Take an appetite if you steam off for Pufferbelly
You might call this week’s food destination Stuff-Yer-Belly.
But I think the inspiration for Pufferbelly Station refers to the fact that it’s located next to downtown Grand Junction’s historic train station.
Diners in the booths along the restaurant’s back wall can watch Amtrak and transport trains puff their way in and out of the Grand Valley. Kids and big kids especially love this.
Pufferbelly is a kissing cousin of Starvin’ Arvin’s. Pufferbelly shares Arvin’s famous biscuit recipe and its philosophy of covering every square inch of its generous plates with comfort food. Yes sir, no lonely poached egg in a caviar cup here.
The signature plates at Pufferbelly are the green supreme and the biscuit supreme.
The green supreme is scrambled eggs, nestled atop hash browns, covered with green chile and white sausage gravy — a surprisingly good combination of sauces — and topped off with shredded cheddar.
Here’s one recent comment on TripAdvisor.com: “The green chile is to die for! We loved it so much, we ate there twice before we left town.”
The biscuit supreme mimics the green, except with biscuits instead of hash browns, ham added and no green chile.
Each of the breakfast entrees comes with a choice of toasty offerings, but don’t miss the ginormous cinnamon roll.
Yes, ginormous is an official word listed in the Merriam & Webster online dictionary, meaning “gigantic and enormous,” apparently when just one adjective isn’t enough.
This cinnamon pastry studded with raisins and covered in icing and butter measures roughly 6x6 inches, or the size of a small Frisbee.
At less than $20 for two diners, you get your money’s worth, including coffee, tax and tips.
If you can’t stomach this much food in one sitting, the cinnamon rolls reheat nicely at home.
CAFFEINE FIX: Need a pick-me-up after such a heavy breakfast? Try a shot of espresso at Coffee Muggers, 644 Main St. The downtown shop specializes in traditional espresso and coffee drinks. One of the goodies, the Filip: one third each of espresso, coffee and steamed milk, topped with foaming milk. Price: $3 to $3.80, depending on the size of your jolt. Bring your own cup and save 25 cents.
ALSO FOR BREAKFAST: I must mention the breakfast burritos at Los Jilbertos, 2812 North Ave. Not so much for the stuffings, which are fine and delicious, but for the flour tortillas they are wrapped in. Not since my visits to Tucson and Phoenix have I run into any this good. Thin, fresh and not overly floury.
The nice young woman at Los Jilbertos told me they get their tortillas from La Milpa in Clifton. And good news, the panaderia sells retail. I’m stocking up. The address, 3225 I-70 Business Loop, Unit B-3. A dozen 10-inch tortillas run $2.50.
AND THE SUSHI LIST GROWS: Ichiban Yang Hibachi Grill & Sushi opened about a month ago at 509 28½ Road, behind the Auto Zone on North Avenue. In this short time it’s developed a loyal group devotees, as several readers let me know. With a great atmosphere and wait staff, the hibachi grill is a big draw. From the dining area, you can watch the chefs prepare your meal.
Owner Alex Yang previously had a restaurant in Palm Springs, Calif., and brought all of his chefs with him to Grand Junction. The sushi list is extensive, and one reader raves that the green tea ice cream is “fantastic.”
It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily, 263-8115.
NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH PENNE: Olive Garden’s 16th annual Pasta for Pennies fundraiser is in full swing and students at Pomona Elementary School have pitched in to help. We’re still awaiting Pomona’s final fundraising tally, but I hear the response was in the four-figure range.
Pocket change collected by students in penny jars in the classroom will benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s School & Youth Campaign. Last year the drive raised $5.3 million nationally.
QUOTE: “Never eat more than you can lift. ” — Miss Piggy from “The Muppet Show”
Tess Furey is a freelance writer living in Grand Junction. She is a former editor and restaurant reviewer for the Rocky Mountain News.