I don’t pretend to be a food critic, but we all have our preferences, so I’m going to take a turn and lay out some of mine for you. Excited yet? 🙂
One thing I have been ‘burned’ on, pardon the pun, is fried chicken. All my life, child to adult, I’ve consumed my share of *great* home-made chicken. And, nearly every time, I’ve been disappointed when I’ve gambled on restaurant or fast-food chicken. A few examples: KFC – who designed those chicken cuts, Picasso? Who knew you could order a 15-piece bucket and still wind up with less than one chicken. The taste is passable, but certainly not memorable. If you’re into grease, it’s gotta be KFC. White Fence Farm – only tried that once, and the chicken was NOT DONE – ouch! Same results at the Castle Cafe in Castle Rock, CO – supposedly famous for their chicken, and they warn you on the menu that you’ll have to wait 30 minutes for your order, so don’t be impatient. My order got to the table in 20 minutes, and guess what, it wasn’t DONE. I usually got good results at Church’s Chicken, but they’re getting hard to find. Popeye’s, very inconsistent food served there, they’re not in the running at all.
So, I was pleasantly surprised when we stopped in at Corydon’s outlet for Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken – the chicken was great, the sides were very good. Their website http://www.leesfamouschicken.net/ If you come visit us we’ll likely drag you over there so you can find out for yourself. While we were there we struck up a conversation with some of the local patrons, including Melvin and Nora. They proved to be genuine and warm. They are an older couple, he’s retired, and they have a 100-acre farm just outside of town (he called it a ‘hobby farm’ – how many acres do you need for it to be a real farm??). Melvin loved to talk and shared lots of stories with us about family and farm – we enjoyed our time chatting with him. Nora pretty much just smiled and listened, but she was a nice lady. They said they go to Lee’s several times a week, so maybe we’ll see them there again. Another menu offering at Lee’s is a chicken fried steak dinner, and I’m looking forward to trying that.
We stopped in at the local Culver’s burger place the other day. It’s sort of like a Dairy Queen, but had a really great menu, lots of variety. Check out the franchise website http://www.culvers.com/ I had a roast beef open face sandwich with mashed potatoes and beef gravy and green beans, all very good. Kate ordered one of their signature burgers, the Butter Burger basket, and she was quite pleased with that.
I guess the point of all this is that while it’s nice to seek out local mom-and-pop eateries, it’s not always a disaster when you try one of the franchise places. And, no, I’m not getting paid to plug these places.
One more small point about the restaurants here – when you are to be seated, they ask you if you want smoking or non – that has been a little hard to get used to after living in the Denver area, which is entirely non-smoking. Oh well, we knew things would be different here, and for the most part these differences have been quite tolerable.
Anyway, we’re still exploring our new environment, more surprises to come, I’m sure. I’m building a file of potentially interesting places to visit, so I’ll be reporting on those sites later.