Monday, August 15, 2011

If There is One Thing You Learn...

when the opportunity to eat presents itself—take it. You never know when the next chance to eat (out) might come along. So, when on our drive through the Flaming Gorge area we stumbled upon the Red Canyon Lodge, truly in the middle of nowhere, we decided it was time for lunch.

The restaurant at the Lodge is small with seating for about sixty inside and another twenty on the outdoor patio with tables somewhat shaded by orange umbrellas. Since the day was very warm and very sunny, we decided to eat in air conditioned splendor in the very casual dining room.

Like Yorkshire Traveller12 quoted below, we were seated at a window table where we could watch a family of chipmunks frolic on the lawn and humming-birds guzzle from a feeder.

Yorkshire Traveller12 described his experience on thusly:
“Even better than the meal, if that is possible, was the view—we had asked for a table by the window, and the view over the lake was incredible on a beautiful sunny evening. (Our view of East Greens Lake is shown above: Kate.) Just outside the window, no more than 6 feet away, was a bird table. Throughout our meal, the bird table had 5 or 6 hummingbirds, which either sat on the table eating or just hovering, as hummingbirds do, awaiting their turn to eat. Fantastic sight and we have some great photographs to look back at.”

The menu, which applies to both lunch and dinner, is brief. The day’s special was fried pork chops with mashed potatoes and green beans. The soups were beef barley and tomato Florentine. Other menu items included chicken fried steak, sirloin steak, a few pasta dishes, ham-burgers, and chicken, ham and Swiss, turkey and Swiss, and fish sandwiches.

I selected the Garlic Jalapeno Chicken Sandwich with chips (I could have chosen fries or salad). This was a real pounded chicken breast and not some chopped and reformed imposter. And it being served on a buttered and toasted roll was a plus. But do you see the heap of pickled jalapeno slices on top of the chicken? I take a backseat to no one when it comes to spicy food, but this was way too many peppers for even me. They overpowered the taste of the chicken and the garlic mayo that was so artistically squirted on top. Half of these peppers had to go.

With some misgivings, Chuck ordered the fettuccini Alfredo which turned out to be a dish of well-cooked pasta in a smooth, rich, and mild cheese sauce. The kitchen didn’t go overboard with the parmesan cheese which he apprecia-ted. Still, he found the dish a little bland until applying a generous amount of black pepper. That helped.

Throwing caution—and calories—to the wind, we decided to share a dish of warm berry cobbler a la mode for dessert. The berries were jumbo blackberries and the kitchen had enough sense not to over-sweeten the dish and let the natural sweetness of the berries carry the load. The vanilla ice cream—frequently a throwaway—was excellent and was rich with a pronounced vanilla flavor.

This turned out to be decent 3.5 Addie lunch. Not bad for the middle of nowhere.

After lunch we resumed our drive on UT 44 through the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Within this area is a natural wonder worthy of the status of a destination point in and of itself.

We turned onto a side road to the Red Canyon Visitor Center. After a short walk to the rim of the canyon, we were treated to some fabulous views of the cliffs which are over 1,000 feet high.

John Wesley Powell gave Flaming Gorge its present name after seeing the "sun reflecting off the red rocks," although Red Canyon was, to them, more impressive than Flaming Gorge because its far more dangerous rapids.

We headed to the Flaming Gorge Dam, which was responsible for establishing the reservoir and eliminating the rapids.

The design of the bridge (above) leading to the dam caught our attention.

These next three photos show scenes from the reservoir above the dam.

And among the large-scale scenes of the cliffs, the reservoir, and dam are smaller scale nature scenes--smaller, but just as appealing.

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