These morsels will whet your appetite for this year’s Taste of the West.
The issue I look forward to most each year is the October issue. It’s not a surprise, really. The annual Taste of the West food feature runs in C&I’s October issue, and the feature is something I think almost constantly. Planning begins with one question: How do we make the next Taste of the West distinct from the previous editions?
This year, the third installment of Taste of the West, C&I has done something completely different. We’re giving you a guide to the food cities of the West.
Part of that includes experiences, places, and iconic treats that we, frankly, didn’t have enough space for in the issue. Sharing them here will hopefully whet your appetite for Taste of the West featured cities.
The Smallest Watering Hole in Arizona
In a former southeastern Arizona mining town turned arts hub crammed to the gills with charming bars, one stands out. Bisbee’s Room 4 Bar (pictured above) sits on the second floor of the affordable Silver King Hotel and claims to be Arizona’s smallest bar. Three stools, with room to squeeze in a fourth, line the bar, while a tiny table for two can be found in the back. silverkinghotel-bisbee.com — Jackie Bryant
The Knife Capital
Though the hipsters of Portlandia might not know it, no city in America has as many knife manufacturers as Portland, Oregon. Anchored by Gerber, which was founded in Portland in 1939 has grown to worldwide acclaim, Portland’s reputation is built around hunting, survival, and folding knives. Led by world-class local blade designers and renowned operations — including Benchmade, Leatherman, and Kershaw — an estimated 80 percent of the multi-use tools sold nationwide originate in Portland’s metro area. As for where chefs and home cooks get their blades sharpened and repaired while shopping for pro-grade cutlery in Rose City, that would be Portland Knife House (find another location of it in Phoenix). benchmade.com, leatherman.com, kershaw.kaiusaltd.com, portlandknifehouse.com — Chuck Thompson
The Buffalo Rose
Golden, Colorado, may be renowned as the headquarters of Coors Brewing Company, but the lauded crisp Rocky Mountain water that goes into every batch of “Banquet Beer” isn’t the only icon the city can brag about. The town just outside of Denver is also home to the oldest bar in Colorado, the Buffalo Rose. Today housed in a complex of five historic buildings, it began its life on Washington Avenue in 1859 as the International Bowling Saloon. When outlaw “Heartless” Edward Franklin was gunned down there in 1868, it was the Overland Hotel. Over the years — including Prohibition, when it survived by serving soft drinks — it’s variously been Paul’s Place, Larson’s Café, Dud’s, DeVere’s, and Shotgun Annie’s.
Current owner Chris Cone purchased the venue in 2016 and began renovating and restoring the buildings from the inside out. The recently reopened Buffalo Rose is golden again after Cone’s top-to-bottom remodeling and reinvention. Its new lease on life includes national and musical acts and craft cocktails and Colorado-inspired fare served in an Old West dining room/lounge — think chorizo jalapeños with cherry chipotle glaze and pan-seared salmon in Hatch chile broth. buffalorose.net — José R. Ralat
Las Vegas gets hot in the summer, as in 115 degrees. Beat that heat at the Minus5˚ Ice Experience, located in the Venetian and Mandalay Bay resorts. Slip on a parka and a pair of gloves and belly up to a bar, where everything is made of ice — the walls, the seats, the chandeliers, and even the glasses. minus5experience.com — David Hofstede
Fry Sauce Is a Utah Thing
Fry sauce spills into Idaho and Nevada, but it’s only within the borders of the Beehive State that it’s an absolute requirement. Nothing more than a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup, the premixed version is essential anywhere that serves French fries there, thanks to its popularization by the Salt Lake City-based Arctic Circle restaurant chain — whose founder, Don Carlos Edward, invented his version in 1940. —Naomi Tomky
Fried Ice Cream
This Southwestern culinary marvel of vanilla ice cream domed with a crispy tortilla — often dusted with cinnamon — once flourished on restaurant menus across the country in the 1980s and ’90s at chains like Chi-Chi’s. Now, fried ice cream is seemingly frozen in time-capsule kitchens. You can still find the delightful alchemy of a dessert at a few restaurants, including El Charro Café. elcharrocafe.com — José R. Ralat
All over the West each spring, frothy mugs of beer slosh over their brims while sliding across bar-length tables to a catastrophic fall before being snagged midair and promptly chugged by an eagerly awaiting ski bum. The guzzling game — called gelände quaffing, from geländesprung, a German term for jumping over an obstacle on skis — was birthed out of boredom in Jackson, Wyoming, in the 1980s after a blizzard halted chairlifts for three days. Decades later, powder hounds across the Rockies and beyond pay homage to the bounties of winter with this sport in which style points do matter. Inclined to start training? World championships are held annually around the end of ski season in Jackson. — Drew Dodson
Deadwood Legends Steakhouse
The Franklin Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota, has hosted the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Wild Bill Hickok — who never checked out — John Wayne, Babe Ruth, and a grand list of other notable figures. The hotel’s casino allows you to imagine yourself striking gold like so many poor souls who made their way to Deadwood in the Gold Rush years. But, when you dine at the hotel’s restaurant, appropriately named the Deadwood Legends Steakhouse, you’ll hit the mother lode with a 16-ounce dry-aged, bone-in South Dakota buffalo rib-eye. silveradofranklin.com — José R. Ralat
The Santa Fe Margarita Trail
There’s nothing better than a good margarita anywhere, but especially in the high desert of Santa Fe, where, my goodness, one does work up a devil of a thirst simply by being here (even if alcohol dehydrates). The folks at Santa Fe Tourism know this and have accordingly come up with the trail of all trails: the Santa Fe Margarita Trail. Leading to the best spots in the city to sip tequila-spiked lime juice (of course a terrific source of vitamin C), the trail has 46 locations. Download the app and show it to your bartender for $1 off your drink. There’s a limit of two margarita stamps per 12-hour period. Get five and an official Santa Fe Margarita Trail T-shirt is yours. Salud! santafe.org/margaritatrail — Ellise Pierce
Courtesy Osteria D’Assisi/Santa Fe Tourism
1½ ounces silver tequila
½ ounce Cointreau
½ ounce Aperol Italian liqueur
Muddle basil in a cocktail shaker. Pour remaining ingredients into the cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over ice into a glass.
Photography: (featured) Silver King Hotel/Facebook; (slideshow) Lanz Photography/Courtesy Buffalo Rose; Courtesy Minus5˚ Ice Experience; Courtesy José R. Ralat; Courtesy Deadwood Legends Steakhouse/Franklin Hotel; Courtesy Santa Fe Margarita Trail