Last week’s feature story about the sale of the National Hotel in Jackson pushed back the promised food digest for October back to this week. So, here are some smaller reviews of the restaurant food my mother and I have eaten over the past month.

Little Caesars

At the end of September, my mother and I decided to get takeout pizza from Little Caesars in Martell because this was the last brick-and-mortar pizza place we hadn’t reviewed. We ordered a large veggie pizza. When we opened the box, we were pleasantly surprised to find a lot of green peppers, onions, and olives on top. It was a little harder to find the slices of mushrooms because there was also a lot more cheese than we expected.

Little Caesars Veggie pizzaThe crust was golden brown and a little softer than a Papa Murphy’s pizza. There was a very thin coating of red sauce under all that cheese, but I was able to find some near the edge of the crust and it tasted like your standard, store-bought pizza sauce. The pizza was rather salty, which could help explain why Little Caesars is popular. Another reason for the popularity of Little Caesars is their prices, as the veggie pizza is only $11.00 fully baked.

The amount of salt caused both of us to reach for the antacids after dinner. The pizza was good cold, and the crust was dry the next day, but the saltiness still gave us stomach issues. Even though our stomachs complained, we still liked the pizza, and it was better than we expected. We give Little Caesars a green light.

Papa Murphy’s Hawaiian Pizza

Speaking of Papa Murphy’s, we got our monthly pizza from there on the last Tuesday in August, but I ordered something different: a half Garden Veggie and half Hawaiian pizza. There were small chunks of pineapple that looked like they came from a can, and there were large slices of Canadian bacon.

Papa Murphy's half-and-half Hawaiian and Garden Veggie pizzaThe pineapple tasted as if it came from a can because it had a very mild taste. The Canadian bacon was bland and had no spices to counterbalance the taste of the pineapple. You may like this Hawaiian pizza if you prefer a mild taste, but we were disappointed. So, from now on we’ll stick with our split of Garden Veggie on one side and either Rustic Veggie or Gourmet Veggie on the other.

For the Hawaiian pizza, we’ll give Papa Murphy’s a yellow light. On Tuesdays, they offer large pizzas for $12.00. Otherwise, a large pizza is $14.00.

Marlene and Glen’s Diner

In the middle of September, I went to Sutter Creek and then continued on to Plymouth to pick up lunch from Marlene and Glen’s Diner. My mother ordered a club sandwich, which she said she hadn’t eaten in a long time, with fries on the side. I had to answer questions about the bread (sourdough), bacon (crispy), and mayonnaise (yes). I ordered the Mushroom Swiss burger with mayonnaise and onion rings on the side.

Marlene and Glen's Diner Club Sandwich with friesMy mother said the club sandwich tasted like the club sandwiches she remembered, and that made her happy. She told me her shoestring fries were also quite good—not burned, not limp, and not too salty. She enjoyed the fries for lunch the next day, too.

The Mushroom Swiss burger had a great presentation with melted Swiss cheese over about eight sliced mushrooms on top of a beef patty. The beef was good, and the produce was fresh with a big lettuce leaf, sliced tomatoes, and sliced red onion. The only trouble was that the bottom bun was fragile and threatened to disintegrate as I ate, so I had to spend more time moving my hands around to ensure the burger wouldn’t fall apart.

Marlene and Glen's Diner Mushroom Swiss burgerThe onion rings were a bit undercooked, unfortunately. I had to tear at each ring with my teeth to break it apart. The breading had barely any salt, so there weren’t any spices to compensate for the lack of flavor in the onion.

Overall, though, we give Marlene and Glen’s a green light. The price was a little short of $24.00. You’ll find the most recent menu on the Sirved website.

Black Station Inn

On October 14, I suggested to my mother that we pick up dinner from the Black Station Inn in Pioneer because they specifically offer takeout on their website. What’s more, this was probably the last time I’d be able to drive to Pioneer until next spring. My mother agreed and she ordered fried chicken, something she hadn’t had in a long time, as well as mashed potatoes and carrots. I ordered the clam and mussels linguini with zucchini.

Black Station Inn fried chicken mashed potatoes carrotsThe Black Station Inn had curbside pickup, so after a few minutes of talking with the cheerful owner (who told me it was fortunate I didn’t meet any bears), I was on my way back down the hill. We received not only our entrées but also sides of tortilla soup, salad with our choice of dressing—Mom had ranch, I had balsamic—and a tall, hollow roll that was the most unusual roll we’d ever seen.

We found the soup to be very good. We saved the roll and salad until the following night’s dinner when we ate them with soup, and the crisp salad and light, flaky roll were just as fresh the next night. My mother enjoyed her chicken, but she noted that it wasn’t quite as spicy or as crispy as you could find at fast-food restaurants. She also enjoyed the mashed potatoes and the carrots topped with a light brown sugar glaze.

Black Station Inn clam and mussels linguini zucchiniMy Fettucine noodles were topped with white wine sauce, chopped clams, red pepper flakes, as well as clams and mussels in their shells. Fortunately, all the shells were open, and I was able to get the insides out. The seafood was fresh, the noodles firm but easy to chew, and there were enough red pepper flakes to give the dish the right amount of heat. And the mild zucchini slices topped with parmesan cheese were the perfect complement to the noodles.

Black Station Inn gets a green light. The price was a little over $36.50.

Subway

On October 20, my mother and I didn’t feel like driving very far, so we decided to pick up lunch at the Jackson Subway restaurant in the Jackson Creek Plaza, which is a two-minute drive from our house. Subway has been making a lot of noise recently with its “Get Fresh Refresh” marketing campaign, and we hadn’t been to Subway in a couple of years. So, we decided to try them again. My mother ordered a six-inch tuna sandwich on white, and I ordered the six-inch Baja Steak and Jack sub (on white) that the company was offering for a limited time.

Subway Baja Steak MeltI wanted to order on the Subway app, but I couldn’t log in and couldn’t create an account. So, I went into the restaurant and ordered from the counter. The process was the same as last time with the exception that the sandwich maker taking my order had problems hearing my rasping even though he looked to be in his late teens or early 20s. I wanted the Baja Steak and Jack melt, but the sandwich maker just looked at me blankly when I asked for the melt. At least he knew to toast my sandwich and gave me additional Baja Chipotle sauce I asked for.

Subway tuna sandwichThere has been some controversy about Subway’s tuna not being real tuna, but my mother said her tuna tasted real to her and the lettuce, tomato, and pickles were fresh. The Baja Steak and Jack sub had thinly sliced steak that I could eat easily, and the flavors of the pepper jack cheese, Baja Chipotle sauce, green peppers, and onions complemented each other well. The sandwiches weren’t high in calories either, so we weren’t weighed down for the rest of the afternoon.

Subway gets a green light, with the caveat that we didn’t see any signs of a refresh. If you haven’t been there for a while, the experience is just as it was a couple of years ago. The cost for the sandwiches was a little short of $14.00.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.