Monday, February 23, 2009

Two Return Visits

When I say we camped near Winslow, "near" is a relative term.

Winslow was about 20 miles away, but the nearest presence we felt was that of the San Francisco Peaks (nearly 60 miles away), since even in the spacious, comfortable Meteor Crater RV Park, there were few guests given the winter climate. Looking to the west, we could see the magenta greeting to the morning fading away.

To the east were the ruins of the former museum which housed meteorite fragments and information. This view of the museum seemed to capture the glory of the past.

At sunrise on a second visit to photograph the ruins, the sun seemed to cast a glow of green and blue in addition to the yellows and oranges.


When we left Albuquerque, I warned that food blogging would be light until we reached Phoenix. Other than one sustenance stop at a Flying J Travel Stop (no comment forthcoming), we only ate at New Jersey Pizza Company (NJPC) in Flagstaff and the Turquoise Room at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow.

The weekend before our departure from Winslow, we decided to revisit both spots. No photos of our second stop at NJPC, since we duplicated our previous meal (see February 18 entry). But we left agreeing that we may have had the two best pizzas ever. Better even than those we’ve had at De Lorenzo’s on Hamilton Avenue in Trenton, NJ. And De Lorenzo puts out a mean pizza.

But at NJPC, it’s all about the thin crust, the fresh sauce, and the hand pulled mozzarella.

And the trip would not have been complete without a second meal at the Turquoise Room. Again, we started with the restaurant-made corn bread and the Signature Black Bean and Corn Soup. Both were as good, if not better, than the previous lunch.

Chuck went with the Box Car Burger, a half pound of fire-grilled Black Angus beef that came with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and “John’s Special Sauce.” The burger came medium as ordered, was juicy with the flavor of good beef, and had an intense but not overwhelming grilled flavor. With his burger, Chuck had his choice of pasta salad, cole slaw, seasoned homemade chips, potato salad, or fries. Mr. Potato asked for both the potato salad and the fries (Anyone surprised he didn’t ask for a three-fer and try to get the chips, too?) The fries were good but the potato salad was extraordinary with large chunks of red skinned potatoes mixed with chopped egg, diced scallion, and a creamy dressing.

I had to try the Churro Lamb Posole. Posole is a soup/stew (no Rachel Ray “stoup” jokes allowed) and is the name for corn that has been processed with slaked lime (or cal) and then dried. When rehydrated, the corn has a taste and texture that is similar to hominy – only better. What arrived was a giant bowl of posole, corn, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, and peppers with chunks of ultra tender lamb in a bowl of broth seasoned with red chili. Small corn tortillas were served on the side. When I saw the size of the serving, I began to hope that the Turquoise Room had doggie bags (cups). Twenty minutes later, not a speck of posole remained in the bowl. I discretely used the tortillas to clean the bottom of the bowl.

Of course, dessert was in order and again we selected the three gelato sampler, this time selecting the raspberry instead of the prickly pear cactus sorbet. I can’t begin to describe the intensity of flavor – you’ll have to come to Winslow and taste for yourself.

As we drove back to our campground, we agreed that Mary Colter would be pleased that Chef John Sharpe was operating the restaurant in her beloved hotel.

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