What…were…we thinking. Even though we’re still in the middle of it, I look back at the last 4 weeks and think, “I am simply unhinged”.
What possessed us to initiate a transatlantic move immediately after returning from our honeymoon? I keep trying to answer that question and all I can think of is that we are raving loons. But life takes us where it wants (with a little push from our subconscious) and sometimes you just have to jump.
So I packed up the few belongings we wanted to keep and set off from Orange County at 5am on a Saturday headed towards Texas. I was surprisingly looking forward to the solo 23-hour drive. I had my 21-hour playlist and was determined to find some good eats along the way.
There are two main routes between Texas and California – north and south. Having already done the northern route, I was off to Tucson, AZ to see a long lost friend from elementary school. She was definitely prepared for my arrival.
We walked through downtown Tucson to find Sparkroot. At its heart, Sparkroot is a coffee shop with a focus on Blue Bottle Coffee out of San Francisco but their standard fare will bring you back. Their sandwiches are anything but ordinary. I had a pressed sandwich of ciabatta, Welsh cheddar, chive and CUCUMBER. Now, before I had this, the thought of warm cucumber made me want to yak, but it was surprisingly delicious. Alongside, was a chilled, yet fresh, garlicky tomato soup, which proved to be quite refreshing on a hot desert day and perfect for sandwich dipping.
Since this was a road trip, I needed a snack that would travel well. They wrapped up the other half of my rather large sandwich and it was a nice roadside snack as I entered New Mexico later that day. SCORE.
Since I couldn’t possibly drive 23 hours straight without the aid of narcotics, I stopped for the night in Las Cruces, NM. Las Cruces is a beautiful city that sits at the foot of some amazing mountains, and is only 20 miles from the Texas border.
My friend in Tucson had recommended a great traditional New Mexican place for dinner, however they had apparently decided to close early on a Saturday night. So through the magic of modern technology, I quickly found a back up in the historic town of Mesilla. Mesilla is filled with old adobe architecture, and history every where you turn including the courthouse where Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced.
Just off the plaza was La Posta de Messilla. The restaurant was a maze of unique dining rooms all covered in fiesta and Day of the Dead decor. It was definitely my kind of place. Considering I was in New Mexico where chiles are a staple, Chile Relleno was a must. Fresh green chiles are stuffed with cheese, dipped in an egg batter, fried on the grill and coated in a red chile sauce. And of course, I had to wash it down with a Chile-Rita – a margarita spike with blackberry habanero sauce. It was absolute chile overload and I loved every minute of it as my tongue melted.
On Day 2, I was refreshed and ready for the last 9 hours. Midland in West Texas was the halfway point and I’d heard about a burger. A burger with Bearnaise. Could this be true? Oh sweet gentle snowflakes, I came, I saw, I conquered and can say that it is so.
Burgers, Fries and Cherry Pies caught me by surprise. A great burger, fries and milkshake joint took it one step further and added a selection of ethnic burgers to their menu including the sought after French Connection. The FC is served on a housemade jalapeno cheddar bun and topped with Bearnaise, a sauce of clarified butter, egg yolk and fresh herbs whipped into creamy goodness. Beef just got buttery.
On the side were the crispiest tater tots one can find. You see, I appreciate the simple things in life too. My meals are not all duck liver and sea urchin. Which is why I had them put cheese on my tots. Like I had a choice.
When you are driving across the country, you need a meal that is going to stick with you. Salad just isn’t going to do it!