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Turn Left at Albuquerque


Happy Labor Day, everyone! May your day be filled with fun, family, and good food.

We spent our weekend playing mini golf, hanging out at Pismo Beach, and drinking lots of beer. And of course, there was the annual back-porch BBQ, which was less of a spectacle than in previous years but equally delicious, a standard Santa Maria trip-tip rubbed with a mix of garlic powder (3x), onion powder (2x), salt and paprika (1x), ground pepper (1/2x), and brown sugar (about 1x). Rub your meat the night before cooking, let it rest in the fridge overnight, and grill when ready. We barbequed ours for 45 minutes with a packet of bourbon-soaked oak chips, as well. Yum!

Normally, I would amp up the paprika and pepper to make it spicy, but as some folks in our group had dietary restrictions, we dialed the hot spots down. So if you try this basic rub, be sure to tweak it to taste.

The other big-eating adventure we had was stopping at Harris Ranch in Coalinga for dinner on Friday. Coalinga is the kind of place that elicits many a comment from I-5 travelers because of the feedlot smells that invade your car as you pass by. It’s not pretty, but somehow I can stand it. As the granddaughter of a cowboy, I have a weird reaction to that specific perfume of dust, cattle, feed, and manure that hovers between disgust and nostalgic longing. Most people find it repulsive.

But the smell of the lot does not affect the restaurant, and we had a lovely dinner. And it’s always fun to look at the cowhide furniture and weird equestrian art. I also love the bathroom because it reminds me of Disneyland with its themed tile and weirdly instructive signage. It isn’t as over-the-top and magical as the Madonna Inn, but it’s still a highway oasis.

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From → Food, Travel

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