Sunday, April 16, 2006

Good Grief: good visiting, good food

If ya call ahead, Kathryn will bake those cookies. I still haven't tasted one, but next time I'm headed for Good Grief, Idaho, I'm gonna call. After all, when they have white chocolate, oatmeal, cranberry and pecans all mixed together, they've got to be good. Yesterday, when I asked her if she had any cookies to go with my coffee, she mentioned macadamia nuts but no cookies.

That's when I learned to call ahead. We hadn't planned to dine at Good Grief. We'd left Sandpoint and the rain to go explore the area around a couple of abandoned mines near the Canadian border. Bill was scouting out new geocaching possibilities. He'd put out caches at Meadow Creek, Copper Falls and the American Girl mine, so yesterday he was checking out the prospects for the Bethlehem and Tunsten mines.

We didn't make it to the Tungsten mine because the road up there turned from a hint of water trickling down the middle to a full-fledged stream cutting its way through foot-deep snow. After walking about half a mile, we turned around and headed back to the pickup. The next stop, turned out more productive----just half a mile up a bare road and there stood the old mine shack, with a claim scrawled in paint, apparently by the Brackenbusch brothers.

The shack was surrounded by cement blocks which had been used for folks to sit around a campfire. A few feet away and over a small hill, the mine shaft was closed off and a good-sized stream came flowing from beneath the door. Up above, Bill found a large hole in the ground leading to the mine shaft. It had been cordoned off by a metal fence, but that hadn't stopped someone from throwing the Forest Service sign to the bottom.

I think Bill is planning to put a cache there. It's a pretty area, especially nice for walking. We also drove up the Hall Mountain Road, where we startled two yearling moose, probably twins, who were standing at rest on an embankment just off the road. They started up the hillside and took a moment to check us out before disappearing. Bill and Kiwi found an established cache a few hundred feet up the road from the moose. He said the place was covered with signs of moose and elk.

Next, we decided to go back by way of Meadow Creek, but I wanted a cup of coffee by then. That's when I found out about ordering ahead for the cookies. I also learned that Kathryn knows about geocaches. Bill, who'd been sitting in the pickup, was quite pleased to know of her interest. So, after visiting the Forest Service picnic ground with all the fish sculptures alongside the Moyie River, we decided to go back to Good Grief for a bite to eat.

We enjoyed much more than good food. We were tempted to order the Good Grief pizza, which could rival a Second Avenue jukebox special any day. Kathryn brought it out to Mike and Dolly who'd shown up for lunch and had such a good time visiting, they decided to stay for dinner. The Good Grief (about $17) has the works: if we have it, you get it. That includes four kinds of cheese too.

I passed up the temptation, knowing I have to go to Mass today. My stomach doesn't always react to my weakness for food. So, I had the turkey bacon melt, while Bill enjoyed a huge chili cheeseburger with fries. All the time, we participated in the neighborhood gathering which seems to be a regular event for Kathryn.

We met Bill, a retired Marine and single action shooting friend to our Mayor Ray Miller. He enjoyed cracking his one-liners. We learned that he doesn't like or dislike horses (even though he wears a nice Western hat). He also holds a healthy skepticism for journalists. He's traveled several times to China, and he was pleased to learn of Bill's association with the Boy Scouts, since he's an old Sea Scout leader himself.

Now, Mike and Dolly have been living along the river in their Fifth Wheel for more than two years. Now that they know how much they truly love it up there, they'll break ground for a house this summer. Mike's retired, but Dolly runs the Dollar Value store in downtown Bonners Ferry.

As for Kathryn, she's been cooking and taking care of stray cats that wander to the restaurant for a little over two years. Her sister-in-law works at the Border; her brother's a retired ex-cop from California. Kathryn gets up every morning at 5:30, and starts cooking the staples, like soups and cookies. Then, she takes a nice walk and later opens the restaurant. I heard she also puts on quite a barbecue on the Fourth of July after the Good Grief area residents have marched in their short parade up at the Border crossing.

Could be we might keep the Fourth of July at Good Grief as a distinct possibility on our schedule. In the meantime, I'm keeping my Good Grief Grill & Grocery menu, which has Kathryn's telephone number, and I'll order ahead for those cookies the next time we head up there. I have a feeling that, since Kathryn suggested that Bill hide a cache somewhere around the restaurant, that it may be sooner rather than later.

Not today, though, cuz Kathryn's taking Easter off. Happy Easter to all, especially the friendly folks we met in Good Grief yesterday.


Anonymous said...

Good Grief is one of our favorite dining places - try the ribs next time! We would like to think it could remain a semi-well kept secret for locals and still have the family make a living off of it.... once the tourists discover it..... oh no.

Colin & Silke said...

We go there every week, great place,....Kathern is looking to retire so good grief grill is up for sale. When it sells we will miss her excellent food.