Readers' request: Café Jose and Pago's

We do enjoy hearing from our readers about our column.

This past month we returned to Café Jose because we heard favorable comments from Alice Musgrove, Barbara and David Perriman and Carolyn and Norris Peterson about their dinner and brunch meals.

They wanted us to know how much they really appreciated the friendly and quick service as well as the ability to bring in their own wine.

Beverly Copen commented that on a recent crowded Sunday at brunch time, the wait was only four minutes. The staff made good eye contact with them and gave attention throughout the meal.

We had dinner there following Tequa's "Journey Through Jerusalem Festival." Joined by Carol and Roger Redenbaugh and Linda Nelson (Steve was at a Diamondback game), we were seated and gladly permitted to have separate tickets, a feature not always welcomed by service staff.

We ordered a variety of entrees. Jeff selected the Saturday night special, prime rib. Carol chose meatloaf, Roger batter fried cod, Linda fajitas and Suzie liver and onions. Just because the name of the restaurant is Jose's, you can see there is a variety of standard restaurant faire, in addition to a full Mexican menu, at a very reasonable price.

Linda ordered a soft drink and the rest of us drank the wine that we brought with us. There is no corkage fee (Maria told Suzie there is not even an opener in the house), so we uncorked our own wine and poured our own in the stemware we brought.

The Redenbaughs brought a Chilean Shiraz and The Dunnery brought a Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvee (a Meritage.) Jeff raved about his rare prime rib and the rest of us thought we had chosen well, both the entrees and our beverages.

We all shared in desserts: coconut cream pie, lemon meringue pie and strawberry cheesecake. A nice leisurely meal was had by all.

When we mention Pago's to many of our friends, they say "oh, we love that place!" We think this is because of two things: the warm, gracious and hard-working "Coach" C.J. Sells, the proprietor, and the consistency of both content and price of the menu items.

Usually the place is packed with locals. The night we chose to join the throng of patrons standing in line to be seated was the night of the NCAA basketball finals. Half of the line were locals ordering "to go" so they wouldn't miss a minute of the game. The Redenbaughs, transplants from Northg Carolina, confessed that they were one of the many "to go's" that night.

Their pizza was delivered! The Dunnery DINED IN at Pago's, having TIVO'd the game.

Inside and seated, we met Jeff Meidlinger, one of the friendly UPS drivers who lives in Cottonwood. Jeff and his family are frequent diners at Pago's. In fact, Jeff said he has dined at Pago's so many years, he remembers when it was but a four- table eatery located in what is now Rycus Corners. Wow! That's before we came to the Village!

This night our aim was to try some of the new items that C.J. had added since he took over ownership. We passed on Buffalo Hot Wings, Batter Fried Calamari, Shrimp Salad and Jumbo Five-Cheese Ravioli.

Suzie selected the Parmesan Battered Trout with rice and vegetables. Jeff selected Canneloni Marinara and ordered a side of meatballs (Pago's make's their own!)

Neither of Jeff's items was new to the menu, but new to Jeff. You must understand-- he is a gnocchi-with-basil-cream or-gorgonzola-sauce kind of guy when in an Italian restaurant. To select other menu items is rare!

We both enjoyed our meals, complimented by glasses of Roccadele Marie Chianti Classico.

We were treated to another new menu item, Italian Lemon Cream Cake. It was delicious!. We normally aren't dessert eaters, but as you can see, we suffer these for you, our readers.

Mission accomplished, we thank the staffs at Café Jose and Pago's. Thanks also to our readers/friends who report to us and join us in our fun avocation.

To your health and happiness, Suzie and Jeff at The Dunnery.

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