Another year of resistance: resisting the urge to try a new, unknown restaurant. The need to resist returning to a restaurant where we didn’t feel safe from Covid-19.
As we did last year, we ordered to-go rather than eat-in in some places and stuck to some tried-and-true restaurants where we knew masks were being worn and where we knew we had plenty of elbow room.
After being vaccinated, we visited a few of our favorite places — Ham and Eggs O’Brian at Brownie’s in Yuma, for example, was high on our list!
As I mentioned in last year’s Best EATS post, we lost T+D’s restaurant in Baker, Nevada, (outside Great Basin National Park) didn’t have a menu that appealed to us, so our dining out choices were even narrower than they used to be, meaning we went from a creek to a nearly-dried up trickle.
Overall, you might not see too many variations from last year’s BEST list, mostly because we returned to so many of the same places. The good news is we saw fewer restaurants shuttered in 2021 than we did in 2020, and — as always — we managed to find some new favorite dishes!
So whet your appetite, forget about your woes, and join us as we present the 2021 Bob and Ellen’s BEST EATS Awards!
- Ham and Eggs O’Brian at Brownie’s Cafe in Yuma, AZ
- (tie) Sirloin Steak and Eggs at Bob’s Texas TBone Restaurant in Rufus, OR
- (tie) Steak and Eggs at Jimmie K’s Diner in Yuma, AZ
- Build-Your-Own-Omelet at Denny’s in La Grande, OR (we usually don’t go to chain restaurants, but with local establishments not enforcing COVID-19 precautions, we opted for a restaurant we felt more comfortable in)
BEST BREAKFAST BURRITO
Goldsboro’s Bakery, Yuma, AZ
Jalapeno Poppers at The Embers in Joseph, OR
Fried Green Beans (yep!) at Minnie’s Montana Cafe in Thompson Falls, MT
Shrimp Cocktail at JAndy Oysters in Tillamook, OR
Bean Soup at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID
Chicken Tortilla Soup at Minnie’s Montana Cafe in Thompson Falls, MT*
Hungarian Goulash at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID
Clam Chowder at the Parkside Restaurant in Garibaldi, OR
BEST DINNER SALAD
Minnie’s Montana Cafe, Thompson Falls, MT
- Ronnie’s in Yuma, AZ
- Moose’s Tavern in Kalispell, MT
- [Tie] Patty Melt with Bacon at Brownie’s Cafe in Yuma, Arizona
- [Tie] The Garlic Burger at Hought’s 24 Flavors in La Grande, OR (for a real treat, add a fried egg and maybe a grilled jalapeno, as Bob does!)
Best Fish Sandwich
Minnie’s Montana Cafe, Thompson Falls, MT
Heather’s Special at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID
Tumbled Pacific Oysters at JAndy Oysters in Tillamook, OR
Halibut and Chips at Sea Baron Food Trailer in Garibaldi, OR
Fish & Chips at Parkside Restaurant in Garibaldi, OR
Steamer Clams at JAndy Oysters in Tillamook, OR
Best Fish Dinner at Brownie’s Cafe in Yuma, AZ
Best Fish Tacos at Margarita’s in Ely, NV
Best Mexican Dinner
Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp at El Jefe’s in Pahrump, NV
Best Comfort Food (Tie)
- Scalloped Potatoes and Ham at Montana Minnie’s in Thompson Falls, MT (Bob)
- Chicken Pot Pie at Montana Minnie’s in Thompson Falls, MT (Ellen)
- Mac and Cheese at Side A Brewing in LaGrande, OR (Ellen)
- Mac and Cheese at Side A Brewing in LaGrande, OR (Bob)
Best Carrot Cake at the Parkside Restaurant in Garibaldi, OR
Best Fruit Pie
Fruits of the Forest, Minnie’s Montana Cafe in Thompson Falls, MT
Best Cream Pie
Chocolate Cream Pie at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID
Best Ice Cream Pie
Mud Pie at The Hydra in Sandpoint, Idaho
Best Hot Fudge Sundae
Hought’s 24 Flavors, LaGrande, OR
Best Indulgent Dessert
Brownie Delight at Brownie’s Cafe in Yuma, AZ
BEST “Glad I Tried It But Won’t Have It Again”
Lamb Stew at Border Inn near Great Basin National Park
As always, the best meals we had were at home. Despite the tiny space in the RV for prepping a great meal, Bob makes amazing meals for us.
Sometimes it’s a simple ham and eggs with toast (yes! Those are peppers and onions and other good things mixed into the eggs… MMM!)…
…other times it’s a great combination of finger potatoes and beans with fried oysters.
Mixed salad with mandarin oranges as a side to sauteed shrimp and salmon is another favorite…
…and you’ll have to ask Bob how he manages to make fried cabbage so yummy (pairing it with shrimp and scallops make cabbage leftovers even better)!
Of course, salmon is great alongside angel hair pasta and marinara, with shredded aged cheese…
…and his spaghetti and meatballs are so good I never order it when we go to Italian restaurants.
Well, I started this post thinking I wouldn’t have many BEST EATS to list, but looking back on the year, it’s clear why I ended up with a few pounds more than I started with!
Here’s hoping 2022 gives us more chances to try new places, revisit some favorites, and give the home cook a day off now and then!
*Many Thanks to KB from Minnie’s Montana Cafe in Thompson Falls, MT, who let me know I had mislabeled their Chicken Tortilla Soup as Taco Soup. The post and caption have now been corrected. (They’re both excellent, by the way!!)