We traveled into Colorado from Wyoming to, in part, try and escape the heat, but also to take care of an awning adjustment we needed (manufacturer is located near Boulder, Colorado). We haven't yet had any luck with either the heat or the adjustment and, in addition, up arriving in Fort Collins and settling in to our campsite, we got a knock on the door from campground personnel telling us our neighbors had smelled propane. That's no good.
I exited the van and, yes, I too smelled the propane additive used to prevent asphyxiation from leaking propane lines. The alarm hadn't gone off in the van. That was a relief. I turned off the propane at the source and made a call to Leisure Travel Van Roadside Assistance.
Roadside Assistance provided me with two businesses in Fort Collins to contact. While neither of those worked out, one didn't do work on propane systems in RV's (why are they on the list?), the other could see us in 3 weeks despite my telling them we travel full-time and were only briefly in town. Even though they couldn't assist us, they did provide us with contact information for a person who ultimately made the necessary repairs.
Faulty propane regulator which was out of warranty, but Leisure Travel Vans paid for it anyway because of a history of problems with the regulator in our model year van. For that we are grateful.
Since we couldn't prepare dinner in the van, we had to find dinner out. Melanie did a quick search and found Bistro Nautile in downtown. Just an aside, as of May 2017, Fort Collins had 620 brick and mortar restaurants, one for every 258 residents or double the national average.
From their dinner menu I had the House Rabbit Terrine followed by Broiled Colorado Rack of Lamb. Melanie had Oysters to start, followed by Pan Seared Ocean Trout Nicoise salad.
As sometimes happens, we met a lovely couple from Fort Collins and had great conversation with them during and after dinner. Great evening in Fort Collins.
On our way to Fort Collins, Colorado from Rock Springs, Wyoming, we stopped in Laramie, Wyoming for lunch.
From their website:
Speedgoat is Downtown Laramie’s Local Burrito & Street Taco Shop. Featuring gourmet global flavors, craft cocktails on draft, weekly specials and daily happy hour. Our aim is to provide a fun, laid back environment of the highest quality to enjoy some unique and tasty culinary options in the heart of downtown. Speedgoat was founded on the concept of community, which is why we proudly have teamed up with other local businesses to provide you with the best experience possible. A very special thanks to Sweets Bakery, H&S Coffee Roasters, Born in a Barn, Coal Creek Tap and Altitude Chophouse. We hope you enjoy your visit!
Eating out during COVID-19 has, as those of you who believe the pandemic is real know, been an exercise in being overtly careful about where and how one engages. Not too many people too close together in a concentrated spot for too long a time. No low ceilings, plenty of ventilation, tables spaced appropriately apart.
Fine dining for us has been, except for a few occasions where take-out was available, almost non-existent.
So it was great to find The Kitchen in Jackson Hole to celebrate our last night in Grand Teton National Park. Jackson Hole has allowed The Kitchen to utilize nicely landscaped planters to surround what would be parking spaces out in front of the restaurant to place generously spaced tables located in the shade during the evening hours. They also have a spacious porch on the front of the restaurant and seating inside.
Executive chef, Ash Tucker, has over twenty years experience cooking. The menu has an Asian influence featuring seasonal ingredients.
I had braised Korean BBQ Pork Shank, Melanie the Short Rib Ramen. From sipping cocktails in the cool August evening air while we decided on dinner, to dessert with a nice port wine, we throughly enjoyed our time at The Kitchen.
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.