I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Alamo, Nevada.
Greetings from Alamo, Nevada
N 37° 21.854’ W 115° 9.6315’ Elev. 3,464 feet
Sailing the asphalt seas can be very sad sometimes. I’ve had one of those sad days. I feel like the lone schmo in Alamo. And the Sinclair is closed.
It all started when I “encouraged” a short bus off the road, over an embankment, and overturn into a river. I pride myself on my erratic lane changes. I even have a giant sticker on the back of the trailer that reads CAUTION: THIS VEHICLE MAKES WEIRD TURNS. I feel it’s not only my duty as a professional land yachter but a divine directive to make traveling as exciting as possible for any motorists with the good fortune to find themselves in my immediate proximity.
According to various first responders the short bus was crewed by a couple of nuns shepherding a group of pre-schoolers on an outing to a children’s museum. I’ve been to a children’s museum before and, in my humble opinion, surviving an escape from a capsized bus in eight feet of ice-cold water followed by the terror of a panicked clamber out of a river makes for a much more memorable experience. It also made for a “teachable moment” for me: I learned that nun’s habits make excellent flotation devices. Who knew?
But here’s the sad part: I failed to plan this trip adequately and am now stuck in Alamo at three o’clock in the morning eating whatever food I have on hand. As a result I’ll be having JIF Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Blackberry Jam on Franz Big Horn Valley Natural 100% Whole Wheat Bread sandwiches for dinner. To balance the meal, I’ll also be having some crappy Walmart-issue Macaroni Salad. I’ll wash it all down with a delicious Kern’s Banana-Pineapple Nectar. To make the meal both more palatable and exotic I’m going to call the nectar Platano Pina. What the hell. It is Hecho en Mexico and I imported it personally … from Barstow, California.
Which reminds me … I was negligent in focusing on the feeshes in the aforementioned posts. I left out an important, breathtakingly exquisite thing about California’s Central Coast, something that can’t be properly appreciated until it’s in your mouth: Fresh, ripe produce.
My friends and I motored around San Luis Obispo a bit one day, taking Prefumo Canyon Road over the hill from San Luis Obispo to See Canyon. It’s a wonderful drive, with spectacular views from the summit all the way to the coast some 10-12 miles away. Yet another of the many hidden wonders that is California.
In See Canyon, we first stopped at Gopher Glen Apple Farm, a hidden little gem located in the heart of this little apple-growing valley. This place is so cool. It’s a very small, family run farm outlet that grows and sells its own fruits. And the pickin’s and squeezin’s are incredible.
They do a very cool thing here. They display apples on a grid with their corresponding names so you can sample them and evaluate each varieties’ merits. Of the eight tree-ripened apples they offered that day, I thought the Hawaii was the best. I’d never heard of it. So sweet and … apple-y. It’s amazing how far superior the taste of a fresh, tree-ripened apple is, as opposed to a store-bought apple that was picked pre-peak, and then artificially ripened after spending a year in cold storage.
It’s sad that we forget things like the vibrant that’s-what-it’s-supposed-to-taste-like flavors of fresh, ripe fruit. We also had some fresh-squeezed cider that was likewise scrumptious.
I bought four different kinds of their homegrown plums. Sadly, I only ate two. But the two I ate were unbelievable. They tasted just like … plums! And they had distinctly different flavors. When was the last time you bought a plum in a grocery store that had flavor?
Forgive me while I take a moment to wax nostalgic and salivate anew.
Next we visited Avila Valley Barn. Years ago AVB was a Ma-and-Pa produce stand. It’s now become a bona fide tourist trap. They do some cool things, like roasted on-the-ear corn. And their produce is great and mostly locally sourced, albeit a little overpriced.
I spotted some wicked good Globe artichokes at Avila Valley Barn, imports, no doubt, from the Artichoke Capital of the World: Castroville, California. (The choke on a Globe is round; i.e. not pointy. Its petals/leaves are meaty, tender and flavorful. Those pointy artichokes are good only for the hearts, if you ask me.) Though I thought they were a bit pricey ($2/ea.) by local standards, they looked so good that I had to buy some. Unfortunately, when they were cooked I wasn’t feeling too hot and missed out. I heard they were great. Oh well.
If you are ever so blessed to visit California get in touch with a local so you can do it right. I’ll help. Jason has my number. Call him and he’ll call me and I’ll call meu amigo brasileiro in Rotterdam who will call you and give you my number. We’ll get you organized, for sure.
And so we roll.
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.