There was a time when I used to anticipate our arrival into various places along our route by reading restaurant reviews. Not all were of the fine dining persuasion, sometimes I'd seek out place where the locals ate lunch (or breakfast or dinner). But then COVID-19.
I miss the great dining experiences we had, but increasingly, as we, as a nation begin to figure out how to navigate during pandemic, restaurant experiences are coming back, albeit mostly in a greatly diminished form.
Montana has a governor-ordered mask requirement in place and people in Whitefish, Montana are mostly complying and wearing their masks. So we were happy to find Loula's Cafe where masks are required to be in place until you've placed your drink order. Tables are nicely spaced for inside dining.
Food's good too. Melanie had the Crispy Chicken Salad with a Honey Mustard dressing she highly recommends. I had breakfast (served all day). The breakfast Enchilada was good.
Their website homepage says "Breakfast-Lunch-and PIE! They currently have 22 pies listed. We had warmed Strawberry Rhubarb with vanilla ice cream. Save room for the pie. Seriously.
On the advice of a new friend and former Columbus, Georgia resident, Leslie Kent, we had breakfast at Stanley Baking Company & Cafe on our way out of town. Best scones we've had in a great while.
Traveling from Salmon, Idaho to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and stopped at The Notorious P.I.G. BBQ for lunch. She had the pulled pork sandwich, I had the brisket sandwich, both with potato salad and tea. Everyone wearing a mask, we were able to get a nice picnic table outside to enjoy our meal. Try it.
Our last night in Portland, we had dinner with our friends, Siobhan and Jeremy at the food truck they operate, South.
Turns out, we made it just under the wire. Lucky for Melanie since she was craving good southern fried chicken. I had the Nashville HOT chicken. That's right, hot's the operative word. Delicious and hot. The sides were all great and the Banana Pudding was also quite good.
And we had a great beer from Base Camp Brewing Company where South was parked.
Siobhan posted this on Facebook today:
In March of 2019 [we] opened South to bring real southern cooking to Portland. We have been in Yelp’s Top 10 food carts for 2 years and have succeeded in an extremely competitive foodie town. This is almost 100% due to Siobhan’s amazing business sense and culinary skill. I am so proud of what she has created.
Sadly it is not possible for us to continue under the current economic circumstances. We are closing the cart for a while and hope to reopen under Phase 3 in the Spring.
It’s was an unbelievably difficult decision, but the right one for our family.
From Siobhan: “Very sad to say that I’ve made the decision to close the food cart until Multnomah County reaches Phase 3 of reopening. I’m pretty heartbroken, after all the work Jeremy and I have put in. We hope to be back in the spring.
Thank you to all of our lovely friends who’ve cheered us on!”
We're pulling for them.
Since dine-in is still not a thing in the age of COVID-19, well, not a thing I'm too keen on right now, it's really encouraging to find very solid high-end take-out like we experienced at Seasons and Regions. We parked Miranda across the way from the restaurant in their "overflow" parking at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. I enjoyed the crab cakes, Melanie had the "Scampi Style" Shrimp Linguine.
The last time Melanie and I were in Carmel was back in about 2009. We'd flown into San Francisco a few days ahead of a deposition she was to take in San Luis Obispo. On the way back to San Francisco after the deposition, we drove Highway 1 for a while, took in the beautiful coast and stopped for dinner in Carmel.
While I don't remember the name of the restaurant at which we ate, I do remember dinner was good and we found the town to our liking.
This time around we were in Carmel to boondock on our friends' land in the Carmel Valley. When we arrived in Carmel, we went grocery shopping and, since it was lunchtime, we made our way to Carmel and La Bicyclette.
We were there just as things got very real and businesses began to close. It would be the last meal we shared in a restaurant during the current COVID-19 outbreak. Melanie had a lunch special of braised rabbit, I had a mushroom pizza with truffle oil. Both were delish.
Since dining out and trying local Cusine has always been one our great pleasures both on the road and before we started, we can only hope our nation can flatten the curve so all the wonderful local eating establishments can once again begin to bring us together over a table. I hope David Chang isn't right about the current state of affairs.
We'd talked about it at least a month before we arrived in Los Angeles, having previously watched Ugly Delicious and Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on Netflix, having a meal at David Chang's newest restaurant, Majordōmo, was on our radar.
And he's a James Beard award winner. And he stayed high all day with Seth Rogan for a segment of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. They laughed. A lot. And ate good food. And talked about eating good food. And laughed. Role models for alternative ways of being productive.
Majordōmo is located in what appears in early-evening-I'm-not-familiar-with-Los Angeles light to be a warehouse area of LA. I seem to remember it's located near a park (Uber). The build out of the restaurant both belies and doesn't the interior. There's more than ample wait staff who are knowledgeable, including waiter assistants. It was warm on the patio where we ate.
All items on the menu are meant to be shared. Our waiter suggested ordering from 3-5 items for a meal for two. Wines by the glass are nice. We ordered three items from the menu, all of them nicely prepared. We liked sharing too.