The breakfast section is the largest, and is a cornucopia. Were they able to do an omelet they way I truly like it, Crown Railroad would have serious competition. But they donít. And just their menu description of huevos rancheros steers me away (flour tortilla). But they have other great items, such as benedicts and crepes. The tamale and eggs is very good. The mixers are my favorite, especially the Santa Fe chicken. This place has a number of good green chili recipes, and I suspect thatís what keeps drawing me back.
The soups are always outstanding. Not a single one here has ever disappointed me. Iíve never asked about MSG, however, so if youíre sensitive to that, you would do well to ask.
When it comes to lunch, the selection is more limited: lots of burgers, but fewer proper sandwiches. Early on, their sweet potato fries were white, but since then theyíve learned their lesson and do the real thing. Iíd say the best deal here is the soup, salad, and half hot ham/cheese/green chili sandwich. The salad dressing selection is not the best, but the ranch is pretty safe.
For dinner, the steaks are the best, especially the ribeye. One of my favorites is the green chili chicken. Thereís a good-looking pasta selection, but the only one Iíve tried is the beef stroganoff, which is good but lacks sour cream: I suppose I could ask for some to mix in. The garlic bread is absolutely decadent.
About beef stroganoff: when I was a kid, my mom taught me a quick-and-easy fake with cream of mushroom soup, condensed milk, and vinegar. Since then, Iíve gotten more persnickety, and when Iím really in the mood, Iíll go full blast with sauteed mushrooms and sour cream or yogurt. The Christmas Tree used to have the best beef stroganoff in Flagstaff, but the best Iíve ever had in my life was at the Hotel Budapest in Moscow: there they served it over fried potatoes. To this day, just thinking about it makes my heart and liver cry out for help. But Oh, was it Heaven.
Cafe Scandia, in Palm Springs CA, served an interesting beef stroganoff with the sour cream as a separate side. That place (which, unfortunately, is gone now) featured an eclectic blend of eastern European and Scandinavian recipes. The goulash was outstanding, but I regret never trying the Swedish cabbage rolls. Such is life.
Northern Pines started out as the Ponderosa, but they changed their name after awhile (from what I hear, they had a challenge from the steakhouse chain). Before they went in, this place was called Hogís. The one time I went in, I was overwhelmed by the stench of rotten milk. It may have been a fluke, and I toughed it out and ate a decent patty melt, but I never could bring myself to go there again.
|How often visited:||Many times|
|How likely to return:||Definitely|
|Last known visit:||2018-01-29|