HG has often noticed that plane travel makes HG ferociously hungry; and in a sad twist of fate, satisfying this hunger on a plane, in an airport or in the environs of an airport is close to impossible as the edible offerings are typically terrible. Well, on HG/BSK’s recent travel from New Mexico to Denver to Rhode Island to Paris and back, HG found himself pleasantly surprised. On the trip out from Denver, HG’s thoughts turned to sandwiches. There are times when nothing satisfies quite like a good sandwich. Of course, such specimens aren’t so easy to find. Been a long time since HG has really had a top flight bacon-tomato-lettuce-mayonnaise-whole wheat toast sandwich at a local diner. And, of course, a really big time Jewish pastrami on rye can only be found at Katz’s in New York or Langer’s in Los Angeles. But HG found a great sandwich in an unlikely spot — Elway’s, a nicely designed eatery at the Denver International Airport. John Elway is a Denver football icon who has two steak houses in the city plus this place. Don’t know if John knows anything about food but Elway’s served HG an exemplary blackened fish sandwich on a brioche bun. It was enhanced by New Orleans tasso ham and chipotle dressing. And, accompanied by a nice bowl of chipotle infused cole slaw. Good, spicy stuff. Made HG think over a lifetime of hand-held treats — HG is very fond of big, robust Italian sandwiches (called heroes, grinders, subs and po’ boys–dependent upon geography). The best ever was served in a deli on the main street of New Paltz in the Hudson Valley. John Goodman, that exemplary actor (who looks like a world class eater) likes the mufaletta sandwich prepared by an Italian grocery in New Orleans (it features vinegary olive salad with an array of salami and ham). Take a look at the website of The Italian Corner in East Providence, Rhode Island, to see its encyclopedic array of grinders. One of the stars is the sausage pizzaiola grinder (sausage in a sauce of tomato, capers, spices and Romana cheese). On Fridays, there’s a special of a Calamari steak grinder. Chilean squid is pounded thin, grilled quickly to a point of juicy tenderness. It is then nestled between two slices of good Italian bread with plenty of lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and olive oil. A gift from the sea.
On HG’s return trip: winding back to New Mexico via the erratic airline system, HG had the pleasant experience on the plane of watching Denver beat San Diego (with the ever dangerous Philip Rivers) and San Francisco defeat the upstart Panthers. Checked into the Holiday Inn Express at Denver International Airport. Pleasant hotel with the world’s worst shuttle service (be forewarned). BSK peckish. Went to nearby Sporting News Grill. Expecting the worst. Surprise. Had a sliced flatiron steak salad. Really first rate. And, the IPA brew on tap hit the spot. Off to New Mexico in the AM. Sunny day and nice motoring to Pueblo. Oops. Highway blocked (chemical spills, high winds, etc,). Lengthy detour to Salida. Hungry HG/BSK lunched at Carmelina’s and had a platter of fresh, healthy food — fish tacos with toothsome corn tortillas, salad, tangy salsa, good refritos with melted cheese. Learned later that Salida has a Vietnamese restaurant. Colorado’s small towns are not provincial when it comes to food and fortunately this aesthetic has extended to its airport.