No matter where you go, sampling the local food and beverages is important and usually fascinating. We have eaten meals in all kinds of places – on boats while riding the Missouri, Clearwater and Columbia rivers; at a windy riverside Iowa state park; at a desert cafe in Death Valley, on a tour bus while following Lewis and Clark portage route; at the Giant Artichoke in Salinas; in Hell’s Canyon at a riverside homestead and numerous rest areas while in transit. Here are a few examples.
High up in Helena National Forest at a private 40 Acre Ranch we had a great steak dinner and entertainment at the Last Chance Ranch – including a ride in a wagon pulled by magnificent farm horses. Great fun and put this on your bucket list.
In Ahsahka, Idaho, locals brag about the High Country Inn – located above the river and it’s huge dam, this family run place offers a limited menu certain week nights as well as cabins for an overnight stay. Mediocre meal but the location made it worth the price.
Above is a picture of the steamboat ride with cocktails and snacks on the Columbia River that gave us a new perspective of the beautiful Gorge and the Bonneville Dam.
Bruciato – a neopolitian pizza place along the renovated main drag where we enjoyed lunch on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound across from Seattle – delicious pizza and drinks.
The Giant Artichoke is legendary – a stop there is required. There’s nothing like fresh fried artichokes!
Often when we arrived at remote places that appeared to have no entertainment, Google or Trip Advisor helped find a spot to share a gin and tonic or a glass of wine with fellow travelers.
The Sip and Dip Lounge in Great Falls, Montana (below) gets a gold star on this list. The aquarium behind the bar had real mermaids (seriously) and a 90 year old songstress/piano player – drinks included a 32 ounce fish bowl with too many liquors to name. We stuck to gin and tonics but had our picture taken with mermaids – a once in a life time opportunity. The bartender was delightful and we felt genuinely welcomed.
Glasgow MT is known for its Fort Peck hydroelectric dam – highest of six major dams on the Missouri and the huge lake it created in the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge – it’s local theater and the Fort Peck hotel which has a nifty bar and restaurant. The owner hunted wild fowl, then stuffed and mounted them elegantly in the dining room – had to admit they were beautiful. We met his wife on the porch – she warned us that more drinks were needed before we would be brave enough to visit the haunted upstairs. We declined – more alcohol wouldn’t have improved our chances of finding our way back to the campground.
The Cattlemen’s Club Steakhouse in Pierre SD was one of our tour dinners – Steak – its what’s for dinner! We were in cattle country after all. We ate big slabs of homegrown beef and vegetables in a rustic cowboy atmosphere.
A visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota requires enjoying a show at Medora Musical Theater and dinner at outdoor Pitch Fork Steak Fondue next door. As the name suggests it was grilled steak served on pitchfork. President Roosevelt and his wife Alice even made an appearance at our table.
Lunch at Duarte’s Tavern in the little coastal town of Pescadero, CA – serving food for over a hundred years – was a great way to catch up with our friends from Moss Beach. This elegant lighthouse and rugged beach was not far from the tiny downtown on this foggy cool day.
Of course there were odd places and weird food sometimes but it was fun different cuisine – like fried buffalo balls. They didn’t taste like chicken!
More tidbits to come…..