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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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Thursday, October 22

The Red Fox Restaurant

A few years ago (but probably quite a few more than a few, tempus fugit, you know) my wife and I took an Amtrak trip with Kaye, Rosalie’s sister, going from Tucson to L.A. and then up the coast along Hwy 1. Wonderful scenery. We de-trained in San Francisco for a trip to Yosemite by rental car. And we spent the night in a motel in Mariposa, a small town just before one heads into Yosemite. On the advice of the motel clerk, we dined at a place called The Red Fox Restaurant. I have since gone to their website to see what others had to say about it and found that most of the reviews were bad. I guess the ownership must have changed since we were there because I’d have to give it six stars out of five for quality of meal and service. Here’s what I had to say about it a few years ago (but probably quite a few more than a few):

“The road to Mariposa was paved with really bad intentions, that is, steep drop-offs and u-curves. The ladies refused to look down, held their breaths all the way to the bottom. We got to the Comfort Inn at 2:00, checked in, and explored the city. Well, not quite a city. Mariposa, which means butterfly in Spanish, consists of a valley with five parallel streets, the central being Main. When we got home I looked up Mariposa in the atlas and found that it had just under 15,000 people. I can’t for the life of me figure out where that many people lived because I couldn’t see them. After a cocktail at 5:00 we went to the café the motel ladies had recommended, The Red Fox. It was an unpretentious place, seating for maybe thirty or forty people, paper napkins on the tables, standard décor. Shortly after we ordered, the waitress brought a tray of hard rolls, sourdough twists with a crust of poppy seeds and salt, homemade, absolutely delicious. Then our salads. Huge, visually appealing, elaborately laid out according to colors and textures. The outer layer was what looked like cabbage leaves, slight purple touching the dark green, inside mostly romaine lettuce holding carefully structured piles of shaved carrots, bean sprouts, sliced black olives, mushrooms, quartered tomato, flowered radishes, sculpted cucumber slices, and even two thin slices of strawberry, purple onion circles atop the whole. And the dressings were all homemade. The ladies both had honey dijon, I had blue cheese, with huge chunks of blue cheese. The waitress even asked me when I was halfway through if I’d like more dressing. Naturally I nodded with full mouth. I had the strip steak, Rosalie the linguini with grilled Portobello mushrooms, Kaye the coconut-fried shrimp. And the entrees were presented to us, not served. Our dishes were visually splendid. The outer edges of the plates were speckled with parsley flakes, the mixed vegetables were sliced carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, pea pods, and broccoli, flavored most obviously with garlic. They each had the red potatoes and I had the whipped garlic potatoes, all again heavily favoring garlic. We all ate our dinners in near silence, too busy eating to chat. And we all three agreed the meal was the best we’d ever had . . . anywhere . . . any time. Wow. Our waitress asked us if we’d like dessert and we all said yes. I had hot fudge sundae, Rosalie the fried bananas with ice cream and brandy sauce, Kaye the cheesecake with strawberries and sauce. We all agreed they were the best desserts we’d ever had . . . anywhere . . . any time. Even more amazing was the price. Twenty dollars apiece covered the meal, dessert, and tip. Oh man, it’s too bad The Red Fox is so far away.”

It’s also too bad that the place has fallen on hard times . . . and bad meals and service. I guess most diners simply want simple meals for simple prices. But, oh, how I enjoyed that meal I had quite a few years ago.
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