Several of my fond memories from our recent road trip are from the restaurants we visited. A few of them were planned in advance, but most were found serendipitously as we looked for something with local flavor. We loaded up on snack food so we could avoid at least one stop each day, and that made the places we did stop at more appreciated.
Big Apple Deli, Snyder, TX
I was surprised to find something named “Big Apple” in West Texas. This was a nice deli, and we enjoyed being on the patio so we could get the dog and the chicken out of the car.
Mykonos Cafe & Taverna, Albuquerque, NM
We saw Greek in the GPS and made a beeline. This looked like a very nice space. Too nice for the boisterous children we had with us, and we had places to go. We got a bunch of food to go and took it to the top of Sandia Peak where we had a picnic with great food and a great view.
Idaho Joe’s, Twin Falls, ID
When we reached Idaho, we decided that we simply must have potatoes. Idaho Joe’s sounded like the perfect place. Again, we had places to go. We ordered a selection of potato items to go, plus something I recall that they called scones but looked like frybread to me (really good stuff). We devoured it at Shoshone Falls nearby.
Bar 14 Ranch House Restaurant, Ellensburg, WA
We remember this stop because it was so nice to get out of the car and sit in a real chair. It was a welcome break after snacking in the car all day.
Wind River, Ellensburg, WA
The sign promised a dog run, so we walked here after we finished at the Bar 14. The dog wasn’t impressed until the staff invited her inside the store. The ice cream was great, especially with an added shot of espresso. We grabbed a few specialty beers from the cooler that we saved for later.
Falafel King, Seattle, WA
My wife lingered at the smell emanating from this restaurant as we walked down the sidewalk from the map store. Most of the people in our group at the time weren’t excited about Mediterranean food, but I encouraged her to get the shawarma anyway. Thankfully, she couldn’t finish all of it, so I got to help her with it, and it was so good my mouth still waters thinking about it.
Ray’s Boathouse, Seattle, WA
Ray’s hosted a wedding we attended, which is also where dinner was served. We enjoyed the view of the sunset over the Puget Sound. When they set down a plate full of steak in from of our meat-loving 5-year old, his eyes got as big as the plate. Delicious food, and the staff was very friendly and helpful. Really top-notch service.
BBQ in the Vineyard Restaurant, Chelan, WA
This one is a family tradition, an open-air restaurant at the Lake Chelan Winery. It’s nice to sit among the vines while the kids frolic on the hillside. Of course, we had to try a few bottles of wine. They didn’t complain once that we bought the chicken with us, and several of the other guests enjoyed visiting Fifi. One lost a bet, insisting that it must be a turkey. It’s funny how people don’t recognize a chicken when it’s between the newborn egg shape and full grown.
Red Light Garage, Wallace, ID
We visited Wallace to see the metal plate in the middle of the street declaring that it’s the center of the universe. While looking for a gas station, we spotted the Red Light Garage restaurant with a spaceship in the parking lot. We enjoyed some huckleberry ice cream on the patio while the pets stretched their legs. The kids enjoyed sitting in the spaceship.
Fred’s Mesquite Grill, Butte, MT
We arrived shortly before closing, and the hostess discouraged us from sitting on the patio. Did she somehow know of our habit of bringing the pets out of the car? But it was hot inside, and almost everyone was on the patio, so we insisted, though we decided not to bring the animals over. There were compliments for the food all around the table. The most memorable thing, at least for my daughter, was the busboy who kept stealing glances at her.
I-70 Diner, Flagler, CO
We were headed toward a Subway, but stopped short when we saw this beautiful diner. I don’t remember much about my meal, except cream gravy was involved. And the rhubarb pie was great. It was fun to watch the pink Cadillac on top of the pole out front, turning so slowly that we weren’t sure for a while whether it was moving at all. I read the history of the restaurant that was included in the menu, but the writing was just convoluted enough that it was hard for me to piece together.
Thinking over all of our culinary experiences makes me want to hit the road again!