The Flying Gourmet: El Jardin, Columbia, CA

Jim Jellison - The Flying Gourmet

l Jardin Coffee & Restaurant, Columbia, CAEl Jardin22758 Broadway Street
Columbia, CA 95310
(209) 532-1291
El Jardin Coffee & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

About thirty years ago my flight instructor and I flew to Columbia for the first time. She said that it was one of “The Places” to fly, so I might as well get the lay of the land! She was correct, I have been flying up there on a regular basis ever since.

The Columbia City Hotel restaurant used to have a dynamite dinner years ago. Over the last couple of years it has waxed and waned between bad and mediocre (currently it is vacant waiting for a new owner). I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it comes back to being that glorious place where I loved to dine.

Just outside the old historic Columbia, one block west, you will find a tiny Mexican restaurant called El Jardin. I have been going there for years and have not been disappointed. The young staff that served me this evening could not have done a better job. I was immediately greeted with hot, homemade, flour chips with salsa and an ice tea. It was a warm evening and I was a little overheated from walking the quarter of a mile or so from the airport, so I sat outside on the patio. I ordered my favorite Mexican meal carnitas, it was great. It’s not your standard carnitas, this one is a little spicier!

As I was finishing up my dinner I heard a rather loud crowing which sounded like it was coming from directly behind me. At the time I thought I was alone on the patio. I turned around and saw nothing and no one. It almost sounded mechanical, what do I know; I grew up in a town not on a farm! It turned out to be a rooster in a tree near the edge of the patio, who knew that they could fly? This experience gives you an idea of the country atmosphere that awaits you in historic Columbia!

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