Thursday, May 6, 2010

Diners and Waterfalls

CO Trip Day 1 May 6, 2010
Miles traveled: 617

Well, today officially marked the starting point of my 2010 trip out west. Yup, I am heading back to Paonia, Colorado – where I was WWOOFing last fall – and am now returning to Excelsior Orchard as a then WWOOFer and now employee, for the summer harvest season.

I decided this time I wanted to drive, for many reasons really:
1) I have never made a long car trip east to west in this country yet
2) I’d love to have a car out in Colorado this summer to explore the natural playground that will be at my disposal
3) I’d love for Ruthie (my 2004 silver Ford Focus) to get some exercise on the interstates. Owner-Car bonding is important.
The ultimate bonus though? My mom has not done any of the above either, and decided to accompany me for the trek out as my co-pilot. We took off this morning with a trunk full of ‘stuff’, a satchel of homemade snacks, a slew of maps, and a hunger for road.

Which brings me to the first highlight of the day. After properly fueling through the early morning hours with coffees and Morning Glory Muffins (yes, the same ones from ‘The 16th Batch’ post) our stomachs were grumbling as we approached Buffalo, NY.

Upon my own ideas for goals of the trip, as well as a suggestion from a fellow food-loving friend, I thought it would be neat to see if any of Guy Fieri’s featured spots on his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives would show up our selected route. It turned out there were indeed a few of them, the first being Sophia’s Diner in Buffalo, NY. Our first trip destination was Niagara Falls, so Sophia’s would fit perfectly in our schedule. I obviously watched the video clip from the show that featured Sophia’s before leaving today, and you can imagine my anticipation and excitement for what awaited us…

…when I pulled on the door only to be resisted by the bolt lock. “Nooooo,” my mom and I both said, turning to each other slowly and wide-eyed from hunger pains and disbelief. The sign said they closed at 3PM everyday. It was 2:50PM. We were confused, lost; like stray puppies looking for a scrap at a usually reliable restaurant dumpster.

Once we got the attention of one of the waitresses, she came around outside to explain they had to close early today for some certain reason. We said we were bummed, but asked more importantly about where another place would be good for us to go grab a bite. And just as she started to explain the directions to another restaurant, the owner, Sam, popped his head out the door and said, “Nah, Stephanie, we can take ‘em. Come on in ladies.”

From that point on I didn’t need to even taste the food to know why it was so good. Good people were behind the menu items at this diner, and that is one of the main reasons why it is such a delicious experience to eat there.

From trucker Mike’s recommendation from the booth behind us (he's a regula), we went for the chicken souvlaki and the roasted pork sandwich (the daily special), with homefries of course. The pictures really speak for themselves with this one. Yes, the deliciously house-roasted pork was sandwiched between their freshly made bread (shown being made on the show clip). Yes, it was covered in their house gravy. Yes, the marinade for the chicken was deliciously Greek with its hint of oregano. And yes, it was moist, and went perfectly with the quality romaine lettuce, feta, tomatoes, olives, and housemade vinaigrette. All enjoyed as the only customers in the whole joint, invited in after the doors were closed a bit too early.

Hated it.

Sam (Owner), Stephanie and Angela (the nicest waitresses you could ask for)


And just to polish it all off, we drove up to Niagara Falls for dessert. What an impressive natural spectacle…we couldn’t stop taking deep breaths of that fresh, misty air! The perfect afternoon sun showed off the thundering falls magnificently, and we slowly pulled away to drive to our final resting point of the day right outside Cleveland, OH. Over and out for Day 1~


  1. jmb what long legs you have!

  2. Niagara Falls is simply breathtaking!
    This has been an amazing journey with my Elizabeth. It's fun flying on her wings to get me to these places, I've always wanted to go!