Utah/Idaho – Over the river and through the woods

Once upon a time there was a boy (hint: it’s me!) who grew up in the mountains and liked snow and had no idea that the continental breakfasts served by Comfort Inn were not delicious.  Then that boy grew up and moved to the Big City and got corrupted by the Michelin Guide and sometimes wore nice leather driving moccasins.  One day (hint: this happened yesterday), that boy found himself standing in a couple inches of snowy sludge while wearing said driving moccasins, scraping snow off his car and feeling deeply wronged by both the wetness of his feet and the absence of anything edible on offer at the Comfort Inn’s continental breakfast.  It was a dark and dismal moment.  “Dang it,” thought the boy, “I’ve become high maintenance.”
The wilds of southern Idaho
A few minutes later, the boy was riding with his parents en route to Pocatello, Idaho, to visit his aged grandmother.  His padre leaned back and said, “We’re going to take Grandma to lunch, and you’re in charge of picking the restaurant.”  No problem, thought the boy naively.  Then he ran a search on Yelp for Pocatello and about died.  In no correct version of the universe should Wendy’s show up in the top ten restaurants for a town.  So he called his sister, who had lived in Pocatello a few years ago, to see if she had any recommendations.  Her response:  “There are no good restaurants in Pocatello!  Why do you think we were so eager to move away from that hole?”  Crap.
But high maintenance is not the same as easily beaten, so our hero persevered in his search and found a place that risked being good.  Portneuf Valley Brewing had a decent menu, a bunch of positive reviews, and a reputation for good live music.  He took it as a good sign that his Grandmother had never heard of it.  

Turns out, it was pretty good.  I ordered a pizza and was pleased with the freshness of the ingredients and the quality of the crust.  Nice work, Pocatello.  Way to exceed expectations.


As for the grandmotherly visit, it was great.  I hadn’t seen her for years and had never been to her place in Pocatello.  She felt well and so was uncharacteristically cheerful and lively.  We talked about grandchildren, obituaries, opera and ballet.  My favorite comments:

“You look much better than last time I saw you.  You were so skinny and tired looking!”

[Upon learning that I have seasons tickets to the modern dance series instead of ballet]  “Well, that would be the absolute LAST thing I would EVER be interested in seeing.”  [Small gagging noises]

“I think you would actually really like living in Pocatello.  There are so many international restaurants here!  There’s a great Italian place just down the road.”


We ended our visit in time to be on the road before night fell and the freezing (or, rather, more freezing) temperatures made the roads treacherous.  What southern Idaho lacks in cosmopolitan attractions, it makes up in impressive sunsets.



  1. The Michelin Guide does not corrupt, but rather it enticeth us to eat those things which are good. Amen.


  2. Anonymous · · Reply

    I thought I'd about die when she made the comment that you'd really like living there. I'd never live there!! Lady


  3. If you ever come to Santa Fe, we'll take you for the best red and green chile — it's our thing here. You might have your taste buds burned off, but it will be worth it. 🙂


  4. This just might be the worst thing I've ever said/thought… but the first image that came to mind when looking at that picture of grandma was this:


    Glad you survived “Pokie”


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