Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Regional grub.

A couple of comments on my chinese food post have led me to believe that I won't find any good chinese food in Montana. Well in the past I have found a decent Chinese eatery in Whitefish, and a fair to middlin' one in Missoula. You are right, nothing 'to die for' but passable at least. City life has spoiled me for varieties of good dining being a stones throw away.

This all got me thinking about regional foods. When in Seattle I make a point to get some Ivars clam chowder. Traveling in the south I simply can't pass up the barbeque. I am particularly fond of BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw on them. Stops in New Orleans call for gumbo or shrimp creole. When I get a hankerin' for tex mex I gotta go south. Colorado can do ok, but for the good stuff you need to go farther into New Mexico or Texas. For the real deal Mexican cuisine, nothing beats crossing the border into Mexico (duh). I have never spent much time in the New England states, but if I ever find myself there I intend to score some lobster.

So what about Montana? The lack of variety is scaring me. It's not just chinese food, ethnic restaurants in general are in short supply. I can't find a decent salsa in any supermarket. The pizza here is only as good as pizza hut. Huckleberries? Yea, they rock, but they don't exactly make a meal. Traveling to Montana for huckleberry pie is about as fulfilling as traveling to Wisconsin for a cheese sandwich.

So what food does Montana do better than anywhere else? Beef baby. Yeah. Steaks, roasts, burgers, ribs, grilled, deli sliced, brisket, bloody rare or burnt well Montana is my favorite place for turning cows into tasty!

But it's not quite a name brand is it. Food is associated with regions in our collective cultural conscious. Philadelphia - cheese steak. New York - Hot wings. Chicago - pizza. But the Montana - beef connection is not so ingrained. I'd like to think it is because Montanans (and western states in general) have done such a fine job of exporting beef to the country and the world. When you can get a damn good steak pretty much anywhere between New York and Los Angeles it makes it hard to associate that steak with Montana. So it goes. At least Montanans know the difference between 'damn good steak' and 'the best steak'.

Nice blog Jones, good to see some fellow Montanan's.

The pizza here is only as good as pizza hut.

I see you haven't tried Zimmerinos in Missoula yet.
Thanks for the tip wulf. I'll look for it next time I am there.
In a pinch, Mackenzie River pizza isn't bad either. Next time you're in Msla, check out the Mushroom Pesto Manicotti at The Bridge...only recipe the wife's ever asked the cook for.
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