Eating out: Pure fun, or emergency? |

Eating out: Pure fun, or emergency?

When I retired from show business, Orllyene retired from cooking. I became the chef in our house. It’s true. I always get to have my favorite dishes, cooked the way I like them cooked, but there are darn few surprises when we sit down to dinner.

As a consequence, “going out for dinner” has become a coveted occasion. Our favorite places to go are the Carson Valley Inn Coffee Shop, Topaz Lake View Room, and the Mountain View Barbecue. All three are reasonably priced, the food prepared on the spot, and the service is personal, and not uppity.

It’s 4:30 p.m., time to think food. At Holbrook Junction, we turn smartly to the left. We’re headed to Mountain View Barbecue. Where can you find so much beautiful scenery, so close to home? Snowy mountain peaks, great sweeps of green and monarch-sized trees are ours for the perusing.

Ten or 15 miles later (who’s counting?), we slow and ease into Walker. At the far end of town, I spy the smoker, a big, old barrel contraption voraciously puffing smoke. We pull into the parking lot. The MV-BBQ caters to locals, anglers, and Jeff’s favorite, the military guys from Sonora Pass; mountain grub for mountain folk is on the menu.

I pull open the screen door, and we saunter inside. A bubbly damsel says, “sit anywhere you folks like.” We pick a table with a view of a big old mountain, and the fireplace down the corridor. Jeff sees us, ambles over, smiles and hands us menus. “Well, how are you folks?” Now understand, Jeff is doing more than just making polite conversation. Jeff owns the place and does his best to make you feel like you’re having dinner in his home.

We order hamburgers, which are prepared to our exact specifications. They’re served on a platter-sized bun, nestled in a basket of hand-hewn French fries, or in Orllyene’s case, with a dish of coleslaw.

About mid-meal, Jeff returns to see if everything is to our satisfaction. He lightly places his hand on Orllyene’s shoulder, and looks straight into her eyes, “How ya’ doing?” Orllyene turns to Jeff, and gives him one of her warmest glances and replies, “As usual, everything is delicious.” Seeing Orllyene and Jeff locked in such a blissful moment, makes me feel very happy inside. This is pure pleasure.

It’s a week later. We’ve been on the road since 8:45 a.m.; Doctor visit in Reno, Costco, TJ’s, Walmart, and it’s too late to make dinner. The desire to live is fast diminishing. Topaz Lake View Room, here we come.

Carmen rescues us from the clutches of starvation. She’s only worked there for 30 years. Monica, a server/friend comes by and we chat about Lori, our friend, who taught kindergarten in Coleville for Marisa and Monique, Monica’s kids. The emergency has passed, and life is once again good.

Going out for dinner can change your life. Come on guys, you won’t regret it. Take her out for dinner.

Ron Walker can be contacted at