Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Back to the numbers.

Some places you just get tired of, or they get shitty, or both.
Avo's is one of those places. As a Fort Collins institution you really can't avoid it forever.
Unfortunately they have live music like every single night, but lucky you if you enjoy watching that kind of thing.

Order at the counter. Most people flip out over some moldy grains patty called tempeh. I like it as much as I like live music, so I get anything else.

In days past when sandwiches were having their Renaissance and people thought burgers were dumb, I usually ordered something with turkey and cream cheese and sprouts. (Oh yeah, sprouts also used to be a thing.)
On a recent visit they had a special up for a "Red pepper basalmic burger" and that sounded great so i ordered it. It was really fucking good. mixed salad greens, lettuce, tomato, onion, basalmic grilled red peppers. The burger was huge and cooked well and tasted really good. 9.00 with fries. I upgraded to the fired zucchini for a paltry .25, but their fries are so good I kind of regretted it.

I went back the next week and got a burger again, but this time the special was a burger topped with a shitton of andouille sausage, with lettuce, tomato, onion too.

Some things here are hit or miss, but their specials are out of control (two for one tempeh burgers, two for one pizzas,) they have breakfast, the cheese fries are deadly...

So if you forgot about Avo's maybe it is time to go back and endure some Phish cover band for a few minutes.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lucky fin

After many years of senseless and stubborn refusal that I won't get into, I finally broke down and had sushi at Nimo's. Lo and behold, in a true "Green Eggs and Ham" moment, I found it to be delicious.

We arrived around 7 on a Saturday night after we had to cancel a reservation downtown because some shitshow called New West Fest had the place swarmed with idiots.

We ordered a sushi dinner for two and added quail eggs and some more eel. This was really delicious, and every single piece of fish tasted different. It was the right temperature and the everything I wanted out of a giant plate of raw fish.

Since my last experience at Mt. Fuji was so sad, and I really can't justify strip-club sushi, I just might have to admit that Nimo's is great.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Flappin' Handle

Another Wednesday night out on the town. Woo.
Tap and Handle is conveniently on the 'outskirts' of Old Town, so a bit easier for all you "parking is hard" people.
This place goes deep, like to the back of the building deep. There is actually quite a lot of room, especially if you include the partially-enclosed patio. The upstairs has a pool table and some loungey couches that I shudder to think about on a Saturday at 1:30 AM, but seem friendly enough by the light of day.

They have no soda gun, so if you want a club soda you have to buy a bottle of Pellegrino. My beer menu had a lot of beers (like 50%?) scratched off. I couldn't decide if this was someone tracking their achievement for the day or an indication of what was "out." I ordered off the chalk board instead.

The food menu is a delight to read. Just kidding. It was fairly standard 'pub' food for Fort Collins. Asparagus fried though! That is awesome.

WTF is with "Irish nachos?" IF it was potatoes covered in traditional nacho toppings, I would 'get it.' But it is more liked loaded baked potato fries. OH. Maybe the could call it "Loaded French Fries!"

The green chili burger is like green chili with beef in it over a bun, not a burger covered in green chili. The Reuben was a little off and blah, the corned beef was cut really thick. The sweet potato fries were tasty, though.

We sat way in the back and table service was normal but not super. The bartender was nice. Live music started at some point but was not so loud where we were sitting.

Friday, August 8, 2014

ISO Tall, dark, and mystical.

When I read William Oliver's website I envision a lovely, dark, low-ceiling bar under a train stop, perhaps with a grey wizard in the corner waiting to take you on an adventure as soon as you finish sipping the smoky amber manna from heaven in the teeny glass in front of you next to your trencher of hearty beef stew...

But they are all talk and no fiddler in the corner. This is literally in strip mall by a grocery store. Luckily, the patio is nicely shaded and kind of blocked from the insanely busy parking lot by some substantial brick pillars. The food menu is limited where the whisky menu is not.

The pretzel and the hummus plate were good. unlimited chips and salsa-- um how can you go wrong?
The pulled pork seemed a little commercial - I don't know if they make it there, but I am guessing not. I actually liked the feta coleslaw, miraculously.

The Boylan's soda is great, and the specialty cocktails are delicious.

Service was a little perfunctory, but normal.
Next time I might sit inside and see if enough whiskeys can summon the mysterious stranger I long for.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WDYJE Coast to Coast Part 3: North Carolina is the South

If you are a native westerner like me -- please, go to the museum. It is free because it is a part of the Smithsonian, so use those fucking tax dollars. It is an insane illustration of what the Civil War did to the Eastern Seaboard and the Mason-Dixon line is a LOT further north than I thought it was. Also did you know there were NUMEROUS GERMAN SUBMARINES SUNK OFF THE COAST OF NORTH CAROLINA? 20th Century history is not my strong suit but I feel like I would remember some mention of THAT.
Anyway, on to what you came for...

NoFo's Cafe (NoFO @ The Pig)
Fuck yeah dilly beans in my Bloody

Pimento Cheese is not a thing in the west, but it should be. It is like our spinach-artichoke dip. Ubiquitous and, I discovered, practically irresistible. NoFo Cafe version comes with a generous portion of vegetables and BACON to dip into the hot, melty cheese.

Oh god I wish I had this every day

The shrimp and grits is amazing. This kicks the ass of any shrimp and grits I have had. Understated and perfect.
It was very busy even on a weeknight.

Look at this beauty

Ba Da Wings

Wings, duh. LOTS of flavors. I went for the normal "BaDaBing" hotness and got a couple of sides of other sauce because I am obsessed with Carolina BBQ sauce.
I loved the sauces, but I would ask for the wings cooked a little longer to get a more crispy outside. (They were cooked through though.)
These guys were super nice.

The China Queen
This is a Chinese buffet. It was PACKED at lunch time. But really, one of the better cheap Chinese buffets I have been to. Busy equals quick food turnover so everything was really fresh. Also it helps being near a coast -- you don't have to be so squeamish about the fish selections. I think it was like 8.00 with a drink.

Red Monkey Tavern

This is why you don't take food recommendations from peasants. Seriously if someone says they like Olive Garden you can NEVER EVER EVER listen to what they think is good food again.
One of my fellow trainees claimed that the food was great here. They recommended the lobster BLT.
This was bullshit. I mean it was basically like I went out and got a shitton of lobster and then went back to my house and toasted some cheap, stale wheat bread and put the lobster on there. It had a lot of lobster. Unseasoned lobster. Just sitting with the B, L, and T on the dry-ass bread. It was really an insane waste of lobster.

What I missed:  apparently every day there are a bunch of food trucks on the North Carolina State University campus, so if that is your thing it is probably worth a look here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WDYJE Coast to Coast Part 2: Back inside the Beltway

Another short and dirty trip to our nation's capitol.

Day 1:
McDonald's at DIA. What? It is insanely expensive, and the menu is limited. That equals fine dining. Next they will have a prix fixe. Remember this, it become relevant later.

I arrive at my hotel behind a huge pack of midwestern red-hats and I am so tired I want to cry. Until some lovely person comes around with a tray of hot, fresh appetizers. Cheese sticks, tiny crab cakes, and little spanikopita. She was an angel in a Hilton vest. This place knows how to make people not care about waiting for Sarah from Omaha to ask about every amenity they might possible have, including Day Care even though her daughter is obviously in high school.

Day 2:
I am a cheapskate, so I ate every day at the FREE BUFFET in the hotel. It was awesome, like most breakfast buffets.

Lunch is at the cafeteria in the office building where I am training. This is a new experience for me and I also ate shit on the ice right before I got to the building so i do not feel like traveling anywhere. Surprisingly good made-to-order food.

Bolt Burgers
Much like Five Guys, only a little fancier. When I was waiting for my food some dude was actually grilling the poor girl at the counter about how they were different from Five Guys. Well, you can choose your seasoning for one. They have more "gourmet" toppings as well. Plus they have shakes and smoothies and shit. AND FRIED GREEN BEANS. Very good food and they sell their seasoning or you can just steal one off the table. Just kidding, don't steal. SERIOUSLY DON'T
My traveling companion with our dinner.

Aw yiss, The Good Earth burger

Day 3:
Ben's Chili Bowl

How could I not visit? Well -- I didn't have time the first trip, that's how. So I am very lucky I got to come back. Half-smoke, split and grilled, times two. And chili-cheese fries. The line was not too long at 5pm on a weekday.
The chip can at Ben's Chili Bowl

Chili cheese fries, I couldn't wait

Day 4:
McDonald's at Regan. What. The. Fuck. A: cheaper than DIA. B: THEY STILL HAVE THE CHICKEN BISCUIT SANDWICHES C: I was more excited about this than I should have been and ate more than I should have before a long flight.

What I missed: Apparently they have a really good restaurant in the National Museum of the American Indian.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Continuing on with Meaty February, I had the opportunity to do a whole hog butchery class through Locavore with Jason Nauert from Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat.

This was more hands-on than the beef class, a lot smaller, and we got to take home a whole pile of meat from the pig we butchered!

Jason did most of the instruction with some help from Josh and Craig Taber. We got to eat an amazing soup cooked by Craig, along with home made bread, fresh steaks and sausage, and some of the pork we were cutting.

We broke down the whole carcass, getting to saw heads in half and trotters off, as well as carefully portioning delicate tenderloin and trimming different-sized chops. We got to create a ton of sausage, including grinding the meat, seasoning, and putting it in casings.

I am picky when it comes to fat on meat - I think it is gross and tastes bad and feels bad in my mouth. But eating this pasture raised pork was a whole new world for me. I ate the fat on the edge of the pork chop with the meat (instead of surgically removing it as I usually do)and almost died from how delicious it was. Which is kind of bad because lean meat was probably the only good food decision I had going for me.

Again - thorough instruction, a great opportunity to get closer to your food, and to meet people with shared interest.