Saturday, September 8, 2012

Eating Out in Wyoming

Cody: Adriano's Italian Restaurant, 1244 Sheridan Ave. Phone (307) 527-7320 We chose the crab-stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer (yum!) and the deluxe pizza. Excellent! We also took home a piece of tiramisu to share. If all this is any indication, their meals would be good too. Friendly staff. (6/2010)
Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant, 1201 17th St. Phone (307) 547-6420. I should have known better than to ask Denny to stop here because there were never any cars here during the lunch hour. I had to ask for hot sauce to add flavor and sauce to my Szechwan chicken which was very dry. It was the worst Chinese meal I have even eaten at a restaurant operated by an Oriental staff. No iced tea, no refills on drinks. No going back. (6/2010)

Our Place, 148 W. Yellowstone Ave., Phone (307) 527-4420 Good homemade soup and pies (some of the pies are store bought—ask which ones the owner baked), great sandwiches—I had the chicken breast with ham and cheese, Denny had the mushroom/swiss burger. Good fries. Open for breakfast also—very popular with the locals. Cash only. (6/2010)

Sunset House Restaurant, 1651 8th St. Phone (307) 587-2257 Excellent breakfast and buffet. I had the french toast special—the french toast and/or syrup had a pleasant vanilla flavor, the bacon was crisp and salty and the eggs nicely cooked. Denny had the buffet which had a nice selection of foods and fruits and breakfast casseroles. Another favorite with the local, the chefs here like to experiment and create new dishes and sandwiches. We're come back here. (6/2010)

Lander: Oxbow Restaurant, 170 E. Main St. Phone (307) 322-0233 Denny and I had lunch here as well as breakfast. This is another place frequented by the local townspeople. For lunch Denny had the bacon cheeseburger and fries, I had the fish sandwich with french onion soup. We enjoyed our lunches, so went back for Sunday breakfast. Denny's chicken-fried steak and eggs were good, as was my omelet. (6/2010)

Rawlins: Cappy's Restaurant and Drive-in, 2351 W. Spruce St Phone (307) 324-4847. Based on the number of cars here, we figured this was a good restaurant. Wrong. My fish sandwich was a square of breaded pre-formed fish like you get at Mickie Ds and my fries were well cooked but barely lukewarm. Denny said his sandwich was good (I forget what he had). (6/2010)

Penny's Diner, 2005 Daley St. Phone (307) 324-4700 What I like about diners is that you can watch your food being cooked. We had lunch and breakfast here; the menu is limited but the food is decently prepared and it's fun to watch the cook at work. It's pretty obvious he's been at it a while. (6/2010)

Eating Out in West Virginia

Athens:Gino's Pizza, 100 S. Vermillion St. Phone (304) 384-7970 Just about the only place in town to get a pizza. Tuesday night is buy one-get one free. Which makes their very expensive pizzas seem reasonable. Okay pizza. (9/2006)

Pipestem: Mulligan's Sports Lounge in Pipestem State Park,Phone (304) 466-1800. Located at the Pipestem Golf Course upstairs from the Blue and Gold Room restaurant. I had the bbq pork sandwich and Denny had a hot ham and cheese, plus an order of breaded mushrooms. It was a great late lunch. (9/2006)

Brandon's at Nostalgia Inn , Indian Ridge Rd.(enter through the Rocky Ridge RV Park across from the Pipestem State Park) Phone (304) 466-9110 Excellent ribs, wonderful marinaded coleslaw and very reasonably priced. We recommend this one.(9/2006)

Princeton: The Omelette Spot, 909 Oakvale Rd., Phone (304) 425-4194. The omelette was decent but very overpriced especially since we always skip the potatoes, toast and/or grits. There was no reduction in price for not taking the carbs. A better choice would have been the early morning breakfast buffet at Ryan's Steakhouse nearby.(9/2006)

Eating Out in Washington (state)

Airway Heights:  Buckhorn Inn, 13311 Sunset Hwy, Phone (509) 244-3991  We had lunch here first and then went back for breakfast later in the week.  Denny had the German sausage sandwich which was very good and I had the 1/2 serving of Cobb salad which was enough for 4 people I think.  I know I took my leftovers home and had them for lunch two more times.  Breakfast was also good.  This is another restaurant where dead animals stare down at you from the walls, but I'm starting to get used to that.  Reasonable. (7/2010)

Coulee Dam: Melody's Restaurant, 512 River Dr., Phone (509) 633-1151 Don't let the setting or the lack of off-season customers put you off as the food is very good, served piping hot and it's very reasonably priced. Visit the Grand Coulee Dam and stay for the laser light show. (6/2005)

Ephrata: Country Deli, 245 Basin St. NW, Phone (509) 754-3143 Good food, small town atmosphere, very reasonable (5/2005)

Fall City: Fall City Grill, 4050 Fall City-Carnation Rd. SE, Phone (425) 222-5622 Great omelets, sports bar d├ęcor, Washington prices (6/2005)

Leavenworth: Happy Valley Restaurant, 220 9th St., Phone (509) 548-2230 Nice little Chinese restaurant located inside a town mall with lots of nice little shops to explore as well as the town's visitor center. Friendly staff, good food, reasonably priced (4/2005)

Long Beach: Chen's Chinese Restaurant, 400 Pacific Ave. N, Phone (360) 642-8288 After a very bad day of traveling on our 20th anniversary, we had an excellent meal here and the waiter made us laugh showing us how Chinese people open beer bottles with their disposable lighters. Of course, there was leftovers. Expensive-tourist area. (7/2005)

Julie's Loose Kaboose Diner, corner 46th and Pacific Highway, Phone (360) 642-2894 Good burgers, clam chowder and Coastal pie (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples and rhubarb) Reasonable for a tourist town (7/2005)

42nd Street Cafe, 4201 Pacific Highway, Phone (360) 642-2323 Breakfast was mediocre and expensive. I've head folks rave about the place so perhaps they shine at evening meals. (7/2005)

Laurie's Homestead Restaurant, 4214 Pacific Way, Phone (360) 642-7171 A very good breakfast with the best vanilla yogurt I've ever had. The restaurant appears to have been remodeled from a house, lots of country-style decorations with emphasis on chickens, friendly staff. Resort town prices, but worth it. (7/2005)

Morton: Plaza Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, 200 Westlake Avenue, Phone (360) 496-6660 Great meal and portions large enough to bring home leftovers for a second meal, so-so margarita, reasonable (6/2005)

Moses Lake: Bob's Cafe at the Inn, 1807 Kittleson Rd. Phone (509) 765-3211 Breakfast was good, but not for $25 for the two of us.(4/2005)

Newport:  Michael's Cafe, 208 S. Washington St. Phone (509) 447-3355  We had breakfast here and wish we had come for the Friday night fish rather than eating at the restaurant we did just a few blocks away.  I had their version of a Denver omelet with a homemade biscuit fresh out of the oven and the owner even brought out some of his home canned huckleberry jam for us.  Denny's chicken fried steak was a bit tough and he mentioned it to the owner who told us that they cut, trim and pound their own steaks so he gave us a piece of his homemade huckleberry pie as an apology.  The restaurant surroundings are pleasant, it is in the heart of downtown yet would have been an easy walk from our campground.  Recommended.  (7/2010)

Westside Pizza, 325 S. Washington St. Phone (509) 447-2200  We had their deluxe pizza which was a decent pizza, but I had to ask for a knife to cut it as the young staff hadn't done a very good job of cutting the pie all the way through and it was too hot to handle by trying to pull the pieces apart.  Also, if you eat at their location, you'll be given plastic forks to eat with.  Not our favorite type of silverware.  (7/2010)

Ocean Shores: Homeport Restaurant, 857 Point Browne Avenue, Phone (360) 289-2600 Nicely decorated, good food (breakfast) (6/2005)

Othello: Potholes Sports Cafe, 7037 Hwy 262 SE, (509) 346-2895 A little bar and grill/golf pro shop serving decent food for a reasonable price out in the middle of nowhere. (4/2005)

Quincy: Harrington's Drive-in, 201 Central Ave. South, Phone (509) 787-3111 Great burgers, fried mushrooms and malts. (5/2005)  Revisited 8/2010--malts and burgers still delicious, the fried mushrooms were too heavily breaded.

Idle Hour Steakhouse and Cafe, 18 B Street SE, Phone (509) 787-3714  We had breakfast here twice and each time it was quite good.  The wait time for the food was a bit long but both times we managed to come in behind a couple of tables worth of folks.  The owners are chatty and friendly and it appears they have a nice selection of local wines to go along with evening meals.  (8/2010)

Tower Pizza, 8995 Crescent Bar Rd. NW, Phone (509) 787-0102  Decent pizza that was way overpriced, but we are in the resort section of town here. (8/2010)

Randle: Adams-St.Helen Family Restaurant, Hwy 12 and Cispus Rd., Phone (360) 497-5556 A little tired and beat up, home-style cooking, friendly staff and residents, reasonable prices for the area (6/2005)

Big Bottom Grill, 9791 US Hwy 12, Phone (360) 497-0561  Ripped upholstery, dusty and tired decor with the ubiquitous dead animals staring down on you.  The fried shrimp was decent, the food way overpriced and we weren't impressed. (8/2010)

Seattle: Cheesecake Factory, 700 Pike St., Phone (206) 652-5400 Okay, it's a chain, but we spent a special afternoon with a single lady we met on the Gray Line tour who has been teaching in Okinawa for 20 years and travels the country during summer break. Good food, outrageous prices, great company (6/2005)

Sequim: John Wayne Marina Restaurant, 2577 W. Sequim Bay Rd., Phone (360) 681-0577 We ate breakfast here, which was very good and very inexpensive for the area. I'd go back in a heartbeat for dinner or lunch. (6/2005)

Spanaway:  America's Diner, 20420 Mountain Hwy East, Phone (253) 875-4900  A small, new restaurant that mainly serves breakfast.  Breakfast was good, the omelets a little overcooked (my personal pet peeve is eggs cooked brown), but the food was decent and reasonably priced. (9/2010)

Spokane:  Frank's Diner Newport, 10929 N. Newport Hwy. Phone (509) 465-2464  Denny and I just flat out enjoy diners and this one is unique in that it is housed in an old Pullman sleeping car that has been converted (lovingly, I might add) to a diner.  I had the turkey club while Denny had the cheddar bacon cheeseburger with potato salad.  The server kept our iced tea glasses filled, the ambiance was great and the food hot and tasty.  Highly recommended. (7/2010)

Frank's Diner Downtown, 1516 West 2nd St, Phone (509) 747-8798  After having lunch at the north location of Frank's Diner we decided to try the breakfast at the original location downtown where they have been voted Best Breakfast ten out of the last eleven years.  We had a bit of a wait, but were willing to eat at the counter so we were seated before several other couples.  Breakfast was very good, we got to watch the two excellent cooks at work and the ambience can't be beat. Lots of good food. (8/2010)

TacomaHarbor Lights Restaurant, 2761 North Ruston Way, Phone (253) 752-4679  Fantastic views of the harbor, good food eaten with good friends makes for a wonderful dining experience.  Recommended if you're in the area and like seafood and steaks.  (9/2010)

Eating Out in Virginia

Front Royal: South Street Grille, 424A South Street, Phone (540) 536-6654 We ate here for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We can recommend their shrimp, hot roast beef sandwich, breakfast, fish sandwich and chicken-fried steak. Very reasonable for a tourist area. (9/2011)

Louisa: Panda Garden Restaurant, 400 East Main St., Phone (540) 967-5988 Standard Chinese with their hot and spicy dishes on the mild side. They must adjust for Southern tastes. Good, plentiful but not exciting. (9/2006)

Mineral: Mineral Restaurant, 42 Davis Highway, Phone (540) 894-4927 Where all the locals go for breakfast on Sunday morning. Small, a little grubby inside and there is NO no-smoking area there. However the food is good, cheap and served hot. Plus it's the only place to eat breakfast on a Sunday for miles. (9/2006)

Orange: The Hornet's Nest, 269 Madison Rd. Phone (540) 672-7040. I really, really wanted to like this place. The walls are decorated with pictures of the local football teams dating back to the 60s, the staff is friendly and we like to patronize local businesses. However, the quality of the food was erratic; the pulled pork was tender but cold, the country-fried steak was tasty but the mashed potatoes were lumpy and the macaroni salad was the strangest concoction of bland macaroni, mayo, green peppers, celery and diced tomatoes. No pickle relish or hard-boiled eggs in it at all. It may be a local thing. I'd pass on this one. (9/2006)

Williamsburg: Rick's Grill, 6380 Richmond Rd, Phone (757) 229-0045 A pleasant surprise tucked away in a strip mall. Rick's has a small bar and several booths and small tables for dining. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. We stopped for dinner, having the grilled vegetables with fettucine tossed with garlic and EVOO and broccoli/spinach/cheddar cheese soup and the chicken/ham/sausage with liguine tossed with garlic and butter. Both were delicious, served with soup or salad and there were four or five specials also listed daily. The food varies from our Italian dishes to liver and onions and burgers. The food was served right off the grill, was steaming hot, well cooked and tasty. Reasonably priced for a tourist area. We would go back. (9/2011)

Eating Out in Vermont

Shelburne: Barkeater's, 97 Falls Rd. Phone (802) 985-2830. Pretentious. Bad waitress. Denny had the club sandwich and sweet potato fries, I had the ½ sandwich/soup special which was either a turkey or ham sandwich and a cup of the soup of the day. I had the turkey and the soup was cream of cauliflower curry. The cook pureed the cauliflower until the texture of the soup was gritty which to me affected the taste and mouth feel of the soup. The sandwich was fine, everything was overpriced and the waitress didn't come back to see if we needed refills on our drinks (it was a warm day and we were eating outside). We would not go back. (6/2011)

Buonos,3182 Shelburne Rd, Phone (802) 985-2232 A comfortable little restaurant, favored by locals, a nice wine list, good penne with Italian sausage and sauce, good spinach and mushroom tossed with garlic and EVOO over linguine. Tasty hot dinner rolls, share-able size serving of tiramisu that was decent but not memorable. Good service, reasonable prices for the area. We would go back. (6/2011)

The Dutch Mill, 4309 Shelburne Road, Phone (802) 985-3568 Denny and I had breakfast here on a Sunday as it was right next to the campground and the place was busy with locals. Basic breakfast, reasonable for a touristy area, but if we came back, I'd probably look for a different place to have breakfast. (6/2011)

Eating Out in Utah

Hurricane: Hunan City Restaurant, 1141 W. State St. #5 Phone (435) 635-6882 Very good dinner, reasonable for a tourist area (near Zion National Park (9/2005)

Sweet William's Restaurant, 1560 W. State, Phone (435) 635-3169 Breakfast was good, but the waitress ruined the biscuits by microwaving them to heat them. Reasonable. (9/2005)

Leeds: Molly's Restaurant, 251 N. Main St., Phone (435) 879-2039 Great bacon BBQ cheeseburger and Philly cheesesteak. Moderately expensive, rustic. (9/2005)

Nephi: The Family Tree Restaurant, 2087 S. Main, St. Phone (435) 623-5300 Breakfast was good, food was plentiful, relatively inexpensive. (9/2005)

Eating Out in Texas

Amarillo: TheBig Texan Steakhouse, 7701 I-40 East (exit 175), Phone (800) 657-7177 We ate dinner here simply because we didn't feel like unhitching the truck and the restaurant offers free limo rides to campers and hotel guests along I-40 in Amarillo. The interior decoration is half saloon, half hunting lodge but the staff is eager and friendly. Unfortunately, the cuts of meat aren't all that terrific and the prices are pretty high. I'm sure Amarillo has a lot more to offer in a steakhouse. Not recommended. (5/2007)

Aransas Pass:  , The Big Fisherman Restaurant, 510 Hwy 188, Phone (361) 729-1734  Everyone in Rockport has to go to the Big Fisherman at least one time to try the Tuesday special of all you can eat chicken fried steak for $2.25 (up from $1.99 last year).  That's all you can eat chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and dinner roll--as many plates as you can eat.  Denny ate two.  I had the lunch special of fried fish (pollock) and french fries which had five pieces of fish on it.  Very good.  The service could have been better; Denny actually had to chase down our waitress to remind her to bring tartar sauce and others at our table had similar problems with her.  But the food is amazingly good for the price.  $1 margaritas don't hurt, either. (2/2011)

Columbus: Becky's Cafe, 1237 Bowie St, Phone (979) 732-5553 We had breakfast here, as do some of the locals. My ham and cheese omelet was good as was Denny's ham and eggs although the ham slice was off a processed shaped ham. The breakfast menu is a bit limited. Decent. (3/2011)

Los Cabos Mexican Grill, 2543 Hwy 71 South, Phone (979) 732-9744 Reasonably priced Mexican food. I had the Guadalajara Special, which was a chicken enchilada and a beef taco smothered in queso with a side of beans and a cup of tortilla soup. Delicious. Denny had the Texas burrito which he also enjoyed. There's an ice cream machine in the lobby so I guess that means it's free for the taking as you leave. Nice margaritas, nothing special.(3/2011)

Nancy's Steakhouse,2536 Hwy 71 South, Phone (979) 732-9700 We were prepared to enjoy this restaurant which is decorated in a full out Western/cowboy style. Denny had a Hickory Burger which had bacon, BBQ sauce, button mushrooms (hard to keep on the bun), lettuce, onions—so much stuff that he could hardly get his mouth around it. The hamburger, unfortunately, was relatively tasteless. I had the soup and sandwich special with chicken tortilla soup and half a Texas steak sandwich. The steak pieces were very tender but the chipotle mayo was hard to find so the sandwich was a bit dry. The chicken tortilla soup's texture made me think the cook had added a piece of bread in the pot to stretch the filling—the soup had an odd, thick, grainy texture to it. Not my favorite version by a long shot. We'd pass this one up for lunch. (3/2011)

Schobel's Restaurant, 2020 Milam St, Phone (979) 732-2385 This is the winner, winner chicken dinner restaurant for this town. We ate here four times in two weeks; breakfast, lunch and twice for dinner. The restaurant provides a breakfast and lunch buffet at a very reasonable price as well as offering menu choices and then at dinnertime there is a large salad bar to go with your meal. We had the jalepeno schnitzel and the sausage and sauerkraut (Denny thought the sauerkraut was too mild but he grew up in a family that made their own in huge crocks in the basement) as well as their burgers. Friendly, pleasant staff, full bar, good food. Recommended. (3/2011)

Emory: Y'all Come Back Cafe, 659 W. Lennen Drive, Phone (903) 473-2224 We hit this place for breakfast, as do most of the locals. There's even a “Table of Knowlege” here, which back home we call “The Liar's Table”. Denny enjoyed his chicken-fried steak, I enjoyed my Western omelet. The sour dough bread is good, although like so many places, this restaurant simply slaps the bread on a grill for a couple of moments instead of using a toaster. I wish restaurants would toast bread because I much prefer “toast” to “heated bread”. Reasonable and good. (4/2011)

Fulton: Alice Faye's Restaurant, 106 N. Fulton Beach Rd. Phone (361) 729-6708 Breakfast here was mediocre. They made a boring omelet and had no substitutions for the potatoes and toast. Smeary windows obscured the view of the bay. We were disappointed. (4/2006)

Charlotte Plummer Seafood Restaurant, 202 N. Fulton Beach Rd. Phone (361) 729-1185 We were pleased to be seated near a window overlooking the fishing boat fleet but that was the best thing about our experience here. They do have an excellent chicken tortilla soup and a nice salad bar but all the shrimp in my shrimp sampler were badly overcooked as were the shrimp in Denny's shrimp linguini veracruz. A seafood restaurant should NEVER overcook shrimp, no matter what the form. We were disappointed. Very good bread pudding. (1/2011)
M & M Express Cafe, 3501 Hwy 35N, Phone(361) 727-0498 The proverbial greasy spoon with a great oversized fish sandwich and a small order of onion rings that was more than enough for two of us. Their hamburgers looked and smelled wonderful. Prices on par for the area. (4/2006)

Panhandle: Buffalo Grass Steakhouse, 200 Main St. Phone (806) 537-1010 Norman says they have great buffalo steaks (2006)

Harlingen: Gem's Pancake House, 1925 E. Harrison, Phone (956) 423-7977 Fluffy scrambled eggs, good tender chicken fried steak, quick and efficient service, reasonably priced. We would return. (2/2011)

Judy B's Cookhouse, 1101 S. Expressway 83, Phone (956) 423-4117 Good tender chicken fried steak, fluffy scrambled eggs, crisp bacon. The toast was simply bread slapped on the grill for a couple of seconds so I take points off for that. Reasonable. (2/2011)

New York Deli, 122 N. A St, Phone (956) 425-3500 Great sandwiches, all three of their soups are terrific and while we didn't have the burgers, those we saw looked delicious. A funky little place just off the main drag in downtown (read old) Harlingen. Try it. (3/2011)

Sun Palace, 1610 Midlane Dr. Phone (956) 412-3000 American and Chinese buffet, plus oysters on the half shell and other seafood selections. The sizzle heat is strangely tame for this part of the world, although the hot and sour soup is very good. There is a selection of sushi, salads and desserts also, all for $9.95. If you like basic, non spicy Chinese food then this place is for you. (2/2011)

The Pizzeria, 1610 E. Tyler, Phone (956) 465-1477 Great garlic knots, good pizza. New York or Sicilian style, by the pie or by the piece. There are also calzones, strombolis and Italian donuts. We liked this little place. (3/2011)

Rockport: Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant, 2005 Hwy 35 N Phone (361) 790-8223 If you like spicy, try their hot and sour soup. I had the Szechuan Triple Delight, Denny had the spicy Shrimp and Mushrooms and both were great. Very reasonable, very good. We went back for the lunch special and both our choices were good. (4/2006)

J J's Burger Works and Cafe, 302 Hwy 35N, Phone (361) 729-8787 A favorite with locals, we had breakfast here which was quite good and the experienced was enhanced when the owner shared some of his homemade spicy salsa for our eggs. (1/2011)

Jalisco's Restaurant, 1701 Hwy 35N, Phone (361) 727-0555 The menu is in Spanish with the English translation following. Great chicken fajita chimichanga, great beef fajita burrito, good corn tacos, great rice. Took home leftovers. Would return. (2/2011)

Panjo's Pizza and Pasta, 2744 Hwy 35N, Phone (361) 729-1411 Reasonably priced pizza. We would wish for a little more sauce but that's an Ohio thing. Nice thin crust that was crispy without being dry, decent side salad with a good house dressing. (1/2011)

Ken's Diner (formerly The Diner), 205 Hwy 35 N, Phone (361) 729-4985 Very popular on Sunday for breakfast. Ours was good with the exception of Denny's sausage which was badly overcooked. The waitress adjusted the cost of the meal for that and the price overall was quite reasonable. We'd go back. (4/2006) Edited 1/2011. We tried this place for breakfast again; Denny loved his chicken fried steak, my scrambled eggs were dry which is a major sin in my book. French toast was okay, the bacon was excellent. Very uneven meal.

San Benito: Sabor de Mi Tierra, 415 N. Paso Real, Phone (956) 399-7671 The problem with going back to a restaurant where you experienced your first plate of huevos rancheros is that after ten years it's just not going to be the same. And it wasn't. The decor hasn't changed (although it's very clean and bright inside) but the food is more Americanized. Ten years ago the eggs were poached and laid over over a bed of refried beans that had been covered with fried potatoes and served with salsa and wonderful homemade flour tortillas   The tortillas are still wonderful but now everything arrives on your plate side by side. Sigh. Good, but years ago it was excellent. (2/2011)

The Longhorn Cattle Company, 3055 W. Expressway 83, Phone (956) 399-4400 Very popular with the Winter Texans here.  Chopped and sliced brisket. Denny had a po-boy with briskey and sausage, I had the chopped brisket sandwich. Once I spooned on some of the BBQ (which we had to ask for) the bottom of my sandwich bun became soggy with grease. The sauce itself was pretty tasteless. Sides are extra with the sandwiches, although you do get a cup of soup beans which is good. Not to my taste. (2/2011)

South Padre Island: Dirty Al's, 1 Padre Blvd. Phone (956) 761-4901 There are two Dirty Al's, one on the island and one just before the bridge in Port Isabel. We went to the original restaurant on the island. The sign on the door says "sorry--we're open" but it's all in good fun. The decor is frumpy/funky, the view is of the marina and the fish is great. The shrimp is huge, looking at other people's meals but the fish tacos were also more than I could eat. I finished one and took one home for the next day's lunch. Everyone enjoyed their flounder and you can also buy fresh fish and shrimp as you are leaving. Noisy, jam-packed with Winter Texans when we went, good food. (3/2011)

Parrot Eyes Restaurant, 5801 Padre Blvd., Phone (956) 772-9040 Great happy hour margaritas priced at $1.75 and three times as good as the ones we paid $4.50 for at Boomerang's Bar down the street. Happy hour dinner specials at $5.95 were simply okay. I had the fish and also shrimp (long story). There were only 4 shrimp on the plate and they had an odd taste from the seasoning. Lots of fries, mediocre slaw. The fish was decent. The fish sandwich was flounder which Denny said was very good (the fish and fries plate was pollock). A friend's burger was very thick and nicely cooked although the fries weren't cooked as she requested. I don't think we'd come back except to have the margaritas and maybe try some appetizers. The meal also took a long time to arrive. (2/2011)

Study Butte: Big Bend Motor Inn & RV Park, FM 170 & TX 118. Small restaurant is the only game in town, priced accordingly. Burgers, etc. Lots of interesting stuff on the walls to read. (3/2001)

Willis: Pizza Shack ,115 W. Montgomery St. Phone (936) 856-9780 We visited this restaurant twice over two years and somehow I neglected to add it, which is a shame, because they have terrific pizzas and what we saw of the various Italian dishes that other diners were ordering looked wonderful and smelled terrific. If they still offer bread pudding and the tiramisu, get it. Yum! As long as the restaurant is here, we'll go back there. (2001 and 2003) Added 2/2008. Edited 12/2009: The food is still good, the desserts divine.

Eating Out in South Dakota

Rapid City: Colonial House Restaurant, 2501 Mount Rushmore Rd, (605) 342-4640 We stopped here for a late lunch/early dinner since the parking lot was always full every time we drove by. My husband ordered the G4 Dipster which was sliced roast beef with Cheddar cheese and sauteed mushrooms on a grilled sourdough bun with a side of fries. I had the fish sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries. Both sandwiches were huge, well prepared and so very good. I had a chocolate malt which had a good malt flavor and a little chocolate syrup left in the bottom of the metal cup (yep, the malts and shakes are served in the metal mixer cup) while my husband had the strawberry shake. We took home half our sandwiches and fries and looked longingly at the banana cream pie and rhubarb custard pie served at the next table but we were simply too stuffed to eat anymore or to even consider taking a piece of pie home with us. Pleasant surroundings, nice staff, outdoor seating for when it's not 100 degrees outside.

Stonewalls, 5955 S. Hwy 16, (605) 342-6100 Since our campground was several miles south of Rapid City itself, we tried Stonewalls for breakfast on Sunday. My husband had the 3 piece french toast breakfast with scrambled eggs and sausage. The three piece french toast was literally that; three small slices of a baguette style loaf of bread. The scrambled eggs were dry. I had the western omelet with poblano peppers; the omelet was overcooked, the ham in the omelet was diced deli ham and the veggies practically non-existent. I did enjoy the black rye bread. The iced tea was badly overpriced as were all their drinks. The surroundings were pleasant, the wait staff efficient but we wouldn't go back for breakfast.

Rockerville: Gas Light Restaurant, 13490 Main St, (605) 343-9276 We stopped at the Gas Light Restaurant because it was only a couple of miles from our campground and it was recommended by the staff there. My husband had the small filet mignon with a side of fettuccine alfredo while I had the prime rib with fettuccine. Both pieces of beef were flavorful and tender, although my prime rib had a fairly good amount of fat that needed to be cut away. The meals were quite good but the air conditioning vent right above us froze us to death. We mentioned to the waiter that we were uncomfortable at the amount of cold air blowing on us but all he said was that he'd have someone turn it down (which didn't happen) instead of moving us to a different table. Instead of sitting an enjoying another adult beverage and/or a dessert we left quickly because we were so cold we couldn't stand it anymore. There is a separate section of the building that is a bar where they were playing live music after we arrived--it was much warmer there.