Quick hits: The rest of Rapid City Round Two

Beyond the glory that is Philly Ted’s, detailed earlier here, I tried to hit up as many new spots as my time, wallet and belly could handle in my second weekend trip to Rapid City this month. Here’s a quick rundown:

Independent Ale House: Pretty cool place. It was packed by 5 p.m. on Friday, had a full wall of taps from favorites like Odell and New Belgium, as well as some pretty good looking pizzas. I ducked into the downstairs bar and ordered a porter float: two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a glass, then filled with Crow Peak’s Pile o’ Dirt Porter. While I loved the concept, that particular porter is a tad to bitter to pull of a fun dessert. Maybe something sweeter? Either way, I can highly recommend this “Monk’s of the West” as Mr. Elisha Page calls it.

Vertex Sky Bar: The newish rooftop bar and restaurant atop the Alex Johnson Hotel downtown certainly looks the upscale part it’s trying to be. And the outdoor fire vortexes, views of Art Alley and cush wall seating are something you might expect from a place that charges a $250 annual membership fee. We were given an access card at the front desk without too much effort, however.
The signature drinks were also very good. My ‘Aristocrat’s Manhattan’ was a smooth mix and very drinkable. Megan got a ‘Desert Heat’ (tequila, muddled cucumber, jalapeno, and lime with syrup) that was quite good and I’d order again.
Our hummus appetizer, however, was oddly cold, and had the consistency of crumbly cookie dough. It was off-putting.
If I lived in Rapid, and had the kind of job where you took clients out for lunch/dinner/fun, it’d probably be worth it.

Sanford’s Grub & Pub: More than 70 taps, a HUGE menu of burgers, sandwiches, pastas and salads, many with a Cajun or Creole theme and an overblown, kitschy decor. This place is just fine. BUT, they did have many $1 and $2 tap beers (including Odell 5 Barrel and PBR) as long as you ordered food. That’s a good bargain. I had a chicken, jalapeno and cream cheese sandwich (a sort of deconstructed jalapeno popper) that was, again, just fine. Large portions, including the Cajun fries.

Kang San #2: It was always going to be a long shot that Korean food in a strip mall on the outskirts of Sturgis, South Dakota was going to be any good. But Megan was looking forward to it, so I gave it a go. I ordered the Bibimbap, but since this was supposed to be a ‘quick hit’ and I’ve been rambling on for quite awhile now, I’ll leave you with this: pass.

(One last thing I’ll be writing about from this trip is a stop at the new Quaker Steak and Lube that just opened in Rapid City. Sioux Falls is supposed to be getting one of those this year, but I won’t get to my preview until next week.)