Dining Suggestions for Delta County, Colorado

July 5, 2012 - Written by Diana

Since we spent ten days in Crawford Colorado, we ate out a few times and found a few gems.  If you are on the Delta County side of the Black Canyon, or you are visiting the Crawford Campground or Needle Rock (we had a view from our cabin), then here are some places you can visit for dinner.  Vagabond is right in Crawford itself, the other suggestions are a little further away.  If you are closer to the south rim and Montrose, then see my anniversary dinner post for a pricey but very exceptional place to go – The Stone House.

The best food for the money in my opinion is a restaurant right on 92, called The Vagabond.  It’s a smaller scale restaurant, with the owner being the chef and the manager. One of our visits we were the only ones in there and he stopped to talk. The menu is limited, but there is a specials board when you come in that changes each day.  I love this part a lot because it adds to the anticipation to see what is going to be on the board that day.   The days we were there, there was different mixed grills with pasta.  All of the sauces are hand made, the vegetables are fresh.  We had a salad the first time with tomatoes that must have come right off the vine, they were so good.  His dressings are hand made.  For lunch we had a salad, and a nice portion.  For dinner, it came with this great appetizer of grilled veggies and sausage, plus garlic bread, a salad with chopped greens, chickpeas, mushrooms, olives and parmesan cheese plus a full size dinner portion.  All for a reasonable price.  Lunches about 7.00 and Dinner 11 – 15. 00.  We didn’t have room for dessert, though I hear his spumoni is to die for.  The waitresses were great, friendly, chatty and gave us suggestions about the area.  This is really a good deal. Also, if you are into it, he will teach classes in your home or the restaurant.  It sounds like a fun thing to do if you have a bunch of friends and you want to learn some techniques.

If you are traveling the wine tour, and you want some really fantastic food, and you’re also okay with a fantastic price try the Flying Fork Cafe and Bakery in Paonia.  This restaurant was recommended to us by the local policeman who pulled our rental car over for having only one license plate.  Since we were hungry, we asked for a recommendation and he said that there are good spots in town, but if you can afford it, the Flying Fork is the way to go.  (We were pulled over near it, I wonder if he gets a discount?) This is fine dining the local way using locally grown ingredients –  They have a lovely outdoor garden, or you can sit inside the restaurant, napkins are not only cloth and folded, they have the creases ironed in – this is serious fine dining and the food is seriously fine as well.  Homemade dressings here but the salads are upscale with pancetta and imported cheese.  I had the Lamb Shank that was to die for, it was so good.  The mashed potatoes were delicious, but not enough for how big the shank was and I ran out quickly.  The red wine reduction – thick and tasty, sigh, I could use more.

If you are looking for breakfast or coffee, head straight into Hotchkiss to the Coal Train Coffee House, it’s worth the drive.  Hotchkiss is on 92 also, but a little ways out of Crawford in the opposite direction from the Black Canyon. They have fairtrade organic coffee and they know how to make it right.  The owner makes quiches, burritos, pastries and other breakfast items.  The asparagus bacon quiche was so creamy and delicious.  They have sandwiches, salads and smoothies on their menus also and a meeting room for use. The hours are limited – Not on Sunday and only until 4 during the week but it was a good place to stop for coffee especially on the way to the airport in Grand Junction.

The last place is a fast food place in Delta.  While we were in Delta we were looking for a small quick place to eat and came upon Don Gilberto’s – a Mexican food place.  The food was good, the portions were big.  They had breakfast burritos any time of day – which my husband ordered.  There seemed to be one cook, and one person taking orders.  There were sauces that you could add in a self serve area , though they they had lids, the lids weren’t on correctly, and there were a couple of flies so I avoided them.  The ceiling needs to be tended to, as it isn’t very pretty to look at and the floors a little dusty, but we were in the desert – so I don’t know if that’s normal or not.  My feet spent every day dusty when we were in Colorado but it was sparsely decorated, so I noticed. The price is pretty inexpensive for the portion size.  It was good for fast food.

I was pretty impressed with the places we went to  – even though we were staying in an out of the way place.  We went to The Vagabond twice, and the Coal Train twice, but the others only once because they were more off the beaten path for us. There’s something around to suit your dining needs.

Anniversary Dinner – The Stone House, Montrose, Co

June 29, 2012 - Written by Diana

This past Wednesday was our 25th wedding Anniversary.  We are staying in a cabin in Crawford, Co a really small quiet town with access to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  The Black Canyon and Curecanti National Parks are one of the least visited parks in the National Park system, but they are worth taking the time to see and enjoy.  If you are looking for a gem that is less touristy, less traveled, less busy and more out of the way this is a great area.

For our anniversary, we decided to take the advice of people in the area to go to a special restaurant with a really good reputation.  I think if you want to know what’s local and delicious, ask around and they’ll tell you where they’ve had a good experience, so you aren’t taking chances.  The Stone House in Montrose was suggested over and over.  It’s on one of the main roads right across from Walmart.  We were also told it’s pricey, but worth the trip.

So after a day of the South Rim (Black Canyon) – We drove into Montrose – not on the way, but we weren’t close to home anyway and found the Stone House.  We worried that in shorts and tees we might be under dressed at such a nice looking establishment, but as it says on their website, casual or dressy  and we did fit in.

Since it was a Wednesday, it wasn’t overly busy, and no wait.  We were greeted at the door by a hostess and after offered the choice between booth and table, we were seated in a very nice booth. The decor is mostly dark wood with light walls and a big stone fireplace. We were surprised that though the temps were in the 90’s there was a fire in that fireplace.

The waiter was very attentive and friendly.  The bussers kept the tables clean and the glasses filled – though please let the waterglass go a little longer.  My glass would be only a quarter down before they refilled it.

The food was delicious.  The rolls are fantastic, thick and doughy – and good. For an appetizer, my husband and I shared avocado rolls.  A nice piece of Avocado surrounded by sundried tomatoes and sweet red pepper rolled in wonton wrappers and deep fried with sweet chili asian sauce for dipping.  I liked the little bite of heat and sweetness along with the creaminess of the avocado and the wonton wrappers were very light.

Our salads were decent – all of the dressings are handmade on site.  We both had a citrus vinaigrette.  The salads were good house salads, plenty to eat, different greens, tomatoes and cucumbers along with croutons.

I think for the main course, I fared better than my husband though he was pleased with his meal. I ordered the Steak Romano.  When in Cow Country, eat steak, right?  My Steak was perfectly cooked to a medium – pink inside, charbroiled outside, and perfectly seasoned. It had a really delicious bordelaise sauce and topped with romano cheese.  On top of that were three large luscious grilled shrimp.  The steak had herb roasted potatoes – covered with plenty of herbs, just the way I like it and on the side were stringbeans.

My husband had the Chipotle Citrus Walleye.  The fish was very tasty and flaky, though the mandarins should be more room temperature, they were a little cold on top of the warm fish, I  think.  It was served with herbed rice – a rice mixture with peppers and onions – but I believe the rice was cooked with just a tad too much liquid.  I prefer my rice to have a little more texture to it.  He also had stringbeans as the seasonal vegetable.

My husband was able to finish his portion, but I brought some of mine home. I wished though that the guy who packed my leftover steak had scraped every bit of bordelaise sauce on top and was disappointed that it was missing from my box.

We couldn’t eat dessert, we were too full – but it was our 25th anniversary! so we asked for desserts to go and the waiter comped half of one dessert for our anniversary gift.  This time though, the desserts had the trimmings in the box along with the desserts themselves.  Wednesday night we could only taste a bite, but last night we were in happyland eating the sweet treats after dinner.

I wholeheartedly recommend The Stone House in Montrose, CO for your special dinner.  It is pricey, not something we can afford for every meal, but special occasions demand special places and this is one of those.



Disclosure – This is not a sponsored or paid for review, this is my own opinion and I received nothing for it.



Hubert’s Polish Kitchen

May 2, 2012 - Written by Diana

Last week my husband and I were at the North Market, and decided to pick up dinner.  We were leaving town for a family function and thought we’d get enough for leftovers, that way my son would have dinner for a few nights.  Hubert’s Polish Kitchen was a new for us place to try.  It’s right across from the Greek Stall we normally go to.  I wanted something different, to change it up, so we went to the Polish Kitchen.

We got all of our food to go, and brought it home to share with our son.  I want to tell you that the stall clerk who sold us the food was helpful with  letting us know what foods to pair together, and how to serve it, as well as describing what it was we were looking at, and whether it was spicy or not.  She was very pleasant and patient while we asked questions. We went home with containers of food, we bought more than a normal share, but we wanted to try a bunch of different foods.  I have to say we opened the food containers, dished it out onto our plates and then started gobbling – really gobbling.

We were blown away by the red cabbage slaw.  It almost had a floral quality to it.  My husband felt the same way, amazed at how sweet, and flowery it tasted.  The mashed potatoes are the best I’ve ever had.  I like mashed potatoes and though I think anyone can do an adequate job, these were way above average.  The roasted chicken was delicious also.  My husband is a roasted chicken and mashed potato fan and he was in heaven.

As much as he loves chicken and roast potatoes, he’s not a big fan of onions.  The shish kebabs were our least favorite.  I wasn’t impressed with the thin spicy chicken surrounded by onion, with a few other vegetables.  It was suggested that we use ketchup and mustard with the shish kebabs, but I like mine meatier and juicier.  For the piece d’resistance -mielone with leczo sauce.  It’s a chicken croquette – and includes veggies and cheese inside along with ground chicken and then breaded and fried. We just asked for the croquettes, but the stall clerk suggested the leczo sauce, which was perfect over top.  It reminded me of goulash from my growing up days.

I asked about pierogies, which they were out of, but they did have a sign up about blueberry pierogies and we took a bunch of those home.  I forgot about them, and when we came home from our trip my son let us know that it was like eating blueberry pancakes – with all of the blueberries inside.  There were a few leftover that my husband and I tried and they make a tasty dessert pierogie.

I recommend Hubert’s Polish Kitchen – Get the mashed potatoes!!! This is not a paid review, this is my own opinion, and I will go there again.


A Night Out on the Patio

May 26, 2011 - Written by Diana

Lately we’ve been living in the lap of luxury with my daughter cooking dinner almost every night, and eating out on the deck. Tonight however, she had a date night – kind of, dinner with her boyfriend’s family. Since the pets were going to be taken care of ahead of time, that meant dinner out with my husband. I did have another agenda – picking up steaks for Memorial Day weekend and we were low on veggies, so a stop at the Greener Grocer.
This Wednesday was a fun night at North Market because on the patio they had some live entertainment – as well as some local beer. Dinner – was of course from one of my favorite North Market Stalls – Firdous Express. My husband and I have gotten lunch here quite a few times and the food is scrumptious. We both had lamb roast dinner, which comes with rice, Greek side salad and some pita bread. I had bright yellow saffron rice, while my husband chose the basmati with vegetables. Though this was more than enough for one meal, I also bought a container of hummus to dip our pita in, love how they sprinkle the top with olive oil and paprika. We took our dinners and sat outside to eat and enjoyed listening to Angela Perely & the Howlin’ Moons (I think only one moon was there). Unfortunately we were only on the patio for about 20 minutes my husband tried to get a photo , but they were packing up (and he had trouble figuring out where the right button was on the camera phone) so no photo.  There was one guy playing a guitar and harmonica and she played a saw with a bow, which was pretty darn neat.   Earlier next time, we need to go earlier and stay longer – and maybe drink a home brew – we didn’t because we were driving, but if we sit around a while it will be okay, right?

We took the leftovers home, to have for lunch tomorrow.  The portions from Firdous Express are pretty big . I ate most of the salad before the pic, and part of the main dish.  One meal, plus some hummus could totally feed two people, but we didn’t want to share.  We wanted leftovers for a lunch, cause that’s totally cool too.  Shopping and eating local, enjoying local music out on the patio – lovely date with my husband, even if it didn’t last a whole hour – I totally relaxed and forgot about all my work frustrations and stress (and recently,  boy there have been plenty).

One of my favorite things to do in the lovely weather is to sit outside and enjoy the company, the fresh air and good food.   Everyone should find their spot to sit back, relax and unwind and enjoy a date every now and then, I hope you take the time to.

Niagara Falls Great Wolf Lodge Builds Giant Gingerbread House

November 17, 2010 - Written by Diana

The title of this post says a lot, but maybe you still are underestimating what I’m saying.  Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Canada has a tradition of building a giant gingerbread house to raise money for charity.  They started building on November 9th and will put in about 300 hours building it. To build this gingerbread house it will take 150 pounds of chocolate, 28 batches of cookies and 1,000 pounds of icing.

This gingerbread house is life size –

Looking like it came straight out of Candyland, the gingerbread house can seat six guests inside and can accommodate nine seatings each day for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  When not being used for meals, the gingerbread structure is home to Santa, where he meets good little boys and girls.

You can reserve the house for a meal for 20.00, plus the cost of the meal.  The reservation is donated to a local charity. Dining reservations are available to the public, as well as to Great Wolf Lodge guests.

This year, the Lodge is partnering with Child Advocacy Centre Niagara, a group that helps abused children in Niagara’s twelve municipalities.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that the Great Wolf Lodge has partnered with a local agency. To date, more than $8,700 has been raised for local charities.

It looks like you can get the whole Winter wonderland experience when you visit Great Wolf Lodge.
They will have:

For gingerbread house dining reservations, call (905) 354-4888 ext. 5718, or visit the restaurant’s host stand. Select holiday dining times are available. Those with reservations can be seated at the gingerbread house December 3rd through Jan. 9 (does not include New Years Eve).

Olde Dutch Restaurant – Logan, OH

September 8, 2010 - Written by Diana

After dropping my son off at his college, my husband and I needed a dinner break on the way home.  I didn’t want fast food, I wanted a few moments to eat and relax with the guy who is going to be  sitting across from me for most of our meals from now on.  There’s an exit in Logan that has some restaurants, but though we’ve been to the exit before, this is the first time we ventured to Olde Dutch Restaurant.  We figured it would be Amish style food, and though I also figured it had the dreaded buffet, I though I might be able to order off a menu too.  I am not a fan of buffets.  Mass quantities of food sitting around doesn’t thrill me.  Most buffets have questionable quality food.  This place is better than those places though, we were pleasantly surprised.

We arrived a half hour before closing and were welcomed with a smile.  The place wasn’t super busy, probably because it was a work night and late at that.  You walk in the restaurant through the gift shop, and are escorted back , where they put us at a table overlooking the petting zoo next door with their European Deer.  As we walked to our seat, we glanced at the buffet we knew would be there.  We really looked, because the food looked scrumptious – a half hour before closing on a weeknight and the food looked fresh, so fresh, they were refilling some of the bins.

As we sat down, our server took our drink orders and let us know that if we wanted the buffet, we could go and start, and if we wanted to look at the menu that she would take our order when she came back with our drinks.  No pressure.  I don’t love going to places that have a buffet and they give you the look that makes you wonder if someone will spit in your food because you want a special order.  We decided to go with the buffet because the food look so great.  I’m not a fan of buffets, but this one was perfect.

There is warm soup – it was navy bean though on such a warm day, neither of us wanted soup.  The salad bar had a lot of different items, lots of fresh cut vegetables and the other salad bar regulars.  Amish style chicken and noodles, a regular at the buffets was very good, not thick and gooey, but my favorite side dish was the sweet potatoes.  The sweet potato casserole tasted like the real thing, freshly made.  It had a crunchy brown sugar topping that was good, but I didn’t need the topping, I loved the dish as it was.  Some of the vegetables, like the green beans and the mixed veggies looked uninspired, but I had the sweet potatoes, so I wasn’t worried.  My husband ate two plates of mashed potatoes, real mashed potatoes.   There were two types of chicken, fried and broasted, both were delicious.  I liked the broasted better, my husband preferred the fried.  There was also ham, and pork and for the really adventurous – chicken livers.  Yeast rolls were the bread of the evening, they were the standard type you get around Thanksgiving.  We both drank the tea, and I usually sweeten mine, but it didn’t need it.  It’s probably the best brewed tea I’ve had in a restaurant, not bitter but cold and good.

There isn’t a dessert bar, but you can find pudding in the salad bar.  Pies are offered by the slice off the menu and would be great if you weren’t full.  We were full to the brim and though the pies looked mouth watering, we waddled back out through the gift shop to get to our car.   I recommend this restaurant as a nice alternative to McDonalds and Wendy’s.  We will probably visit it again when we travel to pick up or drop off our son at college.

White Oak Inn, Danville Ohio – Romantic Getaway

June 30, 2010 - Written by Diana

I have been incommunicado these last few days because yesterday was my anniversary.  My husband and I took an extended weekend to go away for our 23rd wedding anniversary. I looked through the web and found The White Oak Inn, in Danville, Ohio. I have never stayed in a Bed & Breakfast before because I like being alone with my husband, and the idea of being in close quarters wasn’t appealing.  The White Oak Inn has guest rooms in the in, plus a guest house, and also cabins. We arrived Saturday evening around the time others were dining, but Ian one of the inn owners took us right over to the cabin that we were going to stay in.

The cabins were exactly what I was looking for. We wanted enough space for us to spread out and relax without being stuck on the bed to watch TV or read, if that’s what we wished to do.  The cabins are two separate rooms, a living room, with a very comfortable couch (not a hard futon – I am so tired of those), some chairs, a fireplace, a two person Jacuzzi, and a television set.  The bedroom was the other full room, with a king size bed, closet, dresser, etc.  Both rooms were very very spacious.  There’s also a nice size bathroom with a walk in shower and in between  the living room and bathroom was a small walk through area with a microwave and fridge and sink.  Off the back of the cabin was a nice small deck with table and chairs.  I love that the bedroom in the cabin had dark curtains and faced away from the morning sun.  I am not a morning sun person (ask my sister), and when I’m on vacation, I’m especially not a morning sun person. The inn is off the beaten path, and very much a quiet relaxing place.

They ask that you drop off the slip and indicate whether you’d like breakfast at 8:30 or 9:30 and if you want tea or coffee with your breakfast.  I’m a coffee person and their coffee was perfect.  My husband had the tea, which is hot water and a tea bag of your choice.  You stop in at the common room of the main house for coffee while you wait to be called to breakfast.  I wasn’t sure how I’d enjoy breakfast with a bunch of strangers;  that’s usually not my style.  However, it was a very pleasant, even very pleasing experience. Everyone chatted together so well and enjoyed each other’s company. Breakfast ended too quickly, the conversation and food was that good.

Sunday’s breakfast we started off with blueberry muffins, still warm from the oven and warned to be careful because blueberries can be hot when they burst in your mouth.  Next was a fruit plate, with a little mint, which I’m sure came from the patch outside the kitchen door.  Finally, we were given a sweet choice, or savory and if we couldn’t decide, half and half.  The sweet choice was French Toast stuffed with Nutella and the savory choice was an egg soufflé of some kind. Both were served with a delicious peppery bacon and juice of your choice.  Everyone else was leaving on Sunday, but since Sunday was our actual anniversary, we decided to stay Saturday and Sunday nights.

Saturday, my husband and I went to Gambier to check out Kenyon College area and The Brown Family Environmental Center.  They have a neat butterfly garden, with plants I’ve never seen before . We took a short hike along the river, and actually waded in to cool off, since it was 90 degrees and a very warm day.  Lunch was at the Deli on campus.  My husband an I shared a sandwich and side salad.  Half of a sandwich was very filling and we knew that our dinner was going to be awesome and so didn’t stuff ourselves.  We went back to the inn, and we were on relaxation time, so we grabbed our books and sat on the glider on the front porch and read for a good while.  My husband and I love to relax with a good book, immersing ourselves in reading was such a great way to spend some down time.

Ian let us know the dinner basket was coming to the cabin soon, so we went back to clean up a little.  When Yvonne came in, she showed us how the coffee table pulls up to use as a dining table.  The basket was perfect, every thing was wrapped to keep warm and clean for the short walk, but on nice plates with real silverware.  I would have been disappointed for paper, this is a class establishment.  We had a really warm crusty loaf of French bread with butter, a garden salad with mandarins and lightly dressed,  a cheese plate with assorted cheeses,  a main course, desserts and chocolates.  The main course was two roast Cornish game hens served over top a buttered pasta with cheese.  These hens were so tasty.  My husband is a poultry lover, it’s his favorite entree, so this was perfect.  The hens had a crispy skin covered in a rub or coarse salt.  It was delicious, and even though I don’t eat the skin, I did take a taste or two because it was so tempting.  For dessert, there was a chocolate cake, with melty chips inside.  The cake was to die for moist, plus there were also some of the Inn’s cookies. These cookies are better than any I’ve had before.  I need to tell you that after I was back home, I chastised myself for not checking the cookie jar on the way out to see if I could swipe any to take with us.  The dinner came with sparkling pear wine and wine glasses.  They don’t serve wine (unless it’s a wine weekend), but you are welcome to bring your own.  The sparkling wine worked fine with our meal, though we had packed our own wine to take on the trip.

Ian and Yvonne let us know they would be out the next morning for breakfast, but their staff would take care of us just fine.  Our breakfast the next morning was equally delicious.  Banana nut muffins  and a fruit plate with mint.  I had the blueberry pancakes – perfectly made so that the blueberries burst in your mouth, and my husband had the herbed scrambled eggs.  Both came with a maple sausage pattie.  We took our coffee and tea back to the room, and still stole some reading time.  Checkout wasn’t until 11, and we were savoring our last minutes before we headed back home.

I give the Inn an A and 32 pluses.  It was the perfect Romantic Weekend Getaway.  Yvonne, Ian, the staff and Dougal (the dog) all made it a wonderful 23rd anniversary.

This was not a sponsored review.  I found the White Oak Inn online and we tried it out on our own money and time.