“Anybody who doesn’t think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his home town is a sissy.”
— Calvin Trillin
I recently received a note from John Anderson, who with his wife Rosie, own Rose’s Garden Café in Garden Valley. They wanted to let me know that they will soon be celebrating 10 years in business. Well, since I had never been there, I took the opportunity to stop by.
“You can’t miss us,” John told me on the phone. “We are near the Garden Valley Grange and there is a big sign out front that says, ‘Real Estate.’” No, he wasn’t kidding.
I drove up and parked in front of the building at 4916 Marshal Grade in Garden Valley (the real estate office is next door), and was almost immediately greeted by John, who shook my hand even before I got to the door. A few minutes later I got a hug from Rosie.
Rose’s is an old fashioned diner with all kinds of neat pictures on the wall, a place to post your business card and even a group of regulars eating breakfast, drinking coffee and sharing ideas. And everyone greets everyone who walks in and shares lots of hugs. When was the last time you were in a restaurant where people said, “Love you,” to the owners as they left?
The menu is on several large whiteboards, so I will only be able to give you a sampling of what is listed. You will have to check it out yourself.
“We first started serving deli sandwiches, hot dogs and ice cream” said John, and things expanded as customers asked for something different, so the menu just evolved.” Apparently that is why the menu includes items such as Stephanie’s spicy Buffalo chicken sandwich, Ian’s jalapeño pepperjack burger, Margie’s chef’s salad, Johnny’s spicy chicken salad, Erin’s veggie sandwich, Bill’s BLT, Mr. Spencer I and Mr. Spencer II (pastrami and Swiss with lettuce ‘I,’ or coleslaw ‘II’). There is even a “Grizzly burger” named for nearby Golden Sierra High School’s mascot (bacon, onions, barbecue sauce and all the trimmings).
“Our burgers, tri-tip sandwiches and dips, along with the salads are the number one sellers,” said John. “Even though we are known as the ‘home of the flame broiled cheeseburger,’ a lot of people are ordering lighter foods and our salads are very popular.
“Years ago Rosie and I worked for Coherent, a company in Auburn. They started outsourcing and we were laid off. We were making our third generation Scottish shortbread which we sold to local businesses.
Mochas and More, which had this site, was a customer, but one day we showed up with a delivery and there was a sign that they were closing. Rosie had some restaurant experience, so I looked at her and said, ‘What do you think?’ she said, ‘Let’s do it,’ so, nine and a half years ago, we opened Rose’s Café.
“We call the shortbread third generation because my Scottish grandfather taught my father how to make it and he taught me (take it from a Scot, it is delicious).
I sampled a lumpia, which they only serve for dinner on the first Friday of each month. It is the Philippine version of a Chinese spring roll, and filled with chicken and vegetables. The shell was very, very thin and it came with two dips: sweet and sour and garlic vinegar. It was great, and I really liked the garlic vinegar sauce. On the same plate Rosie put a piece of fish (cod) that they serve. It had a very thin batter and was moist and delicious. I don’t like the heavy batter found on some fried fish, and this was perfect. John also insisted I also try some of their crinkle-cut fries with the fish. They are proud of them and they were crisp and well done, just the way I like them.
Then I tried a small Oriental salad. Like all their salads, it was made to order. It had lots of fresh vegetables along with tender chicken, chow mein noodles and sliced almonds. It came with two dressings, sesame ginger and honey mustard. It was quite a nice, refreshing meal and it wasn’t a full order.
Even though I was full they insisted I have a hot fudge sundae, with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. Heavenly. I don’t think anyone has ever turned one of those down.
There are also lunch and dinner specials, a kids menu, coffee and coffee drinks, milkshakes and even a video game that plays Frogger and Ms Pacman.
You will have to check Rose’s out yourself. They are nice friendly people (you will probably get a hug from someone). By the way, if the name John Anderson seems familiar to you, John’s father owned Hangtown Ski Hut and John grew up in Diamond Springs.
Rose’s Café is open from 9:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Monday. For more information or if you want to try and make a reservation for the lumpia on the first Friday in August — it always sells out — call 530-333-9900.
This Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., join winemaker John Alexander and his staff at Colibri Ridge Winery and Vineyard for the eighth anniversary party. There will be the renowned gourmet grilled cheeseburgers which include: sautéed mushrooms in a red wine reduction, the extraordinary caramelized onions and a choice of various cheeses. The very talented local musician Jonny Mojo will be back to entertain.
There is no charge for you to help them celebrate this year’s anniversary.
Colibri Ridge Winery is located at 6100 Gray Rock Road (off Slug Gulch Road) in Fair Play. For more information call 530-620-7255.
This Saturday, from noon until 6 p.m., dkcellars, 7380 Vineyard View Drive in Fair Play, will be holding a special Short Bus release party.
Mike Pettibone (owner of shortbusrides.com) will be there with the busses, live music by the Bertie Street Band (classic rock) will be playing and food will be cooking.
Short Bus wine and apparel will be on sale and there is no charge for this event. RSVPs are requested.
For more information call 530-620-1132.
Sunday, July 22, at both 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., chef Giovanni Guadio will be holding special food and wine parings at Skinner Winery in Fair Play. With the assistance of winemaker Chris Pittenger, a Skinner wine has been selected to pair with each course.
The menu includes caponatina (caramelized onion and eggplant) bruschetta, fresh ricotta “truffle” salad, turkey meatballs finished with a ginger-citrus sauce and potato sformati and Giovanni’s fabulous pound cake finished with fresh peaches.
For reservations and information call Skinner Winery at 530-620-2220.
On Saturday, July 28, from 3 until 7 p.m. enjoy Summertime Tunes in the vineyard at Lava Cap Winery, which is located at 2221 Fruitridge between Placerville and Camino.
Stop in for a blues and rock ‘n’ roll concert by the crowd-pleasing band Hardwater.
The wine tasting room will be staying open late and selling your favorite Lava Cap wine to go with a picnic or you can purchase a delicious barbecue dinner by Diane Wilkinson Catering.
For more information call 530-621-0175.
While I was in Placerville for the Belltower Brewfest, I stopped by Fountain Grill and Catering, in Creekside Place to talk with Monika Geczy and Tom Rosa, and found they were serving a special for that evening, grilled bratwurst and sauerkraut on a great roll. I split one with a friend of mine and it was a perfect accompaniment for the beers we were tasting.
Geczy and Rosa are really nice people serving sandwiches, salads and sweet crepes. I have tried a number of items on the menu and everything was wonderful. They are open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday and can be reached at 530-626-7966. Oh, check out the catering menu, too.
Birthdays you can celebrate today: New Zealand explorer and mountaineer who was the first to conquer Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (1919); singer Kim Carnes (1946); artist and feminist Judy Chicago (1930); actors John Daley (1985), Donna Dixon (1957), Sally Ann Howes (1930) and Diana Rigg (1938); and musician Carlos Santana (1942). It is also the anniversary of the 1950 premier of the TV show, “Arthur Murray Party,” which appeared on all four networks at the time, ABC, Dumont, CBS and NBC.