Turning Left in December: A Taco Safari

December 19, 2017

Shortness of time prevented me from attempting a microadventure before we left for the US, so clearly I was going to have to do a bit of exploring in Pueblo instead. We’ve pretty much been to all the places where the river path will easily take us so we decided to go off piste a bit, and add in something for the other half to enjoy and the #tacosafari was born

The other half tracked down some likely taco places (not hard in Pueblo) that would be nice to cycle to (slightly harder) and with a sunny and warmish day forecast, we set off for a rolling lunch …

Stop 1 was Vazquez Taco Shop, which was just off the river path, so didn’t really count as turning left. It did serve up a mean taco though.*

Vazquez Taco Shop

To be honest, that would have done me for lunch (my normal lunch is two slices of marmite toast and an orange) but we had many more taco shops to try. Having negotiated the other half down from his planned six to three, we set off back along the river path to our next destination.

river path

This meant properly turning left, and onto some less than inviting looking roads. I remembered too late that ‘turning left’ is the hard one in the US. The other half made it through the intersection on two wheels but I wimped out and reverted to two legs to get across, although given I’m still not reliably looking the right way when crossing the road I’m not sure that was really any safer.

scary intersection

yikes

Once through that bit and up the hill we found ourselves at Tacos Navarro, home of the street taco, apparently.

Tacos Navarro

Well, it would be churlish not to …

street tacos

This was also extremely delicious although we quickly lost track of which taco was which. At this point I decided that I wasn’t going to repeat the experience of getting there on a bike again, so if the other half wanted to try the tamale shop we’d passed on the way, now was the moment.

Tamale shop

The less-than-promising exterior of the tamale shop

I was feeling pretty full, plus it was a tamale, so after one bite, which reminded me that I wasn’t that keen on tamales, I left it to the other half to enjoy.

tamale

Back down the road, through the scary intersection, blessing the light traffic and the extremely chilled Colorado drivers, we regained the river path and pedalled off our second lunch for a bit until we reached our final taco shopriver path

(this was actually about a block from the first one, but we needed a bit of time in between for digestion)

Taqueria Marquez

The Taqueria Marquez was also jolly good although we blew the chance to practise our Spanish by answering in English when we were greeted with a cheery ‘buenas tardes’.

half-eaten tacos

Mental note to self: food photographs better if you haven’t started to tear into it before you remember to take a picture

(This place also intriguingly had three red ‘hotline’ telephones that were something to do with transferring money to Mexico. I was dying to find out more, but didn’t quite fancy asking (or taking a photo – it was bad enough that I was photographing the food as these really aren’t the sort of places where everyone instagrams their meal) and my Spanish wasn’t up to deciphering the instructions.)

Anyway, our third – or fourth – lunch finished, and having picked up an extra plate of tacos (with extra hot sauce) for my father in law, who has contracted the other half’s cold, we got back on our bikes and – like pythons digesting a goat apiece (if pythons had legs so they could ride a bike) pedalled very slowly home…

* I had thought we might review the taco places we tried but I don’t really know much about what makes a good taco, and the other half wouldn’t comment much beyond ‘oh yeah that’s good’ at pretty much everything he ate.

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Step Aside, Coffeeneuring…

October 22, 2016

… There’s a new challenge in town: whereby you cycle to one of Pueblo’s many fine Mexican restaurants (the other half is starved of decent Mexican food in the UK; there don’t seem to be many restaurants that haven’t gone down the comedy sombrero/tequila shots route) and then attempt to cycle off even one tenth of the calories you have consumed in 80 degree heat.

distant smoke

The original plan had been to go to the mountains, but the fire is still raging out west and the air would have been full of smoke

This is not helped by stopping off at the Dairy Creme on the way home although in end all we had was a fresh lemonade slushy. When the water in your water bottle has turned the temperature of used bathwater, this turns out to be the most incredible drink ever.

Nick's Dairy Creme

Sadly, I don’t think it qualifies under even the new laxer coffeeneuring regime as ‘coffee’. So we’ll just have to cycle off in search of qualifying beverages tomorrow instead…


A Seat at the Table

December 29, 2013

Our trip is slowly drawing to a close – by Monday we’ll be embarking on what looks like being two days of torture-by-travel, complete with an oh-god-hundred hour start, a six hour layover in Salt Lake City followed by an overnight flight to Manchester via Paris (and who even knew you could fly direct from Utah to Paris…) and then home by train on New Year’s Eve with whatever the weather gods have left to throw at us after all the that’s been going on in the last fortnight.

Today we made the most of the time we had left, getting out for one last day in the mountains. On the way back, taking the scenic route, stopped by Bishop’s Castle, which is basically a castle built single-handedly by one man who – when he’s not building castles – apparently fills in the time writing signs.

bishops castle bishops castle2

We were going to explore further but, frankly, the tide of crazy (I missed out the sign which proved conclusively that the constitution meant you didn’t need a driver’s license because I was getting a bit worried about the guy in front of us in full camo muttering ‘Amen’ as he slowly read each sign) just sort of pushed us back into the car.

laminated photos

Then tonight we decided to fortify ourselves and headed off to one of the approximately 17,000 Mexican restaurants in Pueblo for some decent Mexican food.* We drove down to Jorge’s Sombrero, and were promptly seated at a booth for four where the table was covered in laminated photographs of some event or other which we didn’t pay much attention to because the chips and salsa arrived promptly and there were menus to peruse (and in my case desperately try and remember the difference between a taco and a tostada and a fajita and a burrito and which one wasn’t going to end up blowing my head off). At least until the other half peered a little closer and said ‘isn’t that Barack Obama’ and lo and behold it was.

Barack Obama

For we weren’t just in any booth – we were at the President’s table. It seems he stopped by for a quiet family meal with just Michelle, Sasha, Malia and the assembled press corps during the 2008 election. This kind of surprised us as Colorado comes across as a pretty conservative place where about 90% of the billboards are advertising gun shows (the other 10% urge us to ‘put Christ back into Christmas) and the mall has to have a sign on the door saying ‘no weapons’ -although, thinking about it, the 17,000 Mexican restaurants might have been something of a clue that the demographics aren’t entirely 100% redneck. But it turns out that more than half of Coloradoans voted Democrat in 2008 – including much of Pueblo county

Although I’m guessing the creator of Bishop’s Castle wasn’t among them.

* note to any British readers – if you have only ever eaten Mexican food in some sort of themed joint where tequila shots are semi compulsory, and 98% of the clientele are stag and/or hen nights and the food is, frankly, irrelevant, then you haven’t actually eaten Mexican food. Come to Pueblo (or, at a pinch, Mexico) and find out for yourselves.