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Mar 13, 2008 08:46 AM

East of Death Valley

Heading to Death Valley in a couple of days ...... will probably go over 50 or even 80 to Reno and down 395. From Lone Pine we'll head into Furnace Creek for a night or two but then spread out and try to find some more isolated campsites. Will also check out the Eastern provinces of Shoshone, Beatty and Tecopa.
Thinking about Ensenada Grilll in Beatty. Amargosa Fort. C'est ci bon in Shoshone and maybe Pastels in Tecopa. Any comments about these picks or any places I should add to this list? TIA

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  1. We spent a day and a night in Beatty a couple of years ago, and other than the charming little local museum, found nothing to recommend the place. If there was a decent restaurant, we sure missed it.

    1. Love C'est si bon in Shoshone. An unexpected oasis, but don't go there when you're in a rush because not only does David take time with each thing he makes and person he serves, but I found I didn't want to leave. Stopped for a latte--espresso in Shoshone? Yipppeeee! And after listening to everyone else rave their crepes had to have some for myself. Loved the crepes but ended up loving the other offerings even more. (And yes, I've been back more than once and live nowhere near there.)

      3 Replies
      1. re: miss louella

        thank you for the 411 on C'est si bon ...... we'll be sure and go when we have a leisurely day planned.

        1. re: gordon wing

          You're most welcome. If you like dates, there's also a date farm nearby that is fabled to have exceptional date shakes. I believe it's south of Shoshone, but am not sure. I do recall seeing a flyer for them at C'est si bon. You might want to keep an eye out if it's of any interest.

          Also some hot springs in that neighborhood... oh wait, I think that's Tecopa and it's already on your list. I believe the date farm is relatively close to the hot springs and has been farmed for long enough for them to tout it as historic.

          Have a good trip and make sure to take a cooler--good food in that neighborhood was the rare exception in my experience.

          1. re: miss louella

            m.l. the date farm is called China Ranch Date Farm....unfortunately, I"m not crazy about dates but we might go and take in the experience anyways......
            I'm planning on taking two coolers! And maybe a smaller one snacks during the day that will be opened more often while the big ones will be storage and opened as little as possible. Not a big fan of jerky unfortunately ...... I saw that there is a place that is known for their jerky and it keeps well but ......

      2. OK, if the Ensenada Grill is the little diner/breakfast place that's on Highway 95 on the south end of town then I highly recommend it. I never got the name of the place, but I suspect that's it since its the only place that fits the descriptions I got when I googled it. Good especially for breakfast; I recommend the Huevos Rancheros. It has become a favorite stop when we're driving that lonely road, just never caught the name. Since its one of the few decent non-fast food not in a casino places in Beatty, its hard to miss. Many Mexican dishes (and the ones I've tried have been good) as well as your typical diner/breakfast fare.

        You might also remember the Death Valley Candy Co. in Beatty for road snacks, and follow the signs that say "home-made beef jerky" for some more good road food. (the place that sells it is near the Ensenada Grill; its just someone's home, really....).

        Now, you DO know that Shoshone is over 300 miles from Beatty, don't you??? Beatty is near the edge of Death Valley; Shoshone is way up closer to Ely.....As for Tecopa, I couldn't even FIND it on mapquest. So much for my knowledge of obscure Nevada towns......

        EDIT: oops!!!! I just realized that Tecopa could be in California. Yep, it is..found it..about 80 miles from Beatty. Not so bad a drive. And then I realized..I wonder if there is a Shoshone in California...sure enough..and again, a lot closer to Beatty than Shoshone, NV. I guess this proves that I've become a true Nevadan, when I hear a place name and think of the Nevada version. Sorry about that. But last I checked Beatty was still in Nevada.....

        3 Replies
        1. re: janetofreno

          just got back from our road trip to Death Valley ..... glad we took the time to go East of Death Valley. The Ensenada Grill in Beatty was as good as we'd hoped.
          Mind you, it's not the best Mexican food I've ever had but it's well prepared and the folks who work there are genuinely nice and the menu is a good value. What more could you ask for when on the road? I'll mention that the huevos rancheros are not actually on the menu but chances are there will be several folks enjoying them on any one morning...... just ask for them. My SO had one of the skillets with bacon, ham & topped with an egg - good solid diner fare. Wish I could have tried their chile verde ....... next time. The DV Candy Company looked promising and did have a lot of choices but also had quite a few empty shelves ...... hopefully to fill up as summer comes on? Maybe even a pizza station or grill area? The castle motif looked fun and drew in a lot of kids and bikers. Pahrump was an interesting looking place in it's own right ...... very different kind of place for us here in the SF Bay Area. The giant softee cone building was a treat for us who appreciate public art. It was right on the road leading out of Pahrump for Shoshone. We had to drive by C'est si Bon in Shoshone because we were on the trail of the Date Farm just SE of Tecopia. A long drive but there actually is an oassis and lots of date trees flourishing. Not to mention that the date shake was really pretty good! After the date farm we had time for dinner before the performance at the Amargosa Opera House...... should have tried Pastels in Tecopa but we settled for the Longstreet Casino just 7 miles down the road from the Opera House. Very so - so..... seemed like the kind of place to order chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes with biscuits & gravy but I left disappointed. The vegetables tasted like they might be frozen and the potatoes might have been instant (?) ..... no lumps and not much flavor. The CFS was the best thing on the plate ..... tender and moist but not all that tasty. The NCAA basketball games were on and that served as a distraction ...... while I gulped down my Mr. Pibb (Dr. Pepper). Oh, and for dining at Furnace Creek - for lunch eat at the Furnace Creek Inn ( up on the hill ) ...... menu prices are virtually identical ( to the FC Ranch ) and the atmosphere is much nicer. One could also take in the sunset out on the deck or just escape the mid day heat with a lemonade. We didn't have dinner there so I'm not sure about any specific items but it is harder to come by reservations at the FC Inn for dinner. If you're out by the Sand Dunes, StovePipe Wells is not as hectic and the menu is a bit more modest in prices.

          1. re: gordon wing

            We're going to Death Valley in a few days, staying in Beatty. Sounds like Ensenada Grill is the way to go. Anyone know if it's open late?
            Also, does anyone know anything about the purported diner in the Stagecoach Hotel?

            1. re: bennyt

              Stagecoach Hotel is the best place in Beatty -- and considering what I think of Beatty, that's not saying a lot. I was there 3 or so years ago (October, I think). Rooms were standard and came with their own flying and/or crawling insects. The "restaurant" is a slightly glorified coffee shop. The casino is as sad as all their ambitious, small-town casinos are. Or that's the way it struck me then.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Spent the past weekend in Death Valley exploring mines and traveling some back roads. Stayed at Tecopa Hot Springs and was able to sample Pastels Bistro on Friday night and China Date Ranch Sunday morning.

            Pastels was crowded, busy, very small and quaint. Eclectic mix of table and chairs. The menus are hand written and list only a handful of choices. Everything seems to have a healthy twist. We were camping in the RV park and walked in at 7:00PM. One empty table that they were saving for a party of five and a single diner ahead of us. Most everybody had just been served and the wait was 15-20 minutes. We went back to the motorhome and returned 20 minutes later to find that nothing had changed. We waited another 45 minutes to be seated just minutes after the party of five. Dinner eventually took over two hours and frankly wasn't worth the time nor cost.

            I chose soba noodle salad with mixed greens, a vegetable slaw, fresh salsa and Asian dressing with grilled chicken. The noodles were nice, but the cabbage was particularly bitter and chicken chewy and dry as the desert. I suspect it was grilled earlier in the day, maybe even a day before. The dressing was meager and barely noticeable. Only the noodles and the garnishes made it palatable. My friend had pan sauteed salmon with mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts. Bitter, bitter Brussels spouts. Salmon was quite good.

            We shared a piece of coconut cheesecake that never really set in the center garnished with canned whipped cream and raspberry syrup. We each had ice tea. With tax the bill was $51.

            In retrospect, sitting down behind a five top in a restaurant with a staff of two and kitchen only capable of churning out one meal at a time was rather foolish on my part. Had the wait been less onerous, I would have found the meal enjoyable considering the desolate location.