• J.F. Rowan

Memories of Home


Nana and Nano Monteleone's Pasta Deli

Photo Credit-Trip Advisor/Google

During our overland adventure it’s not uncommon for there to be so much stimuli, so many different things that we see and do, that we tend to forget about home for a little while. Recently, while in the city of Trinidad Colorado we, or at least I perhaps, experienced something that was indeed part of our adventure but also brought me back to a place and time that was filled with both good and dare I say, a few tragic memories.

Every Italian deli meat you can think of, and then some.

When you drive down Main Street in Trinidad, there are all the usual storefronts one would expect from a former mining boom-town now resurrected by the Cannabis industry. Upscale pizzerias, pubs, exotic clothing stores, used books and the like. We’ve stopped and driven through here as a result of staying at a state park nearby called Trinidad Lake. Having a town such as this nearby is a great convenience for re-stocking groceries and the like. Granted, we don’t need to take advantage of the twenty-three cannabis dispensaries here but if we were in the market for such a thing, I guess that would be good too.

Clean, neat and cozy. Did I mention good cheap eats?

Favorite quote from waitstaff, "You want more bread and butter?"

But we’re here strictly for groceries, fuel and a few bottles of wine. After having procured said items and a few more that were on our list, we noticed a small place at the north end of town called "Nana & Nano Monteleone's Deli and Pasta House". A small but clean storefront adorned with a hunter green awning. The word “Deli” caught my eye as we needed lunch meat. I found a place to park, not hard in that part of town, and we locked up the truck and headed inside. First off, your hit in the face with all the smells that would normally waft out of your Italian grandmother's kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. As it turns out, they sell lunch meat, yes but there are about eight or nine small tables scattered around the front of the deli, the majority being in a small room just off to the side. My laser guided eyes quickly spotted a stack of small menus stacked neatly on the front counter. They have a whole menu of hot and cold food everything from Italian Cold Cut Grinders to steaming plates of “Aglio e Olio.” Shifting gears, we grabbed a seat and being that it was lunch time, We ordered two hot sandwiches, one meatball, the other Italian sausage.

Homemade sauce and local sausage on my "Toni."

You can put aside your groceries while you wait for your order so that when you’re done eating, you pay for everything and head out the door. But why should you be in such a rush when Fran, the owner comes out from the kitchen, sits down next to you and asks who you are, where you’re from and what you’re doing in town. The more I sat there, the more I felt like I was sitting back home with close friends who also happen to be Italian. Coincidence, me thinks not!

"Waiting Area" Or, you could always shop while you're waiting for table, they'll put your groceries aside until you're done.

Anyway, this institution not only has all the great Italian groceries you crave, the hot scrumptious Italian meals you wish you could cook, but it’s also a living breathing place. Come in, sit down and relax. Fran will be by to ask you how everything is, then she’s likely to pull up a chair and converse a bit. When you leave and say your goodbyes, she’ll ask how long you’ll be in town. If your stay is long enough and there is a possibility that you’ll make a return visit before you leave, which you will do if you know what’s good for ya, then she might even say, “Next time, just come back in the kitchen.” Stunned, when I first heard this, it brought me flaming back to the 60’s and 70's to a place with the same style and vibe, Mary and Franks kitchen. Who? Well, that will be a story for next time.

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