Its easy to go nuts over these delicious dry-roasted peanuts
In 1981, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory started in a storefront in downtown Durango, Colorado, not far from the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot. Look at it now: a public corporation, well over 300 franchise stores and confections with scores of flavors. Ricky’s Lucky Nuts, established in 2006 on the other end of downtown, started a quarter of a century later and is already appearing on some of Colorado’s store shelves.
Paul Gelose, a gifted chef with wide-ranging experience, over the years held various positions in the kitchens of the Stein Eriksen Lodge, Deer Valley, Utah; Hotel Adula, Flims, Switzerland; Kulm Hotel, St. Moritz, Switzerland; Sheraton Steamboat, Colorado. He slid over to Telluride where he ran the Powderhouse, Joe’s Catering and Giuseppi’s at the Plunge, and also worked in Chicago as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef in 1996-97. He moved to Durango to purchase the Palace Restaurant, also on Main Street between the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory #1 and Ricky’s Lucky Nuts offices. Durango’s Main Street is, in fact, a food row of sorts.
Gelose named the nuts after Rick Jensen, a fellow chef whom he worked with at Steamboat. Paul tried some of Rick’s dry-roasted, seasoned peanuts, which he really liked. On the hand-written recipe from his friend, Paul scribbled, “Ricky’s Lucky Nuts.” The the name stuck. Rick is now a chef in Hawaii at aTurtle Bay Resort restaurant, and Paul and his wife Carolyn Lamb are running the nut company and the restaurant in Colorado.
Ricky’s Lucky Nuts are all natural, dry-roasted, sweet, spicy and totally addictive. The original flavor, officially called Original Style, is lightly salted, lightly sweetened and lightly spiced. Everything is subtle and balanced. There’s a hot undertone (maybe wasabi, maybe pepper, maybe something else) and a spice combo that I can’t identify.The Bombay Curry Coconut is more curry than coconut, which is just fine with me. I’m trying to pace myself, so I haven’t yet opened the Spicy Chile Chipotle or the Black Pepper and Salt.
Ricky’s Lucky Nuts come in 2-ounce and 6-ounce packages, and are available at Whole Foods, Tony’s Markets, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacies, independent grocers, specialty shops and even hotels. 1099 Main Avenue, Suite 105, Durango, Colorado 81301; 970-382-2264 or 888-RLN-NUTS (756-6887).