For those wondering why Nancy and I were on our way from Denver to Cheyenne via Curbed Hunger — I mean via Loveland, CO — here’s the answer: The trip was part of our ongoing project to do Volksmarches (self-guided 10k walks) in all 50 state capitals.
(We’re at 23.)
Cheyenne is an unusual state capital city. People actually do real work there — farming and ranching, transportation, industry — so much so that the people-in-suits capital aspect seems an afterthought. It actually seems to add to rather than consume the wealth of the state. I know that’s hard to imagine, but really. Cheyenne is worth a visit on that basis alone.
We stopped for lunch at Tasty Bones BBQ and Bakery, which is on the ground floor of an office building — not a promising sign. But we persevered, and I’m glad we did.
Since we were in the West, I guessed that it would be beef oriented, and opted for the brisket and ribs combination, with greens and macaroni and cheese as sides.
The brisket turned out to have been about the third choice. It had a good flavor, but it was lean and not as moist as I like it. The ribs, however, were very tasty, as Nancy agreed. They were moist and tender, and had a bit of an interesting teriyaki taste. Excellent. The greens were Georgia quality, and the macaroni and cheese was dangerously good, a real guilty pleasure. The plate also came with a yeast roll that brought back fond memories of school cafeterias, where the yeast roll was about the only thing edible. I still treasure them.
Nancy ordered the pork with cole slaw and corn on the cob.
Nancy hit the jackpot. The pork was a big hit. It was tender, moist, and had a smoke flavor. It was the best pork barbecue I’ve tasted west of East Texas, with the possible exception of the Moe’s in Vail. Nancy also liked the slaw, and the corn on the cob — which I always avoid because I’ve had it overcooked too often — wasn’t bad at all, not at all.
The Tasty Bones website shows a suckling pig on a spit in a rotating picture gallery (mostly of baked goods), and, whether or not that was a special occasion pig or their regular cooking method, the pork seems to have been influenced strongly by the Philippines. Now, I’ve never been to the Philippines (Nancy was there on one of her umpteen Operation Smile missions), but there are a number of Filipino dishes on the menu and the Warren Air Force base is nearby, so I’m guessing a military spouse is involved. At any rate, the pork was good.
The Air Force base, by the way, started as an Army base in 1862 as Fort Russell, and later was renamed after Sen. Francis E. Warren, Wyoming’s first US Senator. He had won the Medal of Honor as a 19 year old in the Civil War. Among notable soldiers stationed at Fort Russell were several regiments of Buffalo Soldiers over time, and Gen. “Black Jack” Pershing. Pershing arrived at Fort Russell as a middle-aged captain, and there met and married the lovely daughter of Sen. Francis E. Warren, Chairman of the Senate Military Appropriations Committee. Marriage seems to have improved Pershing’s military skills, and he rose from the permanent rank of Captain to Brigadier General within two years of his marriage: more proof, if any were needed, that marriage improves everything in your life.
While we ate at an outside table, we struck up a conversation with the man at the adjacent table, who turned out to be a fan of Filipino cuisine. He ordered the Sizzling Sisig, which is marinated and grilled pork belly topped with a raw egg that cooks on the pork.
Traditional sisig relies on less common parts of the pig — ears, snout, liver, etc. — which is first boiled, then braised with lots of garlic, peppers, and spices, and then grilled. The switch to a pork belly base is understandable. Our new friend, who was not from the Philippines but grew up in California among Filipinos, was enthusiastic about the dish. It does look good, and it certainly smelled good.
Tasty Bones is definitely a good bet if you find yourself in Cheyenne. Admittedly, Cheyenne is a bit out of the way for most of us, but there’s much to see and do there, along with the Best Pork BBQ in the West.
Visit Cheyenne, and stop at Tasty Bones.
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