After living in Indiana for two years, I’ve started a habit of making excessively long trips home where I cram in as many reunions as possible. I haven’t yet decided if that is the healthiest option but it is certainly the most time and cost efficient. Back in August I had a work conference that led up to Labor Day weekend. Which fell right when my mom was getting surgery. All that plus a couple other trips tacked on, I embarked on a 19 day trip to the West Coast. The itinerary? Indianapolis – Denver – Reno – San Jose – (unplanned Dallas) – Indianapolis.
This is one of my favorite food cities in all of America. I know I can always count on a great meal and a new adventure. The weekend I visited happened to coincide with the weekend my friend was moving into her new house. Like all sane/normal people, I was excited to help with a moving day for a friend (I’m a glutton for helping). Free workout by lifting heavy things and there is something exciting about being a part of someone else embarking on their future. In return for helping her move, all I asked was that I would get to eat at some tasty places. Denver has turned into my go to place to get as many different varieties of meals in one weekend. This time I tried seriously great Chinese food at East Dynasty, Alabama BBQ (while rocking my Roll Tide shirt), Felfel Mediterranean food, curry bowls from Biju’s Curry Shop, and just good ‘ole classic diner food at Sam’s. I’m full all over again after reminiscing.
For my work conference, we had a great mixture of new cuisines and fun catering. The final night of the conference was a “Taste of Denver” experience. All the food was sourced locally and created by local chefs. It was a unique experience and we got to try a ton of different dishes. The most memorable was their “watermelon poke” where they vacuum sealed watermelon with vinegar and the end result looked identical to tuna poke. The second best was their fried avocados on top of a steak salad. Mmmm.
This is where I was born, where I spent the first few years of my life, and where I have some my fondest family memories. Growing up, when I lived in Henderson (Southern Nevada) we visited Reno (Northern Nevada – about 9 hours away) at least once a month, if not more. So even though I only lived there for a short while, the town has a ton of memories. Same goes for Lake Tahoe. My aunt and uncle restored a beautiful cabin at the lake and we spend each Labor Day with family. It is one big weekend of celebrations (lots of September birthdays, including my own), great food, adventures, and card games. All the extended family on my dad’s side comes and it is always a blast. We are a family full of great cooks so everyone is responsible for cooking at least one meal. It is so great to spend a weekend with family with no TV, little to no service, and just being out in nature. It has become my yearly reset to disconnect and recenter.
While I’ve never lived in San Jose, it is one of my “homes” because it is where my mom lives. She grew up in San Jose and we visited often growing up. Getting to spend time with her feels like home, so it counts. Since I was just a few hours from her while in Tahoe, I extended my trip so I could take care of her for a little bit. She was, and is, recovering from shoulder surgery. While the procedure itself isn’t invasive – just imagine losing the ability to use your arm for a couple months. Certainly makes cooking, cleaning, and anything else difficult. Her sister, my aunt, was kind enough to send us a couple different free boxes from Hello Chef and Blue Apron. This was such a treat to not have to grocery shop and I loved having different meals to try out with her. I also got to see my grandparents who live a few hours away from my mom. We met at Casa de Fruta which is this incredible market and restaurant filled with every possible fruit, chocolate, dip, pickle you could ever imagine. I can always count on San Jose for some wonderful fruits and vegetables, especially in the heart of summer.
This was an accidental layover that allowed me to see my brother for a couple hours. As many of you know, my family works for Southwest Airlines and one of the perks of that is free flights (that come with a catch). While the flight is free, you only get on the plane if there is space available. So it is free in cost but you pay for it in stress of not knowing exactly what flight will get you home. As the days got closer to my time to depart, flights were filling up and I needed to get creative. So I flew from San Jose to Dallas and then Dallas to Indy. It worked out perfectly and I got to spend a little more time with my brother. We also go to go to one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas, Halal Guys. Win-win!
At the end of my incredibly long trip, I was happy to be home in my own bed and my first stop to eat was – you guessed it – Cafe Patachou. One month without that restaurant was less than pleasant. Probably more for the people around me dealing with my withdrawals and complaints than my actual discomfort. Pretty sure I can never move away from this town in large part because I can’t survive without their brunch and hospitality.
When you live two thirds across the country from your home, friends, and family it means you don’t get to see them as often as you like. Then add in being an efficiency junkie and you have discovered the reason for my really long trips. I am beyond grateful for the chance to travel for work and for fun, the chance to take care of my mom, and the chance to eat my way through all of these experiences. Food is how I capture my memories and this blog is how I share it with you!
Not sure where I am headed next, but I know it will be delicious.
In the midst of memories,