Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Peter's Perfect Pastries & Ice Cream

After six days in the Cody, Wyoming area, I am ready to make a pronouncement. Cody is a really neat place!

With a population of either 8,835 or 9,100 (depending on which web site you believe) and at an elevation of 4,997 feet, Cody has everything one needs in a city. There is a vibrant downtown area, there is both a K-Mart and a Wal-Mart, there is an Albertson’s supermarket, there is an ACE Hardware, there are numerous restaurants--almost no chains--and there is Peter’s Café Bakery on the main street (Sheridan Avenue).

Peter’s, whose ad in the local restaurant finder proclaims “Friendly folks serving over 2,000,000 extraordinary people since 1991,” is a little bit of everything. It is an espresso bar, a bakery, a breakfast café, sub shop, a burger joint, a sandwich bar, and an ice cream parlor. Burgers come as beef or buffalo. The “mountain subs” come in regular and large sizes and with everything – lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, onions, pickles, black olives, oil, vinegar, and jalapeno peppers. You tell them which of the toppings you don’t want. The four cheese grilled cheese sandwich has cream cheese as the “secret ingredient.”

It was a challenge to catch Peter for a photograph. His energy and laugh were shared with his young staff and the regulars to his world. He had a twinkle in his eye, which may account for his stuffed Teddy bear head mounted on a plaque on the wall and his inflated cow hanging over the ice cream display (see photo #3).

But it is the ice cream and pastry that have caught our attention. Our initial foray into Peter’s came after lunch at the Irma Hotel. Having dined virtuously on salad, I had calories to spare, and since Peter’s was just a short jaunt across the street, I suggested to Chuck that dessert was in order. We went in for ice cream, but also left with pastry.

Peter’s serves Wilcoxson’s ice cream (“Made in Montana since 1912”), which has to be one of the best ice creams ever. Dense, creamy, with intense flavors, it is so rich that a small serving is in order. We both ordered the regular size dish of ice cream: mine the decadent Cream and Coffee Fudge; Chuck’s the huckleberry (in a dipped waffle cone in a Styrofoam container because the cone cracked). If you are not familiar with huckleberries, they are similar to blueberries and grow in Western alpine areas. The somewhat tart flavor of a ripe huckleberry is described as being like the most flavorful blueberry you can imagine.

Our take home pastries were two giant sticky buns topped with loads of walnut pieces. These were our supper that evening. The two humungous sweet rolls with cream cheese icing were breakfast the following morning.

Our next visit was after a lunch of pizza at Adriano’s (more on this later). This time we shared a banana split with huckleberry and wild cherry ice creams topped with red raspberries and blackberries and my favorite Cream and Coffee Fudge topped with hot fudge. I was a little surprised that whipped cream did not finish off the banana split. Still, it was rich and delicious. Our take home pastries that day were two of the sticky buns and an apple turnover and a cherry turnover. The pastry on the turnovers was light and flaky and, while the filling had a bit more thickener that I like, they were delicious.

Unfortunately, we neglected to photograph the turnovers, so in the interest of editorial integrity, a return for more take out-pastry was in order. In the midst of a driving rain storm, I dashed from the car and stormed the café looking for pastry. The results of that pastry foray are pictured here: a cherry turnover and an apple turnover; four cinnamon pinwheels, and a blueberry stuffed croissant.

The sacrifices we make for our readers.

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