Sunday, August 18, 2013

Coco's, Ontario, California

Situated in the outer lot of Ontario Mills mall, Coco's just happened to also be on our way to IHOP this morning. Lucky for us!

I had scrambled with bacon and Denver Potato Pancakes - grilled potato pancakes with bits of ham, green onion, and cheese inside. Hoss had a dish called San Diego Sunrise, which was two patties of ground beef topped with a poached egg, avocado and tomato slices, and a chipotle hollandaise sauce. Both were pretty darned good!

But don't order their "world famous biscuits". They're awful. :(

TARS Facility, Marfa, Texas

On our very first trip through southwest Texas during daylight ( ), we saw an enormous dirigible-shaped object in the sky just west of Marfa. We saw it MILES away, and wondered wtf it might be. We're in the desert, miles from people of any sort, let alone civilization. What in hell is that??

Turns out, it was TARS ( ). I'm not completely invested in the innocent radar coverup excuse, but I'll take it for now.

We still get a kick seeing the balloon from 20 miles out.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Open Air Market, Chino, California

Picture Syracuse's Farmers Market, double or triple the size, add some garage sale atmosphere, a bird-heavy petshop, and plunk it down in a Mexican border town. That's a pretty accurate vision.

Many stalls featured fresh produce, dried chilis, spices, beans, honey, and grains; flea market used tools, furniture, collectibles, and junk; custom sewn clothing - suits, prom dresses, and the like; kitchen and outdoor cooking equipment; prepared food (we splurged on enchilada dinners for a late breakfast); all types of indoor plants, landscaping plants, tropical plants, and even lime trees; boots, hats of all kinds, saddles, bridles, and halters; and quite a bit of state fair table crap. What really struck me, though, were the huge numbers and varieties of animals and birds. I think I saw every variety of non-prey bird: turkey, peacock, duck, goose, quail, chicken, finch, lovebirds, cockatiel, budgie, and enormous parrots. The market was full of bird sounds. My guess is there were two dozen birdsellers or more there. There were bunnies, guinea pigs, turtles, iguanas, lizards, and fish. The food court even had an Elvis impersonator singing in the shaded courtyard.

The temp was in the 80s by 10:30 local time, and we were frying in the sun. We tried a frozen Mexican fruit bar (coconut for me, strawberry for Hoss), but we were no match for the quickly increasing heat, so we had to retreat to the a/c of the car. It was lots of fun, though, and I hope to come back some day - with my good camera!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Zeke's Eatin' Place, Ontario, California

Ontario, California. After days of really awful hotel free breakfast fare, Hoss decided today we'd have real food. He googled up local eateries and decided on Zeke's Eatin' Place, a small place nearby that's held in high regard by the locals. Off we went!

Situated in a small strip mall between a beauty supply shop and a fitness studio, Zeke's is pretty nondescript on the outside. On the inside, though, it's a tribute to John Wayne, with a nod here and there to Clint Eastwood and James Dean. The menu's front page is devoted to the story of Zeke, a miner who opened an eatin' place, yadda yadda yadda. Skip it and just order, already. I had the Huevos Rancheros, which was a little light on the cheese, but otherwise very fresh tasting with homemade sauce. Hoss had an omelet stuffed with big chunks of delicious local link sausage, veggies, and cheese, with a side of biscuits and gravy. The omelet, fabulous. The b & g, just okay. It was Kansas country style, but the biscuits weren,'t homemade and the gravy roux had been undercooked. Otherwise, it felt like our favorite breakfast place in Phoenix, Maryanne's.


It's only because I love you guys that I'm not writing this in all caps, that's how fabulous our IKEA safari went yesterday.

It's tough to briefly describe an IKEA visit to someone who's never been, but I'll try. It's a self-directed stroll (i.e., a maze) through staged displays of room furniture and accessories, followed by a tour of the shopping section, and then the furniture big box warehouse section, and finally, the cafeteria and gourmet food shopping section. I know, us too. No idea.

But they offer astonishingly good quality stuff for an equally astonishingly low price. I was floored, more than once. And even better, we found our dream kitchen (photos below).

After picking up a new cutting board ($1.25) and a set of four glass spice jars with a lid that accommodates spoons and sprinkling ($3.99), we hit the gourmet food section for a bottle of elderflower syrup and rhubarb syrup (future fancy margaritas), three bars of Swedish chocolate, and a large tube each of crab and salmon paste (future flavored cream cheese for bagels). Finally, we hit the cafeteria for a Swedish meatball combo, a salmon lasagne plate, and a chocolate almond tart.

Most. Fun. Shopping. Ever.


On our way to LA, I stopped near dawn at a rest area in the Sonoran desert. The first thing to catch my eye was a sign warning of rattlesnakes.

The bathroom was so filthy I did a u-turn and walked back out.

I did not, however, encounter a rattlesnake.

They need to change their safety strategy.