The Don Bar

I eat a lot of energy bars.

I know they’re not real food, that’s what my nutritionist tells me, but they’re a good pick-me-up, assuming you buy the ones with enough protein.

Yes, I’ve learned how to read the nutrition label. You don’t want one with less than ten grams of protein. Otherwise, you’ll just get a sugar rush and no get up and go.

And for a while there I was hooked on ZonePerfect bars. I highly recommend them, only I don’t. You know how most energy bars taste like cardboard, how they resemble food but not really? That’s not the case with ZonePerfect bars. They’re truly tasty. Start with the Chocolate Mint. If you dig that, move on to the Double Dark Chocolate. And the Dark Chocolate Almond. They say they’ve got tons of protein, but I don’t believe it. I don’t think the FDA tests these bars. Furthermore, I know my gumption doesn’t last long after consuming one. And I’ve eaten plenty, I’ve had to wean myself, I was downing them like candy. I still can’t resist when I go to Bob’s Market, where they’ve got a full complement, but mostly I’ve moved on to…

The Balance Bar.

Now for a long time I thought the Chocolate Raspberry was it. Kinda like Joyva Chocolate Covered Raspberry Jell Rings, which most people get for Passover, but work at any time. Just a hint of raspberry does the trick. Remember when Robin Rose sold her raspberry chocolate chip ice cream? This was just at the advent of the foodie era, you could not get close to her emporium in Venice.

And I’ve eaten every Balance bar extant. Because they taste good enough, have enough protein and not too many carbs, they’re BALANCED!

For a minute there I enjoyed the Almond Brownie. But then I decided they had a chemical taste. In a pinch I’ll still eat one, at the top of Vail Mountain, but I do my best not to buy them.

As for the gold models?? None of them really ring my bell, Chocolate Mint Cookie Crunch sounds good, but it too has the chemical taste. And who doesn’t like S’mores? But the Balance iteration is a far cry from the campground favorite.

No, my Balance Bar of choice is the Mocha Chip.

Now I drink no coffee.

But I’m a fool for coffee ice cream, and coffee yogurt, and the Mocha Chip Balance Bar is a staple of my diet.

I used to buy them by the box at Whole Foods, they give you a discount that way, they’re only 99 cents apiece. But for some reason they stopped stocking them, and they’re $1.69 at Bob’s, which is way too much, but I’ve got a jones.

It’s the chewiness along with the hint of coffee that does it. Mmm… I’ve already eaten one today. I brought along a dozen to Sun Valley.

That’s where I am, for an arts conference. Technically, the Americans for the Arts Leadership Roundtable. Marty invited us, he’s on Felice’s board.

And I haven’t been to Sun Valley since 1976. A mountain that gets no snow but provides some of the best skiing in America, because it’s the same pitch from top to bottom, there are no flat spots to recover, you’ve got to commit.

And this morning I walked over to Warm Springs. Checked out Limelight, where we used to bang the bumps.

And after finishing my expedition, we went on an excursion up Idaho Highway 75 to Galena Lodge. Where we sat outside in the barely 60 degree weather and I ate a trout salad and said…mmm, I’m still hungry.

And I remembered Felice fingering a candy bar at the counter. I knew they had some chozzerai there, when everybody returned to the car, I went on a reconnaissance mission.

It was there that I encountered the Don Bar.

Now you’ve got to know, once upon a time, before the Internet and cell phones, Ketchum, Idaho was off the beaten path, the entire western United States was. You’d get in your automobile and realize it was just you and the elements, you and the big sky. If you broke down, good luck. But with no safety net, you felt so alive.

And there’s no cell service at Galena Lodge. So I figured I’d better fortify myself, in case the apocalypse arrived.

So I bought the Don Bar.

I was reluctant at first, it looked mostly like a cellophane wrapped brownie.

But the man behind the counter told me no, it was an energy bar.

That made it legit, I could buy and consume it, it wasn’t dessert, it was sustenance!

And he said that it was comprised of oats and peanut butter and…

I was sold before he finished. And although I thought three bucks was excessive for such a tiny square, I said what the hell.

And when I unwrapped it, NIRVANA!

Oh, when life exceeds your expectations. When your mind says average but your taste buds say exquisite. Lunch was good, but this energy bar was a 10!

Every bite was a mouth orgasm of sweet and crunchy, yet sticky and substantial. It was firmer than a Balance Bar, but nowhere near as crunchy as a ZonePerfect. It sat in that sweet spot reserved for delectable treats that have perfect mouth feel yet satiate your taste buds.

And it did the trick, it topped off my tank, it made me full.

That’s what protein does. When you see a woman consuming a salad without fish, chicken or beef, know that she knows nothing about nutrition, that she’s only into looks, because she’s gonna be starving, because women need ten to fifteen grams of protein at every meal and men need fifteen to twenty.

Which is why I read the labels on the energy bars.

Not that there was much info on the Don Bar at Galena Lodge, but you know when something has enough protein, because, as I said, you feel full.

So, so long Clif bars, with their decent taste but hardly any protein, they’re carb-centric.

And so long Nature Valley, which too specialize in carbs and are nearly protein free.

And hello Balance Mocha Chip and the newly found Don Bar!

Because life is lived on the go, and you need something quick and easy to keep you going.

P.S. The recipe is secret, but one blogger tried to recreate the Don Bar here:

homemade peanut butter-chocolate granola bars


Balance Mocha Chip

Joyva Chocolate Covered Raspberry Jell Rings

Galena Lodge

Comments are closed