After our tour of the Air Force Academy we declared suppertime. On the other side of I-25 we found a place in Colorado Springs where seafood meets sports, tenpins meet pin bones, and you can bring your own ball but not your own bait.
Welcome to Uncle Buck’s FishBowl & Grill.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Each year my wife and I take a road trip to a different part of the United States and see what sorts of historical landmarks, natural wonders, man-made oddities, unexplored restaurants, and cautionary tales await us. From November 1-6, 2015, we racked up a number of personal firsts. My wife Anne was invited on her first business trip to Colorado Springs, all expenses paid from flight to food to lodging to rental car, to assist with cross-training at a distant affiliate. Her supervisor gave me permission to attend as her personal travel companion as long as I bought my own plane ticket and food. I posted one photo for each of the six days while we were on location. With this series, we delve into selections from the 500+ other photos we took along the way.
Back home in Indiana, as of this writing the great and powerful Bass Pro Shops have only opened two stores, both at opposite ends of the state, each over a hundred miles away from us. I’m okay with this because hunting and fishing aren’t my thing despite a few half-hearted attempts at each. I’ve never had an animal-stalking experience that ended in an affirming male victory.
But I know stores like these do have their fans, especially for taxidermy lovers. We saw a similar setup at a Cabela’s in Minnesota on our 2006 road trip, but the Bass Pro Shop in Colorado Springs is certainly competitive in that field.
The management of this location went one step above and beyond the normal hunter/fisher paradigm and added a themed restaurant with no direct relation to the old John Candy movie.
The decorating scheme simulates a stereotypical ocean floor, with its deep blue walls, sunken ship hull, and fish lollygagging all over the place.
As the name threatens, their menu is mostly fish. We’d already had seafood for dinner the night before, and for 80% of our meals on our Southern road trip in July, but we were here more for the ambiance than anything else. What we’d read about it gave us that “gotta see it for ourselves” suspicion that leads us into a lot of memorable experiences and the occasional disaster.
The actual food, then: Anne’s fish tacos won the night — a simple repast of whitefish, pineapple-avocado slaw, and assorted cheese.
Mine was the bombastically named Famous Islamorada Fish Sandwich, which sounds like the kind of unforgettable meal you tell your grandchildren about in hushed whispers while their eyes widen in awe as they imagine what an amazing place this “Islamorada” must have been. Possibly it was a lost Jurassic Park resort, a shrine in Atlantis, or the name of the street where a young Aquaman talked to his first fish and told it, “Come here, Waterson, I want you.”
If only. Wanna know what a sixteen-dollar fish sandwich looks like? Served with tartar sauce and American cheese? Here ya go, kid. I’d love to report on its delicate bouquet and its unique flavor profiles and its celebration of the culinary features unique to the mahi mahi.
Cold reality: it’s an overpriced fish sandwich. I thought back to the glories of New Orleans and wept inside. Too bad you can’t use inside tears as a sandwich topping, because this definitely needed seasoning.
Anne had enough left of her business per diem for a wrap-up treat of caramel apple pie and ice cream. I approved.
When you’re done eating, or instead of eating, you can enjoy Uncle Buck’s other specialty: fish-themed bowling! It’s funny because their name has “fishbowl” in it and there’s fish and you can bowl! This alley dressed like an aquarium offers bowling exactly the way SpongeBob SquarePants would want it, except it’s not filled up with inconvenient drowning water.
…but we skipped the bowling part. Anne hasn’t bowled in over two decades, and I’ve bowled exactly three times in my life, which came as quite a shock some years ago to the coworkers who once enlisted me in a bowling tournament under the sexist assumption that all fat guys are awesome bowlers. I don’t think my top score of 90 impressed them much. And that was with lovable internet friends giving me last-minute tips beforehand. Should’ve been a lot worse. So no, no bowling for us.
Even if we’d wanted to stick around, Anne had to be up ridiculously early for work again in the morning, the curse that dogged her all through this business trip of hers. Thus we concluded our Tuesday and bade Uncle Buck a hearty “So long, and thanks for all the pie, if not necessarily for the fish.”
To be continued!
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