Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pupusa World

Bright, colorful and kitschy.

And right here in Ogden.

You've no doubt seen the place on your way to Macey's grocery store. It looks like a dumpy little tacqueria, barely bigger than the taco stands downtown, and I must have driven by it more times than I can count before I read the sign calling it a pupuseria. I LOVE PUPUSAS! How come I didn't know we could get them in Utah? Probably because I didn't read the sign until a couple of years ago.

Here's the real story, though:

Not a quesadilla, at all. Not even a Gordito, as much as it might resemble one. Made with masa flour and something like farmer's cheese, these gems are mucho-muy delicioso. Emphasis on mucho-muy delicioso. (Hey, if Latin restaurants can be kitschy, I can coin corny adjectives with their lingua.) Hot and greasy, too. Of course, that's coming from someone who revels in the ambrosial flavor of grease sandwiches.

Only a couple of bucks, too.

The fillings are not just cheese. We have two choices here in Ogden:

1. Cicharones or bacon-like fried pork bits, very salty and surprisingly tender,

and as with everything I tout, there is a little surprise thrown in...

2. Loroco. See the green bits in the picture above? Not onions or peppers, but chopped vine flower buds.

Woa, huh?

These are my favorites for a couple of reasons:

I like the way the sound rolls off your tongue:

Con loroco.

Con chicharones is pretty fun to say, too, but it just doesn't sound as lilty and lyrical.

And although I like salty and intense, the pupusas con chicharone at El Nueva Almanecer are just a tad too that.

Not to worry, though, because they come served with a fresh cabbage slaw that refreshes almost as much as the horchata or the piƱa, or in my case, the Diet Coke.

And the third of my couple of reasons for prefering the flower-filled pupusa is because it's a flower filling. Because that's just cool.

Friday, April 24, 2009

You Can Lead A Horse To Beer

But how much will you let him drink if he is your ride?

Christmas at the Kokomo on H25
(Well, actually, the day after Thanksgiving in parade gear)

We were just strolling down the street after the parade last winter when we saw these two go into the bar. I said, "Dang, I wish I had a camera!"

And Stephanie said, "I've got one!" and pulled it out of her pocket.

The horse's schnozzola poked through the door in the bar didn't give me as much pause as what followed when they walked away.

A woman came rushing out of the club exclaiming, "Wait. I haven't talked to you in months!"

Naturally, I thought she was addressing the Christmas Cowboy, but when I turned to be nosy, myself, for a moment, there she was carrying on what sounded like a sober conversation, catching up with the Holiday Horse, because, after all, she hadn't talked to him in months.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just A Little Cruise Through The Clouds

Hop a freight, grab a star, swim or fly to get to this restaurant!

Or, there are other modes:

Not all as classy as this, I'm sure.

And if parking is tight, there's always that sweet spot by the back door!

Once, a little family climbed down out of a plane, the little kids still in their jammies, and they filed into the restaurant for breakfast.

However it is you get to the Auger Inn at Ogden Hinckley Airport,

it will not disappoint.

Nothing especially unusual about the fare, except it that tastes so dad-gum good, you can't get it out of your head for more than 30 years. My sister used to waitress here in the 70s and we went back the other day hoping that the hamburgers were as good as memory promised. You know, sometimes Memory lies and you have to watch out and her sister, Hope, can mess with your head, too, but this time they were right on.

How could that be, though? Most restaurant burgers look good, right? Even as good as this one looked. I wondered what specifically made my hamburger taste so good, but I didn't want to stop eating it long enough to ask my sister what she thought makes these things taste so good. I even had to comment on the crispy, sweet onions that seemed bigger than the beef patty without overpowering it.

Well, I don't know. It's a puzzle but somehow this food tastes like the past. Oh wait. I know what it is. NO KETCHUP. Who puts ketchup on their hamburgers, anyway?! (I think that was one of the biggest culture shocks my family went through when we moved into this state many long years ago. Forget about religious differences, these people couldn't keep from messing up a perfectly good hunk of meat by putting ketchup on it! I had a friend in high school who would take the Heinz jug out of her mother's refrigerator and haul it with us when we went to Hardee's for lunch. She didn't like their ketchup and ask for her burger plain so she could "fix" it when she got it.)

However, I must say, I had to try Auger Inn's ketchup on those fries, just for authenticity's sake, don't you know. Not bad, and I'm not a fan of ketchup--oh, you knew that did you? It was in a Chef Dave's from Texas bottle and the label was washed out and worn down, some. You can do what you will with that information.

And as we are at the fries, now, yeah, yum. Hot and crunchy on the outside, hotter and soft on the inside.

I asked owner Paul Cromwell, "Remember when Robert Redford came through here?"

He laughed and said he remembered it well. SLC was fogged in and Redford had to hole up in Ogden for a while. He asked Paul if he could hide out in his kitchen, because the runway out back was littered with all these commercial and news planes.

"That was a big mistake. All my girls just went crazy in that kitchen!"

My sister was one of his "girls." He changed her name. "That table's waiting for service over there, Suzy."

"My name's not Suzy."

"It is now."


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(Well, this was maybe a couple of years before Suzy worked with Paul.)

The restrooms haven't changed that much, either.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Farr Better Beacon in the Cold Cold Night

Well. What do you think? Think it bears repeating?

OK, how's this?

And this?

Right. You get the picture.

But do you get the aroma?

They should call it Vanilla Waffle Warm. It has steamy little tendril-like fingers that waft up to your nose and pull you through the door.

Oh. Mmmmm...

I counted, oh I don't know--a gazillion deep? There are little heads in that crowd that you can't even see when you're in the store. And this was on a cold Utah winter's eve.

They're waiting for cherry chocolate chip, or moose tracks (with miniature peanut butter cups,) or some outlandishly chunky strawberry ice cream--if they can make up their minds, that is.

But what am I telling you for? If you live anywhere in the vicinity, you already know about Farr's--it's about like 80 years old or something.

You can buy allkynna sherbet, ice cream that looks like playdough, old fashioned Iron Port or retro Root Beer, creamy scoops dotted with little surprises and real teddy bears, too.

This place is mere steps from my front door, but that's all right because they have the best "no sugar added" vanilla ice cream and they pack it tough down into the little pint carton that I schlep home with, vowing to make it last longer than five minutes.

And I do. Because you know--a vow is a vow, after all.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hot On The Boot-Scootin' Trail

You've been here. Hot pots at the mouth of Ogden Canyon,

furnished with cup holders,

syphoned from a concrete collection system above the pools.

But did you go there on a snowy day? Scoot up and down the really dangerous, slippy-slidey, narrow little trail, leaving jack-rabbit-like foot prints?

Were you so dedicated to getting your own "authentic" pictures, that you just inched up the trail,

and waddled down the trail,
at times without even picking up your shuffing feet...
just to get your own picture of the hot mineral water pouring out into the river?

At my age?
Didn't think so.