Weekend in Marfa

We traveled to Marfa, Texas this weekend to see two amazing people get hitched.

Where is Marfa, you ask? Nowhere. No…literally…it is in the middle of nowhere. Like 200 miles in the middle of nowhere.

This amazing artist community contains a population barely over 2,000 and pops up out of nowhere.  It is in the high desert of far West Texas near Big Bend National Park and 200 miles from either the Midland or El Paso airports.

This little secret town is well worth the travel. It is full of surprises…with a fake Prada store on an empty road, amazing restaurants, interesting places to stay, world-renowned art sculptures, and access to amazing landscapes.

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We flew into El Paso (after 6 hours of horrible flight delays) and drove 3.5 hours to Marfa….well 2.5 to 3 hours….Kiley decided to take advantage of the west Texas desert roads and rented a new Camaro. Boys.

We stayed in the renovated Thunderbird Hotel which I highly recommend.  Others wedding travelers stayed in the renovated airstream RV park called El Cosmico which are fun, but have outdoor showers which could be a turnoff for some (me!).  I was glad to not have an outdoor shower.  The historic El Paisano hotel was beautiful too and it is where the cast of The Giant (James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor) stayed during filming.

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I have never been to this region of Texas. There is something haunting and beautiful about the desert.  The empty vastness that just goes on and on and on. I fell in love with the rugged, dusty landscape. It is a survivor. The weather changed in a split second going from hot and dry to a growling thunderstorm that brought two tornadoes, hail, and gusty thunderstorm! Then, just as it rushed in, it rushed back out, leaving behind sun and wet earth.

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The lifestyle in these tiny desert communities is slower. The sign on the door of the Marfa lawyer’s office sums it up…”Call me if you need me.”

I needed this slow down.

I needed to be able to sit and listen to the desert rainstorm.

I needed to just drive with my husband through miles and miles and miles of vastness with no agenda.

I needed friends that I hadn’t seen in years.

I needed the glow of a neon wedding in Marfa, TX.

Call me if you need me.

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Portland Food Tour

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Sorry, friends. There has been an extended delay in my posts because I am vacationing in Portland, the city of roses, curbside compost service, breweries on every corner, and brunch hot spots! Portland holds a close place in my heart….and stomach. We come up here often and are always inspired by the progressive nature toward bike lanes and general public transit. They also have a vibrant food scene which utilizes farm to table concepts in nearly every restaurant, featuring the freshest seasonal produce.

Our friends that we stayed with were the best hosts and took us to some of the most delicious and unique places in town…. No pepto donuts at voodoo. If you happen to travel to PDX soon, here are some of the places we went and are highly recommended by my stomach! All of these locations had gluten-free and vegetarian options.

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Clyde Common – simply amazing. It is a bit pricey but we went for lunch and it was very affordable. My swiss, kale, and apricot jam panini was life changing. And did I mentions the side of pickled grapes. Ya, pickled grapes. This dish has inspired me to try to create something similar when we get back to KC. Especially since today’s Food Matter’s Project recipe is a dessert panini (Cherry Chocolate Panini) by Margarita of Let’s Cook and Be Friends. Check it out.

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Portobello – this is actually one of my favorite restaurants that I have ever eaten at….and it’s vegan. They are inventive, inspiring, fresh, and never disappoint. I had spaghetti and beet-balls. HOLY CRAP. I can’t tell you how good those damn beet-balls were. But one thing is for certain: I am making some when we get home. Sage and caraway seeds gave them a distinct sausage flavor. Ten thumbs up! This dish inspired me to incorporate beets into black bean burgers that I made last night….recipe to come when we get back.

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Beaterville Cafe and Bar – great diner with awesome gluten free biscuits. Located walking distance from our friend’s house, we ate here a few times and it was consistently great. Huge omelets, so come hungry!

Bijou Cafe – best french-style omelette of goat cheddar and local mushrooms. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of it because I was so hungry.   It was ridiculously delicious.

Tasty n’ Sons – worth the hype and again, no picture because I was so hungry when the food arrived that I hoovered my grilled asparagus and poached egg directly in my open mouth. The spring frittata had spring peas, mint, and feta. Kiley had the steak and eggs over a cornmeal pancake with jalapeño butter. The drinks were great….grapefruit mimosa is my new brunch drink of choice. Mmmmm.

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Bridgeport Brewpub – best brewery and beer in town, in my book. That is a hard thing to do in a town with over 100 microbrews. Grab a seat on the patio and a pint straight from the tap. So good. I recommend the IPA.

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Portland Saturday Farmer’s Market – don’t miss the farmers market on Saturday mornings on the PSU campus. It is the best I have seen.