Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Special Town

Cody, Wyoming is a special town.

Friendly people, vibrant downtown, good food, and--did I mention--friendly people.
Just west of Cody is the Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir. Through the years, the reservoir's water has helped turn the virtual desert of the northern Big Horn Basin into one of Wyoming's most fertile farming regions, supplying four irrigation districts encompassing over 93,000 acres of farmland in the Bighorn Basin.

It was completed January 15, 1910 after five years that included several contractor problems at a total cost of $929,658 (1910 dollars).

At completion, the original height was 325 feet, the highest dam in the world. Interestingly, an 8-year modification project, increasing the dam height by 25 feet to a total of 353 feet, was completed in 1993.

Just after leaving the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center, we headed east toward Cody, passing through three tunnels, the first one about a quarter of a mile long and two very short ones.

Another six miles east brings travelers to downtown Cody. Looking back toward the west, we see Rattlesnake Mountain providing a backdrop to the town.

Downtown Cody is a walkable town, filled with friendly people--merchants and local residents--who willingly engaged us in conversations.

However, it was difficult to walk past the Western gear shops--the cowboy hats were calling to me.

Seeing signs of the town's sense of humor is a sure indicator of a bright outlook for the future. Here Pizza On The Run answers the "Who You Gonna Call?" question.

Unique? Definitely. Clever? Maybe--Do you call the ambulance to deliver the pizza quickly or are you calling the ambulance after delivering the pizza. I know, too much analysis.

After I sat drooling over our fellow diners’ pasta, you didn’t think I’d leave Cody without trying the pasta at Adriano’s did you? The restaurant has a lunch menu that offers smaller portions of some of the regular dinner entrees. While the prices varied, both Chuck and I got salad, breadsticks, and pasta for $7.25 each. And it was as good as I expected it to be.

The salad was primarily crisp romaine topped with red onion slices and shredded carrots. The house Italian dressing was unique in that it had virtually no oil. Rather, it seemed to be a mix of red wine and balsamic vinegars with garlic and herbs with the sweetness of the balsamic cutting, but not eliminating, the acidity of the red wine vinegar. It was light and refreshing and an excellent contrast to the heavier pasta to follow.

Adriano makes his own breadsticks, and these prove that he is truly “Mad with Garlic.” (as the menu announces). The soft breadsticks were liberally brushed with olive oil and topped with fresh chopped garlic, rosemary, and oregano. They were so good that we had no trouble devouring two orders.

Chuck is not fond (to put it mildly) of lasagna, so this is not something that I cook at home since it is too much trouble to make for one person. But every so often I crave good lasagna, so I was overjoyed to see that this was one of the lunch specials. And special it was. This generous serving of al dente lasagna noodles was layered with meat sauce, and the entire dish was covered with a mild red sauce that was heavy with ground meat and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. The sauce was so flavorful that I was scraping its last vestiges at the bottom of the dish with my spoon. (The breadsticks were long gone.)

Since I was having a red sauce, Chuck decided to go in a different direction and ordered the Fettucini Alfredo. A wise choice. This generous serving of al dente pasta was tossed with a rich parmesan laden cream sauce that included chopped fresh parsley and slivers of garlic. This latter was a pleasant surprise since most recipes for alfredo sauce do not include garlic. The bright flavor of the flat leaf parsley made the sauce less rich and heavy.

If you are in Cody and want great and authentic Italian food, head for Adriano’s Italian Restaurant on Sheridan Avenue for a 4.5 Addie experience.

Now it's on to Billings, Montana.

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