Monday, October 14, 2013

The Menu for America’s Family Diner…

in Woodland, WA, reads: “Nothing Goes from the Can to the Pan.” Sounds promising. So, on a day when there is more rain, what do we do? Do we stay in and engage in major RV cleaning? No way! We go out for breakfast.

America’s Family Diner was the Number One-rated restaurant in Woodland on
And while most reviewers commented on the food, just as many made mention of how “patriotic” this diner was. The first indication was the set of potted plants just outside the main doors. It wasn’t just the small American flags. It was the profusion of red, white, and blue flowers.
But it is when you enter the diner that you really understand. “The walls are noteworthy…. They are lined with framed photos of local men and women in uniform.

(Ed. Note: There are over 300 photos.) Each picture has its own story. Perhaps that is why the place is always packed during business hours. Some customers even go so far as to buy someone else's meal” (Mike Benner at And I understand that they offer discounts to military members.
I got the sense that this is a true locals’ place. When an elderly man went to the register to pay, the cashier looked at him and asked “Aren’t you the guy who put the pancake in his pocket one day?” Well, it seems that it was indeed he, and he proudly proclaimed that he ate it later that day with peanut butter.

At another table sat two gentlemen discussing mushroom foraging. And what looks more local than this distinguished looking man with his bright red suspenders and camo hat?
The breakfast menu is rather lengthy and most items are named (as are some lunch choices) for the owners’ twenty grandchildren. So we have Matthew’s Favorite French Toast Platter, Eric & Adams Fishing Buddy Favorite (two buttermilk biscuits smothered in sausage gravy, served with two eggs any style, two strips of thick cut bacon or two sausage links), and Isaac’s Creation Omelet ( a four egg omelet consisting of diced onions, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, sausage, cheddar cheese and topped with fresh tomatoes).

And then there’s Britney’s’ Can’t Decide with a choice of a slice of French toast, a Belgium waffle half or two buttermilk pancakes, fresh homemade hash browns, one slice of thick cut bacon, one slice honey cured ham, one sausage link, two eggs, and toast. Britney is the owner’s thirteen year-old granddaughter who is responsible for the window paintings—in this case, for Halloween.
Chuck went with the more simply titled Bone in Ham Steak and Eggs with two scrambled eggs, hash browns, and toast. He could have had two pancakes in lieu of the toast, but didn’t since he is watching his weight (just kidding).
The ham steak had been nicely seared on the flat top to develop flavor, and his eggs were perfectly scrambled. Not undercooked and runny. Not overcooked and dry.

I chose the spinach, mushroom, and cheese crêpes.
While the crêpes themselves were a little on the thick side, the filling was delicious. The spinach was just barely wilted and the (I am guessing, local) mushrooms were certainly not from a can. And there was just enough of the homemade hollandaise sauce for added flavor.

But the best item on the table that morning was the hash browns.
I consider myself to be a hash brown aficionado and can say without hesitation that these were among the best ever. Potatoes were sliced about 1/16th of an inch thick and then cut into ¼-inch ribbons.
When cooked on a very hot flattop, they developed a satisfying crispness plus a plethora of little crunchy scraps. I later learned that the potatoes come into the diner already sliced but not frozen and that America’s Family Diner has the exclusive license to serve them in the Woodland area.

A few days later and with nothing to do other than listen to the rain falling on the RV roof, we returned—this time for lunch. Chuck toyed with the idea of ordering Nate’s Famous Philly with thin sliced steak grilled with fresh onions, peppers, and mushrooms and topped with melted Swiss cheese. Shades of John Kerry! (This may not have resonance to those not living in Philadelphia, but when campaigning for President, he made the mistake of asking for a cheesesteak with Swiss cheese. Giant faux pas! It’s Whiz, provolone, or American. Never Swiss. And he reaped endless scorn for this.)

But instead he went with the Family’s Favorite French Dip which was described as oven roasted beef piled high on a French roll and topped with melted Swiss cheese and served with au jus.
Now there is nothing that says “piled high” to me. In fact, I thought it was very small relative to price.

My selection was Angel’s “Dare ya”--a triple decker consisting of grilled ham, prime rib, cheddar and Swiss cheese and fire roasted green chili on grilled Texas toast.
This was better than Chuck’s French Dip, but neither was memorable--or worth their price.

Both the sandwiches came with really good fries, and we added, an again skimpy, side of onion rings. The latter were not good.
I should have paid more attention to the remark by TheNWTammy at “…We both noticed that even though it was noon, everyone was eating breakfast, and the breakfasts looked great! Wish we would've ordered that instead. I'm coming back for the breakfast….” I have come to believe that when a small town restaurant is open only for breakfast and lunch and when breakfast is served all day, this should be my clue to stick with their breakfast.
I came away with mixed opinions about America’s Family Diner. Really good breakfast. Really mediocre lunch. Rating? 3.0 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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