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Meatless Balls: Four Meals in the Four Corners

29 July 2009 2,399 views One Comment

While I may not be blogging about the restaurants on this particular trip to Colorado, I did enjoy some amazing fried chicken at Southern Vittles in Lake City, fresh salsa and enchiladas at Buen Tiempo in Ouray, fish tacos at Steamworks Brewery in Durango, and an Elk burger at Handlebars in Silverton (pictured below).

elk burgerAt Handlebars, I was trying to decide between Elk and Buffalo after I realized I wouldn’t be able to stomach the Rocky Mountain Oysters. I was sick the night before after going four wheeling at 13,000 feet the day before and didn’t think my weakened stomach could handle fried testicles.

I went with the Elk burger because Buffalo burgers are pretty common these days. Also, drawings of elk were carved into cliffs thousands of years ago by the Anasazi of the southwestern U.S. so it seemed to be in keeping with the Native American theme. I really enjoyed the burger (and the fries) at Handlebars and would definitely recommend it.

A couple months ago, I asked readers to share their best burger spots in Austin. We discussed it on KGSR as well and got a call from the owner of Elroy Sausage Co. just southeast of Austin. He was telling us about all of his wild game burgers — he serves buffalo, antelope, ostrich, yak, elk and kangaroo. Who is with me for a road trip one of these days?

While I didn’t get to try Nancy’s “Meatless Balls,” Brooke loves them so I’ve committed to making them for her one day back in Austin and will comment below when we eat them and report back. They sound really interesting and I love the use of nuts in vegetarian foods.

Meatless Balls

1 ¼ c cracker crumbs
¾ c ground walnuts/pecans
1/2 tsp salt
1 small onion chopped
1 ½ t sage
¾ c. longhorn cheese
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 T chopped parsley
4 eggs

Mix and shape into balls, then brown.


½ c. oil
1 tsp salt
½ c lemon juice
1 tsp oregano
¾ – 1 1/3 c. apricot jam
Tabasco to taste
½ – 1 c. ketchup
4 T grated onion
2 T brown sugar

Boil and pour over balls. Bake 350 degrees for 30 mins. Serve over rice.

We stopped by the Durango Farmers Market on Saturday before our tour bus up to Silverton to catch the coal fired train back to town. It was a bit smaller than our farmers market in Austin and they are offering products that we haven’t seen in Austin for a few months (like lettuce for example). They did have a wonderful selection of heirloom tomatoes and peppers and if we were going home right away, I would have made a fresh salsa.

cherriesSince we were traveling all day, I decided to sample these delicious and ripe organic cherries from Hermosa Orchard. I picked up 1/2 pound of mixed cherries for $2.50.

You might recognize the cherries on the left – they are the bing cherries you probably see in the market right now. Bings originated in the Pacific Northwest and a wet climate is needed for harvest of this cherry (I doubt the ones we are seeing in Austin are local but correct me if I’m wrong).

The pretty multi-colored cherries in the center are Rainier. Created in the 50′s in Washington State, they are a cross between a Bing and a Van. The ones to the right are called Yellow Sweet cherries. They were all delicious with the darkest being the most sweet and the lightest having a hint of sour with the sweet taste.

There was also a local goat cheese tasting and I have to say, we definitely excel in Central Texas in terms of having some of the BEST tasting goat cheese in the world. If you haven’t already, check out Pure Luck, Cheesy Girl, and CKC Farms.

goat cheese

If you are really into cheese, you should definitely check out the American Cheese Society conference in Austin coming up Aug. 5-8. Tickets to the Festival of Cheese on Saturday, Aug. 8 are $75 for the general public.

For more about cheese, check out this profile of Whole Foods’ Billie Dixon.

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  • Marc

    Probably wise to stay away from the Rocky Mountain Oysters…