There's only a lodge restaurant inside Big Bend, but just outside the park there is La Kiva. It's as isolated and odd as the sign appears. The food is actually good and the people watching is even better!
Entering the Cave
We visited in January and it was still light at 5:00 when we headed towards the eerie entrance. I felt a little like Dorothy stepping down into the storm cellar. This place is odd, on the inside and out!
A Cozy Atmosphere
On Sunday, Don and I were the only non-locals. We sat at one of the 10-ton redwood tables and ordered beer and split a brisket calzone. The stone walls and log beamed ceilings made us feel like we were in a mine...or visiting the Flintstones.
Beasts at La Kiva
In La Kiva there are curious creatures on the wall and sweet beasts outside on the patio. There's a plaque on the wall reading "Penisaurus". This silly puzzle of cow bones was created by Gilbert Felts in the early 1980's when he used his sort of "man cave humor" to create this strange hangout.
The sweet dog beasts had a jolly time romping in the rustic patio area and smiling at the customers through the glass. A woman at the bar finally opened the door and let them in!
After a few days staying in the area, we were told we shouldn't miss karaoke night on Tuesday. So we returned to enjoy some of the local talent.
Probably the only one with any talent that night was Cooter, who runs the karaoke. He started the evening with some of his own country music singing and he wasn't half bad.
There were a few locals who must come regularly. I will name no names, but they would have gotten some stern scolding if they'd been auditioning on American Idol. But at least the the crowds graciously cheered along. There was a genuine sharing of fun at the karaoke gathering!
Lots of Humor
There were a few tables of hikers and river guides. Some actually had a little vocal talent, but most were just plain amusing. We called these guys the Backstreet Boys.
I had to go over and tell this table that they won the prize for most entertaining in my book. Just the way they posed for this photo shows they were pretty good humored.
They reminded me of me and my siblings hamming it up in the kitchen while doing dishes. Their sense of fun had less to do with the audience or even the drinking, than the fact they seemed to enjoy each other.
There was quite a bit of dancing going along with the singing. No one took themselves serioiusly. Even the EMS worker who was possibly on call.
Did I Sing?
If ever I was going to get up and sing or dance, this would have been the place. No judging at La Kiva! But there were actually tables full of interesting people to chat with. An 82 year old man seated nearby, shared some of his pizza and thought he might have known my dad at University of Arkansas. Two traveling couples shared a story of a fire in the ghost town where they stayed the night before. It's hard to tell what was most entertaining about the evening.
I feel a little guilty that I didn't give this La Kiva experience my all. Talent or no talent, I should have joined the performing crowd. I promise if I ever return for Karaoke Night at La Kiva, I will grab a mic and join in. (Easy promise since I'm not sure I'll ever be back!)
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.