Friday, March 29, 2013

Part Deux of My Trip Back Home: The Part Mostly About Food

This is the pecan farm.  Huge and beautiful.
Who would have thought it would take this long to finish a blog entry?  I wrote part 1 of my trip home back in...? January!  Here's a link if you need catching up:  the link to that other entry.  Now, you're all caught up.  So, I left off at cow poop.  When visiting eastern New Mexico/west Texas (let's just do the Bennifer thing here and combine it into Weastern New Texico), cow poop is the beginning and end of lots of things.  Well, the end of lots of things anyway.  Mostly your appetite.  So we drove on into Roswell (sorry if you're lost.  I am a little lost too.  Let's just stick together, and we should be fine.), and we spent the week on my Granddad-in-law's massive pecan farm.  We (meaning not me) murdered squirrels, ate our weight in pecans (totally me), and enjoyed Christmas, country style.  They have lots of tractors on their farm and llamas in their yard, and we totally pigged out at the Golden Corral.  It was super fun, and it's always great to see family.  We also made the trip to Carlsbad Caverns that week, and I was happy (as a native New Mexican) that my kids got to see that wonder of the world.  It was a long hike, but a cave like that is amazing by any standard.  The sheer size of the caves, and the formations inside are mind blowing.  Additionally, I got lost around Artesia, and that is scary like a Stephen King novel.  NEVER get lost around Artesia, y'all.  Carrie and some sentient cars are always lurking around there, along with Blaine the monorail and Randall Flagg's rundown boots.  (If you're all WTF? right now, please check back when you're nerdier.)  
...or not to sell pecans?  That is the question.
This is what happened when little kid Chuck Norris decided to
dig a hole to China.  BAM!  Carlsbad Caverns, baby.

Eventually we headed to the Clovis-Portales area.  My stomping ground, if you want to stomp on peanuts, I guess, or cow poop.  That's abundant everywhere out there.  God, now we're on cow poop again.  Sorry, y'all.  Portales is called Goober Gulch by those in the know because peanuts are sort of its bumper crop (and peanuts are also called goobers), unless you count wind.  There is a shit load of wind.  Most of my family is still hanging on in that neck of the woods, so I was excited to see them.

We interrupt this blog for some incoherent thought processes. (Because, you know, coherent thought has been the name of the game so far, right?)  Please proceed to the nearest exit if you're a sissy or a stickler for story telling that actually makes sense.  I would just like to take a moment to point out some inconsistency between the Schoolhouse Rock teachings of the 80's and modern day common knowledge.  In the 80's, we were taught (via talking salads and other foodstuffs) "You are what you eat."  Now we learn that zombies have a healthy appetite for brains, yet they are quite stupid.  'Nuff said.  Here's a link to support my theory:  The Link That Supports My Theory

Oh, boy.  If I had a sushi restaurant, the feature item on my menu would be the Rick Roll.  That would be good stuff.

We now continue with our regularly scheduled thought process.

Everyone should have such a rhino in their front yard.

We stayed the first night in the Goober Gulch vicinity with my dad, which is always an adventure.  He had, during our previous visit back in July, a 2 1/2 foot tall fiberglass rhinoceros in his front yard, which he had carefully painted to look "realistic."  Of course he did.  If you've read the previous blog entries about my dad (or if you know him personally), this probably seems outrageously normal.  But the kids totally loved the rhino, and spent lots of time "riding" it.  Sadly, the rhino was gone during this trip, and the kids lamented its leaving.  Even so, staying with my dad, there is always potential for adventure.  He and my stepmom were not only gracious enough to put us up, but they also let me host an impromptu house party, and I got to see lots of people who are near and dear to my heart.  

And this is in my dad's yard.  He painted it, and I decided
to include it just because I like it.
The rest of the trip was spent enjoying time with family and trying to cram as much of the local food in my mouth as possible.  If you ever have occasion to visit Clovis or Portales, New Mexico (I can't imagine why you would, unless you're from there, but you just never know), here is a list of must do's and must-eats:

This was my delicious burrito
Allsup's Convenience Store - Fried burritos with lots of taco sauce.  Don't knock convenience store burritos 'til ya try 'em.

Leal's Mexican Restuarant - Chili relleno.  That is all.

Taco Box - Green chili cheesburger and/or combo burrito and spanish fries (no, they are not just tater tots)

My little one is obviously thrilled about
the candy store.  They're not lying about
the giant peanut patty either.  Thing's as
big as a pizza!
Leslie's Candy Company on 7th St. in Clovis - They are the only one in the world and the real deal.  They make all their candy on site in this little building in an older part of town.  Their ribbon candy, cinnamon lollipops are all amazing.  Plus, it's the only place I know where you can get green chili flavored peanut brittle.  Or was it jalapeno?  Whatever.  It was green, and it's really good, I promise.

Twin Cronnies in Clovis Twin Cronnie Drive-In on Urbanspoon - It's an old-fashioned drive up, locally owned and a Clovis original.  I like the jalapeno cheese balls and fried okra, but their burgers are all incredible too.  Plus, there are totally dancing hot dogs on the sign.  You can't go wrong.

Pat's Twin Cronnies in Portales Pat's Twin Cronnie on Urbanspoon - totally different than the other Twin Cronnie but equally awesome.  They have tons of great milk shakes (peanut butter is the bomb diggity), and you have to try the fried cheese on a stick.  It's like a corn dog, only with cheese where the frank should be.  Sooo good!

JJ's Jumbo Burgers J J's Jumbo Burgers on Urbanspoon - I'm pretty sure somebody just started this place in their kitchen and opened their back porch for business.  Seriously.  But the burger meat is the freshest ever and all locally grown, mostly by 4-H kids, and the fries are made out of actual cut up potatoes.  Take that McDonald's!

Main Street in Clovis - It was hit hard when our first mall and Walmart opened up in 1989 (Clovis was a late bloomer), but there are still a lot of great local merchants out there, and it's definitely worth a look.  I mean, you're in Clovis, so what else are you gonna do anyway?  Plus, most of Main Street is still brick, so that's pretty cool.

This is it - my Grandmother's kitchen.
My Grandmother's kitchen - But you can't go there without me.  Seriously, I don't think she'd understand.  She has always made the best enchiladas in the whole world, and the ambience is perfect.  All homey and stuff.

The high school football stadium
My souvenirs from home
And that's pretty much it for Clovis and Portales.  I've provided links (or at least Urban Spoon links) in the list where I can, so you can waste even more time on here if you're really bored.  You're welcome.  Although fine dining isn't really much of an option, the place is a foodie's dream, but it's otherwise pretty devoid of unique things to do.  The people and the food are pretty much the best parts of the whole area.  If you happen to be there during football season, you could catch a game at the high school (Leon Williams Stadium).  Clovis is definitely a Friday Night Lights town, and it's where Hank Baskett got his start.  You could also visit the Blackwater Draw Museum, I suppose, though I wouldn't recommend it.  It's pretty boring.  Sometimes there are art exhibits at the Clovis Community College and at Eastern NM University.  The only other thing to do there is leave.  You can take a drive to the more scenic parts of New Mexico, like Ruidoso, Santa Fe, or even Albuquerque, or pop on down to Fort Sumner for a trip through the Billy the Kid Museum.  

*Author's note:  I blame much of this blog entry on allergy meds.

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