You can bounce from Boise to Billings or travel from Truth-or-Consequences to Tucumcari, but you'll never find a better example of pure Rocky Mountain cooking than the vittles served up at the B & B cafe in the pleasant foothills town of Castle Rock, Colo.
From its humble quarters on the town square across from the Douglas County Courthouse, the B & B has won a rapturous following among locals (and the occasional tourist who strays off nearby Interstate 25) with its singularly unglitzy menu of genuine western food home-cooked on the premises.
Whether it's biscuits and gravy for breakfast (95 cents), or the spicy, greasy, and unutterably delicious chimichanga beef ($4.95) at dinner, the B & B never fails. A real purist might argue that the rich, creamy gravy atop the B & B's chicken-fried steak ($5.25) is a smidgen short of perfection; but for most of us, this is the real thing.
The B & B is also rich with history. Among other things, the patrons can amuse themselves by searching for the bullet hole left in the cafe's ceiling during the 1946 shooting incident that was the most famous crime in Castle Rock's history until a young woman burned down the county jail in 1980 in a futile effort to help her boyfriend escape.
But the rarest gems of this mother lode of genuine home-style food are the B & B's milkshakes. Served the way a shake should be served -- in the stainless-steel container right off the ancient mixer, accompanied by straw and spoon -- these smooth, thick concoctions represent what real milkshakes used to be before Dairy Queen and that ilk got into the business and profaned the art.