I've been in search of some great patio dining in Billings (thanks for all of the suggestions on Facebook), but I couldn't pass up the chance to dine outside in Red Lodge a couple of weeks ago.

I was supposed to eat at the Red Box Car, but as it happens every time, the place had a line that was just too much for me. Now, a long line is a great testimony for a restaurant and I'm not complaining, but I just couldn't hang knowing that there was some allegedly great Mexican food just up the road a bit.

I ended up at La Palmita and everyone in my group loved their meals. I suppose that even though I've never been to Mexico (thanks for the invite Mark and Paul), I would call this "authentic Mexican"...no frills, just delicious food.

The point of this is to share some of the best outdoor dining experiences available and I think it's pretty safe to say that when the weather is good, Red Lodge won't let you down. In addition to the scenery, most people I encounter are friendly and seem in a good mood.

To my new amigos at La Palmita, keep it up. As for the Red Box Car, I look forward to having one of your famed burgers before the summer is over.