Friday, July 9, 2010
Road Trip -- Day 11: Montana
I blew off Banff, British Columbia to give myself more time in Montana. And last night in Missoula made me glad I did.
I pulled in late, with a big steak on my mind as my first meal. The nice lady at the front desk told me that I might have to settle for McDonald's. I would not be denied. Maybe it wouldn't be a steak, but I was determined to find something good and authentic.
As if on auto pilot, I felt guided past bar after crowded bar, doors crowded with late night partiers spilling onto the sidewalks, past red neon sign after red neon sign until I caught a glimpse of the Missoula Club. Burgers and Beer.
Missoula being a university town, it was packed with a young, rowdy crowd of hats (crowds of guys wearing baseball caps) and chicks. But just as in Seattle, miraculously there was a free bar stool waiting for me.
I had a couple ice cold Rainier beers, an absolutely amazing burger, and a great time. The beef tasted like beef. The beer was beer. The people were lively and friendly. Only a couple times did I feel tested by a hat who would visit my personal space, possibly looking for a rise out of me. But maybe it's a counter balance to the wide-open spaces out here. People seem to be more kinesthetic -- they seem to want to be closer. There was a lot of body contact which was a bit unsettling at first. Of course it was more fun with the females. They were friendly and delightful. Yet being a stranger in a local bar in a rowdy town, I was a good boy.
I walked around a little more and did a Bourdain -- street food. I came upon a spotless taco truck, and had a couple amazing late-night beef tacos.
***Note to would be street vendors: the word "catering" has instant appeal and gives a virtual 3rd party endorsement to whatever food you're dishing out. Make sure it's prominently displayed, as was done on this truck. It worked.
I'm going to take my time in Montana. I will visit beautiful Banff some other time, and will take my time there too.