I must do one more Kansas post before I’m done with the state for now. I must. I know you’re thinking, Beth, get over your obsession with this incredibly flat, dull state. So here’s a newsflash: Eastern Colorado is flatter than Kansas. It takes all the strength of mind I have to drive through eastern Colorado without screaming the entire way just to stay awake. Without a frost to turn the ground silver, or some great clouds, driving eastern Colorado along I-70 is a snooze.
Western Kansas is also flatter than the rest of Kansas, but at least it has Goodland and a giant reproduction of a Van Gogh painting by Canadian artist Cameron Cross.
I last left you after a whirlwind tour through the Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby. When I was done photographing Barbies, and they had turned off the lights again, I asked for some dinner recommendations. First they offered some of the fast food joints along the highway, but when I persisted, they mentioned a new place in downtown Colby: Mabel’s.
The day I ate dinner, Mabel’s had been open two days. My server said they had been packed for lunch. And it’s no wonder. In the four blocks that radiate outward from the center of downtown, you can find B Hive Bar & Grill, Salads and Subs, two jewelry stores, three furniture stores, a hospice, Wings upon the Prairie (social services), Stock Realty and Auction, and an art gallery. Perhaps Colby is a kind of urban hub in western Kansas.
Downtown Colby needs Mabel’s, and I needed dinner, so everyone was happy. I ordered the Indian taco, which was good, if a bit different from what I’ve had in the Four Corners area. It came on a fried flour tortilla instead of frybread, the beans were refried, not whole, and I’m pretty sure the salsa was Pace. The tortilla was crispy on the outside and soft inside, and I liked the radishes and purple cabbage. (If I had taken this photo after Saturday’s food photography class, I would have rearranged the lettuce so that you could actually see the ground beef.) The server told me that was the first Indian taco they’d served. I guess the standard American fare on the menu is more popular.
My server was a good saleswoman, convincing me to order coconut cream pie, which had very, very fluffy meringue. As you can see, the cream was a bit runny, and the crust was a little hard, but I liked it because it was not too sweet. Apparently the cook makes everything in Mabel’s from scratch but has no dessert plates.
Mabel’s is definitely worth checking out. I wish the owners the best of luck, and I hope that downtown Colby sprouts more locally owned restaurants.