Archive for the ‘vacation’ Tag

Celebrating National (Cheese)burger Day   Leave a comment

National Cheeseburger Day was this week. The place for burgers, just good old fashioned burgers, is Cy’s Drive-In. It’s an anachronism. Not just because of the carhops, Formica tables, and Elvis and James Dean posters; it’s the food, especially the messy burgers and thick shakes. Cy’s has been serving traditional drive-in fare since 1953.

The menu board features variations on burgers and includes a few items requiring explanation like Texas Toothpicks. Green chile and grill sandwiches such as BLTs and Pork Tenderloin add variety, but the burgers are the way to go. With or without cheese, the “top of the line” beef patties are juicy and substantial; lettuce, tomato and onion, with mustard and catsup, on a standard bun round out the flavors.The fries are just okay. In fact, they’re weakest part of the menu. The shakes, on the otherhand, truly stand out and are made with fruit and whole milk. Bits of bananas, cherries or strawberries clog the straws, so it’s helpful to have a tall spoon ready to scoop out the thick, rich goodness. A variety of other fountain treats includes sundaes, cones and floats.

The dining area is often full, but picnic tables line the exterior, and there’s always that carhop service that started almost 60 years ago. Overall, the simple food’s pretty tasty, which is no small feat for take-out, dine-in or eating in the car. By the way, those Texas Toothpicks are deep-fried thin strips of onions and jalapenos served with Ranch dressing on the side. Who knew?

Cy’s Drive-In Restaurant
Three-and-a-half Plates
1833 W. Unitah St.
Colorado Springs, CO

Elevated Sandwiches   3 comments

I’ve long given up trying to get into the Butterhorn Bakery & Café (in Frisco, CO) for breakfast/brunch on the weekend. Yet, this popular eatery attracts locals and tourists in equal numbers for lunch during the week, too. The draw: this is a real bakery and the menu features baked goods. Recently, friends arrived early to get on the list for a table, so it didn’t really seem like much of a wait – for me.

I ordered the Vegie Hummer. For some reason I neglected to register the menu fact it was black bean hummus, rather than traditional chickpea. This was a surprise, not a problem. The dark, thick mash had a depth of flavor, which was nearly lost under the jungle of sprouts and shredded carrots. This, with slices of red onion, tomato and lettuce on a Jalapeno-Cheddar Baguette, made for a pretty bulky, filling sandwich. The cheese was an edible lacquer on the freshly-baked bread. The combination of all the elements was an excellent vegie hoagie.

Other items selected in our group were the Thai Chicken Wrap which inspired no order envy, and the Spicy Chicken Guacamole on a croissant which did. The latter, however, was messy to eat, but melted pepper jack with grilled chicken made it worth the need for extra napkins.

All sandwiches come with a choice of potato salad, pasta salad or chips. Be forewarned, the pasta salad is actually macaroni salad – that old-fashioned kind with a mayonnaise base. It was out of character with the otherwise trendy menu.

Butterhorn Bakery & Café
Not-quite-Four Plates
Breakfast and lunch only
408 Main St.
Frisco, Colorado

San Francisco Treats   Leave a comment

Rather than write individual reviews of the places we ate on our recent trip
to San Francisco, I decided to just share some brief impressions.

Our hotel was close to Japantown, so that’s where we went for a late dinner. We
found a Japanese Barbecue restaurant across from a small ramen house. The lat-
ter had a crowd lingering at the door. We noticed very few people at the barbecue
place. I thought the line at Suzu, the noodle shop, said something we needed to
discover for ourselves. Suzu makes three types of noodles: ramen; udon; and soba.
I ordered ramen with cilantro, which came in a large bowl deep enough for me to
put my face into. This was a good thing since it made it easier to slurp the long, silky
noodles soaking in a seasoned broth. Scallions, bamboo shoots, cilantro, of course,
and thinly sliced pieces of pork were mixed with the ramen. It was comforting, filling,
and the wait was surprisingly short.
1825 Post St.

Bambino’s Ristorante, located in the Haight, is small with an attentive but unob-
trusive staff offering a range of traditional Italian dishes. Although I suspect the food
can stand on its own to create a perfect dining experience, I think the dining party
also played a huge role in the meal’s success. My husband and I enjoyed asking our son
and niece about life in San Francisco. In their mid-20s, they embrace their experiences
and opportunities with humor and appreciation. Yes, my Angel Hair Pasta with arti-
hoke hearts, tomatoes, pepper flakes and shrimp was delectable. We shared tiramisu
and crème brulee for dessert. On the heels of an appetizer of perfectly fried calamari,
the pasta, bread, and wine, they were excessive – but enjoyable. Yet, I think the laugh-
ter, the conversation, and the ambiance of the restaurant contributed to a completely
pleasurable evening.
945 Cole St.

The Ferry Building Marketplace is a tourist mecca with good reason. It features a vari-
ety of shops with a range of fresh ingredients and locally-sourced products; and it has
several good restaurants. Since it was midday we opted for Gott’s Roadside. Given its
location, it obviously wasn’t roadside – that’s reserved for the Napa and St. Helena sites.
The menus are the same though. Gott’s started as a walk-up burger joint, but has evolv-
ed into an upscale gourmet dining establishment with fresh ingredients as a driving force.
Food is ordered at the counter, wrapped in paper and served in plastic baskets, but that’s
where the ties to the past end. I had blackened shrimp tacos with avocado, creamy cole slaw,
peppers and sour cream. The thick strawberry milkshake had bits of fruit and lots of
flavor. What a treat!
1 Ferry Building, Space 6