Monday, July 30, 2012

Eating Out in Idaho

Glenns Ferry: Carmela Vineyards, 1289 W. Madison, Phone (208) 366-2313 Stopped by for a wine tasting, bought some, stayed for lunch. Excellent prime rib sandwiches, cheesy broccoli soup and salad. Dine on the patio overlooking the golf course. Well worth the price. (9/2005)

Hagerman: Larry and Mary's Restaurant, 141 N. State St., Phone (208) 837-6475 According to Mary, our waitress and the Mary of Larry and Mary's Restaurant, we broke a waitress rule by not closing our menus after perusing them to show that we were ready to order. Wow, I have to admit we were ignorant of that particular rule of restaurant behavior! We knew, of course, to turn our coffee cup up if we wanted it filled or to leave it down if we didn't, but she also told us a good waitress watches to see how far one tilts their mug to judge whether or not she needs to come by with the coffee pot to refill said mug. Need I say that we were the only customers in the restaurant at 8:15 in the morning? Restaurant etiquette course 101 on a Sunday morning in a small town.

All kidding aside, the meal was quite good and Larry prides himself on his hand-grated and carefully friend hash browns which he insisted on serving us in spite of our protests of following an Atkin's diet. I caved in and took a couple of bites and they were, indeed, deliciously crisp. It's a nice restaurant, the owners are friendly and the food is good. And townspeople arrive in shiny, highly polished, mint-condition Edsels so ya gotta love it!
Oldtown:  Riverbank Family Restaurant, 402 N. Idaho Ave. Phone (208) 437-0892  We stopped at this restaurant that sits on the Priest River due to the large number of cars in the parking lot.  Little did we know that all of the patrons were in the bar and for good reason.  Denny and I both ordered the Friday night special of all you can eat fish which was cod.   The meal came with a salad bar which included old lettuce, a few toppings and about eight types of salad dressings.  The fish looked wonderful when it arrived at our table, but it turns out what we were served was fish fritters.  The cod itself was pieces of fish about 3/8 of an inch thick, one inch wide and about four inches long.  With the breading, the fish appears to be two inches wide and seven inches long.  When I finished my three pieces of fish, after removing all the breading, I had a pile of breading that was about four inches deep on my plate.  We brought that to the attention of the waitress who said she'd tell the cook (and we did hear her telling him) but that was it.  There was only us and one other couple in the restaurant at 6PM on a Friday night.  I guess that says it all.  Not recommended. (7/2010)

Weiser: Homestead Cafe, 813 State St. Phone (208) 414-3962 Popular with locals, relatively inexpensive and lots of food. We ate breakfast there. (9/2005)

Eating Out in Georgia

Darien:  B & J's Steaks and Seafood, 901 North Way, Phone (912) 437-2122   Highly recommended by a local campground owner, my fried shrimp was fresh, moist and flavorful.  Denny's tilapia fish sandwich was dry, chewy and fishy.  Reasonably priced.  We went back for breakfast since it was about the only place in town open for breakfast.  They had a limited buffet and a small breakfast menu.  Breakfast was simply okay.  (11/2010)

Skipper's Fish Camp and Oyster Bar
, 85 Screven St. Phone (912)  437-3474  The oyster bar has the outside dining but the food comes from the restaurant side so take your pick of seating based on the weather.  We ate outside and watched the water and the fishermen as we ate.  Good food, a bit pricey but worth it.  Recommended by a local. (11/2010)

Folkston: Okefenokee Restaurant, 103 S. Second St. Phone (912) 496-3263 Located at the corner of Second and Main, this pleasant little restaurant is well patronized by the locals. The food was excellent, the waitresses friendly and cheerful and the price was surprisingly low. When asked about the fried gator tail, our waitress said it was horrible and they only put it on the menu for the tourists. You gotta love honesty like that. We recommend this one. (12/2006)

Greensboro: Huddle House , 6141 Lake Oconee Pkwy, Phone (706)453-9833 The choices for breakfast on Sunday are few in this small town, so we hit a chain. We had such a good breakfast (me, the Western Omelette with jalepenos and Denny the country fried steak and eggs) that we came back again the next week. The staff will remember you after recognizing you as strangers the first time you go in. (12/2007) There is a newly opened restaurant in town called the Broad St. Grill that has breakfast Monday through Friday that looked like a good place to try also. Maybe our next trip here.

Luigi's Pizza Restaurant, 6163 Lake Oconee Pkwy, Phone (706) 454-1555 New York style pizza that's just wonderful and you can watch the pizza guy spin the dough in the kitchen while you wait. Their tiramisu is heavenly and some of the baked entrees we saw carried to other tables looked awfully tasty, too. A sign on the side of the room says to clean up after yourself because they aren't your mother, and most every one in the restaurant did, dumping their trash in the trashcan and their cups and silverware in the bin provided (except the female yuppie who ate while her husband who ordered nothing watched). A friendly place with excellent food--what more can you ask in a restaurant? (12/2007)

Lavonia: Dad's Restaurant, 5061 Whitworth Rd. Phone (706) 356-4442 Located inside the BP station, you're immediately greeting by the cashier with a friendly "Good Morning!" We thought our breakfast was going to be a little pricey but this is one of the places that will reduce your bill when you ask to skip the bread and potatoes (and grits). Our breakfast was very good and the pancakes were huge.  Lots of locals there on a Sunday morning. (10/2006)

Jekyll Island: The Rah Bar (Latitude 31 restaurant) on the pier in the historic district, Phone (912) 635-3800 Recommended by our tour guide as the best place for fresh shrimp as the shrimp boats deliver there daily. We packed a picnic lunch and dined al fresco at the picnic grounds farther north on the island. We'll try this place our next trip. (11/2006)

St. Simons Island: El Potro Mexican Restaurant, 2205 Demere Rd. Phone (912) 634-0703. The interior is tired and tattered, but the portions are large, reasonably priced and very tasty. We had the burro Aztec and the burro Grande and both of us took half home. (11/2006)

Eating Out in Florida

Apopka: Argos Diner, 3346 E. Semoran Blvd. Phone (407) 788-1888 A small restaurant with a friendly staff. We ate breakfast there and although our eggs were more brown than we liked them, the food was hot and good. And the biscuits were fresh. Reasonable (2/2008)

Clermont:  China Star, 668 E. Hwy 50, Phone (352) 242-0878  Right off the bat this eat-in/carry out Chinese restaurant lost points with me because the hot and sour soup and the entrees were served in carry out containers.  I HATE eating off styrofoam if I'm eating in at a restaurant.  2) the food was not terribly spicy. 3) there was very little sauce on our dishes, only enough to coat the shrimp and chicken and vegetables but not enough to soak or moisten the rice.  We wouldn't go back. (12/2010)

China Town, 781 E Hwy 50, Phone (352) 394-5000  The hot and sour soup was excellent, the food nicely spiced but our chicken was cooked bone dry which ruined the entire meal.  Too bad. (12/2010)

D'amato's Italian Restaurant, 151 W. Hwy 50, Phone (352) 242-2422  Denny and I stopped here because we wanted pizza which we ordered.  However, there were many wonderful looking dishes that passed our table that makes us want to come back and try some of the pasta dishes here.  Our pizza was a bit light on the tomato sauce, but the thin crust was crispy, the toppings were good, the side salads were fresh and the tiramisu that we took home to eat later was very good.  Recommended. (12/2010)

Oakwood Smokehouse , 1529 Sunrise Plaza (fronts Hwy 27) Phone (352) 394-0036 One of four restaurants in the Lake County area, Oakwood Smokehouse features a special of a full rack of ribs for $10.99 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And oh, are those ribs wonderful! I had the pork sandwich and the meat was a bit dry. Go for the rack of ribs and you won't regret it. The cheddar broccoli soup is pretty good, too. (3/2008)  Edited 12/2010; we returned this year and the ribs are still good and the prices are reasonable so we still recommend this restaurant.

Randy's Grill, 1213 US Hwy 27, (352) 243-6005 Breakfast was hot and delicious. The Western omelette was perfect and Denny said the chicken fried steak was tasty. Reasonably priced. (3/2008)

Santino's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant, 1529 Sunrise Plaza Dr. (fronts US 27 next to Advance Auto Parts) Hands down, the best meals we've had in weeks. We ate there three times; first, we had the pizza, which is served with free garlic knots (I could make a meal of these) and an order of fried mushrooms. Absolutely delicious. Second trip, veal parmesan for me, penne with Italian sausage and meatballs for Denny. The veal was pounded meat, not ground up and formed into patties and then delicately breaded and fried and doused with marinara sauce and mozarella. Denny moaned over his penne. Our third trip at lunch time we went for the soup and 1/2 sub special which included a salad, a large bowl (not a cup) of soup, and then our subs appeared with a large serving of french fries on the side. So much food and it was so good we had to try to eat it all. I could have eaten here every night of the week. Highly recomended and try to sit at one of Brenda's tables--she's a sweetie. (3/2008)  Edited 12/2010:  Santino's is gone--run out by high rents.  
Flagler BeachBy the Sea Cafe, 1536 S Oceanshore Blvd, Phone (386) 439-6428.  A funky little beach house turned cafe decorated with a mish-mash of china, tables and chairs and operated by the owner/chef.  Tasty sandwiches at lunch time and free bite sized blueberry muffins on the tables.  The front door was left open to the ocean breeze so I had a wonderful view of the Atlantic from where I sat.  There is also seating in the back on a trellis covered patio.  However, the macaroni salad was little more than boiled macaroni (no taste of mayo or pickle relish).  The sandwiches were yummy, making the experience a little uneven.  Pricey.  (11/2010)

China Cafe,  426 Beach Village Dr. Phone (386) 439-3388  Good hot and sour soup, large glasses of iced tea, food where the spice sneaks up on you a bit.  Good sized portions, good flavor, tender shrimp, freshly cooked.  While it wasn't the best Chinese we've had, we would go back. (11/2010)

Martin's Restaurant, 2000 S Oceanshore Blvd. Phone (386) 439-5830  We had eaten here with friends a long time ago, driving all the way down from St. Augustine.  We had a wonderful meal at that time, so when we realized how close we were to the restaurant this visit, we had to go back.  What a mistake.  Our meals were so hot it was pretty obvious they were microzapped and our prime rib was so seared on the outside that it looked and tasted like pot roast, although the inner section was tasty.  The bleu cheese dressing looked and tasted like straight Miracle Whip out of the jar.  The baked potatoes were tender and hot, the dinner rolls were fresh and tasty but they couldn't make up for the ruined prime rib and nasty salad dressing.  The shrimp and lobster on other diners' plates looked very good however.  Great view of the ocean from the window seating. (11/2010)

Homasassa: New China Restaurant, 3770 Suncoast Blvd. Phone (352) 628-1122 Three strikes for serving your eat-in meal in styrofoam take-out containers and plastic utensils. The fourth strike is hot and sour soup that has only bamboo shoots in it. Chicken in garlic sauce and shrimp in garlic sauce lunch entrees were hot, plentiful and good. I just hate eating on styrofoam. Reasonable. (1/2008)

Yanni's Restaurant, 7431 S. Suncoast Blvd. Phone (352) 621-4551 Family-style, family owned and operated. Moderate prices, early bird specials, good food, excellent tiramisu (2/1999) Edited 1/13/2008: Yanni's is no more. The restaurant is now called Patrick's and according to a newly transplanted Floridian the food is quite good. The address and the telephone number are the same.

Hudson: China King, 12035 Little Rd. Phone (727) 868-0888 Great hot and sour soup, mediocre kung pao and chicken in garlic sauce. Served on styrofoam take out boxes with plastic forks. I HATE that. Not recommended. (1/2008)

Sam's Hudson Beach Restaurant, 6325 Clark St. Phone (727) 868-1971 Good burgers and fries, good fish, great view of the water. Very, very, very expensive. 2 burger platters and 2 fish sandwich platters and four iced teas cost over $60 with tip. Are you blanching yet? We did, because we picked up the check. We won't be back (2/2008)

Kissimmee: Houlihan's, 8520 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy (Hwy 192) Phone (407) 809-0900  Lured by the roadside billboards near our campground in Clermont we drove and drove ("just ahead on the right" we were promised by a series of about five billboards) to eat breakast at what turned out to be a breakfast buffet.  The food was decent, there was an omelet grill to get freshly prepared omelets or eggs how you wanted them.  The buffet was $6.99 per person, ice tea was $2.50 and a cup of coffee was $2.50.  The waitress never refilled my coffee or Denny's iced tea although she did bring more plates when ours were empty after our first trip to the buffet.  A good place to pig out if you are into that sort of thing and you are given a receipt for 10% off your next visit. (12/2010)

Live Oak: Dixie Grill, 101 Dowling St. Phone (386) 364-2810 Where the locals go to eat. We ate Sunday breakfast there early and beat the crowd. I had a Western Omelette that was stuffed with good ham and large chunks of onion and green peppers. Denny raved about his link sausage. The biscuits were large and fresh from the oven, not the microwave. Yum. Under $15.00 including the tip. (1/2008)  Edited 1/2011; we were back this year and it's still good.

Big Daddy's BBQ and Steakhouse, 314 NW 72nd Trace, Phone (386) 362-7427.  Sits off of US 129 and worth looking for.  Great BBQ sandwiches, fresh hot fries and onion rings and strong iced tea.  Dead animals looking down at you but the pleasant wood interior makes up for it. Reasonable and good. (1/2011)

Moore Haven area: Seminole Casino Brighton--Joshua Lounge, Hwy 721 between SR 78 & SR 70 Inside the casino, allows smoking in the restaurant. More of a cafe, very expensive. The food was decent, but it's inside of the casino so it is smoky and noisy. It's a place to eat in an area where there's not many choices. (2/2008)

Okeechobee: Clock Restaurant, 1111 S. Parrott Ave. Phone (863) 467-2224 Friends took us here for the breakfast buffet. It was not exciting. A lot of the locals seem to eat here, especially the seniors. A buffet, go figure. (5/2006)

All-Star Steak & Ale, 3415 St. Rd. 441, Phone (863) 467-8191 Our friends said they had some of the best food in town. I'd hate to have the worst. The BBQ ribs were pressure cooked with a ladle of bland sauce that was little more than ketchup. One of the worst meals we've had in a long time. Plus the "smoking" section was the pool hall side and our table was 3 feet from the juke box which the pool players decided to play after we'd been sitting and talking for about 15 minutes-and the very considerate guy even turned the volume up to full blast for our dining pleasure. Don't bother with this place. (5/2006)

Port Richey: Breakfast Station, 10039 US Hwy 19 Phone (727) 861-3814 Breakfast and lunch served only. Excellent western omelette, great country fried steak and eggs, good service, cheap price. Our kind of place. (1/2008)

Jeannie's Diner and Restaurant III, US Hwy 19 and Jasmine Blvd (NE corner) Phone (727) 862-9916 We had breakfast here twice and it was the least expensive breakfast we've had in months and it was good. For Sunday breakfast, arrive between 8 and 8:15 to get a table--it gets busy after that. Breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a bar. (2/2008)

Mickey's Diner, 7015 Division Ave Phone (727) 862-6425 They were out of grouper, so we ordered a pollock sandwich and the special Mickey burger. Both were tasteless. The french fries were hard. Not recommended. (1/2008)

Sam Seltzer's Steakhouse , 9409 US Hwy 19 Phone (727)844-7267 We normally don't hit the chain restaurants for dinner, but this place was recommended by friends. We had the happy hour prime rib, which while thin cut, was tender and flavorful. I enjoyed the creamed spinach and Denny went for the baked sweet potato. Our friends raved about the ribs. Alcoholic beverages are expensive--next time we'll have our cocktails at home, then come here to eat. (1/2008)

Sarasota:  Barnacle Bill's, 5050 N. Tamiami Trail, Phone (941) 355-7700  Recommended by a staff member at the Ringling Museum, we were very disappointed in their fish sandwiches.  The two tiny pieces of fish only covered about 2/3 of our buns.  The French fries were fresh and good, the bread was excellent but a seafood restaurant shouldn't serve a pathetic sandwich like that.  Overpriced to boot. No recommendation from us.  (12/2010)

St. Augustine: The Oasis, 4000 A1A South, Phone (904) 471-3424. An obvious favorite with the locals. The portions are small and the prices are high, although the food is good. The wait staff is very friendly. We had breakfast here. (11/2006)

A1A Ale Works,1 King St., Phone (904) 829-2977 There are a lot of restaurants in old St. Augustine and they will all be expensive. However, dining on the balcony of this former mercantile building while people and boat-watching was very pleasant and our meal was very good. The chefs here are allowed free hand with the menu and they change the specials daily. The wait staff taste-tests them all so they are able to recommend their favorites of the group. Do not leave without trying the white chocolate dried cherry bread pudding. Yum! We rolled out of this restaurant, wonderfully stuffed. (11/2006)

Borrillo's Pizza and Subs, 88 San Marco, Phone (904) 829-1133 Cash Only!  New York-style slices of pizza or whole pies, Buffalo wings, spaghetti and more. We went for the whole pie and an order of wings and took most of the pizza home. The locals know to buy a slice and leave it at that. Good pizza and great wings. (11/2006)

Cafe Eleven, 501 A1A Beach Blvd., Phone (904) 460-931 Sunday is buffet-style breakfast only, which was only mediocre and expensive. There are a couple of small tables outside but no real view of the beach due to the condos across the street. (12/2006)

Raintree Restaurant, 102 San Marco Ave. Phone (904) 824-7211. This 2-story yellow frame former home with enclosed front porch decorated for Christmas is the personal favorite of one of our trolley tour drivers. He recommends the dessert bar even if you dine elsewhere. It looks like a wonderful place for an intimate dinner for two, especially on the front porch. We'll try it the next time we're in town. (11/2006)

Barnacle Bill's, 14 W. Castillo Dr. Phone (904) 824-3663. This seafood restaurant is supposed to be quite popular with locals and tourists both, per another tour guide. A short walk from the trolley stop.(11/2006)

St. Pete Beach: Sea Porch Cafe at the Don CeSar Hotel, 3400 Gulf Blvd. Phone (727) 360-1881 Elegant dining, excellent presentation, great food. Expensive. Due to the wind, we ate inside by the choice of the servers. Our preference would have been the outdoor tables with a bit of a view of the beach and the hotel. Recommended as a special treat. (2/2008)

Wauchula:  Nicholas' Family Restaurant, 615 N. 6th Ave. Phone (843) 773-2333  While their fresh bread was chewy as if heated in the microwave, that was our ony complaint with our meal.  My fried shrimp was tender with a very light, crispy breading and Denny's chicken fried steak was fork tender.  Both meals were served steaming hot, there were plenty of desserts and the split pea soup suffered only from a lack of ham chunks.  But then, I prefer my own homemade split pea soup over anyone else's.  Recommended.  (12/2010)

Paul's Kitchen, 116 N. 4th Ave. Phone (863) 773-0292  Housed in a small former Cape Cod style residence, Paul's serves its coffee in mismatched mugs and its breakfasts on mismatched Corelle and ironstone plates but the food they serve is really, really good.  And where else can you get two slices of French toast, two slices of bacon and two eggs for $3.50?  Each time we went (and we had breakfast there four times over a two week period) our bill was less expensive.  Recommended. (12/2010)

Pioneer Restaurant, 2902 US Hwy 17S Phone (863)735-0726 Four of us agreed our dinners here were good; liver and onions, BBQ sandwich and chili and country fried steak. Denny and I went back for breakfast and the eggs were way overcooked both as scrambled eggs and as an omelet, which also came back as nothing like what I had ordered. Eat dinner there, not breakfast. Cash only.(1/2008)

The Bread Board, 902 S. 6th Ave., Phone (863) 733-2337  Try the smothered chicken; recommended by the staff who work there and they were right.  Denny filled up on their salad bar which was basic but plentiful.  Their chicken noodle, their gumbo and their cream of broccoli soups were all good.  The Sunday night special of prime rib was thin but surprisingly tender, their mushroom swiss burger was huge and their prices are reasonable. (12/2010)

Wildwood: Ole Coffee House, 610 N. Main St. Phone (352) 748-4300 A little beat-up, a bullet hole in one of the picture windows, but the locals like to gather here for some tall tales (we heard the one about the two-legged dog in Alabama keeping up with a truck driving 25-30 mph down a country road.) A two-egg omelette was filled with so much tender ham, green peppers and onions that I had to take half of it home. Their biscuits had been reheated in a microwave, unfortunately. The sausage gravy was good, per Denny. Reasonable.(1/2008)

Eating Out in Delaware

Long Neck: La Dolce Vita, 34814 Long Neck Rd #5, Phone (302) 947-4008 We arrived at this restaurant just after 4 PM because we had missed lunch and were tired from a day of traveling. It turns out the restaurant has a early bird special of dinner/salad and bread/aoli for $10. And they are good meals, too; Denny had the sweet sausage with pasta and I had the chicken parmesan.  Beer and wine was reasonably priced, the house cabernet was very good.  I took home leftovers to boot. They have a small bar, a nice wine list and a friendly staff. We recommend this place. (9/2011)

Texas Grill, 26089 Long Neck Road, Phone (302) 945-7171 This restaurant was recommended to us as a good place to eat. We stopped by and tried their prime rib special. I don't know what cut of meat that was, but it wasn't prime rib and it was tough, chewy and had the texture of a pot roast. I will say that it was cooked medium rare, but that's the only good thing I could say about it. The rest of the sides were mediocre. Not recommended, although it seems to be popular with the locals. (9/2011)

Eating Out in Connecticut

Madison: Bradley & Wall Gourmet Foods, 96 Wall St. Phone (203) 318-0300 Rarely do Denny and I find a pizza we enjoy outside of our hometown of Dayton, Ohio but I have to say, we enjoyed our deluxe thin crust pizza here. And while we waited for our pizza we drooled over the many hot foods and cold salads available for carry out or dine in eating. There was a steady flow of carry out customers the entire time we were waiting for our food and then later while eating it—this place is obviously a favorite of the locals. If we had stayed in town longer I'm sure we would have been back to try some of their entrees and fresh and/or pasta salads. The free garlic bread/garlic rolls were a nice touch too. Reasonable. (8/2011)

Mystic: Equinox Diner, 253 Greenmanville Ave. Phone (860) 415-4625 Located close to the Mystic Seaport Museum, Denny and I stopped here after a day at the museum. We tried their sandwiches: Denny had the Reuben and I had the Irish Pub fish sandwich. Both were excellent, served hot. Denny also tried the clam chowder which he enjoyed. The waitress was attentive and kept our iced tea glasses refilled which was wonderful on this hot day. Reasonable for a tourist area. (8/2011)

Eating Out in Colorado

Boulder:  Native Foods Cafe, 1675 29th St Suite 1272, Phone (303) 442-0213  My girlfriend wanted me to try one of her new favorite vegan restaurants so we gave it a try and I was pleasantly surprised by the tastiness of the food here. She had the reuben sandwich and sweet potato fries while I had the blackened Native Chicken wrap. Both sandwiches were excellent, the fries nicely crisp and the lavender lemonade is really tasty. I took home a carrot cake and chocolate cupcake for my husband and me to eat later and my husband had no idea it was a vegan product. Yummy, although they could have cut the icing in half, good as it was. I would definitely eat here again despite not following a vegan lifestyle.

Fort Collins:  Bann Thai, 626 S. College Ave., Phone (970) 797-2707  Because my friend is a vegan, she chose a restaurant that not only has vegan friendly meals but one that has an outdoor patio where they allow dogs. We shared dishes of Panang (red curry with tofu), spring rolls, a tofu satay and coconut ice cream. All were tasty, spicy hot and well prepared. Our wait person was friendly, efficient and helpful. A nice place to people watch and enjoy a great meal.  

The Rainbow Restaurant, 212 W. Laurel St, Phone (970) 221-2664   We came for breakfast with a friend who is a vegan.  Denny and I had the more standard breakfasts of eggs scrambled with veggies, a serving of pumpkin break french toast and huevos rancheros along with the vegan coffee cake recommended by our friend. All were excellent and we enjoyed dining on the patio because we had our friend's golden retriever along with us.

The only downside was the waitress's lack of attention to our iced tea and water glasses; we had to catch her attention again and again for refills. 

Loveland:  McGraff's American Grill, 1602 East Eisenhower Boulevard, Phone (970) 669-8847   Denny and I stopped for dinner on an evening when we weren't sure what we wanted to eat and we had just arrived in town to visit a friend. He ended up with the French dip and I ended up with the Southwest dip. While the meat in the sandwiches was tender, there was no "heat" in the southwest dip sandwich and the meal was simply so-so. Nothing to rave about, nothing really to complain about, just "ehhh". Decent service, basic chain restaurant decor well maintained, just not a memorable meal. 

Next Door Food and Drink, 222 E 4th St # 100, Phone (970) 541-3020  Three of us shared appetizers and a salad. We had our waiter running back and forth to the kitchen to inquire about the menu items and how they were prepared because one of the group is allergic to garlic and the other is a vegan. We ended up with the fried artichokes, the dipping trio and the Baby greens/ dried figs & apricots/ manchego/ balsamic vinaigrette (minus any garlic in the vinaigrette). All were very good and our waiter was very patient with us and the dietary restrictions. Accompanying our meal was a nice pinot noir and the pleasant atmosphere made for a very enjoyable evening.

Pho Lan, 1360 E. Eisenhower Blvd, Phone (970) 685-4411   My girlfriend treated my husband and me to lunch here. She is vegan so went with the veggie spring roll while my husband had a broccoli/chicken dish and I had the medium tofu pho bowl. Huge servings, excellent meal although my husband was a bit disappointed that the sriracha sauce seemed to be watered down as it had no "bite". I thoroughly enjoyed my first pho bowl and ended up taking a lot of it home due to the size of the serving. Great place for vegans as the staff is willing to work with you on your menu choices.

Trinidad: Trinidad Diner, 734 Main St. Phone (719) 846-7798.  Good breakfast, friendly staff, building a little worse for the wear. Cash only. (4/2010)  Edited 6/2012:  Breakfast wasn't as good this time around--I think we'll pass on this place in the future.

Wonderful House Chinese Restaurant, 415 University St, Phone (719) 845-1888  The first thing we noticed upon entering the restaurant was the friendliness of the staff and the number of "regulars" dining at lunch time. Very muted color scheme inside, cloth napkins a plus. My husband had the Szechuan chicken while I had the Garlic Chicken. Both came with a lot of vegetables, was hot and plentiful and my garlic chicken had a flavorful sauce. My husband was disappointed in his Szechuan chicken as it was rather bland. We asked for and received a bowl of chili sauce and when we finished with our included egg rolls my husband poured the mixture of hot mustand and sweet and sour sauce from the egg rolls on his meal which added a lot of heat and flavor. The hot and sour soup was excellent. We would certainly try this restaurant again if we were in the area, although we would ask for our meals to be made spicier while being made.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Eating Out in California

Big River: The Dock Restaurant, 150341 Del Rey Drive, Phone (760) 665-5516 I had forgotten about this little riverside restaurant a few miles south of Parker on the California side of the river. We ate at their Friday night all you can eat fish fry and returned for Sunday breakfast. Excellent. You can sit at a booth inside on the upper level or go down a couple of steps to the enclosed "patio" where you'll eat off paper plates with plastic utensils at picnic tables with a fine view of the Colorado River. Opens at 4PM Parker time in the winter. (2/2007) Edited: 02/2012  Still good, but the business is for sale.

Blythe: Rosita's Mexican Restaurant, 611 W. Hobson Way, Phone (760) 922-4090 Standard Mexican fare, standard d├ęcor, moderate prices (2/2005)

Sunset Grill, 9266 E. Hobson Way, Phone (760) 922-9808 Motel restaurant, food okay but a little pricey (2/2005)

Courtesy Coffee Shop, 800 W. Hobson Way, Phone (760) 922-2302 Inexpensive meals, good food, but don't expect a lot of ambiance The last time we were there the owner had a “for sale” sign up (10/2005)

Calimesa: Bob's Big Boy, 540 W. Sandalwood, Phone (909) 446-8822 Our waitress was from Michigan and therefore knew what an “Ohio-style” Big Boy was. In Ohio they use tartar sauce and dill pickles in place of the original thousand island dressing and pepper relish. However, lunch of two big boys, salad bar for Denny, onion rings for me and two drinks came to just under $18 for lunch which is definitely not “Ohio style”. (3/2005)

Royale Restaurant, 1007 Calimesa Blvd #K, Phone (909) 795-7065 Great homestyle cooking, cheap, great wait staff. Dinner with tea and dessert for both of us was just under $20 and was delicious. One of our favorites. (3/2005)

Cathedral City: Don and Sweet Sue's, 68955 Ramon Rd. Phone (760) 770-2760 Very popular on a Sunday morning, California-healthy breakfasts, moderately expensive (3/2005)

Chula Vista: Broken Yolk Cafe, 884 Eastlake Pkwy. Phone (619) 216-1144 Four egg omelets that can be split between two customers for free, fresh fruit as an option for potatoes, blueberry muffins with a cake-like texture; yum! Breakfast burritos, waffles, pancakes, Mexican style breakfasts--you have your choice. Open for breakfast and lunch only, pleasant surroundings, outdoor dining, pleasant staff and near a Trader Joe's. So we went back the next week! (02/2010)

Desert Hot Springs: All Star Burgers, 70065 Dillon Rd., Phone (760) 329-9900  The staff at our nearby campground recommended the burgers here at All Star Burgers and they are good (and big.) You order at the counter and the food is brought to your table. While they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, we were there twice for dinner only. My husband had two different varieties of burgers, both thick and good, while I tried the fried fish sandwich which was also good and the chicken quesidillas. I was a bit disappointed that the cheese was pretty scarce in the quesidilla, but they piled on the fajita style chicken which was moist and flavorful. Don't bother with the self-serve tortilla chips and salsa. A little pricey but tasty.

Capri Italian Restaurant, 10625 Palm Dr, Phone (760) 329-6833  Denny and I had an excellent meal here, he having the Italian sausage with penne pasta and I had the chicken pomodoro. The small salads had a nice variety of greens although the bleu cheese dressing was a bit lacking in bleu cheese. The garlic bread was served hot. Soup choices were ham and cheese broccoli and minestrone, both of which sounded and looked good when seen on other tables, but we thought soup would be too filling with pasta. We took home a serving of tiramisu which our waiter Neil told us was double the size it actually turned out to be so I consider that overpriced although the tiramisu itself was good. Service was terrible from our particular server, Neil, but other servers assisted us in getting to go boxes and handling our check. Neil had a bad habit of disappearing and never checked back to see how we were doing with our drinks, etc. Our view was of the resort's swimming pool and court yard which was more pleasant than seeing two TVs suspended from overhead. I thought those belonged in the bar and not in the dining area.(04/2012)

China Food House, 14220 Palm Dr., Phone (760) 329-9898 Standard Chinese fare, reasonably priced (3/2005)

Sidewinder Cafe, 66121 Pierson Blvd, Phone (760) 329-7929  Denny treats me to breakfast out every Sunday and we decided to try someplace north of I-10 this week. The Sidewinder Grill is on the northern end of Desert Hot Springs a few blocks off the main drag. There is outdoor seating for warm days but you're looking out over the parking lot.

Breakfast for my husband was his normal chicken fried steak, eggs over easy and hash browns. The hash browns are a bit different here, being cut like flat noodles instead of the skinny cut of a grater as we're used to. Still good. I had the Sidewinder omelet which was a western omelet with the addition of mushrooms. The biscuit that was included was warm and fresh from the oven and we both enjoyed our meals. Service was unobtrusive and just attentive enough.(03/2012)

Village Donuts & Bakery, 13900 Palm Dr Suite A, Phone (760) 251-8933  Okay, so this isn't a restaurant but occasionally we check out the local donut shops for an old-fashioned donut fix.  Here they have fresh, plump glazed donuts and our favorite old-fashioned donuts served plain, glazed or frosted with maple or chocolate. Nice variety of donuts and although I only chose a half-dozen donuts the lady behind the counter tossed in two more donuts free of charge. Yum! (03/2012)

Groveland:  Buck Meadows Restaurant and Bar, 7647 State Hwy 120, Phone (209) 962-5181   We ate a delayed lunch/early dinner here when we arrived in the area; Denny had the fish and chips and I had the evening's seafood special which was fried fish and three shrimp with fries and a vegetable medley along with salads. The fish was tender and well cooked, not heavily breaded, the fries hand cut and the salads were decent. The vegetable medley was heavy on the canned corn and a bit mushy to boot but fresh hot bread made up for that. On Sunday we returned for breakfast; Denny had the chicken fried steak which was very good although the white gravy was unusual in that it tasted of Polish sausage rather than standard fresh sausage. Crispy hash browns and properly fried eggs completed his meal. I had the French toast/eggs/meat combo with crisply fried bacon and the scrambled eggs were obviously cooked in butter--yum. Friendly staff, pleasant surroundings and 50s music.(05/2012)

Havasu Lake: The Landing (inside Havasu Landing Casino) 1 Main St., Phone (800) 307-3610 Good sandwiches at lunch time and a great view of Lake Havasu through floor to ceiling windows. Pricey. Take the ferry shuttle from Lake Havasu City to the casino for a pleasant afternoon ride, get discount tickets for the ferry and lunch at the gift shop by the London Bridge. (10/2005) 
Bad Miguel's, 1841 Kiowa Ave.#103 Phone (928) 860-0201 Breakfast was good and reasonable, nice salsa with tortilla chips. (10/2005)

Hollister:  Cafe Ella, 1709 Airline Hwy, Phone (831) 638-0338  Denny and I stopped here after playing a round of golf so it was apparently a bit early for the dinner menu, which was what the waitress handed us. We placed our drink order and then our dinner order but it wasn't explained to us that the chef didn't start cooking the evening menu meals until after 5 PM, so we had quite a wait. Denny had the artichoke ravioli which was really wonderful (he shared a bite with me) while I had the chicken parmesan. The chicken and the accompanying polenta and grilled asparagus were tasty although the chicken's exterior portion was more than a bit dry and chewy as if it had been left on the grill too long before going into the oven. Service was good, the atmosphere was quiet and nice for such a small place although at the time there was only one other person in the restaurant with us.

Cheung Sheng Chinese Restaurant, 201 6th St, Phone (831) 637-8388  Denny and I had the lunch special here; for under $6 you get either Hot and Sour Soup or Egg Flower Soup, steamed rice, TWO entree choices and tea. My husband had the kung pao chicken and vegetables and prawns while I had the kung pao chicken and the twice cooked pork. The smokey aroma of the twice cooked pork was incredible and we both enjoyed our choices even though the chicken in the kung pao chicken was just a tad chewy. The hot and sour soup was very spicy which is just how I like it, and there's a pot of chili sauce on the table to heat up anything you wish. The best part is having so much left over that we'll be able to share it for lunch a second time. We would definitely return to this restaurant.(04/2012)

Jamul: Fillippi's Pizza Grotto, 13881 Campo Rd (Hwy 94) Phone (619) 669-1080 Good pizza, basic iceberg lettuce salad, good bread on our first visit, so we went back for the Italian dinners. I tried the family combo (spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna) while Denny had the spaghetti/ravioli combo with Italian sausage. My meal came with a salad and a bowl of soup, Denny's didn't, but my salad was big enough to share, as was the soup. Plus we took a lot home with us. Friendly staff, typical pizza parlor decorations but in the fall they are moving a bit northwest up the street into a new building of their own. (02/2010)

Lake Hughes:  The Rock Inn, 17539 Elizabeth Lake Rd, Phone (661) 724-1855 After visiting the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve the volunteers there recommended we hit some back roads and drive to The Rock Inn for lunch. What a great suggestion! Rebuilt in 1929 after a fire, the Inn now houses a fun little bar/restaurant that provides music some evenings and weekends. My husband and I both had the fried fish; me on a sandwich and he with the fish and chips. We enjoyed both although we salivated a bit over the huge hamburgers that were carried past our table as we waited. Meals take a little time as they are cooked fresh to order, but we spent the time looking around at the decorations and murals and just enjoyed sitting by the embers still burning in the fireplace. Prices are not out of line for California. We would definitely return here! (04/2012)

Lincoln:  Jumbo Chinese Restaurant, 155 Joiner Pkwy Suite 100, Phone (916) 645-8018  We came to Lincoln to grocery shop and saw the Jumbo Chinese Restaurant on the way to the store. After shopping we decided to stop to have lunch and we're glad we did. Service was quick and friendly, the food was served hot and was very tasty. My husband's shrimp with hot garlic sauce had the most shrimp on his plate than any other Chinese restaurant we've tried over the past six months. I tried the chicken with hot garlic sauce and enjoyed it. I have to admit, we both added hot sauce to the hot and sour soup AND to our entrees as we like our Chinese food very spicy, but the meals were truly well prepared and very good. We would come back the next time we visit the area. Added bonus: playing peek a boo and throwing kisses to the toddler whose mother was working there this afternoon. He has the most adorable grin!  (05/2012)
Needles: Rita's Restaurant, 1901 Needles Hwy, Phone (760) 326-2266 Pass this one by. Since they don't have a liquor license they offer margaritas made with wine. Need I say more?

Palm Springs: Coco's Bakery Restaurant, 1909 E. Palm Canyon Dr, Phone (760) 327-2666  I had just been to the dentist to start some bridgework repairs and we had thought about having a late breakfast at Coco's but their special lunch menu sounded good so Denny had the three sausage pasta and I had the Pacific salad with tuna salad. The lunch special comes with a cup of soup and a choice of bread. We chose the French onion soup which Denny said was great and I chose the spicy chicken and vegetable soup which was not spicy at all but was tasty and filling. The breads are served hot and are good also. A pleasant place for lunch. (03/2012)

Perris: Jenny's, 1675 N. Perris Blvd. #B, Phone (951) 657-2945. A fifties-style diner, great sandwiches, lots of food for the price, always busy. (1/2005)

China Palace, 1675 N. Perris Blvd. #A8, Phone (951) 943-1867 Buffet or off the menu, standard Chinese restaurant fare but they”ll spice up your dishes upon request. It was here that we discovered Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce which I now use to make spicy buffalo wings-wow! Reasonably priced, nice selection in the buffet. (1/2005)

San Diego: Neighborhood Burger, 777 G St (at 8th) Phone (619) 446-0002 If you are an aficionado of beer, this is a good place to stop for a burger and a cold one. The menu is a bit on the eclectic side but the food is tasty, well prepared and pleasingly plated. The cafe is a tiny place on the corner, but with the huge windows opened wide on a warm day it was a nice place to have lunch and people watch. Good food, good service, California prices.(02/2010)

St. Helena:  Gott's Roadside Cafe, 933 Main St, Phone (707) 963-3486  By arriving at 11:30 AM we beat the lunch rush and there was quite a line by noon. Denny had the Wisconsin sourdough burger, I had the Blue Cheese Burger and both were large, well prepared and tasty. We split an order of sweet potato fries and each had the lemonade with refills. While the cost was more than what we folks from Ohio are used to paying for a couple of burgers we enjoyed every bite. We basically stopped by after realizing the location had been on Diners, Drive ins and Dives, but we enjoyed the 50s look and it was a beautiful day to sit outside and people watch while we ate. (05/2012) 

Tres Pinos:  Flapjacks Country Cafe, 6851 Airline Hwy, Phone (831) 628-3499 I was a bit wary about this place after reading some of the reviews, but Denny and I had an enjoyable breakfast here. He had the new special of chicken fried steak and eggs while I tried the chorizo breakfast burrito. My burrito could have used some salsa or sour cream to moisten it up a bit, but Denny thoroughly enjoyed the unusual seasoning on the chicken fried steak. Our waitress was one of the owners and once she found out I had an interest in beach/sea glass for making jewelry she told us of some good places to look for it and some restaurants to try in the Big Sur area. The surroundings were pleasant, there's a nice deck outside for eating in warmer weather that has a nice view of the flower beds and the food was good. We would return. 

Winters:  Kountry Kitchen, 11 Grant Ave, Phone (530) 795-2833   We were camped a few miles west of Winters and came into town to be able to make phone calls from our cell phone and saw the Kountry Kitchen as we were looking for a place to eat. Advertising American and Mexican food, they lean towards the Mexican with a few burgers on the menu. We had the chicken flautas and the chicken sopas both of which were filled with tender well seasoned chicken and lots of good toppings. We were also served a basket of fresh hand made chips and salsa which we enjoyed prior to our meal. The interior is pretty basic but the food is good.(05/2012)

Eating Out in Arkansas

Ashdown: Millwood Landing Bar & Grill, 596 Hwy 317, Phone (870) 898-5320 Little River is a dry county but the Millwood Landing Resort and Golf Club has a small bar and grill in their clubhouse that does serve beer, wine and mixed drinks. Denny and I had their bacon cheeseburgers which were sizeable but cooked too dry because the waitress was the bartender and the cook and we came in right when a bunch of thirsty locals stopped by and her priorities were with the bar patrons. I have to say, the golf course's winter season hasn't really ended yet, so the clubhouse isn't fully staffed at this time. We'd probably give it another try if we stayed here at their campground again. (4/2011)

Nashville: Fisherman's Cove, 1433 Mine St, Phone (870) 845-3335 When you order your meal, the server will ask you “salad or set up?” Go for the set up: coleslaw, pickled green tomatoes, soupy pinto beans and a big basket of hush puppies—yum! I had the fried shrimp, Denny had the beef country-style ribs. Both were delicious and we each took half of our dinner home. The only fish they serve is catfish and now I wish I had tried it. We recommend this one. (4/2011)

Van Buren:  Big Jake's Cattle Co., 1702 Fayetteville Rd., Phone (479) 474-5573  We had high hopes for this place; the decor is pure cowboy/Western.  We were hungry and stressed after a long day on the road with a broken slideout that meant I couldn't access my kitchen so we were looking forward to a meal with a lot of protein.  Denny ordered the chicken fried steak, I had the brisket sandwich platter.  Our meat was tough and chewy and gristly.  We were so disappointed in this meal. (11/2011) 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Eating Out in Arizona

Apache Junction:  Arizona Opry, 2275 Old West Highway Phone (480) 982-7991 Dinner with a show. Tender roast beef, coleslaw, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, roll, chocolate cake. Not exciting but okay. Show is a lot of fun. $23 adult (1/2006)

Barro's Pizza, 1113 S. Signal Butte, Phone (480) 357-3500 Spicy hot wings, an okay salad bar, good greasy thin crust (if you ask for it) pizza. Pretty popular with the locals. (3/2007)

Cobb's Restaurant, 944 W. Apache Trail Phone (480) 982-3233 Daily $3.99 breakfast special keeps this greasy spoon full of cotton-tops. Okay breakfast. (1/2006)

Dirtwater Springs, 586 W. Apache Trail, Phone (480) 983-3478  We went here with friends for the all you can eat cod dinner. Happy hour is early--2 PM to 5 PM, so I'm not sure if their special prices are any good because we arrived at 6PM. Everyone in our group had the AYCE cod, although I paid extra for a cup of the cheesy broccoli soup instead of having french fries. It was the best part of my meal. The cole slaw was good, but the cod was tough, chewy, more than a little fishy smelling and the breading was soft as if it had been sitting in a warming oven for some time. The hand cut french fries were greasy and soggy, yet the restaurant had people waiting in line. I guess people will put up with anything to be able to gorge. I wouldn't go back. The restaurant has different all you can eat specials for other nights of the week. Perhaps any of those would be a better choice.(02/2012) 

The Feedbag Restaurant, 300 S. Phelps Dr., Phone (480) 983-3521 Moderately expensive, very busy, very good (breakfast) (1/2006)

Famous Sam's Sports Bar & Grill , 250 Phelps Dr., Phone (480) 983-8200 Sometimes you just have to try a chain restaurant, especially when the Feedbag's customers are lined up outside the door on a Sunday morning. There were only three other couples at Famous Sam's for breakfast at 8:15 AM on Sunday but that wasn't indicative of the food quality or the service. We had a terrific breakfast (try the Country Omelet or the Country fried (or Chicken-fried as the eastern born waitress insisted) steak and eggs. They'll substitute a fruit cup for the bread and potatoes, coffee comes free with the meal and it's a tad cheaper than the Feedbag. (2/2007)

Fatman's Pizza & Grill, 1985 W. Apache Trail Phone (480) 671-9897. We tried a thin crust Chicago SMOG pizza. The sauce is a marinara sauce, very watery, which made the otherwise delicious hand-made crust soggy. Their subs looked delicious, as did their Italian dinners. Lots of folks dining in and taking carry out home. (1/2006)

Sundance Restaurant, 1535 E. Old West Hwy., Phone (480) 983-1917 A favorite with the winter visitors on Sunday mornings. Good, filling, fairly cheap. Get there early to beat the crowd. (1/2006)

Benson: Apple Farm Restaurant, 660 N. Ocotillo Blvd., Phone (520) 586-8760. A decent breakfast, reasonably priced, friendly staff. We also were at the restaurant for dinner although we ate light since Denny was dealing with a cold. He had the Italian scramble (breakfast) with fruit and an apple muffin while I had the BBQ pork sandwich and fries. The Italian scramble was tasty with a bit of chili powder mixed into the eggs which were moist. There was a nice mixture of fruit, including mango and the muffin was good. My sliced pork was extremely tender on a good roll and the pre-made fries were well fried. We were treated to a glorious sunset as we ate so it was all good.(01/2012)

Beijing Chinese Restaurant, 577 W. 4th St., Phone (520) 586-7140 Pass this one by. The food in the buffet line was cold, there were no spicy dishes other than the hot and sour soup and the food choices were standard Americanized Chinese. (1/2010)

Galleano's, 601 W. Fourth St., Phone (520) 586-3523 We ate here a year and a half ago and we were a bit disappointed in the quality of their chorizo. This year their country fried steak had obviously been heated in a microwave instead of being freshly cooked. Service is friendly and prices are reasonable. (10/2006)  Edited 01/2012:  Galleano's is now called Palatiano's. Denny and I stopped here in the afternoon after a round of golf for "linner". We went for the hot roast beef sandwich and the gyros, both of which were very good. The waitress was friendly and efficient despite being very busy. We decided to take home two pieces of bread pudding and that was our mistake; the rum sauce had a very strong flavor of alcohol which overpowered the bread pudding. The bread pudding itself was simply a lump of egg soaked bread--we ended up throwing both pieces away after two bites.

G & F Pizza, 114 E. 5th St., Phone (520) 586-9449 Friendly staff, good pizza, reasonable prices (11/2005) Edited 1/2010. The quality of the pizza has gone downhill. Buffalo wings were good.

Horseshoe Cafe, 154 E. 4th St., Phone (520) 586-3303. We ate breakfast here and their French toast is terrific. Comfort food, reasonably priced and the decor is cowboy funky. Check out the saddle on top of the old Wurlitzer juke box where you can still get 3 plays for a quarter at your booth. (1/2007)

Benson Doughnuts, 690 N. Ocotillo Rd., Phone (520) 586-3966 Okay, it's not a restaurant but they have the best sour cream doughnuts we've tasted since getting them freshly baked from the Hy-Vee in Altoona, Iowa.  Yum. (1/2007)

Irene's Restaurant, 687 W. 4th St., Phone (520)586-9190 The fried food had a funny/off flavor. Skimpy house salad, meals just okay. (1/2010)

Reb's Cafe and Coffee Shop,1020 W. 4th St., Phone (520) 586-3856 This place is always jammed and we're not sure why. We tried their breakfast and weren't impressed. In addition, while we're usually willing to accept a little shop-worn appearance in tiny towns this place just seemed dirty. (11/2005)

Camp Verde: Crusty's Pizza, 522 W. Finnie Flats Rd., Phone (928) 567-6444 Everyone in the campground turns out for the Tuesday lunch special of spaghetti for $4.50. We weren't impressed by their pizza, but the fried mushrooms were hot and plentiful. We'll return to try their hot sandwiches next time around. Moderately priced. (3/2006)

La Fonda Mexican Restaurant, 2750 W. Horseshoe Bend Rd., Phone (928) 567-3500 Recommended as the best in the area by locals, genuine Mexican meals that are reasonably priced. Watch out for the salsa-it'll sting your mouth! (3/2004, 3/2006)

Randall's & Family Restaurant, 522 W. Finnie Flats Rd., Phone (928) 567-0351 (Crusty's and Randall's are in the same shopping center as the Basha's grocery store) Breakfast was terrific; we'll try it for lunch the next time we're in town. Reasonably priced. (3/2006)

Casa Grande: Cafe de Manuel, 1300 N. Pinal Dr., Phone (520) 421-3199 A pleasant little Mexican restaurant with good food and reasonable prices. Their huevos rancheros breakfast is excellent. Service can be slow in the winter as all the restaurants in Casa Grande seem to be overwhelmed by us snowbirds. Dinners are spicy and well-prepared. (1/2007)

Belgian Waffle House, 105 W. Florence Blvd., Phone (520) 423-2255 Denny had the Eggs Benedict waffle with Canadian bacon while I had the French toast combo. They serve melted butter and heated syrup with your waffles or French toast, mmm. Nice ambience and they have outdoor seating for warmer mornings. Lunch is served also. Prices are higher than Denny's or IHop but it's a nice change from the chains. (1/2007)

Eva's Norte Fine Mexican Food, 2033 North Pinal, Phone (520) 836-8236  It was one of those nights where everything on the menu looked good, but it was early in the day so Denny settled on the hot wing (12 pc) appetizer and I had the sopa e ensalada combo of chicken tortilla soup and half a taco salad with ground beef. The wings were well cooked and spicy, the soup tasty although I would have preferred it to be a little warmer temperature-wise and the taco salad was tasty. Our server checked on us enough to be helpful without being too pushy. The outdoor cantina area looked to be a nice place to sit when the day is less windy than it was while we were there.(01/2012)

T & M Pizza, 1264 E. Florence Blvd., Phone (520) 316-0656 Very good pizza, good wings, big salads. What we saw of their baked spaghetti looked good, too. Hot and cold subs, prices typical of Arizona in the winter. Slow service in all Casa Grande restaurants in the winter as all the restaurants are overwhelmed by thousands of rvers hitting town. There's a new mall being built this winter that is promising 26 new restaurants which should ease the strain. (1/2007)

Lucky Sushi and Chinese Restaurant, 1350 E. Florence Blvd., Phone (520) 836-0102 Don't be put off by the tacky strip mall exterior of this little restaurant. They have a full sushi menu and a Chinese menu. We're not experienced enough to dabble in sushi, but the food from the Chinese menu was excellent. You have 4 choices in hot tea, a fairly extensive lunch menu and decent prices. We did watch the sushi chef prepare several dishes and they looked delicious. It may be time for us to broaden our horizons a bit. (2/2007)

Gold Canyon:  Chen's Chinese Bistro, 5341 S. Superstition Mountain Dr. Phone (480) 288-2228  Although we've been coming to the Gold Canyon area for years this is the first time we stopped at Chen's Chinese Bistro. The place was packed at lunch time and we can understand why; you get a lot of food for the lunch specials. We were served egg drop soup (a bit bland), a small plate of torn up iceberg lettuce topped with ranch dressing, followed by a large plate of food including a spring roll and a crab rangoon. I had the kung pao chicken, while my husband had the orange chicken. We both enjoyed our meals although I would have liked mine to have been a bit spicier. I'm sure you could ask to have the meal made a bit hotter. Service was efficient and the price was extremely reasonable. (01/2012)

Della Cruz Mexican Grill, 5301 S. Superstition Mountain Rd., Phone (480) 982-7850 A nice little Mexican restaurant in the Basha's shopping center that boasts an outdoor patio with a marvelous view of the Superstition Mountains. You can enjoy a nice meal, icy margaritas and watch the mountains turn red in the sunset. Reasonable. (1/2006)

The Garage Pub and Pizza , 6851 E. Hwy 60, Phone (480) 671-8890. The pizza here was tasty, not too expensive, but I was up several times later that night sick as a dog. Denny was fine, so I don't know if it was the pizza or just me. We've not been back. (1/2003)  Edited 01/2012.  The business and building is gone, now part of Superstition Views RV Park.

Red Sage Restaurant, 8330 E Sunrise Sky Dr, Phone (480) 671-0300 We had breakfast and dinner here.  Breakfast and service was by far the better time to go. Our dinner came out wrong and in bits and pieces and our middle aged waitress was having a really bad night or she was a really bad waitress. My filet mignon was chewy with lots of connective tissue, Denny's baked potato was cold and his meal so mediocre we can't remember what he ordered. (1/2010)  Edited 01/2012:  We decided to give this restaurant another try. Located out in Gold Canyon where there are few restaurants the Red Sage picks up a lot of business although the food is simply average. It is well cooked, but the salads could come out of a bag, the bleu cheese dressing has nary a chunk of bleu cheese and the split pea soup is tasty but a bit watery. My husband had the chicken fried steak which was good and I had the pork tenderloin sandwich which actually tasted like pork tenderloin. The wait staff is attentive, there is a nice patio area with gas fireplace and propane heaters for the cool winter nights and there is a great view of the mountains from the patio. I would say that the entrees were very good but the soup and salads were below par.

Goldfield: Mining Camp Restaurant, 6011 E. Mining Camp Rd. Phone (480) 982-3181 Meals served family style at trestle tables, specializing in ribs. $18.95 adult, all you can eat ribs/roast chicken/ham (1/2006)

Lake Havasu City: Black Bear Restaurant, 1900 McCulloch Blvd., Phone (928) 854-1307 Lots of food, reasonably priced and good. (3/2005)

Bob's Big Boy, 1881 Kiowa Blvd N., Phone (928) 854-1900 Yes, it's a chain, but they'll make you an Ohio-style Big Boy with tartar sauce and pickle if you ask nicely. (3/2006) Edited 4/14/07 They messed up our order three times, it's now badly overpriced as this Big Boy is trying to become more like a Chili's--we were handed about seven different menus when we sat down. Go back to burgers and fries, guys. No longer recommended.

Dragon House Restaurant, 1799 Kiowa Ave, Ste. 112, Phone (928) 854-7883 Inexpensive, but their egg flower soup was watered down. They had a decent Kung Pao chicken and Kung Pao shrimp but their serving was only 1/2 the size of most Chinese restaurants. (4/2007)

Farrell's Golden Horseshoe, 4501 London Bridge Rd., Phone (928) 764-3800 Dinner was decent but boy was this place expensive for what you got. Cowboy rustice decor and an inflated idea of their worth. Lake Havasu City is growing--find a better restaurant for a steak. (3/2005) 
Havasu Landing Resort and Casino, Phone (928) 858-4593. No address on this one, you take the ferry from near the London Bridge over to the casino. Gamble a little and then have lunch overlooking the lake by the wall-to-ceiling windows. Lunch was reasonable and tasty. Make an afternoon of it by playing the penny slots and enjoy the ferry going to and from the casino. (3/2006)

Juicy's Noodles Italian Restaurant, 90 Swanson Ave. Phone (928) 680-0883 Pleasant decor but the waitress needed more help or to pay more attention. Our omelets were okay, the fruit we substituted for the hash browns and toast was absolutely tasteless. At 8:45 in the morning they were out of their fresh biscuits. Pricey. We won't return. (4/2007)

Peggy's Sunrise Cafe, 1584 Countryshire Ave., Phone (928) 854-1068 A local resident told us about this place and they try to keep it a secret. It's a tiny little place with great food at reasonable prices. Expect a wait on Sunday if you get there after 8:30 in the morning. (3/2006)Edited 4/28/07 Still good, still busy, and they still call 95% of their customers by their first names. CASH ONLY.

Senior Murphy's, 1841 Kiowa Blvd N Ste 103, Phone (928) 680-0201 We had the breakfast here, which was good and reasonably priced. It's a popular place. (3/2005) Edited 4/14/07 Senior Murphy's is now Bad Miguel's.  Phone (928) 680-0201.

Mesa: Bill Johnson's Big Apple, 950 E Main St, Mesa, 85203 Phone (480) 969-6504 A nice breakfast with enough food to split a meal with your spouse. Very noisy on a Sunday morning which made talking with friends difficult if not impossible. (1/2006)

Black Angus Steakhouse, 6902 E. Hampton Ave, Phone (480) 830-6900.  Okay this is a chain restaurant. Denny and I stopped here on a whim, wanting a steak dinner for my birthday. It was a good choice; our waiter Phil was friendly, helpful and there when we needed him. We choose the meal for two; one appetizer, two entrees, one dessert, having the shrimp cocktail, garden salad, filet mignons with baked potato, and chocolate fudge cake. The salad had very fresh and varied greens, the steak was grilled to perfection, and the cake (with candle) was fun. We would recommend this casual steakhouse to anyone.

Organ Stop Pizza , 1149 E. Southern, Phone (480) 813-5700 Truly a unique dining experience with the huge (and loud) Wurlitzer organ concert that starts at 4:30PM and continues throughout the evening until closing time. The pizza is decent, the salad bar is fairly varied, the fried mushrooms are good and plentiful. You have to order at the counter near the entrance, seat yourself and watch the lighted board for your order number to be called. They take cash and checks only, no credit cards or debit cards. You'll have fun, but you won't be able to carry on a conversation once the organist begins to play. You have to see it. (2/2007)

Parker: China Garden, 1000 S. Hopi Ave., Phone (928) 669-2660 Excellent meals, crispy spring rolls, moderate prices and a wait staff that remembers you out of thousands of annual snowbirds (10/2005) Edited 3/3/2012: Still an excellent place for a meal.

Crossroads Cafe, 612 S. California Ave., Phone (928) 669-9552 Always busy, nice breakfast, good prices (1/2005) Edited 3/2012: Still good.

Early Bird Coffee Shop, 904 S. California Ave., Phone (928) 669-5355 A hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon, very inexpensive, good breakfast (1/2005)

Coffee Ern's, 1720 S. California Ave., Phone (928) 669-8145 We tried Sunday breakfast here. The restaurant is grungy-looking and the food was mediocre. Go the the Crossroads or the Early Bird instead. (1/2006)

Stroke's Bar and Grill, 8010 Riverside Dr., Phone (928) 667-2366 We ate Sunday breakfast here which was quite good and last year we ate here with friends for dinner although we all had just sandwiches or grilled chicken salad, all of which was good and was reasonably priced. Lots of locals eating here with their families in the evening. (1/2006)

The Spring's,  Havasu Springs Resort, 2581 Hwy 95, Phone (928) 667-4593   $5.99 lunch specials with $1 beer. You do have to buy a beverage for the price but the meal is worth it! Located within the grounds of a RV resort the restaurant is located on the Colorado River so you can drive your boat to it also. We tried the turkey pot pie (more like turkey ala king) and the bacon cheeseburger and both were very good. The reuben sandwiches and coney dogs looked pretty darned good as they went past to another table, too.
Dinner time specials are available and someone recommended that we go the night they serve all-you-can-eat prime rib for a good meal.(03/2012)

Queen Valley: Diego's Mexican Restaurant, 620 E. Queen Valley Rd., Phone (520) 463-2225. This tiny little Mexican restaurant carries a mailing address in Apache Junction but it's located in the tiny township of Queen Valley about 25 miles away. Play 18 holes at the Queen Valley Golf Course and then stop here for some terrific margaritas and a great meal at small town prices. The golf course (short but challenging) and the restaurant are worth the drive, or stay at the Queen Valley RV Park, an Encore RV Park just a few streets away.

Salome: Christina's Cafe, 66745 E. Hwy 60 #B, Phone (928) 859-3060 Big breakfasts at a reasonable price. 
Quaint interior. Disregard the cobwebs on the high ceilings. (12/2004) Edited 3/3/2007: We ate here again and the quality of the food has gone downhill. I would suggest you try the breakfast at the Desert Vista RV park instead where they serve similar meals for less.

Tortilla Flat: Tortilla Flat Saloon, SR 88, Phone (480) 984-1776 Burgers, fries, “killer” chili. Pricey but fun. (2/2003) 

Tucson:  The Mandarin Grill, 505 E. Grant Rd, Phone (520) 882-8028  We ordered off the luncheon menu which allowed us to have hot and sour soup, a spring roll, fried rice and our entree. I had the kung pao chicken simply because it was one of the few spicy dishes and also because it was about the only spicy dish that had stir fried vegetables served with it. There were very few peanuts in the dish, but the sauce was good. My husband had the pineapple chicken, requesting that it be made spicy and he enjoyed his dish. We prefer a lot more stir fried vegetables with our entree but what we had was good, served very hot and our wait for our food was a normal amount of time for freshly prepared meals.(02/2012)

Wendon: Crystal's Cafe, Hwy. 60, unknown phone number. Next to a small market south of the turnoff to Lake Alamo. Just a little hole-in-the wall that serves a good breakfast. (3/2006)

Williams:  Pine Country Restaurant, 107 N. Grand Canyon Blvd, Phone (928) 635) 9718  The Pine Restaurant is where we were first introduced to chorizo many years ago so when we camped in Williams overnight my husband and I decided to try the restaurant for dinner. He had the roast beef in gravy with a loaded baked potato, corn and salad while I had the fish and fries with the soup of the day which was cream of broccoli. The roast beef was tender if a bit dry, the corn was sweet and not cooked to mush, the fish crispy and tender. I was a bit disappointed in the soup--it leaned more towards being cream of celery soup rather than cream of broccoli. We were here at the start of the Memorial Day weekend so a local cowboy entered the restaurant to invite us all to a shootout in the street just around the corner after we finished our meals. Dinner and a show--what a deal! (05/2012)

Willcox:  Big Tex BBQ, 130 E. Maley St. Phone (520) 384-4423  Denny and I stopped by late in the afternoon after a round of golf, not wanting a heavy meal so we both opted for the pork fritter sandwich which was described to us by the waitress as a pork tenderloin sandwich. It was actually an oval slab of breaded ground meat of some sort served on a roll with all the fixings. I got the skinny homemade fries, my husband got the potato salad which was mashed and had a strong flavor of pickle juice. Very strange. It was okay for a lunch but it was indeed a pork fritter and not a pork tenderloin sandwich. Also, I'm not fond of packets of mayonnaise that have been sitting at the table for who-knows-how-long unrefrigerated.(01/2012)

Yuma: Arnie's Cafe, 1400 E. 16th St. (US95) Phone (928) 329-6471 This new restaurant serves breakfast and lunch only, opening at 5:30 AM. Denny had the country-fried steak and eggs, I had the spinach, mushroom and cheese omelet. Good food and great 50s-60s rock and roll music playing in the background the entire time we were there. I was bebopping in my seat, much to Denny's chagrin. (3/2007)

Bernardo's Pizza, 11242 Foothills Blvd, Suite 15 Phone (928) 342-2034 Hungry for pizza, we were appalled at the price of $18.00 for a 3 topping medium pizza, but ordered it anyway. The pizza was simply one step (if that) above your basic grocery store frozen pizza. Although there were a lot of people eating there, we were the only ones eating pizza; everyone else was eating a hoagie/sub. Now we know why. Cash only.

Brownie's Restaurant, 1145 S. 4th St., Phone (928) 783-7911 Located in what appears to have been an old service station, inside Brownie's it's a bit tired and dusty and worn. Packed with locals, your breakfast will be cheap, hot and ...okay. (1/2006) 

Daybreaker's Cafe, 10800 E. Frontage Rd, Phone (928) 342-2110 Daybreakers Cafe is basically a truck stop style restaurant serving lots of comfort food. We ate an evening meal here as well as breakfast. For dinner Denny tried the hot shot (roast beef over bread with mashed potatoes and gravy over all) and the split pea soup of the day. I had the soup and salad special. The split pea had a bit of an artificial ham flavor (like a ham bits version of bacon bits) but was otherwise tasty. Their salad had a nice variety of greens in it and the blue cheese dressing had blue cheese in it. The breakfast there was fairly standard although Denny's chicken fried steak was lightly breaded and pan fried instead of the deep fryer method he prefers. During the winter you will be knee deep in senior citizens as the prices are reasonable and the food plentiful.
Dairy Queen Brazier, 11274 S Fortuna Blvd., Phone (928) 345-0688 I normally don't mention chain restaurants or fast food, but we each had the flame thrower chicken sandwich, Denny's fried and mine grilled and I had a chocolate malt. Both our chicken breasts were moist and tender after cooking and my chocolate malt actually tasted of malt, which is rare nowadays. No one can make a good malt anymore (says she whose parents owned a soda shop and knows how to make a malt, an ambrosia soda and a phosphate). (3/2007)

Famous Dave's, 1501 S. Yuma Palms Parkway, Phone (928) 329-7600 Normally we don't eat at chain restaurants, but the smell of barbeque lured us in at lunch time. We had the lunch special sandwich sampler which was terrific. We went back for dinner another night; happy hour drinks were very watered down, our meals came out within five minutes, actually beating our appetizer to the table. Not a good thing. The food was cold. So lunch yes, dinner no. The tasted of the barbeque is excellent as are the sides. We just prefer our food hot. (1/2010)

Hunter Steakhouse, 2355 S. 4th Ave., Phone (928) 782-3637 We arrived in Yuma on Thanksgiving Day and this was the first restaurant in town that we found open. The meal tasted wonderful (we had steaks, not turkey) and yes, it was pricey but it's an attractive, more formal restaurant with an excellent wait staff in a town full of fast food and chain restaurants. (11/2004)

Don Quijote's Mexican Food, 11411 S. Fortuna Rd., Phone (928) 342-3313 Plain and simple American style Mexican food, reasonably priced in a friendly atmosphere. A popular place. (2/2005) Edited 02/2012: Denny and I had eaten here a few years ago and enjoyed our meal. This time I ordered beef fajitas which arrived on a non-sizzling plate by itself. Then the waiter brought my plate of refried beans/Spanish rice, then he brought out my husband's meal of fish tacos, then he brought out a bowl of salsa and finally several minutes later he brought out a container of flour tortillas so I could start to eat my fajitas. This was totally unacceptable, especially since the beef fajitas weren't sizzling hot to begin with and by the time my flour tortillas were finally served the food was even colder. Service was slow and uneven and the waiter didn't check on us until we were almost finished with our meal. We would not recommend this restaurant.

Penny's Diner, 1731 S. Sunrise Dr., Phone (928) 539-9000 A classic, albeit new, chrome-shiny diner. You'll dine at a table covered with a 50s-patterned formica top amid the clatter of the grill and dishes. The food is good, substitutions of the menu items are allowed and breakfast is terrific. Easy off Interstate 8 at exit 2 or off Hwy 95 (16th St).  (3/2007) Edited 1/2010; menu is a little limited now, the omelettes are still good.

Rob's Grill and Catering, 11411 S. Fortuna Rd., Phone (928) 345-2266 The first year we ate breakfast here was the week of their grand opening. Sunday is buffet day and the buffet was terrific--the food was being kept hot and fresh and there was quite a variety of dishes as well as homemade fudge for dessert. We returned the next year and the food is still fresh, hot and delicious. (1/2006)

Sesame's Kitchen, 11274 S. Fortuna Blvd., Phone (928) 342-0888 Great shrimp and chicken kung pao, good egg drop with wonton soup. However, if you dine in they will give you a stryofoam plate and a plastic fork and then bring your food to the table packaged in to-go boxes. Save yourselves the trouble and order it to go and eat at home on nice plates. I hate eating off styrofoam. (3/2007)

Tilly and Cat's Grub and Pub, 11732 S. Fortuna Rd., Phone (928) 342-3340 Okay folks, I can deal with a waitress hollering across the room at me if I'm sitting at the bar at Happy Hour, but don't holler across the room at me when I come into your place for Sunday breakfast. I'm just picky that way. Strike one. One waitress for a very big dining area, strike two. Breakfast nothing exciting, overpriced and slow to arrive. Strike three. (2/2005)