Monday, June 27, 2016

Cowboys In Italy?

Buffalo Grazing South of Denver
Ghost Town in Colorado
Yippee Kay Yay, cowpokes!  Last winter an unintentionally funny restaurant called Old Wild West opened in Monselice which is about a pistol shot from my village.  This is run by a corporate chain which has placed their burger joints in many other places all over Italy.  We have also been to the one in Padova, our nearest big city.   When I need a horse kick to get my blood flowing, we make a visit.  I miss burgers, and my Italian wife now has a similar craving.  She is converted  This is not a commercial for them, but more of a small Italian adventure, so please relax and put your boots up.  Remove your spurs, mind the fancy Italian furniture!
The two saddles placed on sawhorses at the door of Old Wild West call out to the youngsters….” Ride ‘em Cowboy.”   Walking inside, my first response was to point and laugh at the museum of cowboy paraphernalia nailed to the walls, complete with cowboy furnishings of saloon-type wooden chairs and tables.  Collecting all that stuff they must have had connections with the Pickers, Mike and Frank. 
Chuck Conners
On the back wall, placed to the left of the fake saloon doors is a replica of  Chuck Conners'  lever action rifle, which looks so real that people get up and go touch it.   The illusion is somewhat ruined by the large screen tv which shows a continual loop of rodeo barrel riders.  I have seen number 12 at least 50 times, and he never gets any faster.   Any possible intimate conversation is beaten by an earsplitting din bouncing off the wood floor and walls which would break a decibel meter.   Not a first date place, Old West.  

Yet Italians are buying this brand of western hogwash, especially families with children.   No one has yet to go as far as The Fort with its old Trapper or Casa Bonita in Denver where diners can watch cowpokes dive 30 feet into a pool, listen to a strolling mariachi band, or have ranch hands bring you sopaipillas when you raise the flag on your table.   Each time we go to Old West there are more cowpokes chowing down.   They are just itching for a spectacle to be made.  (A big  Italian chance to make a pile of euros, anybody listening?)

The provisions listed in the Mouth watering menu consist of items wrestled from the old southwest, like Apache, Navajo, Dakota, and my personal favorite, the  burger, Toro Seduto.  How they got the name Seated Bull, I had no clue.  My wife straightened me out by telling me it actually means Sitting Bull.  WHAT?  Let me show you my problem?  Bear with me, I am not a good at explaining……Oh, we English speakers have it so easy with English: our ing   and our past tense ed.   In italian when you want to do an ing type verb you add ando or endo to the verb.  With the verb sedere you add endo and get….sedendo…
Sedendo means sitting.  Seduto means seatedSo the burger should actually be called Toro Sedendo, not the past tense Toro Seduto.. haha!  I question her on this and she just smirks and tells me that they use Seated Bull for the name of the Indian Chief Sitting Bull because it sounds better.  Ggrrrrrr!  Oh, this is so Italian how they love to bend the rules with a straight face and confuse people like me.  And she goes on to tell me, “It does sound better doesn’t it?  Which sounds like a tomahawk word… sedendo or seduto?”  I have to agree that Seduto sounds more powerful.  But yet?
Let me suggest some names they could use update their menu:  Chill Wills Chili, Slim Pickens Salad, Tom Mix mixed meat plate or a super spicy taco could be called the Hopalong Cassidy.  Those were my true movie cowboy heroes.  Granting Native Americans some clout would feature names on the menu like Chief Thundercloud or Iron Eyes Cody, and we cannot leave out Lone Ranger’s sidekick, Tonto!
Jack Elam Had The Look!

Back to the subject:
"When you order a sesame seeded bunned burger it comes with a limp new invention called the Dipper Fries, however, they don’t give you anything to dip them into.   My wife tells me that the pink blotch of mayo is for dipping.   I inform her that it is for the dry hamburger they serve.  You can request a switch from these oily creations and get the regular fries.  This I recommend.  Ketchup comes in a tiny plastic package, and you pay extra for it.  I have threatened to bring some from home!  This is when my wife threatens to make me sleep on the terrace.

Old West is certainly a step up from the soggy, warmed up burgers at McDonalds, a step between that and Bob’s Big Boy.   Burgers at the level of The Burnt Truck or Bruxie is a far dream in Italy.   In-N-Out?  HA!  You want to make a killing in Italy?  Start a food truck here.  Seriously bring one over!  In Padova, by the University, I bet my boots you could serve up a good burger or fat burrito and you will be a sensation!  They will erect a statue of your image right next to where they used to have a statue of Berlusconi.  There are no food trucks here.  Italians dream of visiting food trucks in America, thanks to all those food shows on television.   I also dream of a line of food trucks.  (I will consult for a mere 10 per cent of the profits!)

Cisco & Pancho fight
against enchiladas
made with flour tortillas
I steer away from the lowest of the low,  the Enchilada Tjuana made with a flour tortilla.  When will they learn to use a corn tortilla!  Better yet, when is somebody going to build a tortilla factory in Italy.   (Another big money making possibility).    (Consulting free on this action—I need corn tortillas, badly)   
Gabby Hayes
A Gabby Hayes favorite, the platter of BBQ ribs covers the plate and more.   Gabby was always grabbing his beard, opening his mouth and saying, "Yep!"  He would have made the perfect gold miner in any movie, but was always the 'pardner' to the white hatted cowboy.

Jack Palance
  The size of the Squaw Steak would please the palate of black hatted Jack Palance.    Who could forget his one handed push-ups were astounding at his age.  A tough and rough actor which played comedy against two New Yorkers who had never smelled the rear end of a cow.

When in Italy remember to use the words, “al sangue” when desiring a steak cooked rare.  My last mention would be the corrupted Dos Tacos made and photographed in the menu with lots of corn!  NOT!  The creator of this should be put in the hoosegow.  Pioneer Woman, give them a jingle, will you?

Mesa Verde National Park
The appetizers were constructed by a corporate owner who aims for a profit.   Shooting out southwest appetizers while missing the side of a barn, it is food both tasteless and a large rip-off.  We have tried a few, and worst is the Nachos del Sol, composed of  taco chips that taste less like chips and more like sawdust.  The cheese topping is a liquid goo of tasteless industrial cheese.   As for the salsa, you must never depend on hot and spicy salsa in any northern Italian restaurant. You are not going to get anything close to resembling a Dragon’s Breath heat (Guy Fieri’s name for his chili). 
Always On Any Good
Burger Table
  There’s an old cowboy saying:  Always take a real good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not very important to know what it is, but it’s critical to know what it was.   I had to explain this one to my wife three times.  So don’t worry if you don’t get it right away.  Skip the appetizers, anyhow,  the burgers are quite filling.

Cowboys say,  “Always drink upstream from the herd,”  but you don’t have to worry here as the brews featured here are  some of the best.   One large glass and everyone has a smile.  There’s another bit of cowboy advice: never drink alone unless you are with someone.  Saint Benoit beer is featured, but they have others, even the translocated Millers. 

Old West prices would knock the wind out of Gabby Hayes, but not jaw dropping.  Diners should expect to pay for the cowboy circus atmosphere.  You won’t walk out feeling double crossed.  What would a burger in New York City cost? Burgers at Old West run from 8 up to 13 euros.  The high end is because of the double patty.   The beef is not from Texas, but is said to be from Ireland.  
                To help you compare prices, at this time a euro is worth 1.11 dollars.

I hope you get to try Old Wild West someday.  Just remember, never squat with your spurs on.  You can find their website on this link.
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Adios Amigo!

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