Steppin’ Out – Robby’s Cafe, Garden Valley


You probably remember this location at 4916 Marshall Road in Garden Valley (next to the real estate office) as Rose’s Garden Café. It was that for over a dozen years until two very delightful and personable people, Robby and Anne Holly, bought it last March and changed the name to Robby’s.

Both Rose and John Anderson were delighted with the excitement expressed by the new owners and John told them, “You have to put your signature on the place,” so that is just what Robby did. The sign is his signature.

Russ Salazar and I dropped by a couple of weeks ago on a Tuesday, about noon. They were delighted to see us, even though the message of our intended arrival that day had somehow been missed.

Several other customers were enjoying a late breakfast when we arrived, but Robby was delighted to share some time with us, while not forgetting the other customers and also greeting new ones on their arrival.

Robby graduated from Michigan’s Culinary Arts Academy in 1981, second in the first class they graduated. I had never heard of that school before and he informed me it was no longer in existence. That is really too bad if he is an example of their quality teaching.

From there his life was a bit of a whirlwind.

“I went to work on a cruise ship that took short trips from Florida and back,” he said. “I was working as a chef when they found out I knew how to carve large ice figures for events. I carved one for them and then that became my job on the ship.”

That was just the beginning for him. He is self-taught on stringed instruments and for a number of years toured playing Bluegrass.
Ask him about the instruments on the wall and he may give you tune or two if he has time. He is also looking to find musicians to drop by one evening a week or so and play.

Well, back to the reason we were there, the food.

The Tuesday Special that day was a grilled, smoked salmon patty with grilled pineapple and teriyaki sauce. It is usually served on a brioche bun, but Robby is having a very difficult time getting them from his supplier in Sacramento. Instead he put it on a seeded hamburger bun, an okay substitute, but I would have loved to taste it on the brioche bun. Hopefully he will find a new source shortly.

We asked Robby for his recommendation on a second entree to share and he said we should try the Homesteader, a wrap on our choice of flavored “tortilla,” filled with honey cured bacon, two chicken strips, baby arugula, baby spinach, tomato and their own buttermilk ranch dressing.

Russ left it up to me, so I chose the tomato chili wrap.

Russ asked that his half of the wrap not have any arugula, since it is not one of his favorite greens. I, on the other hand, love it for its little bit of bite, or peppery flavor. I found that comment from him interesting, but have heard that before. He often reminds me that he is the only Mexican that does not eat cilantro. He just doesn’t like the taste, although they are finding out that issue might be genetic, since a portion of the population says to them it tastes like soap.

Before the food arrived, Robby treated us to what he called our dessert, a “Mounds Bar in a glass,” which he concocted from different syrups and soda. It tasted exactly like that.

I asked him why he served us dessert first and he replied, “You never know what might happen, so enjoy dessert first.”

I started with the wrap and it was wonderful and a real mix of textures and flavors. Russ also liked it, but unfortunately a few pieces of arugula made it to his half of the wrap and he had to fish them out.

The salmon “burger” also had a mixture of great flavors. I think the grilled pineapple was perfect as an accompaniment for the salmon, adding texture and a bit of sweetness and acidity. Russ had similar complements for the sandwich, but also wished it had a better bun.

With our meal came crinkle cut fries, which both of us really liked. I don’t know where he gets them, but they were crisp on the outside and smooth inside. Best of all, ten minutes later they were still crisp and good. One of my pet peeves is French Fries that go soggy in just a couple of minutes, so I was delighted.

Their breakfast menu (served until 11 a.m.) includes a two egg breakfast with pancakes or has browns and a choice of bacon or sausage; The Predator, two eggs, tow sausage, two bacon, ham steak, hash browns and toast; a Breakfast sandwich, served on a croissant or grilled sourdough; a Biscuit Breakfast sandwich; a Breakfast Burrito and the Fat Hillbilly, a Breakfast Burrito with eggs, sausage, potatoes and country gravy and biscuits and gravy.

For lunch you can choose from Combo #1, a 1/3 pound burger, fries and a drink; Combo #2, the Homesteader Wrap with fries and a drink; the Club, a triple-decker on grilled sourdough with fries and a drink and the Ursus Arctos (Grizzly Bear, the high school’s mascot), a sandwich standing a whopping 12 inches tall: six 1/3 pound Angus beef patties, six strips of thick sliced honey cured bacon, six slices of cheese, six onion rings, nine pickle slices, six tomato slices and lettuce served on three Brioche buns, along with a half pound of fries, a half pound of onion rings and a 32 ounce milkshake. $25 for the lot. Not that hungry? Bring some friends.

And, don’t forget they have espresso, cappuccino, lattes, mochas, Mexican mochas and a whole list of other coffee drinks.

Check the specials board and the menu, order at the counter, find a seat and get ready for a delicious meal.

Robby’s Café is open 5 until 2, Monday through Friday and from 7 until 2 on Saturday. Closed on Sunday.
For more information give them a call at (530) 333-9900.

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