the main road through town.
The current owners have only been here for one year, but have already gained a lot of support from local customers because of their good home cooking. I tasted it a few days ago and I’m ready to go back.
They are also catching the attention of folks in Branson, MO. As I was looking through the photos on their Facebook page I noticed that a popular group of Branson entertainers had been shooting what they hoped would be a future TV series, The Bucket Lid Café, using Lillee’s as the show’s café. Another photo was of Barry Williams, aka, Greg Brady of The Brady Bunch fame. He had stopped by for lunch one day.
The owners are not new to the food industry. Melissa and her husband moved their restaurant to Reeds Spring from the nearby town of Spokane, MO, where they had been for 2 years. Before that she had worked and managed a catering business, The Wild Fork, in Nixa, MO, for 10 years. Her husband was doing the cooking the morning we were there and let me tell you, he is a darned good cook!
Their menu is not huge, a good thing because I don’t want to read a book before ordering. It runs the gamut from good for you healthy food to total cholesterol bomb. Melissa was our waitress. The service was excellent, she is such a pleasant person to talk to and brought us more coffee just before we needed a refill. I swear she is psychic.
I ordered the Birds Nest, 2 eggs on a huge pile of hash browns and asked to have it topped with gravy. Yes, I went with a cholesterol bomb.
Both dishes were delicious, and the coffee was really good. Almost 100% of their food is made from scratch. Our next trip will be for lunch. If you live in the Springfield area or will be visiting Branson, make the trip to Reeds Spring for breakfast or lunch. Their Winter hours are Monday thru Saturday from 8am to 3 pm. The rest of the year they will be open Monday thru Saturday from 7am to 3 pm. You will find them on Main Street, in the original part of town. The address is 22221 Main Street, but don’t trust Google Maps, it landed me in the wrong place. You will get much closer by just entering Reeds Spring, MO. The restaurant will be across the street on the south side of the bend in the road, which is also know as highways 413 and 265.
And for photos of their food go to their Facebook page.
½ lb pork loin cutlets cut ½ inch thin
1 ½ cups raw medium grain rice
2 cups sliced sweet onions
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup Mirin
½ cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
4 slices fresh ginger
6 eggs lightly beaten
¼ cup flour
½ tsp salt
Heavy pinch of black pepper
2 to 3 cups Panko
¼ cup vegetable oil
Start rice cooking per package directions. Simmer onion, broth, Mirin, soy sauce, sugar and ginger in a large saucepan over medium heat until onion is soft (about 15 to 20 minutes.)
Place each pork cutlet between plastic wrap and flatten with meat mallet.
Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. On a dinner plate, mix in the flour, salt and pepper. Place the panko on a second plate. Heat the oil in a large frypan. Bread the cutlets by first dredging the cutlet in the flour, then dip the cutlet in the egg making sure to coat both sides, then coat the cutlet in panko. Fry the coated cutlets in the oiled frypan for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, then place on paper towel to drain.
To serve, cut each cutlet into bite size pieces making sure to leave each piece in place. Pour a small amount of the egg into the frypan. Use a wide spatula to transfer the cutlet back into the pan on top of the egg and let cook until the egg is set. Place each cutlet over a serving of rice and ladle the onion and sauce over each cutlet.
*Or do it my lazy way and forget putting the cutlet over the egg in the pan. Just cut it into the bite size pieces and then straight to on top of the rice.
Fill a large pot half full of water and heat. Mix together flour salt and eggs. Start adding water ¼ cup at a time until mixture is shiny and globby. If it doesn’t seem globby enough add another egg. Press thru spatzle maker into boiling water. Spätzle noodles are done when they float. Transfer to big bowl of cold water with a slotted spoon. Do in batches until dough is gone.
2 cans beef broth
¾ cup apple juice or cider
½ tsp ground sage
1 large apple, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 cups cooked spätzle
With kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut sausage links into 3/4 inch pieces. Fry sausage pieces in a medium saucepan for 2-3 minutes. Add the beef broth, apple juice, spätzle, sage and chopped apple. Heat to boiling. Turn off, stir in parsley and serve.
5 large potatoes
3 large carrots
½ cup diced onions
1 beef bouillon cube
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel potatoes and carrots, cut into large chunks. Put water, potato, carrot, bouillon cube and onion in pot and bring to boil. Turn down to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are soft. Put all through food mill or press through ricer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It’s an option to sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley after soup is ladeled into bowls.