We're in Great Falls, Montana for a few days, in residence at the local KOA on the outskirts of town.
Melanie booked a hair cut cutting for today and I'd made arrangements to have the brake pads on my bike replaced yesterday. So, while she was getting coiffed, I made my way over and picked up my bike.
I figured I should find lunch since Melanie had a couple of pieces of fruit while she worked this morning, but, honestly I wasn't feeling too good about the prospects for finding something worth our while.
We had dinner out last evening and, while the food was edible, the restaurant doesn't warrant a mention though it did remind us of one of our go-to restaurants back in Alabama, The Bright Star. The food wasn't nearly as good, but the wood paneled room of longstanding was reminiscent of Bright Star.
I Google "Best Lunch Great Falls" and from my location near Melanie's salon and Smoked, American BBQ came up as as possibility. They mention on their site they have the best ribs in Montana. Okay. Sold.
While we didn't try the ribs, we do highly recommend the pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. The brisket is the best I've had since we were in Mobile and had it at Meat Boss. That's high praise.
They even have a white sauce a al Big Bob Gibsons'. The owner told me he keeps up with those who produce BBQ all over the country. Recommended.
This was Melanie's first trip to Prescott, Arizona. I'd camped here after dropping her off at the Phoenix airport to fly out for work in 2019. Prescott is a great small town located about a mile above sea level. It was cool during the day and at or just below freezing at night in late January.
We heard about Farm Provisions from our bartender at Back Alley Wine Bar. We met some folks from Phoenix at the wine bar who had reservations that night and they raved about eating there.
We made an early reservation for Saturday evening and, if you want to have dinner there, a reservation is a great idea. They are busy early.
For me one of the measures of a good restaurant is whether they can make a good martini. Who ever was crafting on the night we were there did a splendid job with mine.
Melanie enjoyed her filet and I enjoyed the Boneless Beef Short rib both entrees were accompanied by well-prepared sides.
Our chocolate for dessert was good too.
Part of our holiday adventures this year involved traveling to Savannah, Georgia for 5 days just before Christmas.
Adhering to our general rule of not more, or at least not too much more, than 200 miles in a day we traveled from Birmingham, Alabama and stopped along the way at a Boondockers Welcome location in Allentown, Georgia just off the interstate.
After a restful night's sleep, we made our way into Savannah arriving at around lunch time. Parking near Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room we made our way over to the restaurant only to find limited outdoor seating and a wait list. As is usual, the food was great and I believe we made several meals out of leftovers, but..., I digress.
Our last day in Savannah we left our spot in Skidaway Island State Park and traveled into town for dinner. We'd gotten a tip from our bartender the evening before at The Public Kitchen (recommended) that Common Thread, in her opinion, was currently the best restaurant in Savannah.
We arrived at 5:00 when they opened as we didn't have a reservation, hoping we'd be able to sneak in. The evening ambient temperature was very pleasant in the low 70's and we secured a table outside on the front porch. Recommended.
What followed was the best meal Melanie and I have had in quite some time including the service.
She had two different types of fresh oysters on the half shell with two different sauces to begin, I had the best beef tartare I'd eaten since Locust in Nashville last month.
For dinner Melanie had 1/2 shawarma chicken and I had lamb merguez. Both dishes were very well conceived and prepared.
For desert we shared a chocolate chess pie like neither of us had experienced. Non-traditional best describes it, but, again, very well done.
When in Savannah, we recommend this dining experience. Can't wait for next year's pass through Savannah.
Our son, Tate, and his girlfriend, Zoe enjoy preparing and eating great food. They are both graduates of Vanderbilt University and for the past few years have called Nashville home, first in the Green Hills area and now in Hillsboro Village.
Since starting our full time life, we visit them in Nashville about once each year as we head south towards friends in Birmingham, Alabama and other places around Alabama, Georgia and Florida for the holidays. This year we arrived a bit earlier than usual, made our way farther south for a few days and then back to Nashville to celebrate my birthday a few days after the fact.
They were excited to share a new restaurant find with us and made reservations at Locust.
Our reservation was for 7:00 p.m. and when we arrived we found several groups ahead of us. We all were asked to wait in the outside patio area that would, if the weather weren't in the low 40's, seat around 30 people. Our wait wasn't too long and then we were inside seated near the kitchen which looked like a finely oiled machine working under a controlled chaos.
If you're looking for a quiet Friday night dinner situation, Locust isn't for you. There's a great energy in the dining area and kitchen that's a bit contagious. I was told the staff knows each other well and call each other friend. The music is eclectic and includes metal, a genre Tate enjoys very much.
The menu is limited. There were four separate items listed the evening we dined plus two different versions of their shaved ice.
Make sure to order a shaved ice. One for the table was sufficient for us, but again, don't miss this extraordinary treat.
We began with the beef tartare and vegetables with dipping sauce, next came royal red shrimp. We finished with steamed pork dumplings. Depending on how hungry you may be, splitting orders with one other person works well.
See Also: Review Conde' Nast Traveler
We've been camped just north of Des Moines, Iowa for a few cloudy, rainy days. We're located at a Corp of Engineers campground on Saylorville Lake with a nice view of the lake. I took a nice bike ride from here into Des Moines yesterday on the Neal Smith Trail, but the highlight of our pass through Des Moines this time is the dinner we just experienced at Harbinger.
This is our second time dining here in the last year. The last time was in October of 2020. Then they took our name and phone number for contact tracing purposes as we entered and Melanie and I were two of maybe 6-8 patrons in the restaurant.
While they seemed to be doing a pretty brisk business with takeout, the dining experience felt, well, like there was a pandemic going on. Chef Tripp was then only offering a tasting menu for dine in service which could be paired with wines he'd chosen. Our meal and the wines that evening were outstanding.
Chef Tripp is now offering both a tasting menu or you may order a la carte selections. Tonight, we again chose the tasting menu with paired wines. The five-course meal was delightful and there were many more people in the restaurant enjoying dinner. And, while masks are required to enter, once seated masks were removed and the ambiance became very pre-pandemic. This is our first such experience since being vaccinated.
There's a reason Chef Tripp has received 7 James Beard nominations. We'll certainly be back on our next pass through Des Moines; we highly recommend you give Harbinger a try.
We felt leaving Omaha without having a steak dinner was not sacrosanct so, after soliciting recommendations from fellow travelers on Facebook and checking out various restaurants in the area, we settled on Anthony's. Brother Sabastian's Steakhouse told us they were booked and 801 Chophouse, also recommended, can wait until the next passthrough.
Anthony's reminded us of home and The Bright Star in Bessemer, Alabama. Casual atmosphere, friendly, helpful and competent staff and the steak was great. Melanie had prime rib with salad and two well-prepared sides, I had a ribeye with salad and two side dishes too. Even my martini was righteous.
They've been around Omaha since 1967 and are worth a try. There may be better steak houses in Omaha, but this one is a classic for sure.
Thursday is one of Melanie's "days off." She's often otherwise engaged with her work, but yesterday was a travel day and instead of driving directly to our campsite, we bypassed Ashland and Eugene T. Mahoney State Park where we're now located, and went into Omaha, Nebraska.
Our first stop was the Lauritzen (botanical) Gardens where we spent the better portion of the morning and early afternoon. Hungry afterwards, I did a quick search while we were still in the gardens and found Le Bouillon in the Old Market District of Omaha.
The Old Market is the arts and entertainment district and the location within the district where Le Bouillon is located is a bit reminiscent of the French Quarter in New Orleans
We had a few glasses of very nice Rose and I enjoyed a mushroom pasta dish with a ramp pesto sauce, Melanie had a very nicely done sea bass with a light butter sauce. Menu changes regularly.
We'd been at a local RV dealer and repair shop in Colorado Springs for most of our day and came away from there, shall we say, less than satisfied with the outcome of a door problem we have with Miranda. That is, the problem was temporarily solved in a way that indicated to us they were not necessarily to be trusted with proper knowledge and that would cause us to remain in the area until the proper part could be shipped to Colorado Springs from Canada.
With only half a peanut butter sandwich each in our stomachs that served to hold us over, we found Shuga's in downtown Colorado Springs.
I can't speak for dinner, but our lunch was great. We sat outside in a funky spot behind the place and enjoyed a very pleasant spring day.
We started with Za' atar-spiced beet dip, then Melanie ate the Aracelli Nicoise salad and I had the Cuban Mojo sandwich.
Since our door is yet to be repaired, we're likely to darken the door at Shuga's once again before traveling on.
We've been in Moab for a few days. Melanie is coming off a semi-annual meeting of her Episcopal Peace Fellowship Board and worked hard to prepare for days prior to that meeting.
Neither of us has ever been to Moab, Utah. We are here to visit Arches National Park. I did what I sometimes do when we arrive in a new place, especially one that appears to be mostly a tourist spot. I searched The Google for "James Beard & Moab."
When no restaurant fit my search, I tried "Fine Dining Moab." Desert Bistro made the top of the list. But alas, when I tried to make an online reservation, the closest date available was weeks out. No good and not what I wanted to see.
Anyway, last evening I told Melanie as we drove into town, we'd park Miranda at a convenient space at the Moab Visitor Center near the corner of Main and Center Streets and walk over a block or so to Desert Bistro just to see if they were accepting walk-ins. Nothing ventured...
We arrived at around 6:30ish and, to our delight, they said they had a table for two for us.
Melanie started with Red and Golden Beets served with fresh basil & chèvre and yellow bell pepper puree and balsamic reduction. I started with Bison Empanadas served with Bistro Mole', grilled mango salsa and ancho sour cream. We each had a glass of Willamette Valley Rose'.
We both chose one of the three specials offered. I had the Bison filet, she the Barramundi, or Asian Sea Bass.
When we're back in Moab, no question we'll dine there again.
Melanie and Steven