Sometimes, when I start writing one of these, I have a hard time figuring out a good lead-in to the subject at hand. This is particularly hard with restaurants. With other things, I can discuss how a giant salmon leapt out from the freezer at me, longing to be cooked. Or how, after desperately craving something or another for days on end, I threw together a half-assed version of it only to have it taste amazingly good and/or bad. Or I can wax poetic about sushi lust. Or pizza lust, as my last several posts seem to indicate.
Sometimes, there’s no particular thought that leads to choosing a restaurant. In this particular case, Drew and I happened to be in Estes Park, CO, with friends, and we needed dinner. Said friends were familiar with a restaurant called The Other Side and, as we were rather hungry, we agreed that it sounded like a fabulous place to eat.
We went for lunch, and the menu was such that nothing leapt out at me. Sometimes I’ll look at a menu and know exactly what I desire, but nope, not this time. So I took my chances at random on the special of the day – beef stew.
This beef stew was delicious and magical and glorious and all things that beef stew should be. The beef was quite tender, the vegetables flavorful and delightfully coated with gravy, and under it all was a giant mound of mashed potatoes. And the best thing? It wasn’t too salty. I have some serious issues with some restaurants taking a perfectly good dish and dumping salt all in it, and this is the sort of dish at risk of such a crime. But no, The Other Side came through for me on this one.
Drew went for the bleu cheese burger with fries. I kept stealing his fries as they were of the lightly battered variety, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, as all good fries should be. The sandwich/burger wasn’t bad, but wasn’t your ideal burger either. It certainly wasn’t an ingredient issue – they were quite generous with the bacon, and the bread was a swirly fun bread (I’m gonna copyright “swirly fun bread”, open a bakery, and become a millionaire). However, the sandwich didn’t “mesh.” Truly good burgers have ingredients that meld together in a special way such that the whole is better then the sum of the parts. No melding here. Also, there’s that whole “tall sandwich” issue. If I have to unhinge my jaw in order to take a bite containing all ingredients of the sandwich, then we have a problem.
So go to The Other Side, order yourself some beef stew, and after you leave the restaurant keep your eyes peeled for elk, because those suckers are everywhere up there!
And on a final note, here’s my next brilliant idea: make a burger out of ground chicken and ground beef, mixing the meats but not totally blending them. Swirly fun burgers, indeed!