Late Lunch in Louisiana
Today, I'm thinking back to one of the last dining adventures we had before Covid.
This past February, Don and I spotted this colorful building and neon sign, on our drive into Nola. It was Mardi Gras time and we spent a couple of days enjoying parades.
We caught lots of beads and luckily caught no Coronavirus. We had no idea what was brewing at that time!
Out to Charles Sea Foods
On our second day, we were hungry for some Louisiana cooking. We wanted to avoid restaurants, near parade routes.
My brother suggested we drive out to Harahan, on Jefferson Highway.
The cozy place was hopping, but there were tables available.
The low key family atmosphere was a welcome sight.
I had a good time checking out all the festive beads, hanging on coatracks and even on the crawfish scale.
There was shiny purple, gold and green garland, draped along the bar. Oh I love some garland!
The table had a nice diner feel. The nifty wooden boat, held all the spice goodies we would need.
While we checked over the menu, I celebrated with a watermelon margarita. I had heard it was National Margarita Day. I'm not sure if that's true.
My plate of fried shrimp was heavenly. I probably should have started with an appetizer of "Alligator Kickers". I regret missing out on that.
Curious Sky and Building
By the time we headed out, the evening sky was adding a little drama to our departure.
I wondered about the building attached to the restaurant. Did the owners once live there? I wondered about the history of the place. I believe it opened as Charlie's in 1951, but that's all I know.
My brother made sure Don and I posed near the classic neon sign.
As I admire this colorful image, I have to grin bigger as I notice the metal awning and the Dr. Pepper sign and the glass block window and that awesome mint green stucco!
I love having this fun little dining memory to add to all the others we have from Nola. My heart just goes out to all the suffering restaurants and businesses during this pandemic time. Makes me sad.
Lunch at the Harbor
Here is another look back to a memorable lunch... back when we could do road trips and eat at quirky diners and cafes.
It was last October, many months before the world turned pandemic. Don and I stopped at this curious, blue restaurant at the far tip, of the South Harbor Pier in Crescent City.
Don and I gave ourselves some added entertainment, before heading in.
I posed with the shark and Don posed with the mermaid. We always make the most of our dining adventures.
Welcomed by the Cowboy
Once inside, we were greeted by a cowboy statue, holding a sign. He told us to seat ourselves.
We passed under a collection of flags and headed towards the wall of windows.
The best table was taken, in the corner.
It had a view of the docks and boats as well as the sea lions.
Table with a View
There were a couple of other window tables open. We took a seat below a display of maps and globes and other curious nautical knickknacks.
As soon as Don finished checking his phone for some trip route info, we hunkered down to check out the view.
The window offered us a fun peek at about 20 sea lions, lounging on 2 floating docks. We also had a view of the distant lighthouse, with its light blinking in the foggy sky.
The sea lions mostly lounged like giant slugs. Now and then one barked and the others chimed in. We watched one big guy nudge another off the platform. Poor guy just swam to the other platform. Luckily we witnessed nothing worse from that aggressive guy.
The menu and placemat reminded me of the old seafood places my family enjoyed when we lived in Florida. I love a good retro, seafood joint.
I was surprised to see on the menu that the biz had only been around since 1988. A quick internet search told me the place had once been a boat engine, machine shop business. So there probably were some interesting stories. But the young servers (none looked over 20) wouldn't have known them.
I ordered a half of a grilled tuna salad and cheese sandwich, with a cup of smoked salmon chowder.
Yum! It was just the right amount. The soup was thick and chunky, with a little spice.
Don had cod fish tacos. He wasn't overly delighted, but I loved his slaw.
I took a quick peek around, on my way to the Ladies Room.
I took in all the nautical decor. I do love a theme.
The bicycles and kiddie car didn't exactly fit the them, but I'm always happy with some entertaining nostalgia stuff.
There was a little reminder near the front door. I used to hate signs like that when I was a kid.
My best surprise came when I opened the door to the ladies room!
You have to love this special piece of art! Birth of Venus, modified to include the very lighthouse that we had been studying across the harbor.
On Our Way
We finished our meal and headed out.
We wandered a bit before getting back on the road. We spotted a few fishing boats.
We especially enjoyed a trio of snowmen, made with circular fish traps. Or something!
Before leaving the little coastal town, we drove out to get a better view of the lighthouse.
What a pretty little building, with it's glowing light! What an odd little town and restaurant. Worth the stop!
Lunch in October 2019
On this muggy July day in Texas, I'm remembering a chilly outing in Oregon.
Don and I enjoyed a cozy lunch with our daughter, in this fabulous stone building, last fall.
What a treat to have Heidi drive us out from Portland, to see Multnomah Falls.
It was early enough when we started our hike, that the bridge wasn't jammed with tourists. We hiked long and high enough to work up a good appetite and enough warmth, to shed our coats.
Completed in 1925
The 95 year old lodge looked picture perfect, sitting at the base of the falls.
The lodge no longer houses overnight guests, but they had a restaurant and there was smoke coming from the chimney, just like the old photo.
The gift shop on the first level was swarming, but when we headed up to the restaurant, we found the dining rooms calm and inviting.
I wondered about the stairs behind the host's desk. I was told there was just storage upstairs now, but the staff was once housed there. I really wanted to steal the lodge model that was on display. Very cute!
The main dining rooms were to the left, but I peeked at few extra rooms off to the right.
The old lodge furniture made it easy to picture guests staying here, back in twenties and thirties. There were only 5 guest rooms, originally. They became offices in the 1950's.
There were a couple options for tables. The great room was original, with stone walls and soaring ceiling.
Evidently most people request the newer atrium, with views of the falls and lush green growth.
Near the Fire!
I always opt for dining in the original part, when there's a choice.
Our table wasn't far from the fireplace, with a real cracking fire! There were dramatic light fixtures, reminding me of a haunted castle. And the vintage artwork, showed scenes of the falls and mountains.
Vintage Place Setting
I was delighted with the retro placemat and china.
I was quite entertained with the trivia on my mat. Multnomah Falls is the second highest year-round waterfall in the U.S.!
Heidi looked the part in her sweater and knit cap, as she dug into her poached eggs and hash browns.
Don also was tempted by the breakfast options. He had a salmon-scramble, also with hash browns.
I couldn't resist having potato bacon soup, on a chilly day. Don shared some of his toast and that made it perfect. All was yummy and the atmosphere was casual-comfy!
As I write this up, our hot weather has turned to steamy storms. I'm looking at these photos longingly. Plaid shirts and jackets AND a cozy meal served in a lodge in Oregon! It's Pandemic July 2020 and I haven't eaten in a restaurant since early March.
Dreaming of the future!
Small Town Texas
Today, I'm remembering a little feast from four years ago.
We were passing through the small Hill Country town of Chappell Hill and spotted the Lazy Mule. I liked the Mule X-ing sign.
Don and I were traveling with our son. Scott and I stepped inside to see if the saloon served food. We met Larry. At least I think his name was Larry. He was actually sweeping the floor when we first entered.
Larry told us he could heat up some pizza for us, but mostly the place was for drinking. It was a saloon, after all. We passed on the pizza and had a good time chatting.
Scott and I noticed a curious sign on the wall. We had just passed a dog on the porch.
That poor little pup only had 3 legs, I believe. Nice to know he was welcome inside.
Randy told us to feel free to look around. I admired the raccoon with his Mardi Gras beads and his jar of peanut butter.
I also noticed a list on the wall, with names of all the businesses that had been inside this funny little building. The first on the list was Zientek Grocery. Pretty funny, since some of my husbands relatives spelled his family name that way!
I wish I could remember better, the story that Randy told us about the building being moved. "There were people inside drinking. They just rolled it on down the road." I'm not sure if that was a tall tale.
Moving Ourselves to a New Location
With hopes of something besides frozen pizza, we headed off down the road.
There's not a whole lot in the rural unincorporatated community of Chappell Hill. But we did find a cafe/meat market.
And the business had been around since 1939! I love a cafe with history.
I'm always game for sitting at a counter, but that's harder with 3.
We passed up the cute red stools and headed for a table with a red & white checkered, vinyl cloth.
During blue bonnet season, I believe this place gets some tourist traffic. But it was just us and a few locals on this afternoon.
I can only make a guess about what we ate, by looking at these photos from my computer.
I do remember thinking the hamburger, wrapped in red and white paper, was pretty classic.
I went for the baked potato and Scott had good old chicken fingers, fries and gravy. He must have shared a chicken finger with me. Surely my potato didn't come with that. ? As I recall, the food was tasty and the atmosphere was very small town comfy.
When we finished, we paid up and took a visit to the adjoining market.
I'm pretty sure that Dziekuje was the name of the family that owned the biz... or once did. I wonder if the "Sweet Treat" rack was from 1939. There were some mighty fine sweet Honey Buns and Donuts for sale, but we didn't buy.
We didn't buy any potatoes or onions, either. I would have bought that wonderful wooden holder, if I could have.
I loved the old photo of the original shop. I'll be they still get lots of cowboy hats at the cafe. And I wonder if they had Dr. Pepper on the menu?
This is a super lame write-up, but it is July 19, 2020 and I am not going on dining adventures during the pandemic. My biggest adventure today involved finding these old photos on my computer!
Original Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant
Last October, Don and I walked from our hotel on Nob Hill, to Fisherman's Wharf.
We spotted Sabella & La Torre's, and numerous classic seafood eateries.
It was such a beautiful day. All we had planned to do was wander and absorb scenery.
We studied the fishing boats and looked out at Alcatraz. For a while we watched a gathering, that included the mayor of San Francisco!
It was still early, but restaurants began opening and we started getting hungry.
Every single place looked inviting. We figured we'd just grab some outdoor stools and order a lobster roll.
If It Swims We Have It!
We decided on Sabella and La Torre's. But it turns out, they only served their lobster rolls, inside.
So we took a peek inside the cozy place
One look at the retro bar and we were excited.
Luckily we were early enough to grab a couple retro stools at the bar.
Gina greeted us at the bar and handed us some menus. I opened mine up and laughed.
Gina said everyone loves that menu feature. It's a small cut in the fold, that makes the fish look like he's opening his mouth. She said (with a laugh) that it actually costs about an extra dollar per menu, to have those cuts put in.
Sharing a Lobster Roll
We told Gina we wanted to split a lobster roll. She said no problem.
Our split meal came out on two plates, with no extra charge.
It was mouthwatering. We should have gotten two! Oh how I love those little cocktail napkins.
The restaurant began to fill as we started in on our food. I saw Gina greet a few regulars from the behind the bar. There seemed to be more locals than tourists.
The dining room looked like it probably hadn't changed much, over the years.
I loved the wall mural, with all the familiar sights... Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower.
Gina's Great Grandfather
We were lucky that we got to talk quite a bit with Gina. She said she was 3rd generation. Gina pointed to this photo of her great grandfather, Luciano Sabella. He came from Sicily as a crab fisherman.
Luciano and his sons opened the business in 1927, selling crabs and other seafood, to drive up customers. After WWII, the business was turned over to more family and eventually the seafood stand became a full, dine in restaurant.
We hadn't planned on lunch at the wharf, but we ended up with a perfect little food and history adventure!
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.