Tag Archives: Juanita’s Taqueria

Road Trip 2014: Restaurants

Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim, Arizona

Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim, Arizona–the dining room is on the left

My husband Tom and I have been on a road trip since January 2, 2014. I want to write about our journey in some—as yet unspecified—epic, metaphorical piece, but I have been finding it difficult to get these—as yet unformed—thoughts into the computer. Experiences and ideas swirl around in my head, but I can’t focus. I think I will start writing about simple, finite topics (e.g., restaurants, bookstores, campsites, hikes, medical misadventures) and hope that concentrating on them will help some of the other ideas settle down and organize themselves.

Path of our trip, in brief: Virginia, Maryland Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, North Carolina, South Carolina Note: we plan on being in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania before year’s end.

Finite Topic #1: Favorite Restaurants

First, a minor confession: Tom and I are, some would say, foodies.* So, although we have shared many camp meals and picnics, we have ended up going to restaurants more than one might think for a couple of (would-be) adventurers. As Tom says, in our defense, we met in a restaurant— Grand Canyon Lodge in 1971—so, really, all this restaurant going is just a logical progression of how we started our journey together.

Anyhow, you can see from the list above, where we’ve wandered. For the amount of places we’ve traveled and eaten in, one might think we would have a long list of restaurants to recommend, but no, we have a list of six favorite restaurants from the whole trip. While there were plenty of okay, pretty good, or good meals, there are entire states, regions, and interstate highways where we didn’t find food that we loved.** Here’s the restaurant list:

Lunch in New Orleans

Lunch in New Orleans

 

I don’t want to critique the restaurants any more than to say that, in each place, we enjoyed tasty meals made with real ingredients and cooked and served by professional, friendly people.

 

Heading into Alicia's

Heading into Alicia’s

Saigon Bowl, Denver

Saigon Bowl, Denver

*Yes, we travel with whole nutmeg, Sriracha, smoked paprika, and the dowel rolling pin Tom made me.

** That’s not counting the delicious food we have shared with family and friends along the way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Scat, Part 2: Bird Tails

It has been a challenge getting started writing my second scat post.  That isn’t because scat doesn’t/ hasn’t continued to happen—some fell on those I love and on myself and there’s the  the same old stuff of bad economy, mayhem with guns, and the environmental depredations we see wherever we travel.

No, I haven’t been able to write because today is so beautiful here at our campground at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona that I couldn’t pull myself away from the natural world and into the electronic device.  Here’s a photo of where I am sitting at 5:42 PM (Arizona time).

Quail Campground, Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Quail Campground, Dead Horse Ranch State Park

My chair is next to a cat claw acacia and faces several creosote bushes.  London Rocket (sisymbirum irio) swarms behind me.

London rocket

London rocket

Below me is a dry wash that is probably not as dry as it looks.

This afternoon a covey of Gambel’s quail marched around in and around the creosote. A spotted towhee hopped around from bush to  the ground and back up—so close that I am confident he (male plumage) is in fact who I think he is. A hummingbird zipped by and I think the tiny grays are flycatchers.  Others having been showing up including the ubiquitous ravens, doves of probably more than one kind, a hawk (that can’t identify), a cardinal, a great blue heron, and a black and white crowned sparrow who hopped around near me throughout the afternoon like he was daring me to figure out what variety he was among the dozens of sparrows in my bird book. No luck so far. Most exciting, but not verified as of yet, was a gila woodpecker in a cottonwood down in the wash.

I still want to tell you the second scat story, maybe tomorrow.

Observation: Maybe I can’t write about bad stuff—funny or real—in part because Tom and I had such good food at Juanita’s Taqueria here in Cottonwood and it sort of mellowed me out.

It’s Tomorrow: On February 18 Tom and I traveled to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. I would show you photos of this fabulous place, but I didn’t recharge my camera battery in a timely fashion. Anyhow, we pulled into the Upper Scorpion Campground and settled in for a snack of red grapes, water, and some other delicious tidbits I can’t recall.  The picnic table was next to a huge ponderosa pine.

ponderosas

ponderosas

As soon as we sat down, and especially after a red grape or two liberated themselves, two ravens (corvus corax) landed on the tree directly above where we sat.  Our campsite was situated within the 558,065 acres of the Gila Wilderness which, thanks in part to Aldo Leopold,  is the first designated wilderness in the world. So, maybe the ravens felt that Tom and I were elbowing in on their space.  They complained and complained and we did not move. Finally–from about fifteen feet above–one raven launched about a half  a cup of droppings onto Tom’s  blue plaid bermuda shorts. As we figured the ravens had planned it, we immediately jumped up, ran to the camper and tried to clean the gooey crap off the shorts.  When I turned back toward the picnic table, I saw one of the ravens sailing off with a red grape in his beak. 

Alternative Analysis: Tom and I think the ravens wanted the grapes, but we have also considered that avian bombardier might have merely been expressing his opinion about Tom’s overly bright, non-western attire.  You can Google images for “men’s blue plaid bermuda shorts ” and see for yourself.

two ravens

two ravens