Monthly Archives: December 2013

Steppin’ Out – “Out and About”

spoonThere are a number of places that I have written about and then later get the opportunity to try something new. Then there are places that have specials I want to try.

Rather than try to create a whole new article about them, I am going to group them together under the “Out and About” heading.

FARMER’S DELICATESSEN-FRESH EUROPEAN SPECIALTIES

Some time ago I wrote about a unique local business called Farmer’s Delicatessen and its owner and very talented chef, Christine Ondrus-Lykos. She had given me several cooked and then frozen entrees to try: Lamb Meatballs in Red Wine Gravy, Ragu Bolognese and Csirke Paprikás (Hungarian Chicken Paprikash). They came with reheating instructions and preparation ideas and were fantastic. If you recall I ate the entire Ragu Bolognese in one sitting.

She has recently added a couple of new items, Lentil Soup and Rosemary Focaccia.

The Lentil Soup I tried with a dollop of sour cream and the next time added some sausage. Both ways it was wonderful. The taste was great and the vegetables in it were cooked just right. How she does it, I don’t know.

The Rosemary Focaccia? Well I have eaten a lot of focaccia made by a number of local bakers and hers is the best. I had a hard time saving some for later.

A lot of what she makes is gluten free and/or vegetarian. Ask her about that.

She sells her entrees and other goodies, including Greek Meatballs, Baklava and more at Folsom’s Sutter Street Farmer’s Market every Saturday through spring from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., or you can order them by calling her at (530) 748-9165. Delivery is available.

Sign up for her newsletter at [email protected]

JACK IN THE BOX

Russ Salazar and I tried the Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich at Jack in the Box. It was actually quite good and not that hot even though it had Ghost Pepper sauce and sliced jalapeños on it. Salazar liked it enough to go back a couple of days later to have another.

Since we had some coupons, we also tried a Jumbo Jack and a Monster Taco. The Jumbo Jack is a good deal if you have a coupon and the Monster Taco was about twice the size of their regular tacos. The taco filling was a mixture of beef and beans, which didn’t impress me, but Salazar really liked. He said that is the way it should be.

CARL’S JR.

My son-in-law and I tried the Buffalo Blue Cheese Burger at Carl’s Jr. when I was in Sacramento. It was good, but I wish they could have taken more care when they made them. The sauce was all on one edge of the bun, the blue cheese was all on the other edge. This is one of the problems with fast food restaurants.

Locally I tried the Buffalo Blue Cheese Crisscut Fries and although they were good, I wasn’t terribly impressed. They could have been hotter, temperature wise, my usual problem with fries. (I send regular fries back about 90% of the time because they are not hot enough)

SUBWAY

Russ Salazar and I dropped by the Subway on Broadway in Placerville to try three of their newer sandwiches: the Sriracha Chicken Melt, Sriracha Steak Melt and Jalapeno Turkey Melt (they were specials and may no longer be on the menu).

We added Provolone cheese to all of them (Pepper Jack might have been better) and to the turkey melt, chipotle sauce. We also added a few vegetables, but not enough to cover the taste. They were a bit dry, so we should have also added some mayonnaise.

The sriracha sauced sandwiches were very good, but not very hot (spicy). We both really liked the jalapeno turkey sandwich because it brought a nice warmth to your tongue, but wasn’t too hot. The chipotle sauce helped.

The nice lady who runs the restaurant told us that they are always happy to provide more sauce in a small cup if we want to add some to suit our taste.

A week later I went to the Subway on Fair Lane in Placerville and ordered a Sriracha Steak Melt. The lady fixing my sandwich added pepper jack cheese and a lot more sriracha sauce. It was really good and quite spicy. I guess it matters who makes it and where you get it.

BURGER KING

Since we no longer have a Burger King around here (a long story), I stopped by one in Sacramento to try their new “Satisfries” which they claim have 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories.

I told the nice lady at the counter that I wanted to try them and she said that if I didn’t like them, they would replace them with something else. She said some people just don’t like them, adding “They are kind of like school cafeteria fries.”

Since it was around lunch I added a value drink (smaller than small) and from the $1 menu, their new BBQ Rib Sandwich.

The fries were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but a bit bland with a hint of something like baking soda. They were okay (pepper and ketchup helped). I think if I really wanted to save on fat and calories I would just eat the regular fries less often.

The BBQ Rib Sandwich was something else. A small piece of overcooked meat of some kind on a bun with barbecue sauce, two pickles and one ring of onion. I sent the first one back because it was burned and dry. The second one was better.

It looks nothing like the picture, but then it only cost a dollar.

American River Canyon, Part 7 – Lover’s Leap to the Summit

North American HouseBecause the present Highway 50 is north of the original route through Strawberry Valley, it bypasses three stations that were along the old road that passed between the two halves of Lover’s Leap: Baker’s Place, Devil’s Gap (Section House) and Slippery Ford House (Swan’s Upper Toll House).

Before two bridges (Twin Bridges) were built near Slippery Ford (also Slipperyford), travelers had to cross the river on an inclined, smooth granite surface. Many horses and mules lost their footing here and, along with wagons and their contents, were swept down the river and over the falls.

The list of Post Offices in El Dorado County includes one at Slippery Ford that existed from November 21, 1861 until January 13, 1911, with Powell Crosley serving as the first Postmaster. However, this Slippery Ford is reported to have been only 33 miles east of Placerville, 11 miles west of this Slippery Ford, which would place it near Kyburz (which received a Post Office on the day this one closed, January 13, 1911).

The eastern Slippery Ford was ultimately bypassed by the two bridges at Twin Bridges, and later, by the new bridge on the highway, a distance to the north. Twin Bridges received a Post Office on October 1, 1947, with Mrs. Lesta H. King as the first postmaster.

From Slippery Ford, the road steepens and continues uphill through Sayle’s Canyon, passing Hermit’s and reaching Sayle’s Flat House. At Sayle’s Flat is Camp Sacramento, which had a Post Office from June 17, 1929 until October 31, 1940, Pearl Chapell serving as the first Postmaster. From here, the road climbs past Van Sickle’s Station, Swan’s Toll House and Snowslide House to Phillips Station.

American River Canyon, Part 6 – Kyburz to Lover’s Leap

Strawberry Valley Station c: 1866

Strawberry Valley Station c: 1866

There is not much known about the next few stations along the Placerville Road east of Kyburz: (another) Riverside House, Old Mother Welty’s (Leon’s Station), Poster’s Halt and the Chamberlain House, which is later became known as Fred’s Place.

True’s Place, another obscure station is east of Fred’s Place, followed then by Georgetown Junction House, where there was also a toll house.

At this location, near today’s Wright’s Lake Road, is where Johnson’s Cut-off and the road to Georgetown made their connection with the main route. Speculating landowners in the Georgetown area attempted to encourage emigrants entering California to leave the main road at this point and proceed north to the Georgetown Road. From there they were directed along the Georgetown Road through Union (Onion) Valley and then to Georgetown by what is now generally Wentworth Springs Road.

Between Georgetown Junction House and the next major stop, Strawberry Valley House, were three more lesser known stations: San Francisco House, What Cheer House and Log Cabin No. 2 (Was there a No 1?). Interestingly, there was also a What Cheer House along Green Valley Road near what is now Cameron Park.

Strawberry Valley House was very important stop along the Placerville-Carson Road. A traveler in the spring of 1861 gave us the following description: “in a long, narrow plain hemmed in by bare mountains of granite…is a commodious hotel, where I dined”.

The hotel was built near Lover’s Leap in 1856 by Swift and Watson. In 1859 the owners were Irad Fuller Berry and George W. Swan, who not only ran the hotel but worked tirelessly on improving their portion of the toll road.

It became a remount station for the Pony Express on April 4, 1860, when division superintendent Bolivar Roberts waited with a string of mules to help Pony rider Warren Upson through the snowstorm on the summit.

There is a plaque on the north side of the highway designating Strawberry Valley House as a California State Historic Landmark (#707).

American River Canyon, Part 5 – Riverton to Kyburz

Riverton

Riverton

Today’s Riverton is where Highway 50 crosses the South Fork of the American River and Ice House Road goes north towards the Crystal Basin. Records as far back as 1864 indicate the existence of a respectable inn, the Riverside House at this location. It was the first station east of Sportsman’s Hall to service the Central Overland Express and was the first Pony Express remount station east of Sportsman’s Hall.

From August 2, 1892 to May 31, 1898 a Post Office was located here with Charles Sandfoss serving as the first Postmaster. The Post Office was later closed and moved to Slippery Ford (Twin Bridges).

By the early 1900s a large hotel had been built over the river which even allowed guests to fish from their room if they wished.

The main building and several annexes could house upwards of seventy-five guests at one time, who were “lulled to sleep by the roar of the river,” according to one author.

Just west of the present bridge is a plaque designating Moore’s (Riverton) as a California State Historic Landmark (#705). The three remaining rock monuments were part of the four identifying the corners of the bridge over the river.

From Riverton, the main road (Highway 50) again starts its climb to the summit. At Pollock Pines, the elevation was around 4000 feet, but the road from there to Riverton has been downhill and that elevation will not be reached again until a point near Kyburz.