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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The Thrifty Foodie at the Hungry Fox

    Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Icecats sweep ASU in a 4-3 shootout victory on Sunday at the TCC Arena.  It marked the first shootout victory of the season for the Cats.
    Mike Christy
    Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat Icecats sweep ASU in a 4-3 shootout victory on Sunday at the TCC Arena. It marked the first shootout victory of the season for the ‘Cats.

    Eating at The Hungry Fox is like eating in an Americana collector’s home, but the values are found in the dining atmosphere and food, not the valuables.

    Nostalgia dominates the dining experience at The Hungry Fox and Country Store. The restaurant’s soft yellow exterior near the corner of Swan Road and Broadway Boulevard, is so unassuming that it can be easy to miss. The front half is a gift store. Summer dresses in different pastels linger in the corner, waiting to catch the eyes of sentimental parents. A spinning rack holds stacks of inspirational postcards while rows of candles perfume the air with modest scents.

    The walls in the dining area are covered with items that recall a simpler time, real or imagined. Cotton curtains with floral patterns cover the windows and bring to mind promises of green pastures and Holsteins outside. A rack of dainty teaspoons hangs over a booth, serving as a quiet reminder of civil rituals. Nutcrackers of varying sizes stand shoulder to shoulder as silent sentinels while customers eat.

    As for the food, lunch and breakfast are safe and inexpensive dining bets with the recent weekend dinner service showing some promise.

    Most entrées at The Hungry Fox range in price from $5-$9. Their brief titles gave little indication of the ample portions to come. One such deceptive plate was the Foxy Club ($7.29), which was made of turkey breast, tomato, bacon, and lettuce placed between three slices of toast.

    The sandwich displayed a series of delicious contrasts: the moist slices of turkey breast with the dry, buttered toast; the soft, sweet discs of tomato with the crisp, salty strips of bacon; and the firm lettuce and creamy mayonnaise roping all of these elements together. The pile of fries that accompanied the club was crunchy and satisfying, though a little too greasy.

    The meatloaf special ($7.29), served for Friday lunch, was another dish of generous portions. The meatloaf itself looked like it came from an average diner. Yet the details pointed to the intervening hands of a home cook. It was soft without being a pile of mush, and there was a bright, tangy flavor that distinguished it from the standard meatloaf.

    Its accompaniment of mashed potatoes and gravy hit most of the right notes. The potatoes fell somewhere between chunky and whipped while the meat gravy was good except for the lingering taste of flour. A side of green beans was cooked until it lost its firmness and bright hue, which would satisfy some sentimental diners.

    Breakfast, besides being the most important meal of the day, can also serve as a good opportunity to share a meal. The Hungry Fox provided plenty of such opportunities with its abundant and affordable breakfasts. One highlight was the Gypsy Skillet ($7.79), which comes with only two slices of toast. Then again, not much else is needed for this bricolage of hash browns, mushrooms, green peppers, ham, cheese and onions, all of which is coated with a layer of eggs. A hearty, empty stomach or a dining ally is needed to tackle this dish.

    Time and a steady stream of customers have been kind enough to The Hungry Fox to allow it to begin a weekend dinner service. Given more time, its dinners can match the standard of breakfast and lunch. From the limited menu, the beef braciola ($8.79) was one of the successful dishes.

    Slices of beef were pounded thin and then rolled around a filling that consisted mainly of black olives and bacon with green chiles added for a Southwestern flair. Mildly spicy tomato sauce and roasted garlic flakes rounded out the flavors and textures of the braciola. Parsley butter added a layer of richness to the toasted breadstick, and the rigatoni (spaghetti was also available) was al dente. A slice of delicious homemade cherry pie ($2.99) provided a tart, syrupy end to the meal.

    Customers entered and left this modest-looking yellow restaurant at a steady rate. They may have not bought the Americana on display, but they couldn’t deny the classic American fare at their tables.

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