After an energizing hike through Henry Cowell State Park, I like to refuel at Felton's Cowboy Bar and Grill, situated just one half mile north of the park's Highway 9 entrance. The servings are generous, the cocktails playfully named, and the soups housemade.
Specialty cocktails ($7 to $10) include margaritas and variations of the Long Island Iced Tea. I found the peach-colored Bolo Tai ($8) refreshing in an icy pint glass with hints of pineapple and Odwalla orange juices mixed with four varieties of rum.
Sixties' soft rock music from such groups as the Monkees and Freddie and the Dreamers played softly as we awaited lunch. A couple of hefty copper-covered tables on a well-worn, wide plank wooden floor were surrounded by smaller tables, each covered with vinyl cloths bearing a black-and-white Holstein hide-like pattern. The window to the kitchen is draped with white canvas reminiscent of a Conestoga chuck wagon.
A number of customers craving their favorites didn't need menus. The Quesadilla appetizer ($14) with prawns and mushrooms seemed popular, as did the huge burgers ($6 to $10 and only during lunch) which were delivered with squeeze bottles of mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup. A unique selection of hot sauces is also available.
For starters, the James Gang ($10) included three of the Cowboy's famous yam cakes. These glutinous, antioxidant-packed patties were topped with smoky chunks of grilled chicken breast and melted Jack cheese, and steeped in a sea of sweet and spicy jalapeño glaze which was playfully dotted with red and green peppers.
Salads ($3.50 to $17) include the Baja ($14) with prawns, tortilla strips and almonds and the Washtenau ($13) topped with seasoned tilapia fillet and coconut-chili dressing. I enjoyed the large Pork Salad Annie ($14) with its nice hunk of honey-butter-slathered cornbread; crumbly and moist with bits of red peppers and corn kernels. A platter of mixed greens was topped with a colorful assortment of vegetables and a bit of bean salad, then piled high with the same pulled pork—also available in a sandwich. The tender strands of meat, bathed in a sweet and mildly piquant barbecue sauce, were topped with Gorgonzola cheese and toasted pecans. I hardly touched the zesty Pasilla ranch-style dressing which came on the side; the meat was so deliciously juicy. The salad was so large, the leftovers became a very nice eggbeaters scramble for two.
As with the burgers, sandwiches ($9-$12) are served with fries, slaw or soup. The soup of the day was tortilla. Thick chips and vegetables were submerged in a luscious chili-flavored broth and topped with finely sliced green onions.
The Ollie's sandwich ($10) was served in a large sesame-seeded bun. Smoky, grilled chicken breast was joined by chewy bacon and a fat slice of tomato and drizzled with the jalapeño glaze.
For dinner, entrées are added with cole slaw or soup, and mashed potatoes, vegetables, and of course, cornbread. Buffalo patties, chicken breast, pulled pork, and a peppered beef filet in Gorgonzola cream sauce all make me feel right at home.
Cowboy Bar and Grill, 6155 Highway 9, Felton, 335-2330. Full bar. Serving lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays through Saturdays, and from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Sundays. Closed Tuesdays. Visit FeltonCowboy.com
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