Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 25, 2010 - Noriega Hotel

Thursday, March 25, 2010 - Noriega Hotel - Basque Restaurant
Bakersfield, CA - My Third Time for Dinner

{Click on any photo to view the full size image}

Macguy from Puyallup, WA and I are headed to Yuma, AZ for the VROC Lettuce Ride.
But Macguy has never eaten at a Basque Restaurant before so we split the two day ride to Yuma in uneven sections to over night in Bakersfield, CA.
Macguy insisted that I crop his belly from the photo so it is a bit of a strange crop for a photo. :-)

Tonight there is a rather small gathering for Dinner. The bartender/cashier told me that lately the weekday evenings have been "hit or miss" with as few as 5 or 6 to as many as 100. The weekends have been full houses, though. There is only one sitting at 7:00 PM and everything is served "boarding house" style. In fact the Noriega Hotel still has ten boarders.
Macguy pouring some soup. Bernadette is the only waitress for tonight.

Pickled tongue, Basque beans, cottage cheese and salad

Don R. was sitting across from me during my first visit to Noriega's.
Don R in the blue shirt waving

Some of the boarders and a Chinese couple from San Jose

Don R's friend serving himself some of the delicious lamb stew

Spaghetti, French fries and prime rib

Fresh green beans, pickled carrots and Don eating up the lamb stew

Bernadette scooping out the rainbow sherbet

The young man talking about eating insects in Southeast Asia

Macguy had already polished off most of a bottle of red wine and was now eating his dessert

Another great meal at the Noriega Hotel.

~end .

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - Noriega Hotel

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - Noriega Hotel - Basque Restaurant
Bakersfield, CA - My Second Time for Dinner

{Click on any photo to view the full size image}

The Noriega Hotel is one of the last of the old "Boarding House" style Basque restaurants. They still have a few boarders who reside in the building just to the left of the restaurant.

Here is a link to their web site:

Noriega Hotel Web Site

The Noriega Hotel was founded by Faustino Noriega in 1893. Taken over in 1931 by Juan and Gracianna Elizalde and has been operated by their family ever since.
They only have one sitting for lunch and one sitting for dinner. Lunch is served at Noon and Dinner at 7:00 PM.

This is my second visit and the Menu says that the main course is lamb stew and prime rib.
I had called from the road for my reservation, but I still arrived around 6:40 PM. Allowing some time if for some reason the traffic was bad or I got lost because of some unknown street closure.

The bar was really full this night. A lot of the photos are out of focus because I wanted to show the size of the crowd and the space of the dining room. The built in flash just wont throw light that far, so I had the flash off which meant a real slow shutter speed and thus the blurring.
The bar as seen from the dining room entrance

The bar as seen from the wall of the main entrance

The price for meals includes the sales tax. All the wine you can drink is also included in the one set price. Soup, salads - lettuce, cottage cheese, pickled tongue and pickled carrots and Basque beans, spaghetti, the two main course items and French fries and a veggie. Then for dessert there is Bleu cheese and ice cream.
The sign to the right of the dining room shows the lunch and dinner prices as of today

Bigger groups are seated first to see how many seats are left at the end of the row. I sat at the end of the first row of tables since I was a single patron.
This is the first row of tables

This is the middle row of tables being seated

The ice berg lettuce salad

Cottage cheese, pickled tongue, beans and pickled carrots and the salsa

Here is Bernadette bringing the soup

The people that I sat next to. The man on the right in blue is a serious bicyclist. He was telling me about his trip last Summer riding from Coos Bay, OR to Brookings, OR and the wonderful weather they had.

The pickled tongue was very good

Woo who. The stew for tonight is not lamb, but OXTAIL, my favorite.
I guess that oxtails were more available than lamb this week.
The oxtail stew is a more traditional Basque stew with carrots, potatoes and celery. The oxtail stew I ate at the Wool Growers in Bakersfield last Monday was more of a braised oxtails in a tomato based sauce with no vegetables other than those to flavor the sauce.

This is the middle row of tables.

And you will often see whole families with young children. There was an infant here tonight also.

The prime rib and green beans

Pickled carrots {cold}, French fries and green beans

Delivering dessert which tonight was mint chocolate chip ice cream

They accept credit cards, but most pay in cash as you exit the dining room. That is Rochelle Ladd the working partner of the Noriega. Her maiden name was Elizalde. I guess she is still an Elizalde whose family has owned and run the Noriega since 1931.
Another really good meal at Noriega's. It would probably be more fun with a group of friends, who did not have big appetites. :-)