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FOOD: Taking a mini food tour of western Colorado, Utah

Lee Mathis
INSANELEE DECADENT
Free Press Food Columnist
Lee Mathis
Staff Photo |

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

Now keeping with this theme, our “Website of the Week” comes from our friends at Roadfood.com. It’s a great site with restaurants, recipes, forums and even an eating tour. The “Recipe of the Week” is also from the same site and features a true road favorite, Chicken Fried Steak.

http://www.roadfood.com

For Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I had the opportunity to play tour guide as my sister, Ann, and a friend of ours from South Jersey came out here for the extended weekend. Ann has been out here before; since our mom passed it’s been a tradition for her to come west for Thanksgiving.

This year, we had Danielle join us and I thought that it was my duty — being a huge proponent of our lifestyle here in the Grand Valley and surrounding areas — to play tour guide, both with our daily excursions and the foods that we enjoy.

I picked them up at the airport on Wednesday, and over a three-day period turned them on to some of the places that make where we live so special — the Colorado National Monument, the Arches & Dead Horse Point in Moab, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Ouray. I almost felt guilty about telling them what else we have, but there’s always the next visit.



Leaving the airport, we headed downtown for lunch at Bin707 Foodbar. Now I have known owner Josh for a few years, since participating in the Signature Chef event, and knew his food would surprise my guests because a lot of people think that we here in western Colorado have — how shall I say this — a limited palette. Au contraire, we had a great lunch which included charcuterie and artisanal cheeses, salads and Kurchulo pork tacos.

After spending some time at the monument, it was then time for dinner. So we headed out to Palisade, as they were staying at one of my favorite places, Wine Country Inn, and stopped by the Palisade Brewing Company. For those of you who have never eaten there, ya gotta stop by and try out their sandwiches and wings. You will not be disappointed. My favorite is their jalapeno cheddar brisket sandwich. All of their meats are smoked on premise and are fantastic.



Thursday night, we enjoyed a great Thanksgiving dinner at Wine Country Inn with a very tasty buffet put out by Chef Marcelo and the staff.

Friday, we headed over to Moab, and after talking to a few people, found a little eatery called Pantele’s Desert Deli. We had some great sandwiches and did not leave hungry.

Saturday, I knew that I had to drive everybody down to Ouray and let them experience western Colorado’s answer to Switzerland. After some breathtaking views and drives, we stopped at The Ouray Brewery for some tasty bar food.

As Saturday night was their last night here, we headed back to Bin707 as I knew they had to experience their dinner menu, which was as expected — great. And we have not even scratched the food offerings of the Grand Valley and western Colorado.

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

6 1/2-inch thick cuts of steak, about 4 inches in diameter

2 beaten eggs

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 cup flour, mixed with 2 teaspoons pepper and 1 teaspoon salt

Lard or vegetable oil for frying

Gravy:

Drippings from frying pan

3/4 cup milk mixed with 1/4 cup beef stock

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sandwich each steak between pieces of wax paper and beat it two to three minutes with a blunt instrument. Soak them in a mixture of the egg and milk.

2. Dredge each steak in the seasoned flour, coating it thoroughly. Do not discard the flour.

3. Put enough lard or oil in a deep skillet so there is more than 1/2-inch. Heat it until it is 360 degrees.

4. Dip the floured steaks back into the egg and milk mixture, then use a long set of tongs to ease each of them into the hot oil. Stand back when you do this; the oil will splatter. Do not crowd steaks in the skillet.

5. Cook each steak about 8 minutes, or until it is golden brown on the bottom.

6. Turn, and cook the other side about 6 more minutes, or until well browned. Remove the steaks from the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.

7. Pour off all but two or three tablespoons of the oil in the skillet.

8. Return the skillet to the heat and sprinkle two tablespoons of the seasoned flour over the hot oil, stirring constantly for a full minute, scraping the bottom of the skillet as you stir.

9. Gradually add the milk and beef stock, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until the gravy is thick.

10. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with mashed potatoes and biscuits.

Recipe from roadfood.com.

GJ Free Press food columnist Lee Mathis is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. He can be reached via email at decadencecheesecakes@mindspring.com, on the Web at http://www.decadencecheesecakes.com, or by calling 970-256-4688. Also, find him on the Web by searching Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter (@decadenceGJ).


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