When I was a college student in Alamosa, Colorado, the Walsh Hotel and Restaurant was a dump with aspirations to be a dive. Sadly, that hadn’t always been the case. When the trains ran through town and being just a stones throw from the station, it a had been “The” place to stay and an even better place to eat.

The Walsh sometime in the 1950s

When passenger service stopped the area was pretty much forgotten as it was bypassed by the road traffic. That signaled a long decline for this hotel and restaurant.

But when I went through college, part of the tribal wisdom passed around included the Walsh. It was still a place to get a great and most importantly a meal at a reasonable cost. Since the college cafeteria didn’t offer a Sunday evening meal service at the time, every table in the Walsh would fill to overflowing with college kids. The meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and gravy they served was epic!

One of the things I remember most about the Walsh doesn’t come from my college days, but when I was much younger. One of my cousins was a waitress there and she brought back a recipe that resurfaced later my life when I’d make it for my family.

Years later, that culinary masterpiece would find itself in one my novels as my central character, Will Diaz made it for his.

A lot of people seem to swear that they’ve never had anything like it though I’ve encountered something very much like it in my journeys. I recall eating it often in the military (a little taste of home, right there). Some people call it “Peas and Mayo.” I call it “Walsh Peas” since that’s where the recipe came from.

Here’s the recipe and I’m debating about putting it in the back of my novel.

WALSH PEAS –

Take one can of sweet-green peas. Open and drain off the liquid. Pour the peas into a mixing bowl.

Chop up between a third and a half a white onion. Add that into the peas.

Add enough Mayo to coat the peas. Stir well.

Salt and pepper to taste.

It’s a dish best served cold and is great as a side with beef, chicken, pork or even by itself. It’s awesome as part of a cookout or tailgating.

Some of the variations I’ve encountered have small chunks of cheddar cheese added. I’ve even seen small ham or chicken cubes added. Some people like it a little more savory and will add in a dash of vinegar. For a treat, put some fresh dill on it.

The Walsh is still there, even if it’s been over 20 years since I last ate there. I know someone purchased the place and tried to turn it into a nice place again. Since I haven’t been that way in a while, I don’t know how well it’s doing.

So, one more place where reality collides with a novel.

Bon Appetit.

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