Monday, February 22, 2010
A Lake Named Desolation and a Lively Restaurant - Tinney's Tavern!
It's a 5-mile ride up Lake Desolation Road from Middle Grove Road. It seems like forever as the drive slowly climbs the curvy ascent to the top. Finally, there you are. The parking lot was almost full. In addition to cars, there were two ATVs parked in prime spaces, and a couple more across the road in a field. Directly across the road on the other side is frozen Lake Desolation.
My daughter Katie recommended Tinney's for its food (here's the menu), but I love it for its atmosphere. I found the bar and restaurant familiar, as if it were a place (bar) friends and I frequented in my late teens or early twenties though I've never been there (the drinking age was 18 in 1972, when I was coming of age). With the exception of its flat-screen TV, there is nothing to indicate that Tinney's has let go of the 1970s, and I love that. It is a friendly warp of time which instantly made me feel completely comfortable and welcome -- no fancy-schmancy decor, no pretention, just really good food and a warm atmosphere. At the bar there was a lively group of young men who apparently rode in on their ATVs! There for dinner were couples, families with children and grandparents, friends having a meal together. It seems Tinney's appeals to everyone.
Russ ordered a Philly Steak sandwich and I ordered a Sicilian Chicken sandwich. Mine came with a mound of really wonderful potato salad with a vinegary bite (that I love) and very good home-made cole slaw. I sometimes hesitate to order a chicken sandwich, fearing it might be tough. This was the most tender chicken sandwich I've ever ordered, and it came layered with roasted red pepper, provolone, and pesto mayonnaise. It was outstanding. Russ had a salad with his sandwich, but decided later he did want those fries, and a massive basket of genuine, basic fries (not dipped, battered, or otherwise embellished) was delivered to our table, enough for a family of four!
We sat for a long time, long enough for Russ (Mr. next-to-nothing bodyfat!) to order dessert, a hot fudge brownie sundae. I had no room left and couldn't even finish my own meal, though I did score a spoonful of his and it was delicious. We walked out saying to each other "I'd come back," and we will.
The ride down the hill was breathtakingly beautiful. As we descended Lake Desolation Road, we could see the entire capital region lit up like a Christmas tree, more than thirty miles away. It's a beautiful ride both up and down Lake Desolation Road. And with Tinney's at the top, there's a perfectly good reason to take that ride.
Photo credit: from Tinney's Tavern Web site