Dixie's is consistently one of the best dining experiences I've ever had, anywhere. Go there on a hot July day at 12:30. You will be in line for 30-45 minutes, but if you're not starving, the lunch theater of customer after customer voluntarily putting themself into a state of mild shock -- to the whoop-and-holler delight of Gene -- is worth an afternoon (heck, many afternoons) in the sun. While Dixie's makes a brisk trade on pasty-faced Microserfs, you'll soon disabuse yourself of the notion that they're only screaming because they've never had hot sauce before.

On a daily basis arrogant Texans can be heard to proudly proclaim their origin: "I eat hot sauce morning noon and night and I ain't never met a sauce that could lick me yet, son. I make a chili that'll have your asshole settin' the toilet on fire. Ain't no Washington-rainy-barbecue sauce gonna hurt me!"

The sweet, generous portions they serve you here under the freeway demand a small amount of Gene's sauce. For me, a volume somewhere between the size of the last joint of my pinky (from the tip to the first knuckle) and half of that is plenty to leave me sweating. For the average heat-tolerant barbecue lover, two to three teaspoons is plenty. When the above Texan gives Gene lip about the sauce, he's gonna get something on the upper end of this range. Then, typically, he'll demand more, and Gene will oh-so-graciously oblige. Ten to twenty minutes later Gene will be heard (evesdropping is encouraged) explaining that if the customer doesn't eat faster, or scrapes the Man off, or generally doesn't seem terribly, terribly appreciative of the gift bestowed upon him, he will lose his future privledges to eat the man.

If, for some reason, you should find yourself in over your head with the Man, don't panic. Calmly stand up, set down your napkin, and run like hell to the front of the line. In as loud a gasp as you can muster, politely request a carton of milk. Don't worry about cutting -- the staff understand, and odds are very good that most of the people in line do too.

Gene's son runs another BBQ restaurant in Tacoma, called Porter's. I've never eaten there, but I expect it's probably up to the high standards that Dixie's keeps...