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.
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