Sunday, March 22, 2015

Guerilla marketing: World's Best Salsa

R, K and I took a spring break trip that will go down in the pass travel history books as a FAIL, but we ended up having a sweet little road trip adventure. Read about it here.

Then this happened on the way home. It needed a post all to itself. 

"Excuse me ma'am, would you like to try the world's best salsa? " It was 2a.m., an Exxon Mobil station 44 miles south of Birmingham. Very few folks about. I was walking in to get a cup of possibly the world's worst coffee, but my driving leg was about to start and I was sleepless. Which maybe explained my hesitation. But there, leaning out of a minivan was a fresh faced and grinning young man: Anthony Ingram. I glanced at the decal on the van, only to have it confirmed: Tony Tejas, The world's best salsa! So, Duh.
"Sure!" I said. Because what goes better with a 2 a.m. fuel stop in the middle of Alabama than the world's best salsa.
"I'll have a sample for you when you get out". Two young men, taking their salsa to Birmingham to a distributor. Eager, friendly and in possession of some serious salsa. Fresh. Not preserved. A shelf life, refrigerated, of 21 days. He brought a 4 oz deli container over to the car after buying a new bag of tortilla chips for us to sample with. The girls and I agreed. The fresh cilantro and lime flavor up front is slightly subdued by a smoky finish. One free 4 oz sample, a business card, and promises to like their facebook page were exchanged. A selfie was grudgingly agreed to by me. And we were back on the road. The salsa: as we were reminded twice, is like a party in your mouth. Order some today!

Tony Tejas Salsa 
Tony Tejas Salsa on Facebook

Drive til we find white sand: Spring Break 2015

We had planned to fly to Corpus Christi. It was a good plan.  It started with taking R&K's car to St. Louis and spending the night there, so that we could fly in and out of St. Louis.  I had planned that we'd hop on the first flight out Thursday morning and be on the beach in Corpus Christi by noon.

We got a late start out of town. Just. Because. Then K realized she'd left her phone in the house.  So, another delay.  But, eventually we were en route around 7:00pm.  R took the wheel.  I began checking and rechecking flight loads and realized we should have a back-up plan.  The flights, which had been wide open as recently as that morning, were slowly filling up. Why is it so impossible to catch a ride to Houston??

When we were about an hour from St. Louis, I broke the news to the girls.  It didn't look like we'd make the flights in the morning.  The good news was, they were up for a drive.

We just kept heading south and I was eating up my data plan looking for white sand and a cheap hotel.  Pensacola, New Orleans, Gulf Shores....we chose Fort Walton.

About 13 hours after passing St. Louis, having stopped for breakfast along the way, we pulled into our hotel, checked in early and hit the beach....beneath cloud covered skies.

Ghost pier

 We walked the beach in the gloom and fog, stopped at The Crab Trap for an appetizer, pulled up weather reports for the next few days, and formulated yet another Plan B for our mini-vacation. 

Our plan started with a trip to Barnes and Noble where we all picked out books.  We found a publix and bought snacks, ordered a pizza from Crust Pizzeria and picked it up on our way back to the hotel.

The next morning we braved the cool, foggy weather again, sitting on the beach with our books, just enjoying the sound of the waves.

When it started to rain, we packed up, and went in search of coffee and treats.  We found The Donut Hole.  And this:

And then we went shopping!

That evening we ate at Boshamps in Destin.  It has a low-key atmosphere, (imagine northwoods meets beach) and fantastic food. We all chose from the day's catch: grouper, snapper and swordfish and shared a fresh mango creme brulee for dessert.

Our last day on the beach, the skies finally cleared and the sun came out. 

It ended up being a long drive for one day in the sun, but we all agreed it was worth it. 

Tell me about your spring break trip.  Do you have any travel plans that ended up not as you originally imagined?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Six hours in St. Louis

I had been missing my girlies in a bad way.  I had been promising a visit down to SLU for weeks. Last Saturday, we made the trip, Rob, R and I, down for a quick visit. Do the math: the four hour drive down + the 6 hour drive home (through snow and ice) for a 6 hour visit?  It only makes sense if you are a mom missing your kids. And, if you have a fabulous hubs willing to do ALL the driving!

We arrived around 10am, picked R and K up from R's apartment and drove over to Rooster for brunch. Rooster!  So FUN and So Delicious!  If you live in St. Louis, you don't need me to tell you about it, apparently most of the city had the same idea for Saturday brunch as we did. But, if you are visiting, please brave the lines and the family/cafeteria style seating for the Rooster experience. Their specialty is crepes and they do them fabulously with locally sourced ingredients. The breakfast menu was so enticing, I already have plans to return to try more of this amazing food! 

After brunch, we took a leisurely stroll through Soulard Market.  It was sparsely populated with vendors, a shadow of its warm weather self but it was an act of hope going there on such a grey and blustery day.  Another "Don't miss" when visiting St. Louis.

With the weather being what it was: cold and grey. We opted for indoor entertainment to round out our afternoon.  After reviewing all the free venues St. Louis has to offer, we chose the Science Center.

It had been years since we'd been to the Science Center.  The last time, R, K and R were a more typical age, but I don't remember it being this much fun.   Everyone played with the hands-on exhibits:
Enjoyed the overpass: 

 and obliged me with some photo-ops:

After a few hours, we noticed that the snow coming down was heavier and so we decided to grab a quick early dinner and get on the road home.  R recommended Tortillaria in the Central West End, for their happy hour.  Our waiter was super attentive, the food was excellent and the happy hour prices were a great deal. 

Just a short day's sampling of all St. Louis has to offer.  If you haven't been in awhile, take your kids and enjoy a weekend.