Monday 12 December 2011

24 Out to Lunch

Photo by Eki Halkka
In Colorado, checking out a couple of new projects for development. Staying on the Western slope of the Rocky mountains in the high desert. Surrounded by gorgeous John Ford scenery (he made movies on location two hours South of here in Moab, Utah), with fabulous sunny weather and miles and miles of unspoiled empty space, the area still manages to be a mecca for fastfood. Since we´re on the road a lot, we´ve eaten in almost every FF joint. The following is a rundown of a few.

McDonalds: after eating McDo´s cheeseburgers in Finland and in France, sad to report that the American version (at least in this part of Colorado) doesn´t compare. The bun is like a sweet sponge – it squashes down to a flat pancake before you´ve finished. And the filling tastes generic – in other words tasteless. Since the initial disappointment have given it a pass.

Denny's: a chain, but newly opened in this area. Serves food 24 hours a day, everyday (except for major holidays). At the beginning there were long waits - the out-to-lunch crowd pouncing on a new choice. Dennys has a huge breakfast menu (with senior portions). And healthy bland choices like grilled chicken salad with apple and cranberry. But a couple of times we fell for the traditional turkey dinner (served during the holiday season). The first time we ordered it, it looked like the photo in the menu. But the second time it looked like an accident - with glue-like gravy covering the body. After a few more visits the bland food began to taste like a school canteen.

Wendy's: poor Wendy´s – it´s right next store to the new and popular Dennys. The day we were there it was empty, although their parking lot was full with the overflow from their busy neighbor. The staff and manager were trying to put on a brave front, but no people means no business. Happy to report that they make good chili.

TacoBell: we´re hooked. And almost always order the same thing: two crispy tacos with extra salsa. It´s cheap, cheap - two can eat for about 7 dollars.  And it´s clean. It´s fast. The food is simple, satisfying and tastes good.

Chipotle: according to an article in the Wall Street Journal weekend magazine this chain is the Rolls Royce of fastfood. Everything is organically grown and locally sourced (whenever possible). It´s Tex-Mex at its best. You pick and choose from a variety of options. And the stuff doesn´t stand around for hours getting stale – they make small batches several times during the day. More than twice as expensive as TacoBell, the restaurants are designed to look like the Wild West meets Scandinavia.

Palisade Wine Country Inn: we needed a break from FF and decided to treat ourselves. PWCI is a proper restaurant – small, cozy and inviting. And it´s only a couple of minutes by car from my sister´s vineyard. We ordered the dish of the day – salmon with a caper butter sauce. Jesse Wilson, the young chef served us himself. It was delicious. We asked him where he learned to cook. He said his dad taught him. We thought: what a good thing to pass down to your kid.

Lesson 28: when you´re on the road take some fruit

Next week: 25 Flips, Flops & Failures

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