Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sampling Chico

Well since I’m blogging about Chico’s recipes, it would only make sense to dine at their restaurant! Actually, we’d planned this trip loooooooong before the blog idea popped into my head, but this outing kept getting pushed back on account of alotta goings-on. So with Travis' surgery quickly approaching, we figured we better get outa the house while we can!
After a funfilled bday party this day (where we indulged on spectacular cake & mints- and good company), we finally ventured out on the 2-hour drive to cousin Keith's cabin, just a few miles past Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa, tucked in the Absaroka Mountains of the ghost town Old Chico, MT. Travis was hunting there last November, but I haven’t been up since New Year’s Eve last year. I cherish this area, lots of family history & good memories. In fact, one of my very earliest memories was crossing the creek with my parents in front of Great Uncle Elvin’s cabin (well, it was definitely a shack back then) when I was about 3. My rowdy great uncles were even mentioned in a book recently written about this region. Oh if those cabin walls could talk, they've got tales to tell!
We settled in that evening, then drove down to immerse ourselves in Chico's relaxing mineral pools. I love those pools. Surrounded by Paradise Valley's scenery, lounging in the "ceee-ment pond" -as The Beverly Hillbillies would say. It always makes me feel like I've stumbled across a luxury oasis or some sort of hidden gem! The steam, the water; they felt extra therapeutic this night. Minds unwinding, staring off into the snowy horizon. ...Aaah, sounds great after the work-week, doesn't it? If only we lived closer, we could do this more often! One little glitch in this particular retreat though; Travis began feeling a little under the weather just after we got there. Poor guy, even sipping 7up didn't ease the upset stomach. Following our thermal soak (And anyone who's experienced wet hair w/ frigid air knows how excited I was to don my new swimming turban!), we strolled over to our reservations at the elegant dining room of Chico’s restaurant. By this time, Travis really wasn't feeling well at all, so we were on a mission to order, eat, & get outa there. I selected pork chops (it'll be interesting to compare these with our own homecooked version) and Travis had the rack of lamb (almost as delicious as our interpretation on Recipe #12). For appetizers we slurped down some Oysters Rockefellar (they were slightly baked instead of raw like the ones we enjoyed with Recipe #8), had the Classic Spinach Salad (like Recipe #10, but with less dressing), and of course nibbled Chico's famous Fennel Breadsticks (we look forward to recreating these someday). The waitress was empathetic to my husband's pale face, "Would you like some club soda with lime?" It didn't seem to help much, other than delighting him in discovering a new favorite beverage. So after our fairly quick, yet delectable, dinner (with fantastic service & ambiance too, I might add), we headed back to the cabin to put Travis to bed. As we wandered past Chico's Saloon, we took in the cool mountain air and retro bluesy sound of the band The Shuffle Bums. They were pretty good! But in combination with Travis' queasiness, those slumber-inducing pools and an eventful week made us feel quite tired. We didn't linger in the parking lot very long; it was ADIOS frenzy party atmosphere, HOLA rustic cabin comfort! No surprise, we were quickly lulled to sleep by the solitude..... Gracias Chico, for making our plentiful dinner after the Rice & Beans Project so fulfilling.
~Rating of Pork Chops cooked by Chico: 8.5 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of Rack of Lamb cooked by Chico: 8 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of Oysters Rockefeller cooked by Chico: 6 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of Classic Spinach Salad cooked by Chico: 7 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of Fennel Breadsticks cooked by Chico: 7 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "Always act like you're wearing an invisable crown." -Author Unknown.
~Music while eating: restaurant chatter

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