That Food Guy
Thursday, September 23, 2010
  KOA Kafe – KOA Albuquerque North - Bernalillo, New Mexico
KOA Kafe open air patio

KOA Kafe
KOA Albuqurque,North
555 South Hill Rd
Bernalillo, New Mixico 87004
(505) 867-5227 9/23/10

Traveling around the country we often stop at Good Sam’s or KOA campgrounds. We are thus assured of at least a minimum standard. There are many independent campgrounds out there but they are hard to find. The Sam’s and KOA directories make finding a campground easy. So it was that we found KOA Albuquerque North. KOA Kafe basic free breakfast, two pancakes and syrup, coffeeIt is KOA Kafe basic breakfast with butter and two strips of baconactually located just off the Interstate in the small, independent town of Bernalillo, a few miles north of Albuquerque. Even though the campgrounds have a minimum standard, many of the campground owners go beyond the minimum and devise many clever ways to cater to their camping customers.
Well maintained, with lots of trees to shade your camping spot, clean restrooms with lots of hot shower water, a carefully maintained pool for an afternoon dip, large fenced pet walks, even weekend movies, this particular campground is already well above standard and a very pleasant stopover. The owner has one additional perk for us, the KOA Kafe. Not a full service café for sure, but rather a casual provider of the campground equivalent of the big hotels continental breakfast. From about seven to nine each morning, a campground guest only has to KOA Kafe Beehive oven and outdoor stove in the covered patiostop by the office, get a small ticket and present it to the Kafe cook for a free pancake breakfast. The free pancake breakfast consists of two pancakes and syrup, butter on request. A side bar has coffee, tea, sugar and creamers at your leisure. During the warmer temperate months the service is al fresco in a nice covered patio and enough picnic benches to accommodate everyone. A decorated full-scale beehive oven sets the mood for this New Mexico patio. In bad weather there is an adjacent enclosed dining area.
The KOA Kafe also has a small menu for additional purchased food items. Bacon or sausage is $1.50, eggs $1.50 each and a bowl of breakfast chili (remember, we are in New Mexico) is $3.00. There are some combo plates, featuring either fried potatoes, KOA Kafe enclosed dining room used in bad weather.corned beef KOA Kafe menuhash, omelets or burritos, ranging from $4.00 to $7.00. There is even a telephone number for takeout orders. At the window you present your ticket and order any additional items you desire. It is cash only when your name is called for pick up. The cook has been there a long time. We have seen him on the last three trips through Albuquerque. He is a bit gruff but never any problems. Let’s just say he is amusingly irascible, much like his motto, "If we don't have it, you don't need it!" After eating, you buss your own table and police your area. Toss the trash in the canister and get on with your wonderful day after a satisfying breakfast at the KOA Kafe.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010
  J&D's Family Restaurant - Brigham City, Utah
JandD's as seen from Main Street

J&D’s Family Restaurant
720 So Main St.
Brigham City, Utah
(435) 723-3811

Just finishing a long errand in company with my sister and nephew, we found ourselves on Main Street in Brigham City, Utah. It was near noon and we were hungry. After a few clicks on the GPS we were calling out the restaurants as we passed them. We didn’t want the traditional fast foods so we kept on cruising down Main Street. We couldn’t cruise too far or we would be headed out of town. However, the next in line was J&D’s Family Restaurant. It looked good from the outside and the parking lot was near full. Since J&D’s was away from the usual tourist stream, the congregation of locals was a good sign of a good place to eat.
It is hostess seating and there were several groups ahead of us. The rotation went fast and we were the next. The waitresses bussed the tables and there was one waiting for us but apparently the hostess went on break and forgot we were there waiting. After a few minutes my nephew brought the situation to the attention of one of the servers and she immediately seated us and took our beverage orders. That was the only blot on what was a satisfactory dining experience. JandD's BLT
JandD's side salad and dressingThe menu is heavy on breakfast, less on lunch and dinner is but the back page and provides a clue to the locals dinning patterns. They do feature specials that are posted at the entrance. We focused on the lunch. The menu states, “All hamburgers are one third pound served lettuce, onions, pickles and tomatoes on request. Add extra patty, $1.89. All burgers and sandwiches are served with your choice of soup, salad, tater tots, sweet potato fries or French fries.” Sister Pattie Sue ordered a BLT ($4.79) and asked for the salad to accompany her meal. Nephew Ron ordered a double fish sandwich; two fillets served open face, ($6.49) and requested the Tater Tots. And I, as almost usual, ordered a cheeseburger and the French fries. Without intending, we were testing the depth of their menu items.
Pattie’s salad was served first. A nice sized serving for a side-salad, it was a bed of mixed salad greens including some radicchio, shredded carrots and a slice of pickled beet. There was a topping of finely shredded American cheese. The dressing is served on the side and it makes it easier to fix the salad to personal liking. The dressing was ample for most and I’m sure more was available on request. Pattie said the lettuce was crisp and fresh, and overall a nice salad. Her BLT arrived shortly after along with the rest of the orders. A simple presentation, it was toasted white bread, dressed with lettuce, tomato and bacon, much like your mother would have set in front of you. The sandwich was tasty and satisfying.
Ron’s double fish sandwich was served open face with cheese. The cheese had yet to melt over the fish fillets. That was the only distraction from the overall look of the dish. There was an ample serving of nicely browned Tater Tots. Ron said it was tasty, the fish moist and not dried out. He proceeded to eat his meal with a bit of gusto. After all, it had been a long day and we were hungry. JandD's cheeseburger with French fries
JandD's double fish sandwich with Tater TotsMy hamburger was served open faced and all of the requested extras, lettuce, onions, pickles and tomatoes, were there. A nice touch, the onions were red onions and were very sweet, very nice. The dressing was a mild mayo-style and did a nice job of moistening the sandwich without imparting its own flavor to the sandwich. The fries are cut from whole, unpeeled potatoes. Usually I don’t like that kind of fries because of the large number of slices mostly potato skin. In this batch the peel was a spot here and there with and on a few ends. Nicely browned, crisp and not at all greasy, they were just fine and I enjoyed them.
The overall impression is a family restaurant, more diner or café than restaurant, serving wholesome food, well prepared but not with any excess of garnish or flourish. Were I in Brigham City again, I would seek out J&D’s as a place of comfort and enjoy a good meal.

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