Rio Grande: No Fire To Put Out
Another anomaly in Salmon Arm besides a southern barbeque place -- Mexican food. We found the place packed at lunchtime on a Saturday afternoon; the crowd, lively mexican decor and music not putting our fears to rest: What's Mexican food doing in Salmon Arm, BC and how good is it going to be?? I was partly relieved when a nice Spanish man came to take our order. We also noticed that they have won a provincial best new restaurant award for 2004.
Favorite Dish: The food here is delicious, fresh, nicely prepared and presented, and again common for the area, portions huge. However, what was disappointing was the food was bland, bland, bland. Such a shame for food that is so obviously prepared well with great indgredients. On arrival, we were given beautiful homemade salsa with local ripe tomatoes and very nice house-made tortilla chips made from thick corn tortillas. Unfortunately, there was no heat, not even a little.
My husband's Machaca Shredded Beef Burrito had a yummy cheese sauce, and the shredded beef was tender and generous, wrapped up in a wheat tortilla, served with lovely spanish rice and refried beans. Again, no heat -- some heat would have made the meal perfect.
The quality of food here is top-notch, and it is unfortunately spoiled with a common North American tendency to make any spicy ethnic food shamefully bland and generic for the masses. Even though the food was not spicy, it's of great quality and does taste good. Next time, we'll pack a bottle of hot sauce.
The Herb Garden Smokehouse Grill: What's A Rib Like You Doing In A Place Like This?
We went here on a local recommendation for good food, noting that it is advertised as "authentic southern barbeque". We wanted to try something different, and were admittedly apprehensive -- American Southern Barbeque in *ahem* Salmon Arm, BC??
The restaurant was supposedly a fine dining room in the past, so it was decorated in a mish-mash of classy purple walls with black trim, roman columns and semi-circle booths accented with numerous blues posters, mexican totchkes, and Christmas decorations. We found that many local establishments still strangely had remnants of Christmas decorations , but I guess that's another story for some other time.
Favorite Dish: Well, as soon as our food came, any doubts were immediately put to rest. This place has fabulous barbeque. I've never had "authentic" southern barbequed ribs, but man, oh man, not a word from me and my husband for about 20 minutes as we devoured our honey garlic rib platters.
I'm unsure if they were authentic or not, but who cares -- tender pork ribs smoked for 16 hours on applewood, covered in a delicious finger-lickin' honey-garlic barbeque sauce. All the sides are also made on the premises and were top-notch -- moist corn bread, coleslaw with tangy dressing, and smokey baked beans. As what seems on par for the local area, the servings are enough to satisfy a steer-wrestler or hungry lumberjack. You even get a fingerbowl at the end of it all.
There is more conventional salmon, chicken, or burgers on the menu, but go for the barbeque.
Home Restaurant: Finger Lickin Home Cookin'
This place plays up descriptions of the food on it's menu with the use of the word "home" whenever it can, such as their "home"made desserts or the killer "Two Story House " burger.
However, this is perfectly justified; the meals here can only be described as "home"made diner food (see, it's rubbing off) and very yummily prepared, plus it's cheap, cheap, cheap, and served in a very nice, un-diner like atmosphere. Home Restaurant was recently voted #3 diner in all of British Columbia.
The food is simple and unpretentious -- none of that "trendy" diner stuff. This is honest to goodness diner food -- turkey club sandwiches, meatloaf dinners, fish and chips, shepard's pies. The secret to this small restaurant chain's success is that everything is indeed, "home"made, from the gravy to the desserts.
The servings are huge -- do not attempt to have the "regular" sized dish, unless you have the appetite of two lumberjacks, take it from me. The desserts are out-of-this world; mile-thick pies of local fruit or heart-artery clogging creams. If you die eating a slab of their pie, you will die happy, guaranteed.
Favorite Dish: It's all good -- except for the pasta. The sauce is high quality and obviously simmered for hours, but they fall short by serving it on overcooked, generic pasta. If you are a pasta gourmet, do not order any of the pasta dishes.
My personal favorites are: any breakfast dish, the roast turkey dinner, the beef dip, the fresh-cut perfectly cooked fries, and the club sandwich overflowing with turkey and bacon. And of course, the pies. If you can get your hands on a slice of Black Forest Pie, claim it when you walk through the entrance by the rotating dessert display rack. The Black Forest Pie is chocolate crumb crust, filled with layers of chocolate cream with chocolate bits, chocolate whipped cream and cherries. If they served dessert in heaven, this would be it.
Mr Putt's Parlor
I just really got a kick out of finding the quaint and unusual in the Shuswap area. When you get a hankering for ice cream, and maybe some mini golf, go to Mr. Putt's Parlor, which is an ice cream parlor and mini golf course rolled into one.
Putt's Parlor serves Nestle brand ice cream, which I find to be a pretty good commercial ice cream.
Favorite Dish: Turtle Ice Cream -- my favorite cavity-causing candy made into an ice cream, yum!! Also, their scoops are HUGE. Most people will be happy with a single scoop. And don't forget the waffle cone.
Only open from May to the 2nd week of September.