Albuquerque, New Mexico!

Time for a road trip- recap! After Fort Worth, we headed toward the Grand Canyon. We decided it would make sense to make one stop on the way. Albuquerque was the perfect distance to travel for the day, and we would be rolling in right around dinner time.  I eagerly turned to my TVFoodMaps, Zomato, and Yelp apps to find THE place to dine. The place that kept popping up with raving reviews was Monroe’s. I wanted to try authentic New Mexican Cuisine, and this did not disappoint!IMG_8181

I have never ordered a margarita before, and I thought what better place to try one than NM? It was fun to have the experience, but honestly it was probably my last. After a few sips, I wasn’t eager to have much more. However, if you like margaritas I bet you would love this, just not my cup of tea (or in my case, a glass of ole’ red). But my favorite part was the salt around the rim, mmm mmm. I am a sucker for sodium.

Monroe’s salsa was the best salsa I have ever had- hands down.

Don’t mind the no-makeup, travel all day look 😉

IMG_8998.JPG

Here is what I learned about New Mexican food:

  1. Breakfast is a big deal. Obviously, they know what’s up because it is the most important meal of the day.
  2. On most menus, you will see a combination of  more familiar “American” style cuisine (hamburgers, sandwiches) combined with authentic New Mexican delicacies.
  3. New Mexican cuisine heavily emphasizes enchiladas, burritos, tacos, and tamales. 
  4. Sopapilla is a light, fluffy piece of bread that is served with honey. Often, people will stuff it with beef, beans, cheese, chicken, or other goodies.
  5. Chile Relleno Is one of the greatest things on planet earth. Basically this is a flour tortilla stuffed with Puerto Rican beans, a whole stuffed chile (relleno), and cheese. It is smothered with red or green chile and extra chedder, usually served with calabacitas (a mix of squash, corn, and chile), sour cream, and a sopa. Many times you can add chicken or beef. I just chose the veggie one, and it was (wait there is no English word to describe this) so we will go  with MUY RICA!!!!!! Honestly, why have I not had this before? I feel like I have been missing out all this time. It makes me wonder what other things I am missing this whole time, AHH! Quarter-life crisis here.

IMG_6794

Old Town NM was fascinating. We explored this area on a on a Sunday, so most shops were closed, but the ones we did go into were an explosion of New Mexican culture. Whenever I go somewhere and see the engaging aspects of a culture it makes me want to delve into their history. I learned the basics throughout school, but seeing the uniquely Spanish architecture and the strong Native American influence inspired me to understand these cultures better. I find myself realizing how little I truly understand when exploring the world.

IMG_8025IMG_8006

DJ and I are starting a collection of pictures from each state to one day make a map of the US with a picture from each. We tried our best to get the Albuquerque name in the background, but knocked off the end. Oh well, proof enough that we were there!

IMG_6793IMG_6797

The next day we had breakfast at the hotel and then continued on our journey. I have never been in the Southwest before and I was enthralled with the views. I felt like I was right in the middle of a cowboy movie. I could not take my eyes away from the window. I told DJ my goal was to see a tumbleweed. He said there would be plenty once we got to Arizona and passed on to the Grand Canyon. Was there plenty? No! I didn’t see a single one, darn it. Guess it isn’t tumbleweed season?

IMG_8005

The wind gusts certainly were an experience. They were not too terrible for us, but DJ said when he was there last summer they could move your car into the next lane. I don’t think that was the type of Summer Wind that Frank Sinatra was talking about.

IMG_8004IMG_8007IMG_6810

On our drive to the canyon we kept seeing signs for a meteor crater in the Flagstaff area. We joked, “Hey let’s go see the giant hole in the ground before we see an even larger hole in the ground” (since we were going to the Grand Canyon the next day). Then we actually became excited about the idea after seeing about ten billboard advertisements for it on the side of the road. It was the fourth of July, and instead of just driving to arrive hotel early, we said why not stop and do something spontaneous on this holiday!

IMG_6851

We were so glad we did! This is the world’s best preserved meteorite impact site on Earth. It is estimated that the collision was an astroid that was traveling 26,000 mph. It is about 1 mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference, and more than 550 feet deep. It has actually been used for training for astronauts! The picture doesn’t do much justice for the size. IMG_6849

After exploring the interactive discovery center and having conversations about how we should stock up on canned goods for when the next one hits, we hit the road. Time to go the Grand Canyon!!! That deserves a separate post 😉 IMG_6898

Wishing you a spontaneous adventure,

xo <3

Mack

Recap of the First Lap

 

So as I mentioned in my last post, this week has been fun! But it also has exhausting. It is worth every second. I think back and am amazed at how much we managed to squeeze in a short period of time. Here is a little recap of adventures of this past week:

  • When we arrived, we spent the first couple days unpacking and finding a home for all our belongings. Then we started the endless trips back and forth to Target, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Bed Bath and Beyond to get the place lookin’ cute. Poor boy. Also we spent about an entire day assembling a TV console that did NOT want to be assembled. But, we did it.

IMG_7028

imageimage

  • As I mentioned, I love to cook. However in the first week of moving in I didn’t really have the time (or energy!) to figure out a meal plan for the week. So our gracious apartment complex gave us “welcome to the ‘hood” coupons for all kinds of restaurants. We had a million to subway along with subway gift cards, so we had subway for lunch (and sometimes dinner) every.single.day for about the first 6 days. We made friends with the workers in there and went back one night just because to say “hey” to them.
    image
  • In the evenings for the first few nights we had dinners consisting of couponed’ sushi, thai, and more Subway. There is something just fun and rewarding about working hard all day and then getting takeout to eat among a sea of receipts, broken down cardboard boxes, and empty walls. One night we ate at a hole-in-the-wall vegetarian Indian place. It was the most authentic Indian food I have encountered in the US. I was like a little kid in a candy store telling DJ about all the authentic cuisine. It was also the best naan I have ever had (besides actually being in India). Side note: I went to India May 2015 for Nursing with my school. It was one of the greatest, most challenging, rewarding experiences of my entire life.

IMG_7239.JPG

IMG_7035

  • My favorite part of the area is the hiking. It is certainly interesting to see warning signs for mountain lions and rattle snakes at the entrance of each park. So far I have managed not to become some lions’ dinner, so I say that’s a win.
  • The most difficult process we have encountered was the DMV. Oh my lanta, getting a license in California is not easy. Be prepared to wait in endless lines. I told DJ it felt like we were right at home, at Cedar Point.
  • On our trip out here I realized a tooth that I had chipped (when I was five), and re-filled in May, was turning slightly yellow. I went to a dentist in the area and he said I needed an emergent root canal. Here we are, a week in, and I’m drooling all over the place. I have the second half of it today (it was a two part procedure).
  • We found a church! I cannot explain what a blessing this is for us. We have heard horror stories about getting plugged into churches on the West Coast. I am blown away by the kindness and genuine nature of the individuals we encountered. We went to our first community group last night and I left feeling elated after finding such a wonderful group of people, that are so passionate about their relationship with Christ, so quickly.

IMG_7247.JPG

 

Wishing you good days and lots of sunshine,

xo <3

Mack