Continuing on our mini-vacation we took a few weeks ago to South Dakota…from Spearfish, we drove about 45 minutes over to Rapid City to spend the night. After having a great night of sleep (I love King sized beds) I hit up the hotel “gym” for a quick workout. It was basically a half a hotel room with 1 treadmill, 1 elliptical and 1 recumbent bike. It was quite sparse, but for the cheap hotel it was more than sufficient. I find I feel a little better about myself if I can get in a little workout because I know I’ll be eating food I usually try to limit. Sure, you walk a lot on vacation and that helps, but a good sweat to get the beer out from the night before works too.
This is back in our room. Please note there is a beer box behind me. Yep. Oh well! We decided to visit downtown to check out all the small shops. Unfortunately, it was a bit overcast and chilly this day, but still nice enough to walk around. It was also before noon, so it was quiet downtown.
My lover and I downtown. I imagine this little square would be hopping on a warm summer day. I could see a band playing on that stage behind us and people sitting at the various tables that were set out. Rapid City is a city of about 60,000. It seems larger to me because it is really spread out. I thought it was bigger than Fargo, but it isn’t. There seems like a lot more things to do here than Fargo, but maybe because it is all “new” to me? Of course, we scoped the city out online before going and my stop I wanted to see was Vita Sana Olive Oil Company.
The store is located on St. Joseph Street (a major street), right off main in downtown Rapid. The owner (I assume?) seemed very experienced and was incredibly friendly and encouraged us to sample the oils and vinegars. This was a totally new experience and it seems odd to taste oil, right? Well, they have small plastic cups and she explained you fill your cup with a splash of oil, rub in on your palm, smell it and slurp it with some air to get all the flavors. This works! She led us through our first tasting and let us go to try as many as we wanted. There were oyster crackers to cleanse your palate between tastes. She said taste oils first and vinegars last. From their website:
Vita Sana’s olive oils are 100% extra virgin, unfiltered and settled. The olives are grown and pressed by small artisans and farmers from around the world. Their balsamic vinegars are harvested in Modena, Italy, and produced in the traditional Modena style which ages them in wooden barrels for up to 18 years. None of the olive oils and balsamic vinegars contain any preservatives, chemicals or additives in order to provide you with the best product possible! The owners believe that olive oil is like fruit juice: highly perishable, healthier and more flavorful when consumed fresh. Vita Sana also carries a variety of sea salts and spices.
This side was the balsamic vinegars and they were all just lovely. I could have purchased every oil and vinegar I swear. I live for this stuff. We ended up purchasing: Tuscan Herb Olive Oil, Butter Olive Oil, Cayenne Chile Pepper Olive Oil and a Black Mission Fig Balsamic vinegar. I could have bought so many more though.
The butter olive oil can be a substitute for butter, the Tuscan herb is great for cooking or dipping bread into, the chile oil has a super great spice to it and the balsamic vinegar could go on about anything. They had a dark chocolate balsamic vinegar! I die! It would be so good on ice cream. Anyway, of course I would drive 5 hours for food.
On our way back to Main from St. Joseph we saw this amazing art alleyway. It was so unexpected and gorgeous. I love the redhead gal in the middle. I looked this up and found a little more info on this alleyway here.
We popped into a chocolate store and I had to snap a pic of these amazing and huge candy coated apples. Wowza! Seeing all those sweets made up realize it was definitely time for lunch. We were hangry! We knew we wanted to try out Murphy’s Pub & Grill. The online menu looked great and they had a lot of tap beers. They also had a super cool outside seating area and bar, but it was too chilly so we dined inside at the bar. The server wasn’t all that friendly, but the food made up for it.
We started out with this lovely plate. They came out in no time – super fast service. This would be the Dirty Chips: hand cut chips crispy fried then topped w/ buffalo sauce & tossed w/ blue cheese crumbles. I didn’t care for the large chunks of blue cheese or the blue cheese sauce but the chips and buffalo sauce were amazing. Definitely would order these again.
For my main dish I went with the tomato mozzarella wrap which was fresh mozzarella and vine ripened tomatoes accompanied w/ organic local basil & an aged balsamic vinaigrette reduction served on a whole wheat wrap. The wrap was fresh and light tasting and that little pickle there was perfection.
For my side I choose the sweet potato fries. I am such a sucker for those! I like them with ketchup but that “sauce” you see there was ridiculous. It was maple butter studded with real bacon bits. I had to try it and it was good but I couldn’t do more than try it. I can only take my gluttony so far. My husband had a pulled pork sandwich with beer cheese soup and both got good marks from him. We’d go there again. I do have to say though, we saw a Mexican joint downtown that looked delicious and I’d like to try called Que Pasa.
I loved checking out downtown and seeing all the old and new buildings. I love that cities revitalize their downtowns. I would gladly go back to Rapid again. Maybe on a warm summer night! Next, our final and primary destination – Deadwood!