Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Buffalo meat and weak beer

If you ever go to Kanab, Utah, try the buffalo at the Rocking V Cafe on West Center Street. It’s a restaurant downstairs, and the Rafters Gallery is upstairs. I ended up joining two women -- one from New Jersey and the other (her cousin) from Florida -- who were sharing a bottle of wine and a meal.

I stopped in Kanab to get one good night’s sleep in a hotel before four nights of tent camping at the Grand Canyon’s north rim and near Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. The cousins were there because each year they bring their daughters to volunteer at the Best Friends sanctuary, an animal rescue facility. Along with walking and feeding all types of animals, the women and their kids take road trips throughout the area. They loved Zion National Park, but said the actual Salt Lake was a dried-up, fly-infested disappointment.

One of these road trips ended with the women sharing a bottle of wine at Rocking V Cafe instead of sipping ice-cold brews. While cruising through small towns and national parks, the two knocked back three Coronas and didn’t feel a thing (not something I recommend, but I’m just telling you the story).

At Rocking V, Victor Cooper, the owner’s husband, explained to my dinner partners that in Utah, the alcohol content in beer is so low it’s like drinking O’Doul’s.

Cooper, an affable guy who chatted up new and regular customers about the food and their visit to Kanab, convinced us to try the buffalo tenderloin.

I’d never eaten buffalo before. It was tender and more robust than filet mignon, but it wasn’t worth $36. Rocking V -- which reminded me of 300 East -- seemed to be the most expensive restaurant in Kanab. Most of the other places were diners or cheap Mexican and Italian restaurants.

I followed dinner with the bread pudding. Not good. To sum up: Try the buffalo; avoid the bread pudding; stick with wine; and watch out for the two crazy cousins who make Thelma and Louise look tame.