A very special epicurious adventure.

There are several gas stations in Virginia within striking distance of our flat that offer excellent eats, so said dozens of persons on a “Foodie” social media group that I occasionally dip into. Naturally this phenomenon had to be investigated.  The last time I created a meal from a gas station was in 2007? 2008? when we were returning from our annual week on Cape Cod and hit wicked traffic southbound on I-95. While Tony fueled the roadster I cobbled together Ritz crackers and some known cheese to tame the Hangries. How times have changed!

I mapped our destinations and one weekend afternoon last month we set off to gather our bundles of take-away delights.

This may look like an ordinary gas station/convenience mart, until you note the menu board off to the right. Inside the brick-walled space (or a secret chamber for those in the know?) every table was filled with happy guests; and the air, filled with the sweet perfume of Thai Basil.

Who knew the hidden culinary gems inside this gas station that also sells Boone’s Farm Wine (and Virginia Wine!) as well as Live Bait? The interior of the gas station had that great combo aroma of curry and lottery tickets, too.

Our final stop on this mission was a gas station offering…Nepalese Dumplings and Krispy Crunchy Fried Chicken. Because of course they were. The owners of Krispy Krunchy, a Louisiana Cajun Fried Chicken franchise happen to be Nepalese. That means that although you might come for the cracklings, you’re gonna stay for the handmade and totes adorable dumplings. But you’d best arrive early, because the fan favorite Chili Dumplings sell out early.

Two+ hours of driving around later, I present the bounty.

From the Thai Place, their signature Crispy Thai Basil Friend Rice. We both agreed we could probably eat it every day for a month before tiring of that awesome mouth tingle. On a whim we added the Thai Wings, too, which were just okaaay. The Fried Rice will have us returning.

From the Live Bait Place, Chicken Curry, Chana Masala and handmade Pupusas. Perhaps we rock-paper-scissored for the last of the chicken and the chana masala. I’ll never tell. We saved the Pupusas for breakfast the following morning. Muy delicioso with coffee.

The Krispy Krunchy fried chicken was quite good. Certainly not on the level of Jackie’s Dream in Knoxville, or even Gus’, but a respectable fried chicken nonetheless. Like Royal Farms (not on our hit list this trip), KK has a cult following, but I don’t think we’ll become KK cultists.

Front and center, the treasure from Everest Momo, tucked inside the Krispy Krunchy. Just look at those adorable silky dumplings, steamy and plumped with chicken and herbs. What’s missing from this snap is the medical emergency grade chili sauce provided with the dumplings. Wow. My eyes were watering with every fiery bite but I could not stop myself, that’s how good those dumplings were.

There were two additional gas station eateries that we passed on because our cooler bag was brimming. There will be a next time.