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Restaurant: Forester Pub and Grill
Address: 4110 Carson Road, Camino
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
I really covet comfort, especially when it comes to food and especially when the leaves of El Dorado County start to turn and it starts to get chilly outside.
I know I’m not alone. I think almost everyone has a favorite comfort food dish. It could be as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of tomato soup, or perhaps something a little more complex such as a slow cooked meat and veggie stew.
All I know is that the feeling I get when I’m sitting down on a cold day enjoying a comforting dish of whatever, I feel good — about myself and about life in general. All my worries just melt away and are replaced with happy thoughts. A little too maudlin, perhaps — but it’s the truth.
One of the challenges of this column is finding those mom and pop restaurants that not only deserve to be recognized because of their longevity and service to the community but also offers something a little different and out of the ordinary.
Cruising through Camino with my lunch companion the other day and desperate to find one such place we serendipitously saw the Forester Pub and Grill, a place I have never tried.
The first thing that hit me when we arrived at around 1:30 p.m. was how jam packed it was.
The place was replete with families, retirees, hipster couples and every type of person you could imagine.
The second thing I noticed was the rustic charm this place had in spades. It has a real log cabin feel to it, and as our server was taking us to our table we passed by a glorious wood burning stove that set the mood perfectly.
The lunch menu is split into three distinct choices: continental fare, pub favorites and sandwiches.
I chose from the continental fare menu, which contains such delectable and unique (to El Dorado County, anyway) offerings as jaegershnitzel (a breaded pork cutlet topped with bacon, onion and mushroom gravy) and Hungarian pork goulash (tender pork sirloin stewed with onion, garlic, paprika, caraway and red wine).
It all looked good but I decided to try the beef stroganoff, because my mother used to make it for me when I was a kid. You know I’d come back to that whole comfort thing, again, didn’t you?
I chose the spaetzel over the red cabbage because it’s been a while since I had authentic spaetzle and I was curious to see how the Forester handled it. Well, the cook handled it just fine in my opinion.
Spaetzel, for those who are curious, is a type of noodle, the main difference, other than the flavor profile, being the texture. It can be a bit of an acquired taste, but once you’re hooked you’re hooked for life.
The beef was fall apart tender, the gravy thick and flavorful, the spaetzel addictive, the portion ample. After I finished I was tired, the same feeling you get after a big turkey dinner, but it was worth it.
Color me impressed.
My companion ordered the grilled fish sandwich and, yes, he substituted the fancy bun with a plain one. The portion of fish was more than generous and it was cooked perfectly. The fish being very flaky and, in his words, “really very tasty.”
It came with thick cut fries and while they were good I just know he would have preferred fries of the shoe string variety, as would I.
If you’re anywhere near Camino and are looking for a warm, inviting and unique dining experience you could do no better than the Forester Pub and Grill, 4110 Carson Road in Camino. To make a reservation or to get more information call 530-644-1818.