Montana: Bozeman

As I am unconscionably behind on these posts, it is time to try something different.  I will write some in a more summary and informal way.  While it pains me to let the quality drop a little, the alternative is continuing to fall farther and farther behind.  Here goes…

September 5, 2013 (Thursday, cont’d) – After checking into the Western Heritage Inn we did a bit of work before driving a very short way to Montana Ale Works at 8 pm.  There was a wait but Jenni quickly grabbed a table in the lounge area.  It is a huge space, reminiscent of a high school gym but a little narrower and maybe even longer.  It is fairly dark and loud but good for those with years to go before AARP membership.  My Steep and Deep from Lone Peak Brewery of Big Sky had an ABV of 8.1% and was delicious.  This place has tons of beers on tap and all are available in half or full size and cost about $2.75-3.75 for a half or $4-5 for a full.  Quite a bargain.

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The NFL season opener was on.  The Broncos were playing so the TV flashed Elway’s career start and end dates and Jenni thought he was deceased.  I got buffalo wings which were crispy and not a ton of sauce.  Kind of like a mix between the wings from Espresso’s in Medford and a more traditional offering.  The blue cheese was thick and yummy.  Jenni’s Pyramid Nitro Weiss Cream Ale tasted like a beer / cream soda combo.  This is the kind of place I believe would do well in most college towns.

Sept 6, 2013 (Friday) – Although it was my birthday, we spent the whole day working in the hotel room.  Well, we did enjoy some make-your-own Belgian waffles and mediocre coffee in the lobby of our hotel in the morning.  And we fit in a 7-minute workout in the room.  Look up the 7-minute workout which is 12 exercises for 30 seconds each with short intervals.  I cannot imagine it is a perfect substitute for longer workouts, but it is better than nothing.

Enjoyment increased when we walked into town and secured a table by the open windows at Plonk.  This place was recommended by a friend we made in Walla Walla.  The pork belly appetizer was perhaps the largest portion of said dish I have ever eaten.  The texture was a little tougher than usual but I loved it.  Our scallop appetizer was a hit.  I ordered a steak and enjoyed it but was underwhelmed.  It was a NY strip but appeared (a one-knuckle rather than two-knuckle thickness) and had the tenderness more of a ribeye.  The waiter said that is because it was grass-fed and from the valley.  Environmental concerns and animal rights aside, I like my beef corn-fed.  I have found pretty consistently that the steaks I have enjoyed the most are not those eaten in cattle-raising regions.  Rather, they are the steaks I get in fancy steakhouses in big cities.  Places like Peter Luger, Mastro’s, Bones, Wolfgang’s, Gibson’s, Peter Luger, Strip House, Sparks, Grill 23 and, of course, Peter Luger.  That said, Plonk is a nice place with a very good menu and we enjoyed our meal.  We passed Blackbird on the way to dinner which also looked good.

After dinner we went to Copper Bar which was in a downstairs space that was very upscale ski lodge.  There was a stone wall, long bar with copper and dark wood.  A youngish crowd.  I ordered the rough mule which substitutes rough stock spring wheat whiskey for vodka.  Bad idea.  We walked around the block to work up an appetite and saw the neat statue of Jeanette Rankin sitting in a crescent moon at the corner of Tracy and Babcock.  Back on the main drag, there was a 12-year old kid playing guitar and singing along with his dad or friend or who knows.  He delighted us with Sweet Child of Mine followed by Sweet Home Alabama.  Jenni had found a $5 bill on the street in Portland and decided his tip jar was the home she had been seeking for this nickel.

On the way home we stopped into the downtown Co-op which makes sandwiches etc.  I got a salted caramel brownie and Jenni a lemon rosemary buttermilk cookie.

September 7, 2013 (Saturday) – We got a fairly early start for the long day ahead of exploring more of Yellowstone and getting down to our desired campground in Grand Teton National Park.

Bozeman is a nice town and I see the appeal.  There is a main street with several blocks of shops and bars and restaurants.  We did not see the college campus but I imagine there is more to do there.  Outdoor activities abound in the surrounding valleys and mountains.  The vibe is laid back cowboy white water rafting guide bonhomie.  There are some serious hats and belt buckles, but perhaps even more Oakleys and sandals.  A gentleman was playing the upside down buckets on a street corner across from Plonk.

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