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“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Saturday, November 24, 2007
    All Hail the Sonic

    The first trip I took to Louisiana this year changed my life: I discovered the fast food chain known as the Sonic Drive-In. Sonics are wonderful. To begin with, they really are drive-ins; when my friend first mentioned them I thought she meant "drive-through," but I was wrong. To continue, they serve flavored drinks, the kind you usually have to track down at expensive theme restaurants (at least here in Los Angeles). Sonic, however, serves well-priced vanilla, (blue) coconut, cherry or chocolate-flavored sodas... not only Coke, but Dr. Pepper too! Who wouldn't want to try a cherry chocolate Dr. Pepper?

    Well, apparently me. That was just too much flavoring for my taste buds to cope with. But I did have a vanilla Coke at Sonic, and also a limeade, and they were fantastic.

    Last and most important is the Sonic food menu. They serve grilled cheese sandwiches, which is my personal test of a good restaurant. (The cliche goes "If a restaurant serves a good cup of coffee, everything else will be good." Well, for me that goes double for grilled cheese. Theirs is perfect, with nice thick bread and just the right amount of cheese.)

    And they also serve... be still, my heart... Tater Tots. Chili Cheese Tater Tots, no less. And they are properly cooked, with nary a soggy undercooked Tot to be found (no doubt plenty of boiling oil is involved in their preparation, but we won't think about that right now).

    After my first encounter with a Sonic, I announced to my friend and restaurant guide LA my intention to retire from medicine, move to the South, and open a Sonic Drive-In; she gently advised me that I might want to rethink that career move. Since then I have found that there are Sonics fairly near me in Glendale and Anaheim, so when desperate I can still get my Sonic fix. My fixation on the Sonic phenomenon was such that, when I returned to Louisiana two weeks ago for a quick return vacation, LA handed me a small cylindrical doll made of shiny gold fabric with little stuffed legs and a printed smiley face.

    "What's this?" I queried.

    "It's a Sonic Tater Tot," she laughed. "They were giving them away and I got one for you."

    Mr. Sonic Tot is now happily esconced on my dresser top, where I greet him every morning. I think everyone should have a plush Tater Tot doll... don't you?




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