My nephew Johnny loves meat -- despite the fact (or maybe partly because of the fact) that his parents don't eat red meat. "I don't exactly get that," the eleven-year-old says. "It has a lot of flavor and it can come from many different animals for many different tastes."
And so, whenever this Boston boy is in Denver, I take Johnny to the Buckhorn Exchange, the restaurant at 1100 Osage Street where animal heads gaze down at you while you eat the rest of them. While other kids talk about what they did on their summer vacation, Johnny talks about what he ate. Here's his assessment of our July 3 Buckhorn feast:
Quail: "It really surprised me, because it's not a red meat, but it was very good and one of my favorite meats."
Elk: "It was all right. The flavor is pretty good."
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Buffalo: "Very good -- both the regular meat and the sausage. Pretty tender."
Alligator: "Kind of chewy. But I liked the taste." (Fair warning from Johnny: The alligator tail is fried, and if you're not careful, you might accidentally grab some of the fried artichoke hearts ordered for the non-meat eaters. "Blaah," he says.)
Yak: "My favorite. Very soft, and I really liked the taste. Pretty juicy."
It's tough for a kid when his favorite restaurant is 1,800 miles away from home. But Johnny knows he'll be back at the Buckhorn next year -- and that there will be plenty of juicy red meat waiting.