One of my favorite shows as a kid was Supermarket Sweep, which featured contestants attempting to fill up their shopping cart with as much food as possible in a minute or two.
Invariably, the contestants - at least the savvy ones - would head straight to the meat department and start chucking roast beefs and steaks into their carts.
A similar impulse occurred to me as I scanned the enormous buffet at Kimmy's, a small eatery in Northwest Baltimore. A salad bar, fruit bar, cooked vegetables, a couple of Asian dishes, fried chicken and much more awaited. The buffet charged by the pound, so the question occurred to me: Should I stock up on the most expensive food?
Kimmy's, though, charges only $3.49 a pound, so it's an affordable meal no matter what you pick. I walked out with a very heavy bag - for less than $20.
Unfortunately, with one exception, we were underwhelmed by the food. Start with the good news: The fried chicken was moist, and the batter had a nice peppery flavor.
The macaroni and cheese, while not outstanding, was comforting; collards were tasty and not overly cooked. The lake trout - actually whiting - was deep-fried and only fair.
Much of the food was cooked down-home style, pretty much the way my grandmother in south Georgia did things. Barbecued spare ribs were drenched in a too-sweet tomato sauce, while the green beans had been cooked to within an inch of their lives.
Kimmy's had a variety of desserts. The chocolate cake ($1.50), while a bit past its prime, was still sweet and moist.
Kimmy's is part of a small chain in Baltimore, with restaurants on Wabash Avenue, Sinclair Lane and Edmondson Avenue. The restaurant also serves breakfast: hot cakes, eggs and French toast.
Kimmy's Soul Food
Waiting area: **
Where: 5732 Wabash Ave., Northwest Baltimore
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Saturday; 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday
Prices: Buffet $3.49 per pound; sandwiches and subs from $1.50 to $4.50; credit cards accepted
Fair or uneven: **