Dining & travel consideration provided by the Buffalo Bill Center of The West.
I just got back from my first visit to Wyoming, and I feel like I ate my way through the state! Each day, I was taken to a variety of local Cody eateries for a true Western experience.
After arriving at our hotel, the Chamberlin Inn, our group converged in their Spirits Lounge Conservatory, a beautiful space overlooking their courtyard. I enjoyed a selection of yummy cracker and fruit appetizers, and was served red wine in a very large goblet.
A few hours later we headed to Cassie’s Supper Club, a restaurant with a very colorful history. Its founder, Cassie, found herself penniless after suddenly becoming a widow and had no way of supporting herself; so she opened this building as a combination restaurant and brothel. In later years when prostitution was outlawed in Wyoming, she converted in into a restaurant-only. It’s a very rootin’-tootin’ atmosphere, with a bar that was filled with cowboys doing karaoke and saucy decor.
There were a number of appetizers ordered, including Elk Medallions. After looking over the menu and finding out what was on the “Hangover Burger”, I instantly knew I had to have it!
This burger had two beef patties, fried onions, huge mushrooms, 4 kinds of cheese, peppers, pickles, red onions, tomato, lettuce, and probably a few other ingredients I’m forgetting because holy cow, was there a lot of stuff on this burger! The portion was massive and served with a huge pile of fries as well. I was sorry that I had but one stomach to give for this burger as there was no way I could come close to finishing it. Of everything I ate while I was in Cody, I think this took first place as my favorite meal!
The next morning, we headed over to the Buffalo Bill Center of The West and were served a special “Media-only” breakfast in their Sculpture Garden, right by Buffalo Bill’s childhood home. I enjoyed a cream pastry, fruit, and scrambled eggs with coffee.
For lunch, we headed over to the Proud Cut Saloon & Steakhouse for some “Kick Ass Cowboy Cuisine”. After carefully considering the menu, I couldn’t help but order this:
This is a jalapeño burger served with garlic fries. I’ve developed a real taste for spicy stuff in recent years and the garlic fries sealed the deal for me, since I’m crazy about garlic. It was quite good – the jalapeños had a bit of a kick but were not uncomfortably hot, just the way I like them. I would put this as my second favorite meal of the trip.
As we toured the Buffalo Bill Center of The West that afternoon, we had a chance to visit a Chuckwagon to sample some traditional cowboy cooking! I tried a taste of biscuit and beans. The beans were served cold and were pretty plain, as you’d imagine, since they didn’t have the luxury of being big foodies back in the Wild West; but I thought it was really fun!
For dinner, we visited the Geyser Brewing Co. I was eager to try some local beer and had one of their light home brews, which had a really nice, almost sweet taste. Our group also ordered samplers of all their beers, which were served in these adorable miniature mugs. All of the beer was excellent, including one dark brew that tasted like coffee. That may sound weird, but I thought it was great.
For dinner, I ordered….a burger. Yes, I know – at this point, it had become a running joke that I was getting a burger at every meal! But I couldn’t help the fact that each restaurant offered such tasty-looking hamburgers. This time, I got an elk & buffalo burger, because I had never tried buffalo meat before and it seemed like an appropriate meal to order in cowboy country. The meat patty was very large and the bun – which I believe was sourdough and was quite nice – was also large. I actually had a hard time getting it in my mouth, and keep in mind that I was eating it with a knife and fork and cutting into small pieces! I thought the meal was pretty good; the meat wasn’t too different from beef, I think the biggest difference was that it tasted saltier to me. At this point in the trip, we had been fed so much that any shred of appetite I had was gone, so I almost feel like it’s a bit unfair on the restaurants that I reviewed later in the trip since my tastebuds were a little overloaded from all the food and I don’t think I could appreciate it as much!
For our final breakfast in Cody, we headed to the Irma Hotel. Built by Buffalo Bill in 1902 and named after his favorite daughter, this building is full of history. We got a tour through the Irma and heard of some its history and anecdotes – including the room that used to be Buffalo Bill’s office and is now the ladies’ room!
I opted for the breakfast buffet, which I forgot to take a picture of because I was too busy eating. The buffet had a large selection of food – I got biscuits and gravy, bacon, a sausage portion, a small pancake and a half piece of french toast. The most intriguing dish on the buffet was the bread pudding with whiskey sauce, which I was very much looking forward to. I have a funny story about this, because after dishing up the pudding and pouring some whiskey sauce on top, I saw a large bowl next to jams and syrups of what I thought was fluffy whipped cream. I scooped a generous helping over my pudding and sat down to eat – and I thought the flavor was very strange. “Is your pudding spicy?” I asked Emily of Clever Housewife, who was sitting in front of me. She said no, and I suspected that I had mistaken a savory condiment for whipped cream. I went back for a small bowl of pudding so that I could actually taste how it was supposed to be, and I saw the lady in front of my reaching for the same whipped cream to put on her pudding. “Don’t put that on there, it’s horseradish sauce!” the owner warned her. I had eaten a whole portion of bread pudding covered in horseradish sauce! This cracked me up, and I felt better to know that other people were mistaking it for whipped cream as well. The placement of the bowl next to the jams and sweets was throwing us all off!
Once I got an unadulterated bowl of pudding, it was quite good. The sauce tasted of a strong whiskey – I really liked it! The rest of the food was OK, although I think we got to the buffet when some of the items weren’t as fresh. Of course, it didn’t help that I ended up smearing horseradish sauce all over my pancakes and bread pudding, so I’d like to try their buffet again sometime on an empty stomach without the horseradish as I think I’d enjoy it a lot more.
That afternoon, we experienced the Plains Indian Museum Powwow at the Buffalo Bill Center of The West. We were provided with vouchers to sample whatever we liked at the food vendors as we explored during the afternoon. One of the vendors had a choice between a hot dog meal and a burger meal. Can you guess what I got?
That’s right, I went 4 for 4 and got my final buffalo burger of the trip! Here’s another anecdote: I had planned on getting the burger & fries meal, and when I placed my order, I said “Burger and chips” without even thinking about. What we call “Fries” in America we call “Chips” in England, and I have to actively remind myself to say “Fries” so that I don’t confuse people. “Chips” slipped out without me even thinking about it, so I had to laugh when I got the bag of Lay’s – that’s what happens when a Brit visits the Wild West! I could have easily changed my order, but I actually decided that I liked this better because I could put the Lay’s in my bag and take them home. I was SO FULL at this point that I had a hard time even finishing the burger, so I’m glad I didn’t have to waste any more food! As for the buffalo burger itself, it was alright – about what you would expect from fairground-type food. I ate mine plain because I didn’t see the condiments, which would have made it better – I was pretty overheated at this point from the hot day and not too motivated to get back up from my picnic table to add anything to the burger.
I also had a chance to sample some Frybread for the first time. These are similar to Elephant Ears – served plain, you can add powdered sugar as I did or a savory topping. I could have gotten an Indian Taco as well, but they were HUGE and I knew there was no way I could eat more than a bite. I’m not about to order food just to throw it away – I felt bad enough that I couldn’t take my leftovers home from the restaurants! – so I hope to try it another time, since it looked very good!
It was a really neat trip and I very much enjoyed sampling all of this Wyoming food. And I’m still full!