Divide and Conquer
5 days ago
The menu is primarily steak, which is cooked outdoors on an open grill that is held up by a wagon-wheel-shaped frame and swings back and forth while the beef sizzles. Hence, the restaurant's motto: "Home of the Swingin' Steak."
J.D. Mueller's family has owned the place since coming to Mexican Hat in 1979. (The town gets its name from a giant sandstone rock formation that resembles an upside-down sombrero.) Initially a dance hall and beer bar, the restaurant opened in 1990 and has been dishing up slabs of beef ever since to tourists who come to town to go hiking, rafting or horseback riding.
There is no indoor seating - "it's too nice outside to be inside," Mueller says.
Everything is cooked and served outside, except for the beans, which are first prepared in a pressure cooker for an hour and a half, then finished off on a wood cook stove outdoors.
The dining area is lit primarily by a string of bare light bulbs that bathe the place in a yellowish, campfire-like glow. On some nights, a garage door raises to reveal a makeshift stage. Mueller and his family are all musicians, and the family band often entertains guests by playing covers of country and rock songs.
I was confused all week as to the number of ducklings. Then Friday morning I had an opportunity to count them as the sat in the morning sun near the campground.
Can you count the ducklings? How many are they?
The answer in a few days.
|An Osprey circles above |
the lake shore in search
of prey in the warm
|The 21,000-acre fire destroyed much of the lodgepole pine forest that surrounds Davis Lake. The fire started somewhere near the East Davis Lake Campground, visible in the stand of live pine trees in the background. Investigators believe the fire was of human origin.|
|Lupine flowers grow in the meadow along Odell Creek, near the boat ramp.|
Although we’ll stay in the occasional motor lodge as needed, many nights will be spent under tent or stars. For vast majority of human history, hotels didn’t exist and eating meant lighting a fire. The social aspect of sitting around that fire is one of the things our culture lost by taking most of our meals locked inside our cars.
Alton Brown, 2006