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Last week, our  “Empty Nest Thursday Dinner Night” happened to be the same night the Vanishing Pints were playing a gig at the newly opened Mad River Tap Room in Blue Lake. We couldn’t pass up seeing our good friends stir it up with some Irish folk and rock, so we headed out there for a pre-dinner show.

Equinox moon rise. Wish I'd had a better camera!

The autumn sun was setting and we awaited the September full moon rise as we chatted with pals, bobbed our heads to the music, and watched our pints of Mad River Brewery’s fine ales, well, vanish. Best of all, this felt like a big birthday present as it was the lead-in to my birthday weekend. I was celebrating with Norm one of the band members, who blew out his candles during the break.

The Vanishing Pints rock it while the moon rises.

A great kick-off to a pleasant dinner at Alice’s Restaurant, located inside the Blue Lake Casino, and essentially the only dinner restaurant in Blue Lake. Since some dear friends were joining me for the show, it made sense to dine in Blue Lake.

Well, Alice’s has improved – in my opinion – since it served buffet style. They now serve sushi, burgers and salads. All of which I remembered from my only other visit last summer after the close of the Humboldt Folk Life Festival. But I cringed as I watched my hungry vegetarian friend scan the menu for something she could eat besides a dinner salad. I had remembered how much I enjoyed my buffalo burger, and that they’d had pasta dishes and salads. I hadn’t noticed that all those dishes included seafood or meat. Oops.

She managed to find a vegetarian onion soup, I went for the same burger which was again was quite satisfying. The accompanying salad – somewhat less so. The watery greens were so cold I thought maybe the salad had been premade and stored in the freezer.

To get to Alice’s, you has to thread their way through the slot machines and gaming tables, and if you are the gambling sort you might find yourself distracted on the way to the rest room and suddenly digging for quarters.

A delightful Thursday dinner, but made that way more so by the company than by the food and ambiance. But, hey, if you love casinos, then Alice’s is your place.