As with our July road trip to the South, I was determined to find places to eat in Colorado Springs that we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. Here we backtrack a bit to recap a couple of culinary experiences we had in the margins between the last several chapters in this series. Not all of them were trendsetting, but two of them were more creative than anyplace I’ve seen in Indianapolis.
For one of those establishments, the creativity was in the structure itself. Pictured above is my lunch option for Day 5 — the Airplane Restaurant, a perfect companion to the National Museum of WWII Aviation down the street. This 13-year-old eatery is attached to a Radisson Hotel, housed partly inside a normal building, and partly inside a Boeing KC-97. Once a refueling tanker for other planes, now it refuels people.
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.
This was quite a difference shape from lunch on Day Four. As previously recounted, for lunch on Day Four I’d driven up to the Denver Biscuit Company to meet an old friend. ‘Twas a tiny place with three identities and a lot of character.
When we walked inside and I saw this cowboy-vs.-alien quadriptych, I knew he’d chosen wisely. This place really spoke to me.
By contrast, the Airplane contains several collections of airplane-related documents and artifacts. Greatest of them all: the left wing and propeller of that Boeing, trimmed slightly to fit the space allotted.
Diners have the choice of eating either in the mundane dining room or up inside the airplane itself. The fuselage space felt a bit cramped and you can hear other conversations clearly reverberating off the hull, but obviously I wasn’t here for the mundane.
Diners are welcome to explore the exhibits and the rest of the plane itself while waiting on food. Even the cockpit is fair game and intact.
By this time in the week I found myself growing increasingly budget-conscious, because a bonus vacation isn’t something we do every year, and I didn’t have a per diem like my wife did. My lunch was their BBQ Bomber Burger — topped with barbecue sauce, hickory-smoked bacon, and ranch dressing, plus a side order of sweet potato sticky fries.
Not pictured at all in this series: our Day Four dinner at Il Vicino, a small Southwest pizza chain with nine locations in Colorado, New Mexico, and Kansas. My wife and I hung out there with her boss, who was also in Colorado Springs for the week. Per his strict orders, we talked about anything but work. While they each did their thing, I ordered the Bianco — topped wit capocollo ham; spicy oil; mozzarella, gorgonzola, and goat cheese, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and rosemary. I had them add pine nuts and anchovies just for kicks. Anchovies are another one of those alienating ingredients that I like but never get to have because I’m never around anyone who likes them. I was fine with my choices.
As for dinner on Day Five, we tackled another local food category we had yet to address: Tex-Mex! So much closer to both Texas and Mexico than usual, and yet it hadn’t occurred to us till near the end of our stay. Not far from our hotel was Hacienda Colorado, another small chain with five locations, this particular one being a relative newcomer opened in 2014.
I admit I get extra excited whenever I see a menu containing words we only hear on Chopped. I’m kind of an uncultured rube like that. Presented for my education and consumption: Carnitas Tamales — pork carnitas wrapped in handmade masa, served with red mole and roasted jalapeno sauce.
However, the greatest food of Day Five arrived in the middle of the day during when I swung by Amy’s Donuts, whose specialty is self-explanatory. Right now there’s just the one, but their benevolent brain trust is presently planning new locations in Tucson and Columbus, Ohio.
We previously showed you the six donuts I selected after several long minutes of painstaking deliberation. That was maybe 1% of the available options. Behold the magical worlds of Amy’s.
Not pictured: their wide selection of cake donuts, which I usually can’t stand, and the options containing meat, which were down on the far end. Junk-food aficionados with dietary restrictions should note they have no vegan or gluten-free options at this time. Residents of the 47 states and hundreds of countries without imminent Amy’s access should note they’re unable to offer mail-order goodies at this time. They may not be pleasing all of the people all of the time, but if we’re ever in the area again, I’m considering having breakfast there a few times per day. For blogging journalism, of course.
To be continued!
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