High Plains Drifters

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MiamiDon
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/05 18:53:24 (permalink)
I've never heard of a Sour Cream Raison Pie outside of Roadfood.com.  I hope to travel to Indiana in the not-too-distant-future, and to taste the authentic thing.
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buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/05 19:49:35 (permalink)
ann peeples

Again, a cute road trip....however, love the Devil's Tower shots, and the food, to me, is incidental on this leg of the trip!!!!( not really)

Ann, I completely agree with your assessment that in the middle portion of this trip report, the food is superfluous.  Cousin Johnny and I have been talking about taking this trip for years, but kept putting it off because we just didn't know if we would find really good food in the area.  After having done the trip, the sights were so memorable, it really made the issue unimportant.
 
Luckily, we do get back to the lots of eating before the trip is over!
 
CTD-
Thanks for not admonishing us for only eating one slice of pie each.  We kind of felt we were letting you down.
 
MiamiDon-
I had never heard of sour cream raisin pie before Roadfood, either and it has quickly become a favorite.  I doubt you will find it in Indiana and will have much better luck in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/06 01:17:52 (permalink)
Glad to see you made it to south Dakota, enjoying the trip report so far. I hope you found the Termesphere gallery while in Spearfish. I eagerly await the next thrilling installment!
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MiamiDon
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/06 07:55:33 (permalink)
My bad.  I got Nick's Country Cafe mixed up with The Farmer's Kitchen.
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/06 07:57:51 (permalink)
MiamiDon-
Very understandable.  They are both Roadfood gems, with excellent pork tenderloins and pie!
 
paintman-
Sorry to say we did not make it to Termesphere, as we are done with Spearfish. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/06 07:59:11
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 09:14:23 (permalink)
Tuesday June 14, 2011 cont.
 
Instead of taking ten days worth of clothes on these vacations, Johnny and I always take about half that and then do laundry sometime in the middle of the trip.  We arrived in Rapid City a couple hours before check-in time, so we took advantage of the opportunity to find a laundromat and get the laundry out of the way.  Once finished, we checked in at the Hotel Alex Johnson in downtown Rapid City.  This historic hotel goes back to 1928 and is one of the bigger buildings in Rapid City.  The hotel is imposing looking as seen from the parking garage

and here is the attractive lobby.

 
We purposely scheduled very little on this day, to give us a chance to recharge our batteries.  Johnny took a long nap, while I relaxed and watched tv.  About 6:00PM, we went out for dinner to Colonial House Restaurant and Bar,

as suggested by zataar and paintman.  The outside didn't look interesting, but after a five minute wait, we were led past a pie case

on the way to our table.  Okay, this place now has my full attention!
 
We both started off with the spinach mushroom soup. 

This soup was thick, with a strong taste of both spinach and mushroom and we both enjoyed it very much.  They also make their own bread here and on this night, it was craisin nut bread. 

I can't remember if it was walnuts or pecans, but I don't like either, so I just had a small slice of the end.  It was not warm, which would have made it better, but Johnny liked it so much, he ate almost the entire small loaf. 
 
As an appetizer, we got the walleye strips. 

This was a huge portion of small, crunchy walleye bits, with tarter sauce on the side.  We both said we would order it again.
 
For his entree, Johnny went for the chicken fried steak. 
 
With a cup of white gravy on the side, the CFS was decent size and thick, tender and covered in a delicious breading.  I was very happy to help Johnny with his steamed broccoli.  Unfortunately, I completely whiffed on my meal.  Did you ever have one of those times when you just have no idea what to order?  That was me here.  My first thought was the buffalo burger, but I knew I was having one for lunch the next day.  I had already asked the waitress to come back twice  and then finally just blurted out fried shrimp.  Not exactly the thing to order in South Dakota, huh?  Anyway, there was nothing wrong with what was brought to me,

but I'm sure there were much better choices on the menu.  The excellent side of sweet potato fries were hot, crispy, with maximum yammy flavor.
 
Time to make our pie selections.  Actually, I had already made mine.  Probably the most important lesson I have learned from Jane & Michael Stern is to choose your pie as soon as you sit down.  Don't take any chances that they will run out of your favorite while you are eating the rest of your food.  Even before ordering the drinks, I told the waitress to bring a slice of sour cream raisin out and put it on our table.  When she brought out the drinks and no pie, I asked where it was and she told me it should be refrigerated and that she did set it aside for me.  Good thinking!  Here is the pie list

that Johnny mulled over and he decided on the banana cream.  Which was great for me, because now I get to sample my two favorites!  With some brown banana parts sticking out, his pie

could have easily been mistaken for sour cream raisin, but it was indeed banana cream. It did have lots of sliced bananas in it and he approved of the very light, flaky crust, but thought it was a little too heavy on the whipped topping.  My sour cream raisin

was clearly the best of the trip.  Loaded with raisins, it had the perfect consistency and thankfully, no cinnamon flavor in it.  
 
The Colonial House doesn't really look like what I think of Roadfood, but there is a lot to like about this place.  Our service was excellent.  In the corner of the back dining room, they have a table labeled the worst table in the house. 

Even though you do get a discount if you sit here, I still think I would rather sit elsewhere. 
 
While eating, there was a large family of about 10 walk past us and the one woman was wearing a Pittsburgh Steeler shirt.  I made a comment and we ended up talking Stiller football for a few minutes before she left to rejoin her family.  She quickly returned with her very young granddaughter, who she prodded to sing, "Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go."  She then remarked, with a big smile on her face, "It is never too early to start brainwashing them!"
 
Colonial House Restaurant
2501 Mount Rushmore Road
Rapid City, SD
605-342-4640

After paintman mentioned that Robbinsdale Bowling Alley Cafe was also a good place to get homemade pie, we stopped in hoping to get a slice.  Unfortunately, we were told they were already sold out of pie for the night.  We took this as a good sign and vowed to return the next day.
 
We returned to the hotel for the night.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/07 09:42:25
#96
ScreamingChicken
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 09:39:49 (permalink)
Sounds like the "worst table" at Colonial House would be perfect for someone packing a camera!
 
Now as far as not liking pecans or walnuts...you must be nuts. <groaning smiley here>
 
Brad
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paintman
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 09:43:37 (permalink)
Holy cow...fried shrimp? Sigh. Perhaps I should have been there to offer some guidance. I'm glad you got your pie fix anyhow.
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buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 09:45:37 (permalink)
paintman-
Yeah, I groaned as soon as I ordered the fried shrimp.  Luckily, we tried enough other things to know this is a quality restaurant.  Out of curiousity, what should I have ordered?
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/07 10:33:53
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 10:14:09 (permalink)
Okay, I don't think you should do any more apologizing for the pictures, because both the scenery shots and the food shots are excellent.  When I got my new camera I did read the material and took a couple practice shots, and it really doesn't make as much difference as just a couple years of using the thing all the time.  You did absolutely great.
 
And I could just squee at the prairie dogs; you did have very nice critter karma on this trip.  And now I really want to go to some of those big old upper midwest states--so gorgeous!
 
I wonder what the hell happened in the trip from the upper Midwest to the plains for sour cream raisin pie?  That's when you want like food epidemiologists to go figure that out.  Wacky man.
 
Cousin Johnny: still a hoot.  Love to see what's coming next!
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 13:34:01 (permalink)
Wednesday June 15, 2011 
 
Because we took it easy the day before, we had lots to do on this day.  And that meant getting up early.  So early, we hoped to enter Badlands National Park before the sun came up.  Unfortunately, even though we left our hotel at 4:20AM, the sun beat us there.  But, that morning sun with the ethereal glow,

made for some great photo taking.
 
We got to The Badlands so early, there was no one to take our money as we entered the park.  So, we ended up paying on the way out.  At the very first serious overlook we came to, there was at least a dozen Bighorn sheep walking around.  None of them seemed particularly afraid or interested in us, including one ewe


who was happy to pose.  We also saw quite a few turkeys here, too.

 
As we drove along through the park, the scenery was breathtaking!







Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, we would drive around the next corner and somehow it had.


 
 
Besides the memorable scenery, we also spotted even more animals including a rabbit,

some beautiful bighorn lambs

and this animal,

which kind of looks like a kangaroo from this angle.  Anybody know what is?  Could it be a pronghorn?
 
We did spend about four hours in Badlands and if it wasn't for the fact we had so many other things to do on this day, we would have undoubtedly stayed much longer.  The time we spent in Badlands National Park was definitely the highlight of the trip for both us.
 
Needing something to eat, we couldn't pass up the tourist destination that is Wall Drug. 

All I really knew about this place was the bumper stickers you see everywhere.  It really is one giant tourist trap, but we were hungry, so we ordered some breakfast.  That is Johnny's pancakes,

which he said were too gummy and his sausage, which he said reminded him of McDonald's version.  Needless to say, that is not a compliment.  My french toast was actually light and fairly good and the bacon was nice and crispy.  Both the cherry and peach pies were straight from a can and we should have known better.  I don't think either one of us took more than two bites.  To drink, some of the famous Wall Drug free water.
 
 
Behind the store, they have plenty of opportunities to take tacky tourist photos, including on top of a giant jackalope. 

I did climb up there, but this one

is my favorite photo taken at Wall Drug.  Cousin Johnny, who has more sense and dignity, declined having his photo taken here.
 
Back in the car we went, headed for Mount Rushmore.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/07 13:44:42
6star
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 13:49:41 (permalink)
"Anybody know what is?  Could it be a pronghorn?"
 
Yes, it is a pronghorn, likely a female or possibly a young male, hence no "horns".
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 13:51:10 (permalink)
Thanks 6star!  Although, I will try to convince the gullible that we saw a kangaroo in South Dakota!
rumaki
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 14:04:25 (permalink)
So, at the Colonial House, was it "chocolate and almond" cream pie, or chocolate cream pie, and almond cream pie?  Inquiring minds want to know.
 
Some of those sheep looked more like Dall sheep than bighorns, but I don't believe that Dall sheep are indigenous to the Dakotas (I've seen them in Alberta at Waterton Park).  Do you know?
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 14:26:29 (permalink)
rumaki-
Honestly, we never inquired about that particular pie, but I read it as chocolate and almond in the same pie.  Sounds pretty good to me!
 
And I'm not going to be much help when it comes to the animals, either.  They looked like the bighorn sheep that was on the Badlands brochure they give you, so I assumed that is what they are.  If anyone knows otherwise, I would love to know for 100% sure.
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 14:39:18 (permalink)
buffetbuster

rumaki-
Honestly, we never inquired about that particular pie, but I read it as chocolate and almond in the same pie.  Sounds pretty good to me!

And I'm not going to be much help when it comes to the animals, either.  They looked like the bighorn sheep that was on the Badlands brochure they give you, so I assumed that is what they are.  If anyone knows otherwise, I would love to know for 100% sure.


You will notice your ewe picture is exactly like the bottom row of pictures (which are identified as bighorn ewes) on this website: http://www.pbase.com/decor/big_horn_sheepgoats
and the lambs look nearly identical to the bighorn lamb (the second picture) on this website: http://www.ldjackson.net/sunday-links/sunday-hunt-for-links-bighorn-sheep-edition/
MiamiDon
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 15:08:26 (permalink)
How close were you to the prairie dogs?
Sundancer7
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 15:49:02 (permalink)
BB:  I have been there and done that but it is always great to some additonal pics.  I enjoy your travelogue and it sincerely makes me want to return to the same area.
 
Paul E. Smith
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Nancypalooza
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 17:03:27 (permalink)
Nice picture, Chief Rides Toward the Pie  :)
wanderingjew
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 17:39:49 (permalink)
buffetbuster

    but this one

is my favorite photo taken at Wall Drug.  

 
Buffetbuster is a man of many personas!
 

joerogo
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/07 18:34:08 (permalink)
BB, You forgot to que the music...

 
I congratulate you and Johnny on you vacation choicesand thank you for taking us along.  You did the High Plains proud.
 
Couldn't you find a place that had some of those animals on the menu?
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/08 14:08:59 (permalink)
Wednesday June 15, 2011 cont.
 
We arrived at Mount Rushmore in early afternoon and even though it was a Wednesday, it was extremely crowded.  It took a few minutes to find a parking spot in the garage.  I can only imagine what it must be like on weekends around here.
 
Once you park, the first view of the president's heads is through an opening of the entrance. 

Very cool!  And the walkway to the Grandview terrace is known as the Avenue of the Flags,

with the flag of each American state and territory represented.  Once you get to the Grandview Terrace, which is an easy walk, you get an unobstructed view of the monument. 

Although, trying to get a photo of just yourself with it in the background can be very frustrating,

because there is just so many other people trying to accomplish the same thing.
 
There is a loop trail you can walk which will get you much closer to the presidents.  This shot

is from about as close as you can get, looking up.  Along the trail is a cluster of rocks and I was able to get this shot of George Washington. 

It actually looks more like a torn page than anything else. 
 
We did meet a real nice couple from Puerto Rico while we were walking and they frequently asked us to take a photo of them together.  It was no surprise to find out they were Pittsburgh Pirate fans, since the great Roberto Clemente is a national hero there.  They were so nice, I even forgave them for being Dallas Cowboy fans!
 
Close to the finish of the trail, you come to the artist studio of sculptor Gutzon Borglum, where they have a model of the original design

which was to include much more of the president's bodies.
 
No doubt, Mount Rushmore is an impressive accomplishment and a national treasure.  But, if I had it to do over again, we wouldn't have visited Mount Rushmore right after seeing the Badlands.  As much as I love history, especially presidential history (when I was young, my dad would take me into bars and bet other customers that they couldn't ask a presidential trivia question I couldn't answer), there is just no way that man can build something to rival what nature can do.  I still recommend everyone see Mount Rushmore once in their life.
 
Our lunch destination was a place reviewed here on Roadfood called Bumpin' Buffalo in Hill City, South Dakota.  Even though Hill City isn't that big, there is a lot of activity going on and Bumpin' Buffalo is right in the middle of the downtown area.  Lots of bikers in this town.  It has the old West raised sidewalk

and is three stories high, with outdoor seating on the roof.  I did appreciate the wooden sign

with the smiling buffalo on it.  With all the stuffed buffalo heads on the wall,

wanderingjew would like the interior decor.
 
Johnny and I decided to just order some different items and split them in half.  The first thing that caught our eye on the menu was chislic,

which the menu described as a South Dakota favorite.  They marinate some beef tips and then deep fry them.  It had a nice outside crust and was chewy and full of beef flavor.  Dipped in the steak sauce provided, we were very happy with this dish.  This was my first experience with chislic, but hopefully not my last.  The cole slaw was fresh and crisp, with especially long shreds of cabbage.  Not too mayo-ey or too sweet, this was a fine side.
 
The buffalo burger

was not nearly as good.  It was thin, overcooked and just not very much flavor.   The potato salad had small, evenly cut up chunks of potato and contained plenty of mayo.  This was even better than the cole slaw.  Lastly, was the buffalo dog,

which strangely, came with no toppings.  Still, it was plump and firm, with a different flavor you don't normally associate with a hot dog.  Other than the bun being too hard, we liked it.
 
Even though Bumpin' Buffalo is a bar, we saw plenty of families dining. 
 
Including all the people upstairs, there was a lot of diners, with only two waitresses.  Even though she hustled the best she could, service still suffered.  Luckily, there is a tv at each booth, so we passed our time watching a NCIS rerun.

 
Bumpin' Buffalo
245 Main Street
Hill City, SD
605-574-4100

We headed for Jewell Cave National Monument, but with one other food stop first.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/08 14:15:19
JRPfeff
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/08 14:22:14 (permalink)
Now I'm wondering if you and Johnny made it to the place in the Black Hills with cheap steaks and no menu - I can't recall the name. For some reason, my brother loves that place.
 
Time will tell ....
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/08 14:47:31 (permalink)
JRPfeff-
I can tell you right now we didn't make it to that place, although it sounds great.  If you find out any more information on it, please pass it along.
 
JoeRogo-
Thanks for posting the song.  Every trip report needs a good soundtrack!  As for eating some of those animals, wait until we get back to Denver!
 
Nancy-
I could absolutely live with Chief Rides Towards Pie! 
 
MiamiDon-
We never got within ten feet of the prairie dogs.  They do have plenty of signs that say don't feed them and I think I did hear that they do bite.  Besides they do move very fast when motivated.  What surprised us, is just how many of their holes are built right next to the roads going through the park.
 
6star-
Thanks for the info.  I was concerned that I misidentified those animals.
Vapor1967
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/08 15:03:58 (permalink)
I think you're referring to the Alpine Inn right there in Hill City.
JRPfeff

Now I'm wondering if you and Johnny made it to the place in the Black Hills with cheap steaks and no menu - I can't recall the name. For some reason, my brother loves that place.

Time will tell ....


The Travelin Man
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/08 15:18:51 (permalink)
Mount Rushmore hasn't been the same since they removed Millard Fillmore.
JRPfeff
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/08 15:25:03 (permalink)
Thank you Vapor1967. I know it's in Hill City so that has to be the place. I love that "menu."
 
I never knew my brother had been there, but he was thinking of opening a restaurant and started talking about how much he liked the simplicity of the Alpine Inn operation. After he described it, I told him I was there 10 years earlier. I think the steak dinner was $5.95 when I dined there.
 
Jim
post edited by JRPfeff - 2011/07/08 15:37:19
JRPfeff
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/08 15:26:07 (permalink)
Oh yeah, Welcome to Roadfood Vapor1967.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/08 15:56:14 (permalink)
See, now Alpine Inn would have been a much more interesting place to have had lunch.  Too bad I didn't know about it ahead of time.  How about that dessert menu!
 
Thanks for info Vapor1967 and welcome to Roadfood!
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/08 15:57:14 (permalink)
The Travelin Man

Mount Rushmore hasn't been the same since they removed Millard Fillmore.
Who, of course, was the 8th President of the United States!  (You knew THAT was coming!)

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