Ah, the manifold fruits of spontaneous dining!
After picking up various kids and spouses (OK, just the one spouse) tonight, some sort of springlike, rising-sap-like feeling came over us, and we decided to go out to dinner in the middle of the week. (See how I make it sound like we don’t do that all the time? Sneaky me.)
Papa said, “Want to go on an adventure?” To which I of course responded, “Indeed!” The kids said, “Yeah!”
The adventure simply was that he remembered “the brewery” being mentioned by work colleagues as a good place to eat downtown, and that he didn’t know exactly where it is. Recall that we live in Pocatello: everything is within 10 minutes of everything else. This gives you a sense of our normal level of adventure.
In any case, we found Portneuf Valley Brewing on First Avenue quite handily. A rather unassuming facade led into a sweet little space with plenty of customers for a rainy Thursday night. I wasn’t sure how things would go considering it is a brewpub, but it was quite welcoming for a family and even offers a kids’ menu.
Attempting to stave off the ravenous kids–downward spiraling behavior cycle, we ordered the Macho Nachos. Good lord — it was a ginormous plate of nachos complete with excellent salsa. Papa and the boy ordered the hand-crafted sarsparilla root beers, which had a lovely tang — unlike commercial root beer, which is all added carbonation and overwhelming corn syrup sweetness. The girl ordered a raspberry lemonade, a sweet, pink delight for a four-year-old. I was bold and ordered a pint of Midnight Satin, described as having an “assertive malt sweetness with little to no hop bitterness, mild roasted coffeelike flavor and a full body.” To me it tasted like a yummy but thinner version of Guinness (I’m not an aficionado, not having drunk much alcohol at all these last 10 years or so). I’m looking forward to trying more of their varieties.
We ordered just one kids’ mini cheese pizza, given the size of the nachos we were all devouring. At first I thought it was rather misshapen; then I realized it was Mickey Mouse-shaped. Extra points for being cool for the kids! I ordered a Bavarian Bun, which included cabbage and ground pork inside a pretzel-like exterior, complete with a sprinkling of salt and caraway seeds. Papa ordered a full order of chicken fajitas, which at first seemed a tactical error of colossal proportions, until I pointed out what a fine lunch it would make for him tomorrow. In fact, we’ll all be eating our leftovers for lunch tomorrow!
I liked the atmosphere in the brewpub — it seems like a place that welcomes a variety of customers (unlike a bar, which pretty much just welcomes drinkers). In fact, while we were there, one of Papa’s co-workers walked in, on the way to a large group sitting nearby that she revealed was the local board of the Audubon Society. Any and all relatives and friends visiting us should be prepared to try some local brew and good food with us at the brewpub!