Along the Guadalupe

After putting this on Facebook, I decided that it may make a nice blog read. We are spending the month of October in Texas. Western Washington State, where we currently live, and south-central Texas are vastly different in climate, geography, and culture. Even the Mexican food here is different (called Tex-Mex). We are “from” Texas. Wife is native-born and I’m a damn-Yankee (she always said it’s one word) transplant. We are staying near the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels. What follows documents my last adventure walking her banks.

I added bug spray to our Wally World shopping list. On my walk this morning, I realized that “humid” is not the same everywhere. Here, it’s oppressive and crushingly heavy, even at 75 degrees. I fed the Texas mosquitos. I plan to heed the signs I’ve seen warning of the illnesses caused by fighting the “battle of the bite.” I wonder how my blood mixed with BP meds and Plavix made the skeeters feel. They were picking on me cuz my thin blood is an easy suck and swallow.

Near a local veteran’s place, I passed a fowl pair, one of whom gave me ample verbal warning. I was not plagued by attack from the VFW ducks cuz after I told them that I had friends who graduated from Oregon U., they let me pass.

It rained nicely during my walk and I enjoyed it. The rain was pleasant for here; no down-pouring buckets or lightening, which is the norm. I got wet; not soaked by the much-appreciated morning gift from the “friendship” state. I was not okay with the hungry insects.

As I was walking along with the wet grass and bushes brushing against my bare legs, I saw the sign: “Warning: Poison Ivy.” Oh, great; right? Maybe the ivy’s growth was restricted to that one little patch? Or, maybe the rain washed the poison off. I saw two men walking toward me. They both had fishing rods and hunting a good spot to wet their lines. I pointed to the sign and said, “Now they tell me.” They had a good laugh.

The last time I fished, I had much more hair and many fewer wrinkles. Long ago, I decided it was too much trouble and way too much of nothing else.

 

Apparently, trees have numbers for names in these parts. I met Mr. 2292 and his family (the Cupressaceaes) on my walk. He didn’t tell me why he is called a “bald cypress” (Taxodium Distichium) when he is clearly not bald. But that name sounds like a character in a dystopian book, right? And they say Latin is a dead language—ppffftt! (Bald is cuz they lose their leaves in winter; something no self-respecting Distichium does.)

I did not see Chris and Mona Lisa, who were inspired to write their names on one of the cypress to advertise their love. I hope that works out for all concerned, but I’m betting the tree outlasts the love.

The “no diving” sign at the pool makes the reason very clear. Ouch! I think I still liked fishing the last time I dove into a swimming pool.

I saw this quote to share with you: “Grief is love with nowhere to go.”

Have a good day.

Look both ways. Once you see the poison ivy sign, it may be too late.
Mind the gaps, the water’s cold.

Taco Tuesday (Mexican Food)

When we lived in San Antonio, Texas, we had Mexican food often. We seldom changed for variety. If you visit San Antonio, visit the River Walk and the Alamo, because that is what you do there. But please don’t rate the food by eating Mexican at the River Walk restaurants. I have tried them all and they all pass. While some are better than others (in my Tex-Mex opinion), there are much better places. Wherever you chose to dine, in South Texas you should eat all the Mexican food you can find.

What you might find in other states may also be good Mexican food. But it is not necessarily Tex-Mex. A lot of what is called Tex-Mex, simply isn’t. It may be good, but it ain’t Tex-Mex. Fish tacos are good, but they aren’t Tex-Mex. Ask locals, if you can.

On the northeast side of town, my personal favorite is La Pasadita Restaurante Mexicano, in Schertz. My family and friends agree. This guy makes his own tortilla chips (he tried the bagged ones and his customers rebelled) and salsa. Honestly, if no pizza is available, this place would do for my last meal. As with most of these places, Negra Modelo is the darkest beer they have (it’s a lager), but it works. So, what happens if you’re in Lincoln City, Oregon and you want Mexican food?

Both tables and booths
Both tables and booths

There are a few. The answer is that you pick one, which is what we did. Puerto Vallarta Mexican Restaurant is at 3001 NW U.S. 101, Lincoln City, OR 97367. Right up front, this place has two drawbacks. The parking is insufficient on a dirt lot. The building is too small for its popularity. But if you get past those minor items (as I did), you’re in for a treat.

Presentation is great
Presentation is great

The food is good. But for me, all Mexican food is good, as indeed all pizza is good, and all beer is good. It is only a question of how good it was. These folks had laid a claim to some interesting things I liked. The atmosphere is great – you know immediately what kind of place you’re in (the atmosphere of the place in Schertz can use help like this). The staff is friendly and laughed at this gringo’s humor. When we walked in, we were told it would be a ten-minute wait. It was more like two. We were seated at a table with a Mexican mural on the table top and a matching one behind me.

Art is on table tops and over booth back rests
Art is on table tops and over booth back rests

When the waiter came to take our drink orders, he and my wife struck-up an in-depth conversation about Tex-Mex food. It turned out he has a daughter living in Houston. But he agreed, the food in this place was not like that. Now, most menus in Mexican restaurants tend to be long. This is because (in most cases) it is a matter of packaging and presentation, as opposed to the details of varied ingredients. If you eat vegetarian, you should ask questions. A lot of animal products are used in Mexican cuisine.

True Mexican Décor
True Mexican Décor

I had a pork dish and my wife had enchiladas. No complaints. The portion sizes are large, but that is the norm these days. Prices are very reasonable and the total cost was less than half of the previous night’s dinner in the same city. One lady on Yelp commented that the food was not salty (as she believed most Mexican food is) and I agree. Yelp gives them 4.5 out of 5.

Refried beans with chips and salsa
Refried beans with chips and salsa

Two special touches included good chips that were not from a bag. I didn’t ask if Mamacita made them. The other was the inclusion of a small plate of refried beans in addition to the dipping salsa with the tortilla chips. That is a nice touch.

If you are on trek up (or down) the Oregon Pacific Coast, and you want a good place to eat in Lincoln City, give Puerto Vallarta Mexican Restaurant a try. I bet you enjoy it.