Life in Evergreen

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LIFE IN EVERGREEN: Murphy's Mountain Grill a nice addition to DT Evergreen

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

There’s a new restaurant in town … Murphy’s Mountain Grill … taking the place of Prague on lower Main Street. I took advantage of their soft opening on Thursday, May 4th – a fundraiser for Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen.

While the first day open is not a time to review a restaurant, I have to say I think this one’s a keeper. If they could do as well as they did on a soft opening, they’ll do well overall. The owners and staff are friendly and eager to have guests in their new place of business, beyond simply wanting customers. Rand (the chef) and Tiffany Packer, his wife (pictured above), own Murphy’s.

And the food’s very good – with a menu a step up from other places in town. Their selection of burgers offers nice twists on that all-time favorite, but the salads and grilled items also sound appealing. Their addition of crispy onion frizzles, red onion marmalade, Brussels sprout petals, tomato jam or balsamic drizzle are indications of being “just a little bit different.” They even have a hot dog wrapped in bacon! And malts and milkshakes.

We tried the BLTA (pictured left) and the Navajo Nation burger – both very tasty!  The BLTA had multiple layers of bacon and was accompanied by those Brussels sprout petals.  The Navajo Nation burger, topped off by tortilla strips, was oozing with flavor. I overhead someone at the next table raving about the grilled tiger shrimp, which I plan to try on my next visit.

Even the drink menu is cleverly written. I’m tempted to go back for the Evergreen Pine Needle – Bear Creek Whiskey with pine needle syrup and grapefruit citrus bitters.

There are 10 tables available outdoors, most stream side; and there's an equal number indoors.  One wall opens to the creek, so even sitting inside gives a feel for enjoying the out-of-doors.  

While most people judge a place by the service and quality of food, one criterion I have for patronizing a business is how much they want to belong to a community, how much they recognize the need to give back. Murphy’s started out on good footing in my book, donating all the food and beverage receipts on their soft opening day to Rocky Mountain Academy.

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Cuba – Part Four – wrapping up our stay on the island

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

Our one night at Iliana and Papa’s casa particular is a fill-in between other reservations that didn’t quite abut each other, but the stay proves to be a huge cultural exchange. Ronal’s fluency in English enables questions to fly in both directions with ease.

A couple of college-age German gals arrive in a rented car expressing exasperation at the driving experience. Once off the main highway, the roads are not well marked. In Trinidad, when marked at all, the streets are identified with tiny markers set into the old buildings, barely readable when walking, certainly not from an automobile. There are no street signs in La Boca. We have read that rental cars are few and far between, costing about three times as much as one might expect for a week. Parking is an issue in the larger towns, as parking lots do not exist and the streets can be quite narrow. Traveling by taxi seems to be the easiest.

Ronal is so moved by the many gifts we have given his family or left with them to distribute to people in their village that he insists on providing the taxi ride to our next casa a couple of miles away, although it is not in his own car. He accompanies us to ensure there is someone there to carry our bags into the house and again expresses his gratitude before wishing us a good stay.

At our next casa in La Boca, the two women who own the place speak not a syllable of English, and they seem to have difficulty understanding John’s Spanish, which up until now has impressed everyone else. They turn out to be nice people though and take pleasure in planning a birthday party for John one night, complete with recorded music, decorations and a single balloon. They cut numbers from construction paper and attach them to toothpicks to decorate the large flan they’d prepared for dessert, and they encourage other guests to join in with singing “Feliz Compleaños.” John is touched.

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Cuba - Part Three – La Boca, a fishing village on the coast

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

The few kilometers between Trinidad and La Boca remind us of the arid countryside in Spain.

Yoni, the 40-year-old man of the house where we’d stayed in Trinidad insists on driving us to our next casa, a reason to show off his newer-model bright red Dodge Ram Charger, a coveted possession he’d acquired two years earlier. He indicates driving us is to express gratitude for the gifts we left for his family and the workers. He also gives a ride home to his wife’s good friend, who, it turns out, lives two doors down from where we are about to spend the next night. Neither speaks any English, so the rapid-fire Spanish chatter is confined to the front seat.

We leave behind the tourists and the men playing dominoes in the streets; the vendor on the street corner pulling pork from a roasted pig to make sandwiches; the street musicians with drums, guitars, and maracas; and the many bicycle taxis.

We trade that for a quiet, low-key fishing village with a rugged coral shoreline, a tiny sand beach and fewer than 500 houses. Residents travel into Trinidad every couple of days to purchase most necessities. There is an all-purpose outdoor café/bar/taxi stand where a few tables are occupied and a couple of vintage cars are parked, their paint jobs not quite up to the level of those we’ve seen in Trinidad and Havana.