I am back from my spring break vacation and I have to say . . . drum roll please . . . people from this state PLEASE DO NOT HATE ME . . . that in the 16 countries and half-dozen U.S. cities I have visited in the past year, I have officially found . . .
the worst-nutrition, hardest-to-eat-right place on at least several continents, and it is . . .
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS.
My goodness, I need a detox. And I skipped a couple meals and tried REALLY HARD to find good salads, at least. And took along my Greens to Go to add to water bottles (at Costco, really expensive, unfortunately, but great for travel).
Part of the problem is that my friend, Shari, whom I travel with, was told by her family not to come home unless she went to this place, Rudy’s, and ate there. (Shari and I are food opposites, as her dad was raised by a butcher, where my mom was raised by produce dealers–in Texas, actually.) I wasn’t going to get her disowned, of course–it’s just food, after all. You know, when in Rome . . .
Rudy’s is a BBQ joint–in a convenience store, no lie, serving each person’s food in a Pepsi crate with a piece of paper thrown in to line it, and BBQ’d meat sold by weight and a famous creamed corn. You feel kinda like a pig eating from a trough. It was half an hour from San Antonio. Not my kinda place, let’s just say–I got the coleslaw, and that’s officially the only thing close to green served there besides pickles. I sneaked a peek at the BBQ sauce ingredients, and at least I didn’t see MSG on it, at least, though it might be hiding in some other ingredients. There’s a memorial plaque on the wall to Doc, the founder of the joint. I forgot to ask how the poor man died, but I have an educated guess.
So wow. Texans being the proud folks they are (all my kids got t-shirts saying “Don’t Mess With Texas” and various chest-pounding machismo), you don’t exactly go around saying words like “vegetarian” or “plant-based diet” out loud.
I’d say Texas is the virtual opposite of California’s earth-crunchiness. But oh my goodness, the bighearted people there. Shari didn’t know how we’d get to Rudy’s, since all the car rentals were out of cars because of Fiesta going on. (And don’t forget she’d get disowned if she didn’t get us to Rudy’s, so she was feeling motivated and resourceful.)
So she looked up Mormon bishops in the phone book, called one to see if he knew a single mom who wanted to drive us out there and we’d buy her dinner and pay for gas. And get this, instead of tossing us to some single person, he AND his wife came to get us, GAVE US THEIR SON’S CAR for three days, welcomed us into their home to hang out (twice) and map out our sightseeing and give us snacks, then drove us to the airport at the end of it all and said if we come again to stay with them. I’ll never forget that. (I love being Mormon even more that usual at times like these–this is not my first experience being rescued by a Mormon bishop. And Southern Mormons, well, that’s a double whammy of hospitality. Thanks, Lee and Leisa.)