Friday, May 20, 2022

Winning in Winnemucca

Continuing this Basque themed trip, we end up in Winnemucca, a small city in Northern Nevada, about halfway between Reno and Elko. It was a long and lonely drive through the desert from the north with giant, snow covered peaks lining highway 95. The city looked very welcoming when we arrived.

Our hotel was to be the Quality Inn at the Model T Casino. Unfortunately, the accessible room we reserved was accessible in name only. The roll in shower had a step to get into and a sliding glass door that was impossible to get Tim around.

Not only that but there was only a half inch of clearance for Tim and his chair throughout the room. We looked at a regular room but it was worse so we said the room just wasn't accessible and it would be impossible to spend the night there. The manager agreed and gave us a free cancellation.

Now, we're here without a room and our choices are to wander around to find another room or bite the bullet and drive another five hours and just go home.

Before we steal ourselve for such a long journey when we're frankly too tired for it, we pull into the Candlewood Suites at the east end of town. I check with the front desk and, while they have some rooms, none are what we'd really look forward to so we start phoning around town. The Holiday Inn Express at the other end of town has a standard room with two queen beds plus a sofa bed. 

It's only for one night, Tim already had a bath this morning, so the only question is whether he could get to the room without barriers and if he could fit through the bathroom door. The manager agrees to come let me look and see if the room will do.

Five minutes later, I'm touring the room which is a heckuva lot roomier than the Model T room we'd booked. Everything looks fine so we check in.

As said before, we're only here for one night and we've lost an hour looking for a room so we've got to get cracking.

Our main reason for stopping here was to add another Basque restaurant to our list. Like many old Basque restaurants, this one started as a boarding house near the train station where young, lonely, and hard working shepherds from the old country could spend the night and get a solid meal between bouts of living out in the middle of nowhere with a few hundred sheep. 

This one is called the Hotel Martin, although it hasn't been a hotel or boarding house since the 1970's. It's away from the busy highway and even the secondary business street separated from the dusty desert only by the nearby train tracks.

In the comfortable, cozy, heavily wooded interior, we start off as always with a picon punch. It's a bitter and sweet mixture of amer picon liqeuer and brandy with a lemon twist that is the quintessential Basque cocktail.

If you're familiar with family style Basque dinners, you won't be surprised by what comes next, a parade of food that will expand your ideas of "full." A carafe of house red wine, a tureen of soup (tonight, minestrone), a bowl of salad, bread and butter, a tongue appetizer, a dish of hominy and chorizo, another dish of bacon green beans, then the entree...tonight, a 24 ounce rib eye covered in garlic cloves and mushrooms to be shared by all three of us...and another platter of french fries along with their "prairie dust," a mixture of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to be sprinkled on anything you'd like.

Bread pudding is brought out aftward for dessert. My gosh, we're full!

It's not cheap but worth every penny. We've been to a lot of Basque restaurants over the years and the Martin is one of the best.

After dinner, back at the hotel, Letty and I take advantage of coupons given to us by the front desk that gives us $10 of free play and a free cocktail at the slot machines of the connected Pete's Casino. I stop after I drink my whiskey sour and lose my ten dollars, Letty comes out eight dollars ahead.

It's time to relax in the room for awhile and rest up for tomorrow's long drive.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2022 - All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment