Sunday, September 25, 2011


Eastside Road, September 25, 2011—
NOT TOO MANY MONTHS ago I had the idea that we should go out to dinner once a month with another couple at one or another of the many local remaining roadhouses. With one thing and another we haven't got around to this exercise in cultural inquiry until tonight, when we stopped in at the oldest such local.

The Washoe House was founded in 1857, and doesn't seem to have changed much since I first saw it in the middle 1940s. The menu is typical of its genre, and after a Martini at the bar — $3.50! — most of us tucked into the eight-ounce sirloin, pan-seared I would say (or more likely griddled), reasonably moist and flavorful.

With it, as you see, French-fried potatoes and a little ramekin of canned green beans. Those come in for their share of complaints on such websites as Yelp and Chowhound, but you know what? I like canned green beans; I rarely get them; and they always remind me of my youth, when they were staples, and fresh-picked green beans were the seasonal exotic.

Before this course, a rough green salad enlivened by a handful of canned kidney beans and a sharp oil-and-vinegar dressing. Afterward, because the waitress had got the mistaken idea it was my birthday, a bowl of vanilla ice cream with a lit candle in it.
House Zinfandel

• The Washoe House, Stony Point Road at Roblar Road, Petaluma, California; (707) 795-4544

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