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 😉

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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

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HOT ROLLS: Ozark, MO!

Something I have been meaning to share, but haven’t quite found the time was the rest of our cross-country road trip out here to California. We began in Indiana and trekked over 3,000 miles to our new home. It took us a little over a week and in that week memories were created that neither of us will ever forget.

We packed up the giant Uhaul that our parents graciously drove cross-country for us and took off toward a new adventure, new unknowns, and a new life. When planning our trip out West I had one stipulation. DJ found this request comical, considering we basically could stop anywhere along the way. BUT- once you go, once you try this place, you will understand!

What is this life-changing place? I’m glad you asked. LAMBERT’S CAFE. Last year we went here on our way to a wedding in Tulsa. It is located right off the highway in Ozark, MO. I could not wait to go back and what better time than this road trip? Let me tell ya, it did not take much to convince the hubs!

If I could require everyone to go to one restaurant in their lives, it would be to here. This is your deep, southern fried, nothing-beats-it, grandma’s cooking. To people from the East, I would describe it as “Cracker Barrel on steroids”. Anytime you go, be prepared to wait at least an hour. This place is as good as they claim, and everyone from across the country knows it. They have a map outside their restaurant and they have pins to mark where you are from. There are people from every state across the US. I am telling you- people travel from Alaska for this! THAT GOOD.

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Anywho- what makes this place so special you ask? Here is a pretty typical trip to Lambert’s:

  1. The car ride over looks something like this. gif excited.gif
  2. Once you arrive, you battle all the other cars for a parking spot. 200 (3).gif
  3.  Then, you walk to the outdoor window hostess to put your name in, walking quicker than the six-person family a few steps ahead of you, because, hey, gotta beat them for that table.

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3. You wait for an hour, but it feels more like days. You find yourself salivating as you dream of “HOT ROLLS!”

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4. You check the time incessantly. Maybe you go to the gift store, maybe check out the map of the US to see where the other roll-addicts are from, but really, you just get to do some hardcore people watching.

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5. They call your name over the loud speaker outside. You are in a state of disbelief, that yes, it’s you. You tell yourself to move; you pinch yourself, afraid you are dreaming. When you see your friends’ faces light up with a goofy distorted excitement you know it’s real. It’s time.

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6. You make your way to your table and soak in the views of the heavenly food on everyone’s plates. Decisions. Horribly difficult, amazing decisions.

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7. Once seated, the waiter explains how “it works”. But you already know how it works, oh, you know! They bring you out the most gargantuan soda of your whole life. The waiters with the charmingly, nerdy uniforms ask you if you would like some fried okra. You wonder why they even ask; you wonder if it would be weird to hug them.

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7. You down that delicious okra. Oh wait… what is that smell? Could it be…? “HOT ROLLS!” You wave your hand, you jump up and down, you do whatever you can so that they just might throw one of carby buns in your direction.

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8. FINALLY. That hot, doughy piece of bread touches your fingertips. The waiter with the sorghum (aka your new best friend) loads it on that fluffy piece of heaven. You finally understand, it is all so clear, your sole purpose in life is to eat these rolls.

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9. The waiter brings out your food, and now you can try the rest of the pass-arounds: The macaroni and tomatoes, the fried potatoes and onions, the black eyed peas. You sample your sides. WHY IS COLD CHUNKY APPLESAUCE SO GOOD?! Your emotions overtake you.

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10. You finish your meal and walk away from the table. You just remind yourself, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” 

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Wishing you many throwed rolls,

xo <3

Mack

Baltimore, MD!

After I graduated this year from college, DJ and I decided to take a couple of months and travel! We left in the beginning of May and headed to Baltimore. Well why Baltimore? I guess it would differ depending whom you ask. DJ would say to watch the Orioles play, but I would say to try the greatest crab cakes in America. Either way we accomplished both. Crab cakes first! One word: FAIDLEYS. If you have not tried a Faidley’s crab cake, you have not lived. While it is $20, the cake it is beyond worth it. There are zero fillers and huge jumbo lump crab. The place has a super fun authentic feel located right in a market place.

I also feel that anywhere you go has something unique and special about it. Some may feel that a city, county, country is not worth going to because it has nothing particularly special about it. My personal opinion is if you look close enough each place has a hidden gem. (Said “gems”are my favorite when they come in the food form).

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We spent the rest of the weekend going to Orioles games! We are both from Akron, OH originally, but DJ is an Orioles fan, soo I am slowly converting.**DISCLAIMER: STILL INDIANS FAN**. The games were a blast. Camden yards is a stadium you must go to if you are a baseball lover. It is one of a kind. Also they have vegan hot dogs -so I died. I was ecstatic. I haven’t had a hotdog at a baseball game in years!

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In between games, we spent time going to the Aquarium right on the pier, walked along the cute little pier, and tried different restaurants. We are both strong believers of not eating at chains while traveling- it is necessary to try the local grub! We went to a place called the Rusty Scupper. It was one of the greatest seafood meals of our lives. DJ and I both ordered the Chilean Sea Bass. Let me tell you- it was nuthin’ short of spectacular. Their shrimp cocktail may have had the largest shrimp I have ever seen on a shrimp cocktail as well.

We also discovered a cute little sweets shop called SUGAR. I have a big ole’ sweet tooth so it grabbed my attention. We went in and looked at everything and decided to split a cowtail. Please tell me there are others out there that are cowtail fans. For some reason most people I have asked lately about them (because apparently this is a conversation I have often) seem to be living under a rock and don’t even know what they are. If you have never had a cowtail, stop reading, go find one, and eat it. You’re welcome.

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At the second game we went to I was convinced the Manny Machado waved to me. Maybe he can affirm this one day? Either way, we enjoyed every second of those ball games. There is something about the comradery of the fans at a baseball game, the smell of roasting peanuts, and sticky spilled soft drinks on your shoes that makes a summer evening absolutely perfect.

 

So you know that rule we have about not going to chains? We unknowingly broke it. Whoops. We definitely went to a chain thinking it was a local food stop. Oh well, it was worth it. Let me present Philips- if you would like a delicious lobster roll, this is the place to go. Oh by the way, the way we found out it was a chain was when we were in the airport. And there was one in the airport. AN AIRPORT.

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The Baltimore trip surpassed my expectations. If ever find yourself in Baltimore, MD, repeat after me: FIND FAIDLEYS.

Wishing you an abundance of sweet things,

xo <3

Mack