High Plains Drifters

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The Travelin Man
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/27 17:11:22 (permalink)
buffetbuster

 

This should serve as a lesson to all of the other reindeer, who USED to laugh and call Rudolph names.
#31
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/27 17:21:09 (permalink)
TTM-
One down, seven more to go!
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Sundancer7
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/27 17:21:47 (permalink)
Looks pretty dead to me.  Screw Rudolph, I want some filet Elk!!!
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
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wanderingjew
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/27 18:16:42 (permalink)
Hey, I used to see lots of dead deer when I lived  in Pittsburgh-  I think I hit one or two in my life time.
 
I was really bummed when Waldorf A'Story closed. I really wanted to check the place out on my "Rocky Mountain Highs and Big Sky's trip" but they closed right before my visit.
 
So why were you uncomfortable taking photos inside the Mint Bar?
#34
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/27 18:22:23 (permalink)
WJ-
Because I wasn't spending any money there.
#35
ChiTownDiner
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/28 16:31:12 (permalink)
Cousin Johnny had your back...
#36
agnesrob
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 09:27:12 (permalink)
Great report Buffetbuster! You're so good at combining the pictures with the backround story for each area you visit. Really enjoyable!
#37
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 09:29:00 (permalink)
Sunday June 12, 2011 cont.
 
We tried hard not to overdo the eating on this day, because we knew the plan were for a two dinner night.  Our first destination was The Rex, right in downtown Billings.  The sign outside says Rex Hotel and doing some research, this was a hotel at one time, but I don't think they have rooms to stay in anymore.  This place goes back to 1919, started by a cook from Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, with money borrowed from Bill himself.
 
I gotta tell ya, I HATE eating outside.  Bugs, wind, heat, sun, they are all potential hazards while trying to eat.  Luckily, Johnny feels the same way.  But The Rex had such a nice looking outdoor eating area,

if ever I was going to do it, it would be here.  Still, we sat inside and thank goodness we did.  Halfway through our meal, everyone outside came running in because of an unexpected rain shower.  With all the dark wood and glass, the inside of The Rex is equally attractive.  Our seats faced the popular bar area.

 
The menu calls the onion rings Billing's best, so we started off with a half order. 

These rings were extra-thick cut, with a very thin crunchy coating.  On the side was ranch dressing, that had been doctored up with something, but the waiter told us it was just straight ranch.  But both of us tasted something else in it to give it an extra zing.  Even at a half portion, this was almost more than we could handle. 
 
The Rex has one of my favorite kinds of salads, which is simply an entire wedge of iceberg lettuce, with lots of salad dressing dumped on top.  Johnny went for the 1000 islands dressing

while I ate the blue cheese.  This is so big, it is almost a whole meal unto itself!
 
Johnny got the Montana Avenue steak, which was a 12 oz. New York strip steak. 

It came with a lone grilled shrimp on top, along with mushrooms and covered in a shiitake mushroom sauce.  He was very happy with his meal, including the fact that it came out to him a true medium rare, just the way he likes it.  Rice pilaf and steamed broccoli were the sides.
 
My plan was to get a steak at the second dinner, so I went seafood instead.  The wild king salmon

was mostly very good, but the outside on the one end was very hard.  And then, about 3/4 of the way through with it, I found a bone and that's it, I was done.  After all the sweets we had been eating, the broccoli was especially welcome.
 
No desserts here, we had to save some room for dinner # 2.
 
The Rex
2401 Montana Avenue
Billings, MT
406-245-7477

Needing to kill some time, we drove around Billings checking out the sights, stopping in a few stores, even calling ChiTownDiner to see how his day in Chicago with wanderingjew was going.  We eventually found our way to the top of the Rimrocks, a series of high hills overlooking Billings.  We did get some views up here



and it was well worth the easy drive.
 
Even though we hadn't fully recovered our appetites yet, it was getting late, so we showed up at dinner #2, The Granary.  Located in a nice neighborhood, directly across the street from Rocky Mountain College, The Granary would be one of the more upscale Roadfood restaurants.  The attractive building

used to be the milling department of Billing Polytechnic Institute, which explains the name.  The outside sign 

was simple, but really caught my eye. 
 
I was slightly concerned whether we were dressed appropriately once I saw the white linen tablecloths, but we were greeted warmly.  The inside is darkly lit and well decorated. 

Note the mural in the back of the room, showing General Custer off to meet his fate at Little Big Horn.
 
The meal started with excellent, thick, homemade bread. 

Johnny had the French Onion soup,

which was loaded with lots of cheese.  It was a little too salty for my taste, but Johnny didn't think so and really enjoyed it.  My butternut squash soup

was absolutely wonderful.  Rich, sweet, creamy, with a hint of nutmeg, this was the best thing I ate on the entire trip.  
 
After eating a steak just a few hours before, it was Johnny's turn for seafood.  He ordered the shrimp and scallops and was rewarded with this beautiful plate of food. 

The portion was a little on the small side, but at this point, that was a good thing.  The grilled shrimp were wrapped around the scallop and it sat on a bed of cheddar grits, along with corn and pepper salsa.  Everything was fresh and he liked the way it all worked so well together.  Although this was far from a typical meal for Johnny, he really enjoyed it.
 
My main course was far from typical for me, either.  I went for something called the crispy caeser salad.  This is romaine hearts standing vertically in a crispy parmesan cheese shell and is a striking dish to see.


When I saw the waitress come out of the kitchen, towards us with the food, it looked like she was carrying a pineapple!  This got ooohs and aaahs from the tables around us and one of the ladies at the closest table even took a photo of it.  Not only did it look good, it tasted even better.  The shrimp were particularly plump, fresh and delicious.
 
Johhny wanted dessert and went for one of his favorites, creme brulee.  Only here, you get a three creme brulee sampler.

From right to left, that is cinnamon, apple and vanilla bean.  The vanilla bean was his favorite, with the apple being his least favorite, despite the cut up pieces of apple in it.  As if that wasn't enough, they brought us some cold chocolate truffles

to end our meal.
 
The service here was excellent, the atmosphere upscale but friendly, we both loved The Granary!
 
The Granary
1500 Poly Drive
Billings, MT
406-259-3488

It was straight back to the hotel for the night.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/06/29 09:42:56
#38
wanderingjew
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 09:52:55 (permalink)
Buffetbuster
 
At The Rex are you sure, the menu simply didn't say "dressing, with choice of salad"? I have never seen so much dressing dumped on a wedge of lettuce!
 
 
#39
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 09:57:49 (permalink)
WJ-
You say that like it is a bad thing!  Here is my blue cheese version.

#40
Sundancer7
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 11:38:38 (permalink)
buffetbuster

WJ-
You say that like it is a bad thing!  Here is my blue cheese version.



WJ and BB:  That is beyound a full meal to me but it certainly looks outstanding to me.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#41
kland01s
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 12:57:48 (permalink)
Love that crispy Caesar salad! What a unique presentation! Did you skip the steak? Dumb question... I would have, you already had a lot of good quality food for one night, why take a chance on a steak?
#42
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 13:07:08 (permalink)
kland01s-
That caeser salad really was something else.  I have never seen anything quite like it.  This had to be the first time I used a knife to cut my salad befor eating it.
 
Yes, I did skip the steak.  It was either a steak or the salad and I was happy with my choice.
 
Sundancer & agnesrob-
Thanks for the kind comments! 
#43
mayor al
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 14:17:01 (permalink)
BB
A Big wedge of lettuce with some 1000 Island has always been my favorite "Simple SAlad" I VOTE WITH jOHNNIE ON THE CHOICE !  Your Caesar Looks absolutely wonderful as well. I gues the Montana Shrimp deserve the reputation they are garnering as a result of your eating pleasure !
#44
mar52
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 14:41:06 (permalink)
Dang!  I passed up on those olive dishes at The 99 cent only store.  Little did I know that I'd one day want to use them for creme brulee.
 
Your trip is very inspiring.  Maybe next year I'll leave family out of the trip plans and head towards Montana.
 
I also have to start practicing the making of those vertical cheese towers.  What is in the serving bowl besides the shrimp, tomatoes and onions?  How impressive!  I'm thinking that they can be shaped right out of the oven.  Now to get my proportions down.
 
I'm loving your trip.  Thanks for all of the effort you put in to them.
#45
Michael Hoffman
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 14:49:06 (permalink)
Salad? Salad? I never eat what my food eats.
#46
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 14:52:17 (permalink)
Al-
As someone who doesn't like a lot of junk in their salad, the wedge covered in dressing is just about perfect.  Truthfully, as much as I love blue cheese dressing, Johnnie's with the 1000 islands was better.
 
mar52-
Thanks for the nice comments.  I have been enjoying your trip report, too, although I haven't had the chance to post in the thread, yet.  I just looked at the menu for the caeser salad and says it is just bacon, tomato, red onions and parmesan cheese. 
#47
Sundancer7
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 14:58:29 (permalink)
BB:  I am going to prepare that salad for my July 4th cook out that my daughter, her two sons and her husband Mark and Mamaw Smith and of course ROZ will attend.  I will run the grill while they enjoy the boat right in front of my house.  I can watch them whiIe I run the grill with burgers, dogs, chicken and some very good pork butt along with grat baked beans with onions, garlic, pork butt and othe spices, Mac and cheese, mixed greens with garlic, onion and pork butt, sweet corn on the grill covered in butter, brownies and some home made peach ice cream.
 
I may just do the salad alone and let the family do the rest.
 
Thanks
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN  
#48
Rusty246
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 15:02:38 (permalink)
Sundancer7

BB:  I am going to prepare that salad for my July 4th cook out that my daughter, her two sons and her husband Mark and Mamaw Smith and of course ROZ will attend.  I will run the grill while they enjoy the boat right in front of my house.  I can watch them whiIe I run the grill with burgers, dogs, chicken and some very good pork butt along with grat baked beans with onions, garlic, pork butt and othe spices, Mac and cheese, mixed greens with garlic, onion and pork butt, sweet corn on the grill covered in butter, brownies and some home made peach ice cream.

I may just do the salad alone and let the family do the rest.

Thanks
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN  

 
That sounds great!  I hope you share with your ugly dog.
#49
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 15:13:24 (permalink)
Paul-
That sounds like an outstanding idea!  I can't imagine they won't be pleased with it.  Have a great holiday with your family!
#50
Sundancer7
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 15:19:18 (permalink)
Rusty246

Sundancer7

BB:  I am going to prepare that salad for my July 4th cook out that my daughter, her two sons and her husband Mark and Mamaw Smith and of course ROZ will attend.  I will run the grill while they enjoy the boat right in front of my house.  I can watch them whiIe I run the grill with burgers, dogs, chicken and some very good pork butt along with grat baked beans with onions, garlic, pork butt and othe spices, Mac and cheese, mixed greens with garlic, onion and pork butt, sweet corn on the grill covered in butter, brownies and some home made peach ice cream.

I may just do the salad alone and let the family do the rest.

Thanks
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN  


That sounds great!  I hope you share with your ugly dog.

 
I am glad you remembered my ugly dog.  She is 15 now and still just as lively as she was when she was a pup.  We got her from the pound.  She was due to be killed the next day.  She has maintained the same weight she was when she was young at about 29 pounds.
 
Believe me, we have no choice but to feed her some table food.  She would kill for a dog, burger, butt and when mixed in, she even eats salad.
 
Thanks for remembering my ugly dog.  Actually she is sorta pretty.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

#51
Sundancer7
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 15:21:08 (permalink)
BB:  thanks for the thought.  Perhaps you and the TM can visit my home and Knoxville, TN someday.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#52
rumaki
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 16:28:27 (permalink)
Everything looked great at The Granary (although I'm not so sure about "tall" food), but I thought the bread looked especially appealing.  I love good bread, and it is getting rarer and rarer.  Was it sourdough?
#53
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 17:05:38 (permalink)
Sundancer-
You know I would love to, and I'm sure TTM would also.
 
rumaki-
It definitely was not sourdough.  I looked back at my notes and nothing is written down for the bread.  I vaguely remember it being cheesy, but can't say for 100% sure.  Sorry!
#54
Foodbme
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 17:11:27 (permalink)
That Fry Bread Pocket at Lisa's looks like a Winner. They all look good !
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ann peeples
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 18:13:09 (permalink)
It all looks good to me!! And those wedge salads!!! Fantastic!!
#56
mar52
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 18:27:05 (permalink)
BB,  thanks for the other ingredients.  I shall perfect the making of that cone of cheese and serve it for my next Mother's Day dinner.
 
Maybe.
 
 
#57
Ralph Melton
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/29 22:09:09 (permalink)
buffetbuster, I love your trip reports.
 
It's so exciting that we have great trip reports going on right now from buffetbuster, wanderingjew, and mar52.
#58
ann peeples
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/30 04:25:36 (permalink)
I agree, Ralph. These trip reports are why I love Roadfood.
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buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/06/30 07:50:10 (permalink)
Monday June 13, 2011
 
Because we anticipated this being the longest day of the trip, we were up and 'atem early.  Stella's


was our breakfast destination and we walked in just a few minutes after they opened at 5:30AM.  Stella's used to be just around the corner, but moved about five years ago.  It is now part of, but in a seperate building, of a Best Western Hotel.  The atmosphere here is non-existent and the inside

feels like it could be a chain in anytown, USA.
 
What Stella's does best is their bakery items, especially the cinnamon rolls.  I don't know why this

makes me laugh, but on the menu they show three babies working over cinnamon rolls bigger than their heads.  After what happened at Johnson's Corner, we decided to just split one of the Great White Cinnamon Rolls. 
 
Johnny got things rolling by ordering one of the monster cakes, which is a huge pancake. 

For it's size, he said it was still very light and fluffy and he didn't have too much difficulty eating the whole thing. 

According to the menu, if you manage to eat four of these, you get a reward.  The reward? 

One of their huge cinnamon rolls!  This reward had to come from the same person who thought giving babies a cinnamon roll was a great idea!  Johnny also ate a couple of over easy eggs

and a couple of slices of thick cut and crispy bacon.
 
I usually don't mention the beverages too much, because both of us usually order boring items, like water or iced tea.  Now, in the morning, Johnny likes one cup of coffee and that's it.  They are constantly trying to refill his cup and he has to tell them over and over again, no more.  I have seen him turn his cup upside down at times.  Me, I don't don't drink coffee at all.  We both like orange juice and always get water, too.  Halfway through our meal here, I remembered from the afternoon before that they have huckleberry milkshakes.  Our beautiful Bulgarian waitress Yoanna said she would be happy to make us shakes at 6:00AM.  So, that's how Johnny ended up with a four beverage breakfast. 

By the way, the milkshake was outstanding!  Brought in a silver beaker,

it was very thick, strong huckleberry flavor and even had plenty of whole huckleberries in it.  Another nice thing here is that when you order orange juice, you get your choice between fresh squeezed or from concentrate and, of course, we took the fresh squeezed.
 
My food, a ham and cheese omelet and hashbrowns

was nothing special, although I do think they were better than they look in the photo.
 
We had finished up with everything else, when I pointed out to Yoanna that we hadn't received our Great White Cinnamon Roll, yet.  Maybe this was a good thing, because we were quite full by then and asked her to wrap it up to go.  On the way out the door, they do have a case full of great looking pastries

and a wooden stand of nothing but cinnamon rolls,

but we passed.
 
Stella's
2525 1st Avenue North
Billings, MT
406-248-3060
 
We got on I-94 East and started for North Dakota.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/06/30 07:55:11
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