Day 14 Dinner Debriefing: CR Gibbs American Grille

Now, we aren’t usually all that enthusiastic about hotel restaurants, but we decided to eat in our hotel tonight because we have another driving day tomorrow, and we really don’t know our way around Redding, and you’ve heard all about our issues with cab companies.

Couldn’t have turned out better! There seemed to be local people eating and drinking at Gibbs. We asked to sit on the (non-smoking) patio because inside it was deafening, like a cafeteria. Outside was much quieter, especially after the drunk at the next table called it a night, and the food was great. I started with a salad, because one came with my entree. It was a nice enough garden salad with ranch, so what. Our waitress was not really a foodie – she forgot the name of eggplant, which was on one of the specials, she admitted, because she never ate it again after the first time. Similar problem with fennel. Nonetheless, she was knowledgeable and efficient. 

Another server brought us some bread and olive oil with balsamic vinegar and cashews. The vinegar was sweeter than usual, but the bread was unusually good, and the salty cashews offset the sweetness. I had been thinking of the Olde English style Fish and Chips, but it came with ‘crispy fries’. If you’ve ever been in England, you know that chips are never crispy. Instead, I chose the Chicken Cordon Bleu. This is a toughie, because many versions are cranked out by frozen food companies, and although they are not the real thing, they make it hard to justify all the work of doing it from scratch. I feel confident in saying this Chef had some poor Sous Chef buckle down and do all the work, and do it well. With a Mornay sauce and little carrots with the tops on, and some asparagus, and a rice medley, it was very enjoyable. Caroline chose the Fish Tacos. She had been eying them up since she saw the online menu. She said they were wonderful, and in particular, not greasy.

To go with all this, we chose a Toasted Head Chardonnay, because it’s from the Dunnigan Hills, which was probably close to the rest stop where we had lunch. We actually zoomed past quite a lot of famous wine-growing areas on the way here. Also olive groves, and orchards for almonds and pistachios. Anyway, we know we like this wine, and it went very well with our dinners.

I almost ordered the Snickers Pie, but I had also been contemplating the Hazelnut Flan. Caroline pointed out that the flan is the Chef’s specialty, so we shared one. O. M. G! Almost ordered a second one, it was so good. In fact, our waitress asked if we’d like another, so I’m pretty sure other people have done it. I make a pretty good flan myself, but I will be striving to imitate this puppy! Fabulously sweet, with a creamy caramel topping and yet an intense hazelnut flavour. I just hope it doesn’t rely on some special local ingredient like hazelnut oil that I’ll never get at home.

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