Cozy Cafe in Mount Shasta, California
I love a little stone building!
The air was chilly, but sunshine was warming the outside garden area. We headed inside to see about lunch options.
The little cafe had three rooms. The first room was all about coffee and ordering.
We ordered and moved into the middle room. We would have sat by the boarded up fireplace, but the table was occupied by 3 policeman.
I wish I'd been able to join in some of their socializing. The 3 policeman chatted up a storm with each other, as well as a number of locals who wandered over. One employee grabbed a baby from a customer and introduced the tot to the cooing officers. It was very entertaining.
Soup, Salad and Sandwich
We ordered just a light bite. Don had bean soup and BLT sandwich.
I had a mixed green salad for less than 6 dollars. It was actually pretty tasty, along with a big, fat yeast roll, that made me feel I'd gone back to the grade school cafeteria. I mean that as a compliment. It was heavenly.
I wondered about our little building as I looked out into the garden from a side window. Had this once been someone's private home?
When we finished and stepped outside, I looked at the entrance and it looked more like a shop than a home.
If our little cafe had not been so busy... or if there had been someone older than 30, who might have known some history... I would have asked.
Instead, I crawled in the car and Googled. Our little cafe had been a grocery store!
Our teeny tiny dining adventure was a pleasant stop along our road trip. Our food was tasty and cheap. Our little stone building was pretty adorable!
Sometimes you just have to go back and remember a good burger. Don and I found Jenny's, when passing through Fort Bragg, about 9 months ago. We had just driven through the Redwoods.
We were headed over to Noyo Headlands Park, to hunt for colorful treasures at "Glass Beach". We had no picnic packed, so we decided to pick up a little something at Jenny's
"Old Fashioned Quality"
I'm not exactly sure what old fashioned quality means. But I liked the little retro burger joint, when we pulled up.
We passed a dad and son and the patriotic flag on the window, then headed for the side entrance.
There were plenty of stools, if we wanted to sit at the counter and watch the cook doing his thing.
But we decided to stand in line and order to go. That gave me some time to look around and absorb a little quick history on the place. Jenny and Herman Kreienhop opened the place in 1982. This place looked a lot older than that. I'm not sure what it was before.
Behind the Counter
I watched 3 men working away. All 3 had some interesting tattoos, especially the guy with the shaved head.
All were friendly and efficient and before long we had out warm bag and drinks and we were off.
Noyou Headlands Park
We found a picnic table, not too far from the water.
I didn't get a photo of the raven that tried to join us. A man walking by, said that raven frequently visited people at that table.
Cheeseburger & Fries
The burger and fries reminded me of fast food when I was kid.
It was nice and hot and yes, a little bit greasy. It was darn good!
After we ate, we wandered on the rocks along near the water.
There's not a whole lot to say about our Jenny's experience, except the food was cheap and decent. However, the combo of our carry out picnic and the beautiful scenery, was perfect. We even found lots of tiny, colored pieces of glass. What a fun burger and beach memory!
A Day in Vail
It's hard to believe it's been a year since Don and I joined our kids in Colorado. I'm thinking back to a wonderful lunch we had in Vail, with our son and daughter-in-law.
We spotted this corner restaurant, when we first hit the touristy town. We'd never been to Vail before, so we were going with the outward appearance. I was game to dine a place that looked like a cute little Swiss chalet, tucked into the mountains.
The interior was pretty sweet, too. The door was propped open to let in the fresh mountain air.
Soft lamps hung down from the pretty wooden ceiling.
There were shelves with copper knickknacks and framed paintings, that reminded me of "Heidi's" grandfather.
I made Scott and Chali pose with the menu and the painting on the wall.
Scott looks a little young to be the storybook grandfather, but his beard fit the part.
The Gramshammers from Austria
We learned a little about the owners, by reading the back of the menu.
Pepi was an international ski racer and a member of the Austrian "Super" Ski Team from 1955 to 1960. He's pictured with his wife Sheika, who was once a dancer and model. They came to Vail in 1962 and opened Pepi's, two years later.
Pepi is in the House
As we studied our menus, I happened to notice a fellow in a purple shirt and gray vest. He seemed to be getting quite a bit of attention as he headed out.
I asked our server and she said that was indeed Pepi. He was 87, I believe and had just finished his lunch.
Luckily, we were are all fans of German/Austrian food! We were starved.
Don and Chali ordered the mussels and were both happy.
Scott and I got Jagerschnitzel and Hungarian Veal Goulash... or was it Wiener Schnitzel!!? Why do I let a year go by before posting?
I do remember the Spatzle was smooth and buttery and red cabbage was tangy good. We were mighty content on that day in late May.
This is the room where Pepi had enjoyed his lunch. I believe we were told that the Gramshammers live in the hotel above.
The bar was empty when I passed through in search of the restroom.
I got sidetracked for quite a while, studying the walls of photos.
Pepi and Sheika evidently met a lot of famous celebrities over their years, hosting guests at their hotel and restaurant. Sophia Loren, Cary Grant, Dustin Hoffman and Leonard Bernstein...
I didn't get a photo of the Gramshammers with President Ford, but there's a photo with Arnold! The Fords spent a lot of time in Vail and Pepi and Sheika were frequent guests at the White House.
So we are staying close to home this Memorial Day weekend. No travels or dining out, due to the pandemic.
We're just thinking about some of the fun places we ate and visited a year ago.
Here we are heading back to our car after our feast. I believe those may be leftovers that Scott is carrying.
Sadly, I did a little internet search just now and learned that just a few months after our visit, Pepi died. He passed away on August 17 at the age of 87. We were so very lucky to catch a glimpse of Pepi. May he rest in peace.
I love the idea of eating at a Roadhouse! This might even be a first. Last October, Don and I ran across the Barlow Trail Roadhouse, after leaving Mount Hood's, Timberline Lodge.
The Roadhouse sign didn't look old enough to be a real roadhouse, but the cabin-restaurant was actually over 90 years old.
Barlow Trail Roadhouse Inn - 1926
We pulled off of Highway 26, when we spotted the sign and old log building.
The original cabin (in the center) was built by Bill Lenz in 1926. It was named for the famous toll road, built by Sam Barlow. The structure served as a general store before it became an inn.
Signs and Swings
We stepped up to the porch, looking for the main entrance.
We passed the Trail Room (bar) entrance and and a few signs. We went past the porch swing and found the pale green door.
We had just come from the iconic Timberline Lodge, (used in exterior filming of The Shining) so we could have been a hard pair to impress.
But, I ignored the '80's era tables and smiled at the old stove, log beams and deer head, with antler lampshades.
Locals and Travelers
The lunch crowd seemed to be mostly local folk and people like us... on the road.
The diners in the earlier years, were mostly loggers and miners and the workers who built Timberline Lodge.
I didn't get a chance to ask what the upstairs was used for, today.
Barlow Trail was more than a restaurant back in the day. On the menu there was a mention about the inn's reputation.
"Best food on the Loop to Timberline." downstairs and "Best Girls" upstairs.
Pick of the Tables
When we arrived, we were greeted by Brittnee. She invited us to sit anywhere.
I took a look at the line up of booths and felt pretty delighted when I spotted this cute little set-up, tucked into the back corner. Just look at the shape of that table and those fine seats!
I told Brittnee that I was pretty sure we'd picked the best table in the restaurant.
She smiled and informed us that we'd picked the haunted table. That got me pretty excited. "Really! What should we expect?" Brittnee sort of shrugged. "Oh... just good vibes." I was good with that.
Little Bit of Lunch
Don and I ordered a tiny feast, since we'd pigged out on brunch at Timberline Lodge. I ordered a bowl of chili. It was thick and piping hot, with a good amount of cheddar and just enough spice!
Don's Patty Melt was served on dark rye, with a small side of creamy potato salad. Just right.
From my seat, I had a good view of the fireplace. I would have preferred logs over gas, but I was happy for any fire, on that chilly day.
I was sort of amused that there was just one washroom in the old place. But I guess all the customers had been men, back in the day.
The little washroom was actually pretty tidy. I was sort of amused by the combo of fishing decor and lace curtains.
We finished up and thanked Brittnee. She seemed to be the only server. She was in good spirits despite being extra busy.
We peeked into the adjoining lounge. We could see from the outside that this odd addition (with stone facade) came years later. The atmosphere seemed more biker bar than cabin cozy.
Chimney and Deck
I took a quick peek at the other end of the building. There was a covered deck with picnic tabes. I'm guessing this place might have a whole different feel, with summer crowds.
On a quiet October day, the old inn looked like a storybook house. If I were a kid, I'd have been tempted to climb that stone chimney!
As we pulled back on the road, I glanced up at the roofline and was reminded of the image on the menu. What a sweet old place. I'm glad it's still around.
Don's Seafood & Steak House
For a long time, Don and I have wanted to stop in, for a bite at Don's. For over 20 years, we've seen the billboard ads, along on I-10, on drives to New Orleans and Florida.
I always remind Don that it's his restaurant and we need to stop. If they had a restaurant named Beth's, I wouldn't wait 20 years to check it out.
We've also been eager to have a Don's experience, because the fine eatery is featured in our vintage cookbook.
Many of the restaurants spotlighted in the cookbook, are long gone. When we find places that have managed to survive, we always put tag the page in hops of a future dining adventure!
We were staying in Lafayette last February, so we decided to give Don's a try!
The corner restaurant was just a 2-minute drive from our inn, so we drove over to check it out in the afternoon. It was quiet and deserted, with a few barricades, left over from the parades. I cracked open the cookbook to compare the illustration of Don's. I could see the corner entrance and some of the old glass block. Lots had been covered with shutters. Funny... the watercolor image showed a Mardi Gras parade!
Lamps and Neon
The old building looked a little weary in the bright sunshine, but I could see that things would be glowing in a few hours.
There were lots of "gas lights" and a few unlit neon messages. One said "Since 1934". I believe the French-Acadian restaurant opened as Don's Beer Parlor, in 1934
I spotted a few beads, left over from the Mardi Gras festivities. I spotted a sign, that mentioned the Landry brothers, Don, Ashby and Willie. At one time all 3 had a part in this business, which was combined with Willie's grocery store.
Don and I arrived for dinner at about 7. It was actually fairly busy at that time, so I waited till later to snap some photos.
I was a little unclear, which part was original in 1934. There had obviously been some expansion and a bit of remodeling.
The main dining area, was filling up steadily, with folks coming from evening mass, on Ash Wednesday. Most of the diners, including a priest, wore an ash cross, on the forehead.
Don and I took a peek at the rather snazzy looking "Spirits" bar. But the bar had a loud TV and the wrong ambience. We headed back towards the arched entrance, into the oddly bright and quiet, dining room.
Brick and Photos
The dining room had a retro Super Club feel to it, with white table cloths and black napkins. There had been a little updating, with enlarged photos, mounted on the brick walls.
I love a restaurant that spotlights their history. I'm sure all the photos had good stories, but I just guessed at them. Our server was very busy. I only asked about the man in the suit and glasses.
Frenchy was a well-loved employee of Don's for over 45 years. Her rode his bike to work, into his late seventies.
One of the restaurant's refurbished rooms is named for Frenchy. I love stories like that!
Don and I were seated beneath a few fishing photos, then we dug into our menus.
The menu cover had black and white photo, of Don's. I'm guessing in the 1960's.
We opened to a colorful page, with cocktail suggestions. Our Cajun fiddler, at the B & B had recommended the very powerful, Don's Old Fashion. The drinks that came in Don's glasses, looked mighty inviting!
Don with Don's Old Fashion
I of course had to get a photo of Don with his glass. I'm afraid I failed to capture his cocktail very well. There was a lot going on in that drink! I enjoyed the sugar-stick-stir-er!
I usually only like a Bloody Mary at a brunch, but I went all out. It came with pickled okra, a green bean and olives on a pink sword! That was a meal in itself. Both drinks were powerful and packed with flavor. I couldn't finish... but that's just me.
I went for the Cajun Casserole, which was a combo of shrimp and crabmeat dressing and eggplant. My baked potato was the size of small animal! All good!
Don worked on his Crawfish Half & Half, with fried and Etouffee. Both meals were huge and filling and tasty.
We watched the tables empty and finally we were the only ones left.
Gina and the Cookbook
Things were finally relaxed enough to chat with Gina, our super upbeat server. Usually, when we take the cookbook on a dining adventure, we try to order the featured recipe. This can be pretty fun, if you have a server who's old enough to appreciate a little history.
We waited a while until Gina's work eased up a bit, then I pulled out the book. I pointed to the Crawfish Etouffee recipe. She leaned in and gave the page a good look, before she reared back with a laugh. "Where did you get this?"
Sharing and Posing
Gina rewarded us with the perfect reaction. She asked if she could borrow the book to show others in the kitchen. That's always a good sign.
She disappeared for a bit, then returned, grinning with the book. We chatted a while, before Gina and Don did a little posing for my camera.
A Good Night at Don's
The staff couldn't have been sweeter. We had slowed things down with our cookbook and a couple of purchases... Don's cocktail glasses were for sale, at $5. each.
As we headed towards the doors, some lingering staff wished us well and thanked us for coming. I'm pretty sure we were the only non-locals on Ash Wednesday. We certainly were the only diners who brought a show-and-tell item.
A fun little Dining and Cookbook Adventure, for sure!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.