Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Diner favorites with a twist at Sam's No. 3

My parents were arriving to Fort Collins so they could attend a reading I was giving, and I'd rented a car for the occasion. (Most students in my MFA program give a reading of their poetry or fiction in their final year, and mine was taking place the week before graduation.) As I've mentioned before, I'm not terribly experienced with driving, and after getting myself down to Denver to have dinner with ES before I picked them up from the airport, it seemed necessary to reward myself with a meal at someplace casual and low-key.
Sam's No. 3 has a few different locations, one of which is not far from ES's house. It's a restaurant that combines a Mexican menu with Greek and American diner classics, meaning that you can get a burger or chili rellenos or pork souvlaki—or that chili-cheese fries will come drowned in a spicy, salty, pork green chili rather than a red one. One order is more than enough for two people, and really, it's probably best shared among three or four.
ES was enticed to order the "One of Each" option under the Coney Island Specials menu—a quarter pound burger and a split, grilled hot dog each topped with mustard, onion, and a thin red chili. Not a bad deal for six bucks.
Wanting something lighter, I went with "Mom’s Greek Salad": romaine lettuce, tomato, slivered red onion, cucumber, bell peppers, kalamata olives, and feta cheese in vinaigrette, served with pieces of pita bread. I added on gyro meat for another two dollars, not expecting the huge pile that showed up on the plate; while it seemed like typical mass-produced gyro meat with its uniform texture, flavor, and appearance (no twirling spit in the kitchen, here), it was nonetheless good with the fluffy pita and cucumber yogurt sauce that came with it.

Thus fortified and suitably unwound from the drive, ES and I went back to his house until it was time for me to get in the car—again—to receive my parents at the airport, and bring them back to Fort Collins for a weekend in Colorado.

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