Meeting up with the Mongols . . . then “WHAM!” . . . the ol’ plate to the head.

I thought . . . I was done. I think I actually saw stars, or maybe it’s because I was closer to them in Idyllwild, CA.

Met up with a few motley individuals from the motorcycle club “Mongols”; havin’ a beer and breathing in the fresh mountain air. I wasn’t looking for any problems. I was just mindin’ my own business . . . then, “WHAM!” . . .the ol’ plate to the head!

Ok let me explain. The “Best Margaritas on the Hill” can be found at Arriba, Mas Fina Mexican Food. At least that’s what their business card says. We didn’t know about them until the Chef handed us his card. So then I handed him my card as we parted. The Chef asked, “eb-bri-tin-o-kayee?” in his very thick Mexican accent. You see the Chef was just complimented to us by the very nice lady that just sat with the Mongol’s group of riders. “Well” she said, “the Chef had been serving  my husband (one of the riders) and I for over 25 years”.  We noticed, as we arrived, that a Sunday brunch style spread being was being accosted by a patron and the Chef was flipping eggs-to-order right next to the entrance. He almost flipped an omelet right out of his pan. I think he was showing off ’cause I was watching. Well, we sat next to the motorcycle club riders and had small conversation with them about our dogs in the back of the Burb, and the Chef  being so friendly. The Mongol group were pretty nice except for me getting cracked in the skull by a plate . . . So what gives? Yeah, the Mongols had some bitchen bikes too.  We kept a close eye on them as they rode off. Bastards . . . didn’t even say they were sorry!

Ok, the day before we ate lunch at another place we wanted to try while in Idyllwild. The place was called Little Chef in the Forest. Well, the Little Chef appeared to have a German twist on the menu cause I ordered a potato pancake as an appetizer. It was bland and the apple sauce was plain. I kept trying different combinations of salt, pepper and apple sauce . . .  nothin! Well, the potato pancake arrived and then there was a delay . . . cricket . . . cricket . . . cricket. Then our waitress flew by our table about 15 minutes later and said in her passing that our other food was coming right out . . . cricket . . . cricket . . . cricket. I think about 45 minutes went by and then we inquired with another server because we hadn’t seen ours in quite some time. The younger server said there was a communication problem in the kitchen and our order should be coming out shortly. Hmmm, why didn’t anyone tell us? Was there a problem with the order? Did they have to kill the chicken? I didn’t hear any sounds from farm animals recently. Well after reading some of the reviews (and I usually don’t until after I have a notion), there’s a problem with this joint other than just throwing plates.

My Monte Cristo with raspberry syrup finally arrived on an artfully folded and colorfully green cloth dinner napkin. That’s the first time I’ve seen that one. I hate to be the guy that has to get those clean. The sandwich was great! My wife ordered a Portabella mushroom sandwich without the bread. It came and was a generous portion but she noticed the mushrooms were the smaller Cramini and not a fully mature Portabella and there were no tomatoes. I pointed out that there were sun-dried tomatoes. Perhaps the Chef wanted to compensate because there was no bread. He compensated on the salt too. It was tremendously over salted, but otherwise good. The other folks we went to lunch with had another Monte Cristo and a Chicken Sandwich that she said something was missing from that one as well. We also overheard another table stating a mis-que on their order from the kitchen. Hmmm, I wonder what the kitchen hick-up was, and despite the shortcomings, the food was pretty good. I’m guessing this may be the elevation affecting the inconsistencies.

The first disappearing server never gave us the scoop or tried to comp us for our plate, nor did we ask, but she did accidentally knock over my water glass while clearing plates. Then in one swift motion to pick it up the spilled glass with one hand, cracked me upside the forehead with the lip of the plate she was carrying in the other hand. I know I saw stars.

Ok, enough about the little chef. By the way, the mexican food at Arriba was also good. Their carnitas and beans just disappeared from my plate, and we were all holding our belly’s and ready for a nap, but instead went shopping in the mountain town. I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do. I wonder if the food has all been pretty good or if it’s just the mountain air.

Other places we’ve eaten while visiting Idyllwild are Cafe Aroma (the best on the hill . . . period!) and Idyllwild Pizza and Sport (not a bad gourmet style pizza).

So far I’m going to give Idyllwild one great big bear hug . . . or is it an Idyllwild bear hug. Get it? Big Bear . . . Idyllwild Bear ? ? ?



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