Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I told you all from my last writing, that I had a special treat regarding my experience at a very unusual place to dine while I was in Phoenix. You see, I had only one night in Phoenix before I had to fly off to Alaska and I wanted to make this meal to be a memorable one. To that end, I decided that it was time that I consulted Triple D to see what hot spot was in the area that made its mark on the show. So after consulting their trusted web site, I found the location I just had to visit. So do you want to know where I ended up? Do you want to know how I came up with the title of this blog? Do ya???? Fellow moaners get ready, Fellow moaners get set, Fellow moaners lets goooooooooooooooo to Shell Gas Station and Convenience Store. That's right, the Shell station on the Southeast corner of Union Hills in Phoenix, Arizona and when you get there you will find Roberto's Authentic Mexican Food. So now you see how you can fill up your gas tank and your belly all in one stop! "Now wait just one minute!" "You are telling us, you ate food from a convenience store and are willing to write about it?" I say YES and I say if you ever, ever, ever get to Phoenix you must go there as well.

"OK, Man that loves to Moan, what so great about Roberto's"? Well, how about the freshest ingredients around? How about the most flavorful warmed flour tortillas I have ever tasted? How about the nicest gal that ever waited on me?

This is my new friend Monique!

Anyhow, as I was saying, how about the fact that the people at Roberto's really seem to care about putting out the most fresh, authentic Mexican food possible? How about, how about, I could go on forever. But lets get right down to the meal. If a pic is worth a thousand words, start talking.

What you are seeing is the meal that Bob and I co-consumed. To tell you the truth, we had such a hard time deciding what to order, we decided to order many items and split everything. What a great plan that was! So, what is it you are looking at that we ingested? Well, let me go down the list in the order we ate:

1. Nacho Grande -Top right

2. Chile Rellano's - Bottom left

3. Torta Carne Asada - Top Left

4. El Pastor Plate - Bottom right

5. Flour Tortilla Shells (foiled wrapped)

Just take a good look at the food, because I am telling you all, not only did the moans start coming out at first bite, but they just kept coming after every bite and didn't end until there was nothing left. I kid you not, I am now sold again on authentic Mexican chow. I have to say however, Roberto's has raised the bar so high, that I doubt any place else can match the quality.
So, prior to getting to Roberto's, we passed a Coldstone Ice Cream parlor and decided we would stop there after our meal. Unfortunately, by the time we got done sopping up every last bit of flavor with our tortilla shells, we had no more room for ice cream. But, I still had a hankering for something sweet to finish off that great meal. What was I to do? That's when my good friend Bob, said he would treat me (actually Monique treated us) to an authentic Mexican beverage: A Horchata!!! A what, I said? Well, well, well, for those of you that have consumed a Horchata, know the taste treat I was in for. Let me just say, I didn't think my taste buds could have anything else go over them that could finish off the night, but I was dead WRONG! Horchata is a refreshing cold drink usually consisting of rice, almonds, cinnamon (canella), lime zest and sugar. This drink is rumored to be a cure for a hangover (if this is true, pass me the bourbon). Even though the drink has a milky appearance it is completely dairy free. Now, I can't tell you how Roberto's concocts theirs, but, I swear to God, this was the icing on the cake. It reminded me of drinking the finest rice pudding available. The flavor of this drink just explodes in your mouth after each sip. I must say, after finishing off my glass of this wonderful mixture, I was spent! There is no other way to say it. This was one of the most memorable meals I have had since starting this blog. I was actually hoarse from all the moaning!!!
So that's it my culinary counterparts. Next stop,Alaska for a what I hope will bring much more to write about. Stay tuned and I will continue to share with you all those Meals that made me Moan.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rosita, The Pioneer and an Old Friend

As I sit here poolside at the Chap (Chaparral Suites) in Scottsdale, AZ, with my Denver trips behind me, it is time for me to write to you all about my dining experiences that “Made Me Moan” in the Mile High City.

So as you all prepare to read this, you may be asking yourself “Triple M (Man of Many Moans) what took you so long to write this next chapter of your culinary experiences”? Well simply put, I went into a writers block and did not want to bore anyone with frivolous dribble until I broke out of it. But now, I’m in the right frame of mind and am ready to put in words the meals I had that will tempt your appetite and have you drooling for your next meal. Now, before I start, I need to explain the title to this section of my blog. You see, I was convinced the proper title should have been WAPITI, ROSITA & YAK but then when discussing this with Bob (my traveling companion for this trip) he suggested ROSITA, The PIONEER and an Old Friend. After hearing his reasoning’s, I agreed. So, what’s with the name you may ask, well let me take you on my journey to Denver.

Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant

So I know what you are all saying, “Moan Man, what are you doing at a Mexican restaurant? You told us you were finished with Mexican food, what gives?” Well, I was meeting Kelly (customer) for lunch one afternoon and she suggested Rosita’s. Well who am I to say no to a customer? So as I was sitting there with my team (Bob, Carl and Brad) waiting for Kelly, I had time to fret over my food options. It was at this time I resigned myself to the usual burrito. When Kelly arrived she stated that if you come to Rosita’s, you must try the Pablito. The what, I say!! What is a Pablito? "Order it and find out" she suggested, and that I did......................................

I wish I could tell you what was in this concoction, but I can’t! Suffice to say, whatever was in it, tickled my taste buds enough to cause those involuntary moans to come out. This dish had all the components to make a good Mexican dish. It had meat, cheese, greens, wrapped around a tortilla shell. In a nutshell I would rate this dish as outstanding and very filling (I must say, I had trouble finishing it). My faith in Mexican food was starting to be renewed. I must ask myself however, is there more out there that will bring me back full circle? Only time and a visit to Arizona will tell.


OK, so you get the Rosita piece. Now, let me tell you how Bob came up with the pioneer part. To do that, let me give you all a history lesson. Back in the days (late 1800’s to early 1900’s) there was an individual who shaped the way of the Wild West. William Frederick Cody, known as Buffalo Bill, was a buffalo hunter, U.S. army scout, and an Indian fighter. But he is probably best known as the man who gave the Wild West its name. He produced a colorful show called Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, which had an international reputation and helped create a lasting image of the American West. William F. Cody died of kidney failure on January 10, 1917, surrounded by family and friends at his sister's house in Denver. On his deathbed, Cody was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church the day before his death by Father Christopher Walsh of the Denver Cathedral. Upon the news of Cody's death, he received tributes from King George V of the United Kingdom, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Imperial Germany, and President Woodrow Wilson.[15] His funeral was in Denver at the Elks Lodge Hall. Wyoming Governor John B. Kendrick, a friend of Cody's, led the funeral procession to the Elks Lodge.

Contrary to popular belief, Cody was not destitute, but his once great fortune had dwindled to under $100,000.Despite his request in an early will to be buried in Cody, Wyoming, a later will left his burial arrangements up to his wife Louisa. To this day, there is controversy as to where Cody should have been buried.

On June 3, 1917, Cody was buried on Colorado's Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado, west of the city of Denver, on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, overlooking the Great Plains. His exact burial site was selected by his sister, Mrs. Mary Decker, while looking over the area accompanied by W.F.R. Mills, manager of the Denver Mountain Peaks.

OK, history lesson over, lets talk food! After visiting the grave site of BBC, I was in the mood for some, let say, wild game and that brought us (Bob, Carl, Brad and me) to…...

The Buckhorn Exchange is Denver’s oldest restaurant, or so they say. So what kinds of game can one get at the Exchange you may ask? Well, just one look at the decor will give you an idea.

We were seated promptly and our waitress Raina, came by to tell us a bit about the place. Before we go into that, I must say that Raina was smartly dressed in a very colorful blouse and the most exquisite set of hooped ear rings I have ever seen. With items on the menu such as Rattlesnake, Alligator Tail, Rocky Mountain Oysters, Buffalo, Quail and traditional beef, I was in another quandary as to what wild game they had that was going to “Make Me Moan” With so many choices, I asked the lovely Raina for some help and after much discussion and thought, I decided on having a combination plate which featured two meats of my choice and a side. the next question was what two meats, and that's when I finally decided on Wapiti and Yak!

So you are now probably asking yourself “what in the good Lord’s name is Wapiti and what exactly is a Yak”?

Well it's education time again:

The elk, or wapiti (Cervus canadensis), is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest mammals in North America and eastern Asia. In the deer family (Cervidae), only the moose, Alces alces (called an "elk" in Europe), is larger, and Cervus unicolor (the sambar deer) can rival the C. canadensis elk in size. Elk are almost identical to red deer found in Europe, of which they were long believed to be a subspecies; however, mitochondrial DNA evidence from 2004 strongly suggests they are a distinct species.

The yak (Bos grunniens) (Tibetan: གཡག་; Wylie: g.yag) is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia. In addition to a large domestic population, there is a small, vulnerable wild yak population. In Tibetan, the word gyag refers only to the male of the species; a female is a dri or nak. In most languages which borrowed the word, including English, yak is usually used for both sexes.Yaks belong to the genus Bos, and are, therefore, closely related to cattle, with whom they commonly interbreed, as well as the Southeast Asian banteng, gaur or Indian Bison, and the now extremely rare kouprey.Yaks are herd animals. Wild male yaks stand about 2 to 2.2 meters (6.6 to 7.2 ft) tall at the shoulder and average 1,000 kg (2,200 lb); the females weigh about one third of this.[2] Domesticated yaks are much smaller, males weighing 350 to 580 kg (770 to 1,300 lb) and females 225 to 255 kg (500 to 560 lb).[3] Both sexes have long shaggy hair to insulate them from the cold. Wild yaks can be brown or black. Domesticated ones can also be white. Both males and females have horns.

Now that you are all educated on the Yak and Elk, let me tell you how this delightful game was prepared. The elk was char grilled and served with a berry cabernet sauce, while the Yak, also char grilled was topped with a garlic butter sauce. Both of these entrées reminded me of the finest cooked steaks I ever tasted. The Yak was like a fine NY strip and the Wapiti a tender filet. My mouth was treated to a combination of flavors that exploded in my mouth to the very last bite. I must say that this was my first foray into the game field and I can tell you, it won’t be my last.

An Old Friend

In an earlier visit to Chicago, I told you of my fortune of finding a breakfast spot that was top notch (Bentley's). I must now tell you that I was reacquainted to an old friend for breakfast in Boulder, Co when Bob and I came across the Original Pancake House.

I first discovered this establishment in Rockville, MD and must have gone there at least ten times for breakfast. So when I found out that there was one in Boulder, I had to make the drive there. As in Rockville, their menus had the same offerings and rather then go with their signature apple pancake, I ventured off the beaten path and settled on the Tropical Pancakes with a side of their homemade corned beef hash.

These lightweight beauties were made with pineapple and came with tropical fruit compote. DELICIOUS!!!! The cornered beef hash was to die for.

The corned beef was shredded properly and made up the majority of the mixture with just the right amount of potato. Add some ketchup plus a dash or two of hot sauce and the moans came swimming out of me like a tidal wave! This combo of pancake and CB was enough to put me over the edge on the full belly meter. It’s a wonder I could eat when dinner time came around (but of course I did). Now, it is a rarity that I share with you a meal that a companion of mine had, but in this case I will make an exception. Bob had the corned beef hash and eggs and a side of the thickest bacon around.

See, the reason I tell you this is because I have ordered this dish on one of my many trips to TOPH and can tell you from experience, it is OUTSTANDING!!!!

So there you have it my fellow culinary followers. My trip to the Rocky Mountains has been chronicled and now I must get ready to head off to Alaska. I promise that I won’t make you wait too long to find out what Alaska had to offer and what interesting foods I found that Made Me Moan.

Oh, one last thing. While I was laying over in Phoenix, I had the opportunity to visit an establishment that I shall write about in my next blog. The only thing that I will leave you with, is that it was in the most unconventional spot you could imagine and it served up the some of the best Mexican food I ever ate. Stay tuned!!!!!!!!!