19 Mile House - Toutle, WA
Lunch Stop... Not Far From Mount St. Helens
In August, Don and I practically screeched on the brakes when we spotted this place on the Spirit Lake Highway. The little house had once been known as the
19 Mile House.
Riverside Dining! We saw no river, but the front porch was inviting. We headed towards the house, passing a dead tree, that looked like some we'd seen near the Mount St. Helen's.
We headed up the stairs to the little cafe, with lots fresh knowledge about the volcanic eruption in 1980.
The little house-like building looked like it had its own history and stories to tell. I secretly hoped there would be a local or a server, who had some memory of the eruption.
We stepped inside and found a couple of homey rooms, with lot of knotty pine!
The Porch View
We stepped out onto the porch and found every table full. But at least we got a quick peek of the river below.
The Toutel River
We didn't get to sit at a table with a view of the Toutel River, but we did get seated on the side porch. Our table had a decent view of an apple tree, with some pretty tempting apples.
The little restaurant was too busy and the staff was way too young, for getting any information about the restaurant's history. The menu wasn't very helpful either. Evidently the little restaurant had recently changed hands and was called Fire Mountain Grill. We decided against the Big Foot Burger for $25.00.
Don went for the chicken sandwich, which was decent. My dull iceberg salad was spiffed up a little, with yellow peppers and a tasty ranch dressing. The chili was tangy and hot. The food wasn't memorable, but the setting was just right.
Through the Arbor
I could have added to the dining adventure by taking the pathway down the hill to check out the restrooms. Instead, we headed for the car and ended up having a fun 20 minute conversation with a dad and his sons, who were traveling in an odd camper.
Just as we headed off, I suddenly spotted Big Foot, standing at the edge of the lawn. Or did I? I looked back, but the growth blocked my vision. I couldn't convince Don to turn around, so I'll have to wait until our next visit to see if there really was a Big Foot, lurking on the property!
Costa Brava at Cozumel
First Meal in Cozumel
This cute little restaurant is where Don and I ate lunch after we arrived in Cozumel just a couple days ago.
It wasn't our first time to eat a meal on the island. That was in 1984, before daily cruise ships began arriving with thousands of tourists.
There were no tourists when we arrived at about 2 pm.
They were all a block away, wandering down along the waterfront, in their beach coverups.
Table by the Window
Don and I were pretty excited about our cozy table next to the open window.
Chips and Salsa
When our server brought a basket of chips to the table, I was reminded of our first Cozumel experience, 35 years ago.
I still remember biting down on those fat chips... which tasted nothing like Doritos. Even though this was clearly a restaurant that catered to locals, we were still given 2 salsas... one for Gringos.
Open Windows and Books
By the time our food arrived, I had had plenty of time to absorb the atmosphere from my chair.
I loved the open window with warm breeze, rustling the branches. I loved keeping an eye out the open doorway to the sidewalk.
I loved the special alter, in the corner behind Don. The bible was open and inviting anyone to have a little read.
Our server brought my plate of chile rellenos with a big smile. "Especial!" She said.
I wasn't sure why she said it was special, but it was very yummy, with just enough spice. Don's chicken enchiladas were also a good pick. We dug right in!
Our server noticed me snapping a photo of Don and offered to take a picture of the two of us.
I wish I had had the nerve to let her know that I really wanted a photo of her and her little girl. The little girl and her grandmother had arrived on a motorbike a bit earlier. The girl who was about 4, greeted her mama, then happily wandered the restaurant in her pink helmet, while grandma chatted with other staff. Since there were no other diners, I felt like we had just walked into someone's home for a meal.
Our first Cozumel meal in 2018, was a good one!
Huen Phen in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Authentic Northern Thai Cuisine
Here we are with our two families on Christmas Eve, at the beautiful Thai Buddhist wedding ceremony of our son and new daughter-in-law. No one is yawning in this photo, but a few of us had flown in from the States, just hours before the morning ceremony.
Huen Phen on December 26th
The day after Christmas, we rose early and flew to Chiang Mai. We were a hungry bunch by the time we arrived at Huen Phen. The house-like restaurant was packed at lunchtime so we waited outside.
Tired, Hungry and Smiling
Luckily our group was in pretty good spirits. I believe "the Bride" took this photo.
While waiting to be seated, I peeked around a little. I could tell the space was broken up with a few separate dining areas. I was amused with the odd rocking horse and thought about giving it a try.
There was a good view of the foods and the cooking action, from the sidewalk. But honestly, I could barely recognize any of the foods.
2 Rockin' Mamas
Our table still wasn't quite ready, so it seemed time to make use of that rocking horse. My son's new mother-in-law, Linda, had great horse sharing skills... and humor!
Serious About Menus
We were finally seated, in a small room, with just a few other tables. There was lots of light and quiet, which helped give us a chance to concentrate on the menu.
There were photos, which helped a tiny bit. There were words in English and that also helped a bit. Mostly, I was happy to let Linda and her family do the ordering.
Yes, we were a little tired, but I had no idea how serious we looked until I saw these photos. We look like we're gathered around a table, having a very important meeting. And I guess we were. Linda did an excellent job of telling us about our options. She busily worked with the pencil and order sheet.
A Full Table!
The food began to arrive and it was time for some serious dining.
I was pretty excited about the little things, like the woven boxes, with lids, that held rice... and the foods, displayed on large green leaves.
Then the bowls of Khao Soy arrived, with chicken and egg noodles and curry paste! This is the dish we'd been told about. It is the food, most connected with Chiang Mai's Northern Thai cuisine!
Fixing it Up!
Linda and her family helped guide the rest of us. We garnished our soup with sprigs of cilantro, shallots and squeezes of lime. The soup-like dish really was something to savor... tangy, with just enough spice!
For a while, my daughter-in-law, Chali disappeared and came back smiling. She chuckled about an odd restroom experience and I had to go see for myself. I headed through the other eating area, where I actually spotted some tourists. I wonder how they found the place?
I must have taken a different route, because I found a mysteriously festive area, that Chali hadn't mentioned. After exploring I returned to the table with my report. I had found a restroom, but it had a regular toilet, not a hole in the floor. Chali grinned with embarrassment, realizing she must have discovered the staff bathroom. However, I was pleased to announce that I had been quite impressed with the door peg that kept the bathroom door closed.
Restaurant adventures are so fun!
Off We Go!
After our feast we were energized for some touring. Our visit to Chiang Mai was pretty amazing, thanks to the best tour & food guides, ever!
Can't wait to go back!
In April 2017, Don and I visited the the Old City of Valladolid, in the Yucatan.
We had heard that the Hotel, el Meson del Marques, was the perfect place to sample some authentic Yucatecan dishes.
Spanish Colonial Town
We had visited the Old City area, years ago with our kids. We had good memories of chatting with children, selling embroidered handkerchiefs the near the fountain.
We'd gone inside the 16th century cathedral, San Gervasio. We'd even bought leather sandals from a shoemaker.
The Pink Hotel
But we hadn't noticed the pink hotel, that was once a colonial mansion, from the beginning of the 17th century.
Luckily our friends who live in Mexico, tipped us off.
Inside the Walls
Before we even tasted the food, we were in love with the setting. The courtyard was a shady oasis.
The hostess, dressed in her embroidered dress, took us to our table, past the vegetables and chiles and the tortilla maker, seated on a stool.
Open Air Dining
There were indoor dining spaces, but the tables surrounding the courtyard were too lovely to pass up.
The painted chairs, white cloths and fresh flowers welcomed us... not to mention the playful artwork!
Sounds Around Us
Our table was perfect. We could hear the fountain and birds. Even the soft voices at nearby tables, were pleasing.
It was a treat hearing no English at all. I loved knowing we were dining in a place enjoyed by locals.
Lunch is Served
Nestor, our waiter made us feel right at home. He brought over a stand to hold our hats.
He gave us some good suggestions for beer and Yucatecan dishes. And... he graciously took our photo, with the lovely courtyard as our background.
First Time Foods
My order of Papadzules is shown above. The tortillas were filled with hard boiled eggs and topped with pumpkin seed cream and fried tomato sauce. Don went for the baby shark!
Both dishes were a little out of my comfort zone. I never expect to fall in love with a new cuisine on the first try. But we finished it all and were more than pleased with the whole experience!
Nestor couldn't have been better. He let Don practice his Spanish and he helped us out with a little English.
Best of all he had a good sense of humor. I can't remember what these last words were between Nestor and Don, but they had a fun time.
Yay for our first Yucatecan Dining Adventure!
Lowell's Restaurant Seattle
Lowell's at Pike Place Market
A Few Hours to Explore
We were with family on this trip and had just one day to explore. Poor Don was sick and couldn't join the fun. But our kiddos and their spouses were my travel companions for the day. And a beautiful day it was!
We 5 were pretty hungry at lunchtime, on a busy Saturday. We made no attempts at waiting for a table, in the full service area. Instead, we got in a fast moving line to place our order.
Seafood and More
The menu and the sizzling grill, all seemed to be about seafood. But we learned that Lowell's serves more than fishy food. Diners can arrive at 7 am and get a full breakfst and a Bloody Mary.
We placed our orders and paid at the end of the counter, right next to a quite adorable figurine. I asked about seating and found out there were 2 more floors for tables. That was good news, since the place was swarming.
I raced up 2 flights, hoping the weary tourists might be too worn out to climb that high. Sure enough there was a great window-side table, just waiting for us. There were also convenient restrooms. It was worth the price of dining, just to avoid crowds at public restrooms.
The view was perfect! After all the fun, hustle and bustle at the market, we just sat and took in the view.
Bloody Mary for Mama
A Very Happy Diner
Chali might have been the most enthused diner, with her Fresh Northwest Steamer Clams! Scott was a bit calmer, with his shrimp cocktail and Alaskan Cod Sandwich.
Soup and Crab Cakes
Jamie and Heidi were quite content with their Dungeness Crab Cakes and Clam Chowder. We were all in good spirits!
After we relaxed and refueled, we were ready to hit some more of the market. I just wish we'd had more time to absorb some of Lowell's history. I appreciate any place that opened for business, the year I was born! But even before opening in 1957, the building served as a combination coffee and peanut roaster, as well as a cafeteria. I00+ years of history!
We were better able to handle the shopping crowds without growling stomachs. We wandered the historic market that's been selling flowers, produce and seafood since 1907. I was pretty excited that I got to witness a few fish being thrown. I had heard recently that the old fish handling tradition had stopped. Not on the day we visited!
Just when we'd had about all we could handle of the busy multi-storied market, I laid eyes on an odd wall-museum. No one in the packed market seemed a bit interested in this fine display, but I just had to pose next to Robert Preston, the tallest man in the world. Then, I eagerly handed out quarters for anyone interested in paying for a view of his shoes. What a silly way to end our dining adventure at Pike Place Market!
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.