We had our anniversary dinner at The Ranchero in Webster, MN - about the smallest town you could possibly imagine. Sure we could have visited some swanky eatery in the nearby Twin Cities but we'd heard this place was special. For my midwestern friends - remember the supper clubs of your childhood? Ever eaten at Nob Hill in Decorah Iowa during it's heyday? Well the Ranchero is JUST LIKE THAT and hasn't changed it's perfect ways since probably 1967.
The place was packed for one thing - lots of kindly old folks in nice sweaters and farmers with ruddy cheeks and white foreheads - waitresses in sensible shoes with heavy Minnesota accents - you know what I mean! Sadly, they didn't have the conga line pictured above, it was the only image I could find online, but I hear it's plenty rowdy for their Friday night fish fry!
We both ordered steak - hubby had NY strip and I had the filet. They were so tender and covered with the most amazing sauce and mushrooms. They also make all their own salad dressings - we had the "italian" stored in an old beer bottle - in one word: fabulous.
But my favorite part had to be the pre-entree relish tray. Remember relish trays??? I hadn't seen one since Thanksgiving 1972. A small platter filled with picked beets (my fav!), gherkins, radishes, canned black and green olives, crinkle cut carrots, and celery. That was sided with some barely-garlic garlic bread. But for this crowd it was an absolutely exotic level of garlic I'm sure. I got tipsy on the cutest little plastic single-serving size bottles of wine - who needs that uppity European stuff???. Apparently no one orders the wine - they just stick with the German import beer.
We staggered out full, feeling good, still in love, and happy. Hubby chuckled when he pointed out the idling diesel trucks parked out front, the one street light, and a nearby combine. Yep, small town for sure but it felt like home.