Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Eat, Drink, and Be Merry…

...for tomorrow we’ll be in Utah."

On our morning stroll through downtown Moab, we found that saying on T-shirts, coffee mugs, and shot glasses. It mainly refers to Utah’s somewhat unfathomable laws governing the sale, service, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. But…we come from Pennsylvania, so are no strangers to arcane liquor laws. (Liquor and wine can only be bought in state owned and operated liquor stores; beer can be purchased in cases only in privately owned but licensed “beverage distributors.” But---some small markets have what is called a “deli” beer license, and these stores are your source for individual bottles of American microbrews and specialty imported beers. Our favorite was the Ashton Market in Upper Darby, PA.)

So where is this leading? Just a preamble to talking about our recent lunch at the Moab Brewery. One facet of the laws regarding beer is that Utahans can only purchase “heavy” beer at a state liquor store. Grocery stores and restaurants – even brew pubs – are limited to 3.2 beers. From the list of six beers available that day, I chose the Elephant Hill Hefeweizen which is an unfiltered American style wheat beer. Chuck went with the Rocket Bike Wit, unfiltered Belgian wheat ale. Both were what you expect from a wheat beer – light and refreshing with a mild beer flavor. While I don’t have a base for comparison, I suspect that the 3.2 “light” beer was better suited to these than it would to a stout or a porter.

The menu is extensive with a long list of appetizers and salads, three soups, six burgers, twelve different poultry options, seven fish offerings, eight vegetarian selections. In addition, that day there were three lunch specials. Chuck’s choice came from the specials list – a Mexi-steak sandwich on garlic sourdough toast and topped with cheddar cheese, red onion, tomato, lettuce, and jalapeños served with a choice of fries or onion rings.

First, congratulations to the brew pub for not calling this a Philly cheesesteak. Second, this sandwich was delicious. The meat was thinly sliced (not always a given in the Southwest), juicy, and flavorful, and the combination of the cheese, garlic, peppers, and onion enhanced rather than overwhelmed the taste of the meat. His fries were very good, but we may never find fries as good as Slacker’s (Torrey, UT).

As for me, I wavered between the fish tacos (tilapia, jicama, cilantro, tomatoes, black olives, and green onions in corn tortillas), the Hummus wrap (hummus, veggies, herbed cream cheese in a chipotle tortilla), or the smoked salmon wrap. Now I know that I have previously stated that I don’t care much for wraps, but trusting that these wraps would be made to order and thus avoid the soggy wrapper syndrome, I chose the smoked salmon wrap with cucumbers, tomatoes, and lime cilantro dressing in a chipotle tortilla. As my side, I had a generous serving of tossed salad also with the lime cilantro dressing.

My trust was not misplaced. No sign of soggy in the wrapper, and the serving was huge with a generous portion of good smoked salmon. The dressing was slightly sweet, and I suspect that the acid in the lime had been tempered with some honey.

We also shared an appetizer of Thai-style calamari. I am not sure why they were described as Thai-style, but the large order was topped with chopped red pepper, chopped banana peppers, and a sweetish dressing that hinted of ginger. Now Chuck is pickier about calamari than am I. He thought the rings were too large and, therefore, too chewy. On the other hand, I would only describe one ring that I ate as chewy. But this worked to my advantage, and I got to eat about 90% of the serving.

As a result of the calamari indulgence, I took half of my wrap and a third of my salad home for dinner that evening. How did I resolve the soggy wrapper problem? Easy, I just dumped the contents of the wrap over the salad and tossed the wrapper away.

Our lunch at the Moab Brewing Company was good but certainly not great. Since I had the feeling I was eating “corporate” food, it only deserves a 3.5 Addie rating.


We drove along the Colorado River on Route 128 early this morning.

Scenes along the Colorado will be the subject of tomorrow's entry, but we wanted to provide an introduction to that experience by showing a few of the small colorful flowers we saw along the route.

One of the intrepid Wanderers was caught in a moment of concentration as he composed a photo.

To paraphrase the closing statement of the old Dragnet series: "On May seventh, trip was held along the Colorado in the State of Utah, in and for Grand County of Moab. In a moment, the results of that trip."

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