Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Marvelous Meals in Medora

The always busy Cowboy Cafe. Photo by Judy Wells.
One of the best ways to start a day on the road is to breakfast where the locals go.  If by chance you find yourself in Medora, North Dakota, you should try the Cowboy Café. 

It’s located around the corner from the post office and offers quick and friendly service, reasonable prices and good food.  I ordered two eggs with toast priced at $4.95 and they arrived in perfect sunny-side-up style.  The coffee was pretty good but not great.  I never realized how discerning I was about coffee until this trip.  Seems many Dakotans prefer weak coffee.

The walls are a history of North Dakota ranching and rodeoing. Photo by Judy Wells.
The Café walls are covered with cattle brands and photos of famous regional cowboys.

The North Dakota "six-pack" of champion cowboys. Photo by Judy Wells.
To learn more about these wranglers visit the Cowboy Hall of Fame a few streets over. 

Stick the steaks on pitchfork tines and time carefully once they hit the boiling oil. Photo by Debi Lander.
Medora is known for Pitchfork Steak Fondue dinners served in a pavilion on a hill overlooking the town.  The view is spectacular with nearly 360 degrees of open sky.  
Pull 'em out at just the right time. Photo by Debi Lander.

Cowboy cooks spear steaks on pitchforks and thrust them into vats of hot oil.  Don’t get too close but it’s quite an operation to watch.

Start with sides on the buffet. Photo by Debi Lander.
You may feel as if you are in prison when given a partitioned metal tray but the food is a LOT better. Select your sides - baked beans, baked potatoes, salad options, coleslaw, Texas toast, and fresh fruit – from the buffet then let the guys slap on a perfectly done medium rare steak.  Wine and beer are available for an extra fee.  Musicians from the Medora Musical serenade diners and dessert, brownies and cake, is served later.   

On our first night in town we delayed dinner and chased the magic hour light before sunset and during moonrise in Teddy Roosevelt National Park. The scenery jumps with vivid gold, green and amber hues. Unfortunately no photo can capture the awesome view like the naked eye.

By the time we left we were more than hungry, however, we really weren’t really dressed appropriately for upscale dining.  Nonetheless, we decided to peek into Theodore’s, the restaurant attached to the famed Rough Riders Hotel. 

Real salads, at last. Photo by Debi Lander.
Their menu looked divine and the staff welcomed us, even dressed in shorts and sneakers.  We splurged for the best dinner of our trip starting with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Next, came our salad- hooray, no iceberg lettuce.  We were thrilled to see dark green fresh spinach leaves with Feta cheese, almonds and cooked fresh beets.  Yum, both healthy and delicious.

Debi's bison osso bucco. Photograph by Debi Lander.
My entrée was Braised Buffalo Osso Bucco and Judy ordered the Bourbon glazed pork chop.  The plates arrived looking picture perfect. The meat was fork tender, no knife needed, and served along with mashed potatoes or cheddar polenta, vegetables and the most delicious sauce. 

 We loved and are still raving about this gourmet meal and had so much left over, we asked for boxes and ate the remainder for lunch the next day.  Thus the savings on lunch and the splurge became less extravagant-about $60 dollars each with wine and tip included. 

Judy's pork chop. Photo by Judy Wells.

No doubt Medora is North Dakota’s prime vacation spot and the food is mighty fine, too.

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