Sunday, November 3, 2013

So Here We Are…

in Silverlake, WA, awaiting two simultaneous miracles—the reopening of the Federal government which has led to the closing of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and the emergence of sunshine. Our wait was in vain.

The nearest city is Castle Rock, a humming burg of 1,982 just off I-5, which bills itself as the “Gateway to Mount St. Helens.”

Since diversions are in short supply in these parts when the National Monument is closed, we are forced to resort to dining locally.

Our first stop was at Parker’s Steakhouse & Brewery which was recommended to Chuck by a local—that is, if you consider: “It’s not bad” to be a recommendation.
When we arrived, the restaurant was virtually empty, but I suspect that given the presence of the Mt. St. Helens Motel just across the parking lot this is not the case during high tourist season.
Parker’s moved to this location from Longview, WA, a year or so ago because the kitchen space afforded more room for the brewery’s fermentation tanks. But beer was not part of our visit that day. Nor was entertainment. (The restaurant regularly features music and comedy acts.)

Some have described the interior as being similar to Denny’s or Shoney’s, although I found it to be more “upscale” than either. Still, in my notes, I wrote “clean and new, but nondescript with conflicting messages.” Just inside the doors sat this Victorian-like setee.
But the ceiling fixtures were more modern.
And, in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, atop the pastry case sat ghostly figures made of lace.
Chuck’s lunch choice was the ale (using one of their brews) battered halibut and chips.
The best thing on the plate may have been the house-battered chips (fries). The halibut also had a nice coating, but the fish underneath had been overcooked and was quite dry.

I chose the Washington oysters with mushrooms. Since I love both oysters and mushrooms, what could go wrong here? A couple of things.
I was not overly fond of the soft and rather thick breadcrumb coating on the oysters. That I might have forgiven. What I could not forgive was the over abundance of chopped garlic that obscured the taste of anything else.

Parker’s was the Number Two rated restaurant in Castle Rock on I guess others liked it more than we did. We only give it a 2.5 Addie rating—and that may be a gift.

The next day found us back in Castle Rock for pizza at Papa Pete’s Pizza, a small “chain” with four restaurants in the area. This had been rated as the Number Three Castle Rock restaurant on, and given our experience the previous day, we weren’t sure what to expect.

We walked into a virtually empty restaurant. “Sit anywhere?” I asked the bored-looking young man behind the order counter.
“Yeah. Oh, there are some reserved tables in the back.” People make reservations to eat here?

Chuck went to the counter to place our pizza order and returned with two of the largest glasses of ice tea ever.
If you order a medium, each refill is 50¢. Refills on the large are free. But these are so big that I suspect that refills are seldom requested.

Soon our name was called, and Chuck went to retrieve our lunch.

I have to admit that the large sausage pizza was pretty good.
It had a nice thin crust, lots of mildly spicy fennel sausage, and the pizza maker honored our request for light cheese. One commenter stated that Papa Pete’s reminded him/her of Shakey’s Pizza. Not familiar with Shakey’s?
“Sherwood ‘Shakey’ Johnson opened the first Shakey's Pizza Parlor® in a remodeled grocery store on 57th and J Street in Sacramento, California in 1954. Originally established as ‘ye public house’ for pizza & beer, Johnson indulged his passion for Dixieland jazz and added live ragtime music to mix, featuring banjos and player pianos throughout his rapidly expanding franchise. As the concept caught on, the Shakey's name became synonymous with the World's Greatest Pizza™ along with light-hearted slogans such as ‘You'll have fun at Shakey's, also pizza,’ and ‘You can feed your face at any old place, but you can warm your heart at Shakey's’” (

There was a Shakey’s in Iowa City back when Chuck and I were at the U of I. I really don’t remember much about the pizza. I remember sitting at long tables. I remember the ragtime music and the player piano. I remember that the first time we went there Chuck got carded—and I didn’t. Strange what one remembers.

So we had a “pretty good” sausage pizza. Could I leave well enough alone? No. I violated my pizza principle: “stick with the basics.” Papa Pete’s offers a mini pizza—about the size of a “personal” pizza, and I was intrigued by the smoked oyster version.
This may have been the vilest thing I have ever put in my mouth. I have eaten smoked oysters before but these were so smoked that it was like eating ashes. I ate two slices. I started on the third. I stopped. I threw the rest away. No way was I going to eat this cold for breakfast!

Had I stuck with the sausage, I probably would have rated Papa Pete’s at 3.5 Addies. But the smoked oysters lowered this to 2.0 Addies—and that may be another gift.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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