The year 2013 has been good to Sky Valley people looking for lunch.
Late summer brought the Dashing Dutchman, a new deli and espresso place in Monroe on North Kelsey.
And last spring brought Poas Cafe to Gold Bar, giving residents a new breakfast and lunch place with an old school diner bar and hot coffee always on.
Poas, already an upper valley institution after its first months in business, has established itself as a go-to place for breakfast and lunch, opening at 6 a.m. and closing at 2 after lunch Wednesday through Sunday.
The family-owned place feels a bit like a step back in time, from the lunch counter to the prices on the single-spaced menu, as well as some of the classic items there that have disappeared from other menus over the years.
The most expensive burger on the menu is $7.25, and sandwiches run mostly between $5 and $7.
It’s classic American food, with tuna melts, French dips, fishwiches, and corn dogs, as well as homemade chili, homemade soups, clam chowder on Fridays, and deep fryer fare such as prawns and chips.
Poas has a substantial breakfast menu, also reasonably priced; two eggs, hash browns or fried potatoes and toast or a biscuit for just $4.50, and even a chicken-fried steak and eggs comes in at under $10.
A basic omelet starts out at $5.50; add ingredients for $1 apiece. And the traditional dinner menu is complete with pancakes, french toast, or even corned beef hash and eggs.
One of the more old-school items on the menu is a Monte Cristo sandwich. A triple layer sandwich with ham, turkey and two kinds of cheese, dipped in egg and fried on all sides, in some regions is served with powdered sugar and even preserves on the side, but at Poas it’s served in the more traditional unsweetened form.
It arrives golden brown on all sides, with a choice of side dishes; French fries are hand-cut and peel-on. It’s a rich, salty, guilty pleasure of a sandwich, sort of like making a club sandwich on French toast. It is, in fact, a version of the French croque-monsieur that became popular in the United States in the 1930s and ‘40s.
Devoted customers can even wear their affection for the place; at the cash register are a collection of T-shirts with the restaurant logo, and one bearing the rather saucy statement “I’m a Poas!”
Find it at 429 Croft Ave. (U.S. Highway 2) in Gold Bar.
The Dashing Dutchman
Inside the newly opened Dashing Dutchman, located next to Bella Smiles and Guilt Free Goodness off North Kelsey Street, the Dutchman himself is the tall and affable Ernst Terhorst, who opened the place with his partner, Sarah Whitfield.
Whitfield is an experience restaurateur; she formerly owned Panini’s in Monroe, as well as several other places.
She sees to the kitchen, he to the front of house, which is why the warm interior reflects Terhorst’s Holland home. There is an imposing golden lion head on one deep orange wall; the lion’s head is to Holland what the eagle is to America. There’s a collection of blue delft-ware on the counter, and the walls have art including photos of Holland, some brilliant with tulip fields; Terhorst was a flower grower at one time.
“Then I had a midlife crisis and bought a motorcycle and opened a restaurant,” he said.
The place has a long list of Panini and other sandwiches, all in the $10-$11 range, such as the Toscano, with chicken, pesto, fresh spinach and mozzarella, or the Bacon Whoopee, with bacon, avocado, red onion, lettuce and whipped cream cheese.
Soups are made daily and aren’t your Campbell’s Soup varieties; Friday the soup du jour was a sausage, kale and potato soup that had a spicy kick from red pepper flakes.
There is a long list of salads with names like the House of Bluez (gorgonzola and bacon) and the Hail No Caesar with homemade croutons.
All the lunch meats are sliced to order, Terhorst noted.
The specialty of the house is the “200-Mile Rueben,” which was Whitfield’s father’s favorite sandwich, one he had to drive 200 miles to get her to make for him while the Monroe native was operating a restaurant in Oregon.
The sandwich comes on marble rye with an inch-thick layer of pastrami, melted Swiss cheese and
tart, fresh sauerkraut, as well as homemade 1,000 island dressing.
There is also an espresso menu, featuring Seattle-roasted coffee rendered into such drinks as a spicy Mexican mocha or a “Great Pumpkin” with white chocolate and pumpkin spice syrup.
And there is also a small selection of baked goods, including a rich peanut butter cookie formed into a cup into which is baked a full-sized peanut butter cup.
Look for more baked goods in the future, Whitfield said.
The Dashing Dutchman opens at 9 a.m. and stays open until 7 p.m. through the week and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. It’s closed Sundays.
Find it at 14957 N. Kelsey St., Suite 107.