Thursday, March 6, 2008

Valley Restaurants

Journal Entry Twenty: Restaurants in the valley

There are a surprising amount of excellent eating establishments in the Arkansas River valley. Eating out is a favorite form of socialization in the valley. What I like a lot is the relaxed atmosphere you can find at all establishments; unlike the rushed and always hurried “soccer mom” mentality found in large cities. A word of advice; don’t ever get in-between a rushed mom and her mission of getting her prodigy to a sporting event on time. This woman knows her personal player is the only thing sent from God that can save the team, so she takes her mission to heart. Anyway, most eateries in the Arkansas River valley subscribe to the “no worries” attitude found in most of Colorado. No one will hurry you to finish and leave. Slow, leisurely eating, good libations, and interesting conversation are what is on the menu every night. You can find a complete list of restaurants on this website:

My current personal favorite place to eat is Laughing Ladies in Salida. This is a gourmet food restaurant. The owner/chef moved to Salida with his wife from Ft. Worth, Texas. He has an infectious smile with little squinty eyes and deep dimples. One of his favorite stories to regal his guests with is the story of why he named the restaurant Laughing Ladies. The street his place in on is located just one block from the raging Arkansas River and is row houses with upper apartments. The miners would come into town in the 1800’s and rent one of the rooms “for the hourly” rate. Thus, there were a lot of “laughing ladies” who resided in the upper apartments.

You will find this restaurant on the lower level of one of those apartment houses and if you listen real closely, you might hear the ghost of one of the laughing ladies. Gerard’s favorite dinner to order is the roast duck. Duck is very hard to cook and keep moist and tasty. The chef here says the secret is to never freeze the meat. He claims that freezing duck causes it to be dry and tough. I believe him.

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