Hoff’s Food Blog – Part One

Coffee is Like Duct Tape it Fixes Everything

Friday 7th April Departure Day

Well we flew out of Melbourne on a Qantas domestic and linked to a Delta international in Sydney to LA.

In all fairness the Delta service and food was better than expected, Butter Chicken was a hit all round. Supplemented with a mushroom quiche, a panini and a breakfast of compote eggs on a layer of bacon (perhaps) with a dollop of spinach and relish …… we are brain dead, so whilst we may not be fussy, it’s good by airline standards.

A planned bladder and coffee stop in Riverside, sees us at Coffee Bean – we are brain dead, so passable. Bernie extra brain dead, spills it several times. We swing by Trader Joe’s – for me it is somewhat legendary as it is regularly referenced in our ‘bean’ recipe book used for the 4 Hour Body diet.

We buy 2 wines, both Chardonnay from Napa – Raeburn – sweet nothings and La Crema, a bit more substance ….. both shy of acid. The winning purchase was the Ghost Pepper chips ….. others disagree!

A little further up the road in Beaumont we take a detour for lunch on a hunch – The Cornerstone BBQ, where Barry and the crew serve up a Brisket Meat Fries that sets a high bar. These people are proud of their product and super eager to ensure we enjoyed our meal.

Saturday 8th April Joshua Tree NP

Yes there was a farmers market today in Joshua Tree, we enjoyed a passably good coffee,  saw some berries on steroids and even some local musicians, one of whom was playing the didgeridoo.

We jump in the car and we travel down to Palm Desert which is just out of Palm Springs, lots of tacky street names like Gerald Ford, Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, you get the drift. We’re getting a bit behind time so we make a quick stop at JD’s diner where we order various dishes, all pretty big and impossible to digest, I’d have to say I had the meatloaf and salad and the meatloaf was pretty good, but giving Wendy’s chicken salad the nod.

It’s a long day, the tour had taken us about 6 ½ hours, it’s a Saturday night and we’re back in Joshua Tree and we aim to try that beautiful saloon food – however as we stand in a queue and we’re told it’s at least an hour away to be fed, we opt for pizzas, a better choice so we can get some food and a  couple of beer before a good night’s sleep. We’ve got a good 5-6 hour drive tomorrow to get to Flagstaff via Route 66. However the pizzas only work because the girl taking our order is super friendly, sells beer as well and we are still recovering from an hour trip in an open backed tour Jeep at 55mph, Bernie without a seat belt! Yes Moose Drool works for me

Sunday 9th April Route 66

And off we go from Joshua Tree, but not without a half decent coffee before we really hit the road.

In Kingman we stopped for lunch at The Kingman club, it’s it’s a pretty new brew pub and it brews Grand Canyon beers, quite a few of them, but none of us are really interested in drinking, nice ambiance. We don’t pass up trying the Fried Pickles – a dead set winner, then various meals between us – I chose the smallest thing  I could see, the appetiser ribs and I was pretty chockablock afterwards – the place is definitely just starting out, still ironing out the wrinkles.

We took a little stroll downtown to grab a coffee, a bloody ripper cortado! Oh Oh, it’s not long before that coffee and those ribs needed to move on and were lucky enough to stop in an Indian Reservation, a little place called Peachtree, that had a little general store and by God’s grace it had a set of restrooms and I was saved.

In Seligman we stop to check out the Road Kill Café, Rob buy’s the T-Shirt, I ogle the cakes, but Peachtree is still a raw memory for anything cake.

Dinner at Agave in Flagstaff, a well rated Mexican – a few dark ales and a burrito, an enchilada and a chilly for the boys – Wendy not 100% and stayed home.  We do seem to spend a lot of time cleaning stains from our freshly changed clothing and the refried  beans make their impact known under fluffy blankets all night. The place had done a great job with the Mexican regalia, a lovely waitress who did her job well, the food pretty standard fare.

We find a better wine retailer and switch to Oregon Pinot Gris, Joel Gott was an improvement but still lacked any real depth and a Christopher Michael, a drinkable wine with enough acid to fill the palate, however stayed largely to the front.

Monday 10th  April Grand Canyon

A trip to the canyon, we get Rob and Wendy off to the chopper, whilst Bernie and I find a shit coffee and take a peak over the edge. Wendy and Rob survive, we get our deposit back on the coffins, so back into the park for some of the most stunning landscapes on this earth. We retreat to the local eatery in the park. Shit, I just wanted a simple chicken sandwich – I’m starting to see the impossibility of a small feed. The Smokey chicken was pretty good, albeit Bernie’s Cob Salad was the pick, he still managed to polish off my potato salad ….. I think Rob referred to him as a Hoover

Dinner is debated, we opt for the Pasty (no not pastie here) Factory and bring back some delicacies… The Oggie, The Lamb, The Cajun Chicken ……. We suffer through Bernie’s rotten socks ‘scotch egg’ and provide encouragement to Rob in his challenge to drown a 6 pack of pineapple based ciders. Tomorrow it’s off to Winslow, the Petrified Forrest and onto to Monument Valley. The latter on a Navajo reservation and no booze allowed.

Tuesday 11th April Transition to Monument Valley

Transition via Route 66 with a stopover at the  Meteor Crater in the wastelands of Arizona We rush onto Winslow …….. yes, standing on the corner! We ask a few local guys doing some streetscape work (possibly doing some community service) for directions to the best coffee – struck gold.  Mojo coffee is the real deal roasted on the premises and visited by many dignitaries by the photos on the wall.

We’re behind schedule so we leg it and stop at a Mobil Servo and go the sandwich – golly gee, surprise, surprise, surprise – Them’s very good sandwiches.

On we go, we will lose an hour today as Navajo is on Mountain Time and we arrive in  Monument Valley around 6:30 pm ……..it is situated just over the northern Arizona State Line, in Utah.

We take the local dining room at Goulding’s Lodge ……. Surprise, surprise, surprise it beats our expectations again.  No alcohol on the Indian Reservation, a good opportunity to have a break. I go the sticky salad and for once it’s a small manageable meal washed down with root beer. Wendy’s takes the cake again, she goes the single taco ……. It’s a taco pizza!

Wednesday 12th April Monument Valley

We are on the sunrise tour so it’s up at 5am, a cuppa and some muesli and off into the canyons of the Navajo Never Never. After, we toss up on an early lunch or late breakfast …… decisions, decisions! Back to the Dining Room – it’s pancakes or burrito’s, I’ll leave it to you as to whom had pancakes!