What does Australian food taste like?

As an American who has never gone down under in that way, I really wouldn't know. In fact, my only exposure to any type of Australian cuisine came from the lyrics to the song Down Under by Men At Work, and I still don't know what vegemite is. However, I am glad that I now know that pie is Australia's national food.

According to Steve Philips, that is. And he is true Aussie. He found Colorado and his American wife (originally from New Orleans) while snow bumming in Keystone. After a little while living the mountain life, the two married and they went to back to his homeland, Australia, all the while dreaming of bringing mobile pie to the States.

Pie is fast food in Australia. It's akin to hot dogs here. You grab one, it's a couple bucks and you eat while you walk to the game, sit in the plaza, or whatever. But while we associate pie with sweet, Aussie pies are savory. They aren't dessert, they are the meal.

And, like the hot dog (minus the nitrates and known carcinogens, hopefully), in Australia, the quality of the pies can vary from great to "I'm kind of glad I don't know what's in this thing."

But not at the Waltzing Kangaroo, the new restaurant that just opened in Campus West. They are bringing Australia's favorite fast food dish to Fort Collins.

The concept takes pie to a whole new level. Steve described it in the most delicious way.

It's fast food, slow cooked, handmade, artisan fare that is ready to eat

Whoa! How can one use 'fast food' and 'slow cooked' when referring to the same dish? Simple. They project how many they'll need for the day, and they prepare accordingly. So that morning's breakfast was prepped the night before and then is cooked fresh at mealtime, and kept warm in the glass case.

As people stroll to CSU or drive to work, they can stop by and grab a pie. It's ready, and if we follow Aussies' lead, it is handheld food. They grab the pie, pull it out of the tin, and chow down. Americans tend to grab a fork, but holding them by hand may soon catch on.

To Steve, the owner and chef (pictured), it doesn't seem to matter how people eat his food. He just wants them to know that everything is made from scratch and is cooked fresh every day. Fresh, flaky handmade pastry crust surrounds everything, and there is no waiting for someone to cook the food. Like in Australia, they know you are hungry and have the pies ready to roll out the door.

I tried the spinach feta roll and an espresso with water, and it was delicious. I can't wait to try them for breakfast!