So I recently went to Colorado and paid to learn how to do manual labour for two weeks. They were two of the best weeks of my life as the manual labour was learning how to braze and build a frame from one of the last great steel framebuilders alive – Koichi Yamaguchi. If you like bikes all I can say is the Yamaguchi Frame Building School is a must.
Colorado is also kick ass beautiful. It has the kind of scenery that just makes Europeans feel a bit pathetic about what we have got back home. This scenery is dotted with rich little chi chi towns and healthy looking Americans. This isn’t the rest of middle America where you are either ultra fat or ultra thin. Colorado and its main towns – Denver, Boulder, Aspen, Vail etc. – are occupied by that different kind of American. The ones who weigh their camping gear on kitchen scales trying to carve off grams. Outdoor sport is a religion here.
So there is just one problem for a food blog. The food sucks. This isn’t a question of money or lack of interest in it. Colorado is the kind of place where people park a Lear jet in their driveway and Aspen had one of the cutest looking food markets I’ve seen for a while. It is quite hard to identify the simple reason for this but the problem was everywhere. I mean we went from dive burger bars, to restaurants selected by Esquire magazine as one of America’s top new restaurants – the Pullman in Glenwood Springs – and localvore places like Six89 in Carbondale and they were all profoundly disappointing.
I think it is because, you know when you were a kid and you thought, “I like x, you know what will make y better, more of x“. This concept is embedded deep in the American pysche. So it is “hey trucks are cool, why not make trucks so big they could eat a European car for a snack?“. Or “I like Pepsi, let’s have 2 gallons of it“. Whilst this attitude sometimes suits a country with behmouth proprotions it is a pollution to the food.
The answer is to make good pizza, not to serve 40 inch ones. The way to make a good beer is not to dowse it in hops or malt so that it tastes like an alcoholic room freshener. Truffle oil should not be a bath. Olive oil should not be an ocean. Every place we went to was caught by this problem….
Of course apart from the Mexican food. The food only got good when desperate I went up to two Mexicans in Wallmart is and said “you are Mexican, do you know where the best Mexican restaurants are“. Thankfully they didn’t think an idiot Londoner with floppy hair was some Homeland Security/ Republican nutjob and told me. Halleljuah. Praise be to immigration.
Finally here is a little video put together by one of my friends who went with me who is a talented designer and decided to have his first go with a Canon 5D mkII. Pretty impressive I thought. He does design and web work in China and Hong Kong here.