March 21, 2010

Crown Railroad Cafe Flagstaff, Arizona

The Crown Railroad Cafe
3300 E Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ
website: thecrownrailroadcafes.com
menu: see below

Adjoining a Howard Johnson Inn (that looks to be stuck back in time) on Route 66 in east Flagstaff is The Crown Railroad Cafe. It's an old fashioned diner complete with comfy booths and counter service. They serve traditional American breakfast foods (and lunch and dinner too).
As you dine, an electric trail circles the restaurant on the tracks above the tables - fun for kids, but I thought there was going to be tons of trains choo choo-ing up a storm in there from things I'd read about this place. But really, that and the train fabric covering the booth backs is all she wrote on the train theme.
The menu has 66 omlette choices, oddly enough none with sausage, onions and cheese, which is what my husband wanted. They do make substitutions so it was no problem. Omlettes run from about 6 dollars for plain up to about 9 bucks loaded.
The omlettes and other breakfasts come with hashbrowns or "those other potatoes" as they're called on the menu (which are onions, peppers and potatoes sometimes known as "potatoes o'brien") plus toast or a biscuit.
Other breakfast choices include pancakes, waffles and chicken fried steak plus other traditional breakfast fare.
Kids menu options are about five bucks including a drink and consist of everything from pancakes and sausage to a burger.
I ordered the two eggs (scrambled) with chicken fried steak and hashbrowns. The chicken fried steak was quite tasty. It comes with a white peppery gravy and is flavorful but not spicy by any means. One of the best chicken fried steaks I've had in town! I'd definitely get that again. The potatoes are a traditional diner style, served grated and pretty plain but not too greasy. The scrambled eggs were boring and dry. The biscuits are huge and fresh and come served with a side of gravy for those that like em smothered. All around, the food portions are large.
My daughters (ages 4 and 2.5) split the children's pancakes and sausage- which came with two big flapjacks and two sausages. They gobbled it up in a hurry and asked for more. Luckily the train kept them entertained, as did having some of my breakfast.
My husband's omlette came served burrito style, a thin wrap of egg around finely chopped up sausage mixed with cheese and onions. Though it could have used some more cheese, it was pretty good but pretty average. He got "those other potatoes" which were good but nothing to write home about.
Service during our visit was lacking, as no one came to give us drink refills despite many attempts at flagging the waitress down. She also got our bill wrong -charging us for coffee when no one ordered any. But when we did see the waitress she was nice.
All in all, The Crown Railroad Cafe is a good traditional American breakfast but nothing special and not as delish as some of Flagstaff's other breakfast spots like Brandys and LaBellavia.


Crown Railroad Cafe doesn't have its menu online, so here's a look at the menu in the restaurant as of March 21, 2010:


March 15, 2010

The eating of the green for St Patrick’s Day in Flagstaff

Since the 17th century it is said that green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day. In addition to “the wearing of green” this March 17th, why not eat green too. Green colored foods are supposedly lucky, as some cultures believe green foods represent money. So feasting on green things has to bring good fortune, right? Maybe not so crazy when you consider that green foods are among the most nutritious (in general) and could help you live a healthy life. Which is what the traditional Irish toast “sláinte!” (meaning “to your health”) is all about anyway. So drink up and chow down on the great tasting green but not-so-Irish foods and drinks of in honor of St Patrick this month it might even do your body good in addition to your tastebuds.

Avocados can help lower the bad kind of cholesterol and are loaded with potassium. Dine on this green goodie at Salsa Brava (2220 East Route 66) where they’ll make fresh guacamole at your table. You can also get some good nutrients in their salsa verde while you’re at it.

Get some vitamin power and green up your plate with the freshly prepared zucchini at Sakura (1175 Old Route 66). It's my one of my favorites there and it comes with most of the teppanyaki dinners. Another good greenie there - the broccoli and shrimp grill. Add even more green to your meal with green tea (which is filled with disease fighting antioxidants) or their green tea ice cream for a sweet green finish to your meal.

Green is the color of pesto- made with nutritious and delicious basil (which is filled with pro-vitamin A and is also a natural anti-bacterial). You can find fresh basil in some good pesto on pastas at Pesto Brothers (104 North Leroux St), in the pesto fry sauce at Diablo Burger (120 North Leroux St), on the pesto pizza at Fratelli (119 West Phoenix Ave) and in the pesto mayo at Beaver Street (11 Beaver St).

Cucumbers are another green food filled with Vitamins A, C, K and others. One of the more unique ways in town to eat your cucumbers - the cucumber and chicken soup at Dara Thai (14 S San Francisco St). Cucumbers turned into sweet green pickles turned into hot dog relish add some super green colored nutrients to your quickie hot dog lunch at Primo’s (113 S San Francisco St).

Want fried greens? How about the delish fried okra at Bigfoot BBQ (in the Basement Marketplace of Old Town Shops downstairs from Pesto Brothers) or the spicy fried jalapeños (aka Volcano caps) at the Ski Lift Lodge Restaurant (6355 N Highway 180).


Drink your green
It wouldn’t be a St Patty’s Day in America if green beer wasn’t featured. In Flagstaff, you can get green beers on St Patrick’s Day at Colins Irish Pub (2 North Leroux), Maloney’s Tavern (101 North Leroux) and The Green Room (15 N Agassiz St).

You can also find green in any glass any day of fresh lime margaritas (like at Café Ole- 119 S San Francisco St), minty mojitos (like at Salsa Brava) and if you want to get technical that olive that comes in a martini is green too. Get a good one at the evening only martini bar Rendezvous (100 N San Francisco St in the Hotel Monte Vista).

Sláinte!

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