Thursday, September 27, 2012

We Have Arrived in Cortez, CO…

with the objective of visiting Mesa Verde National Park. But first, we are hungry and in need of lunch. Only one problem. It is Monday and a day on which three-quarters of the local restaurants are closed. Those that are open are mostly national fast food chains or Mexican restaurants and neither of us is in the mood for Mexican. So our options are limited. Limited to Jack and Janelle’s, a diner-like place located next door to the RV park.

As described by MJL at “Great little local place for filling homemade food….Came in tired, dirty and hungry from spending the day on Mesa Verde. We were seated right away….The price was right, the service from the wait staff was pleasant and prompt….Very much recommended.”

And Sam Boes, also at, adds: “this is a great place. Jack is a retired big-hotel chef and with his wife, they have a great family place, good prices, good food, a LOT of regulars….If something isn't right, ask and Janelle, or Jack himself, will fix it—whether it is a problem with staff or food or anything else. It IS very informal—family style—but a great place.”

You enter from the back parking lot and pass through a smaller dining room to reach the main dining area. As we opened the doors, we were assaulted by a blast of noise which proved to be a group of at least thirty old people (I know. Chuck and I are also old people.) sitting in the first dining room.
The noise continued throughout their meal. These old folks were having a great time. And when it came time to pay, they had ALL requested separate checks. Jack and Janelle’s will earn a half an Addie for being so accommodating.

We both started with a cup of soup. Chuck’s selection was the cream of potato and, after a few spoonfuls, he announced that it had a strange flavor. I took and taste and thought that this came from an overabundance of celery, which can produce an almost bitter taste. It was also sorely lacking in salt—as was mine. A few shakes of both salt and pepper was a definite improvement.
I chose the green chile soup, which was a puree and resembled pea soup. I give the restaurant credit. There was no attempt to tone down the chile heat, which packed a wallop—especially in the back of the mouth.

Since I wasn’t all that hungry, most of the menu items sounded like too much food. So I ordered the green chile quesadilla with chicken appetizer.
What can I say? It was a quesadilla, one of the world’s most boring food items. There was nothing to complain about. It just wasn’t exciting.

Chuck debated between the meatloaf and the chicken fried steak, the latter served with what the menu described as “real lumpy mashed potatoes.” The steak won out. A Google user described this meal thusly: “…With my life's quest of ‘Finding the perfect Chicken Fried Steak,’ I figured I had a chance here. Although not perfection, the CFS was nicely prepared. A big piece of tenderized meat lightly breaded and cooked properly. The mashed potatoes seemed made seconds before I lit into them. The mixed veggies were good tasting and fresh…”

The chopped steak covered three-quarters of the plate and was beautifully coated and tender and moist under the crunchy crust. If you like mashed potatoes (and I don’t), you would probably love these. They were in fact lumpy. But the white gravy on the steak was pretty tasteless, and the mixed veggies were somewhat cold.

But after consuming that giant plate of food, he still had room for a root beer float. For perhaps the first time in restaurant history, this root beer float contained more ice cream than root beer and at $2.75 was a real bargain.

As I said earlier, Jack and Janelle’s starts with .5 Addies for the separate checks. This was somewhat better than average diner food so earns a composite total of 3.5 Addies.

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