Las Cruces – The Come To Visit Stay a Lifetime City

Monumental award | Las Cruces BulletinIn 2016, my wife and I washed up as flotsam against the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, NM.  We enjoyed our time in Albuquerque, but the politics and politicians are really extreme and insane, to boot!  We thought about, briefly, moving to Santa Fe, Angel Fire, Las Vegas, and several other northern cities and locations in New Mexico, but nothing worked out.  So, we began looking into southern New Mexico.

Very Large Array Radio Telescope - Electronic Manufacturing Services | Carlton IndustriesNot having much luck, I took my wife to Phoenix for her birthday and showed her the “Very Large Array,” which took her breath away and showed her places in Arizona and New Mexico I thought she might enjoy.  On the return trip, I took the southerly route through Tucson, and we spent a night in Las Cruces.  My wife was amazed at the green that just “popped up” in the desert.  The green she mentioned were the miles and miles of pecan and pistachio trees that line the highways of Las Cruces.

Christmas in Cruces - Visit Las Cruces New Mexico - Las Cruces CVBLas Cruces, New Mexico (U.S.)Well, some time passes, and in trying to find a home, we finally found something in Las Cruces.  The longer I stay here, the more the place feels like home.  Better, the people and the architecture, the policies and politics, and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces make this southern location an incredible jewel hidden in southern New Mexico.  El Paso is close enough to visit if you want the big-city experience, but truth be told, everything you need can be found in Las Cruces; the people are friendlier, and the climate is fun.

While living in Albuquerque, too many people thought Albuquerque was all to New Mexico and referred to their time as time spent in the land of entrapment.  Thankfully, employment took me around the state several times.  I got to see the influence of federal government policies on land use, and despise them for the theft of this land.  I had the privilege of seeing just how logically insane the government in Santa Fe is and detest them for their inaction, stupidity, politicking, and infernal bickering.  But, every time I came south, Las Cruces captured my attention, my notice, and my wonder.

Best things to do in Las Cruces, New MexicoDeming is another location in southern New Mexico, but they are struggling.  Mainly because of the government politics and previous economic choices, which are still creating problems in the town.  Dependence upon the federal government in New Mexico is endemic, robbing potential, crushing souls, and destroying hopes and dreams.  This reality can only be changed if the federal government shrinks to the 1940 (pre-WWII) level of government.  However, if you look, you can find small pieces of potential, like spring flowers poking up out of snow, especially in Deming, Las Cruces, and the other southern New Mexico towns and locations that are missing, almost entirely, from northern New Mexico.

At a time when people seem to be restless, are looking for new horizons, and want an escape from the insanity of politicians who refuse to listen to the electorate, may I suggest a visit to Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico.  The change is refreshing, the potential is exciting, and the possibilities for growth and development are all but limitless.  Better still, there is an undercurrent of enthusiasm found here that appears to be missing in a lot of the other places my wife and I have visited in our 26 years of marriage and 28 different moves across the continental United States.

Outdoors in Las Cruces - Biking and Running - Visit Las Cruces New Mexico - Las Cruces CVBPlease note, Las Cruces is not all roses and rainbows, lollipops, and chocolate-covered peanuts.  There are growth areas in politics, agriculture, the railroad, the highways, and the need for manufacturing industry.  Some growth areas include an embedded mañana attitude where a business operates a little slower; outdoor workers quit before the heat comes on too bad.  Siestas and taking your time is problematic if you want things done in a hurry.  But, these are also some of the things that make this little city such an exciting experience.

One of the growth areas that might not be a growth area, except for volume, is the food!  Holy…  Gustatory Experience!  The food in Southern New Mexico is like an inverted food chart for Italy.  Northern New Mexico has different foods entirely from southern New Mexico, and Southern New Mexican food is head and shoulders above Northern New Mexico.  In Italy, it is said, if you want good food, eat in Northern Italy; in New Mexico, when you eat, eat in the south!

Las Cruces makes most overlooked cities listSure, Northern New Mexico has Monroe’s, which is a phenomenal gustatory experience capturing New Mexican food at its finest.  The Owl Café in Albuquerque is a gustatory experience not to be missed in any visit to New Mexico, save room for dessert and order a Chili milkshake.  However, Monroe’s and The Owl Café are but two places for food in Albuquerque worth visiting.  Las Cruces has Caliche’s Frozen Custard, La Neuva Casita Café, A Bite of Belgium, and Salud! De Mesilla, just to name a few!  The food in southern New Mexico is incredible, and the small places are wonderful.  Just remember about mañana.  Get impatient, and you get rude service.

Hasta mañana - TnRelacionesI cannot stress this enough, mañana is in the culture, in the air you breathe, the dirt, the sand, and in every action taken.  You do not come to southern New Mexico to be in a hurry!  Want hurry, eat fast food and flee at your earliest opportunity, for southern New Mexico is not for you.  Want a little slower pace, time to enjoy conversation, time to explore, and time to get to know people; come to Las Cruces and enjoy the experience!

Knowledge Check!When you visit, bring your manners!  Say please and thank you.  Say you’re welcome.  Hold the door for strangers and ladies.  Wave, especially if someone waves at you.  Drive the speed limit!  When I was in the US Army, I was given some advice for my visit to South Korea, “show respect, get respect.”  Well, the same is true to Southern New Mexico, show some respect, and you will have a great time here.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Perspective – Another Powerful Tool

Garfield - Good Explanation NeededI am a foodie!  I love talking about food, creating recipes for food, eating food, redesigning recipes to make food better, and have spent a lot of time enjoying gustatory experimentation!  I can discuss the finer points of chocolate and carob, ginger, spices (including the history of spices) until people are drooling and begging me to stop.  I have no mouth-brain filter where food is concerned.  I like it hot or cold, and lots of it!  Thus it is no wonder I am a fan of Anton Ego from Disney/Pixar “Ratatouille.”  Anton Ego and I are slightly different; if he does not love food, he doesn’t swallow.  Me, I will try anything and eat to know more as a learning experience; perspective.

Anton Ego has a fabulous line:

“… Do you know what I’m craving?  A little perspective.  That’s it.  I’d like some perspective.”

One of the most pleasurable experiences I have is shopping at Trader Joe’s.  This is especially true when I get a fellow customer who wants to discuss food, recipes and is looking for a gustatory experience.  There have been times I have been led to a product by a fellow customer exclaiming how wonderful that is in this recipe, that recipe, or straight out of the package.  Trader Joe’s used to carry these pretzel rolls that went so good with BBQ pulled pork, pulled chicken, or brats.  You would have thought you had died and gone to food heaven!

Trader Joe'sTrader Joe’s has previously had some great frozen desserts.  For example, ginger and lemon ice cream from Italy, a salted caramel gelato that was to die for, and several other unique concoctions that went so well with other products you would have thought they would still be carried today; except they are not sold anymore.  Perspective in food makes being a foodie my hobby of interest.

Anton EgoPerspective is also a key element in political choices, book selections, car buying, and a host of other human endeavors.  Perspective is not simply an opinion, it is a way of seeing the world, and perspective is a choice that comes with natural consequences.  Over time, the perspective choice decision cycle determines a person’s destiny, friends, desires, foods, clothing, companions, and so much more.  How do we know this is true; look to the food choices and consequences involved in the perspective choice decision-making cycle.

Consider the following example.  As a kid, my mother was a deal hunter, and one day in March, she came home from shopping with a screaming good deal on fish.  Tuna fish, to be precise, in #10 sized cans, designed for restaurants, and she had purchased multiple cases of Tuna Fish.  From March through the end of July, we kids ate tuna fish in every possible recipe as dinner.  At this time, My father returned from a National Guard 2-week event that took his unit to Puerto Rico, where some R&R saw them deep-sea fishing.  Knowing that many of the other wives would kill their husbands for bringing back a HUGE sports fish, tuna, my dad was offered the “extra” fish caught.  Two days before Thanksgiving, we finally finished all the fish!  The dog and cats would not touch fish, raccoons in our neighborhood would not touch the fish.  As a point of fact, scavengers of all types and sizes refused our yard and garbage due to the fish.  Thus, I do NOT eat anything with fish, even to this day, almost 40-years after this incident.Anton Ego 3

Perspective and choices, with natural consequences, leaves me in a NO Fish Zone!  I will eat protein from every other source, but if it’s fish, it doesn’t matter how it was cooked; you can keep it!  US Navy, Surf n’ Turf dinner night, I would turf, and the surf could go down the drain without any problem, except the smell of the surf prepared was enough to make me gag and refuse most food that night!  Boy, was this a funny joke in the US Navy, a sailor who would not eat fish.  Made only funnier when I refused to swim in the ocean.  On land, I am the top of the food chain; in the ocean, I AM the food chain!  Guess who doesn’t swim in the ocean!

Perspective and choices with natural consequences.  It has been pointed out that regardless of the candidate offered, 40% of the population on both sides of the aisle will continue to vote for the ticket; this is true for democrats and republicans.  Leaving a 20% middle ground where the elections are won and lost, provided you have honest people counting the ballots, and skullduggery have not biased the counting machines.  I am proud to be part of the 20%; I have been an independent voter since I lost a sixth-grade debate over Mike Dukakis.

Anton Ego 4A lesson I learned from that debate was the value of perception and choices, but I didn’t fully appreciate that lesson until I was much older.  Those natural consequences of perception and choice in decision-making remain a powerful tool, only if we choose to allow that perspective to change.  Religion and politics are two topics we did not discuss as children; yet, those two topics are the topics my brothers and sister struggle with the most.  Worse, the topics continue to remain a taboo subject even though religion hopping and political leanings are issues that are infecting the entire world right now.

A person’s perception and choices over religion and politics are the two topics that we all need more openness in discussing; however, emotions, lawyers, and snowflakes make an honest discussion all but impossible to have.  I have been on social media when atheists post something; if a non-atheists submits information, the tone automatically changes, accusations and aspersions are cast, and all hope of an open discussion is ruined.  I have seen the same with abortion, economics, and so many other topics.  The politics and the religion of those participating, both of which are a choice in the perceptive/choice decision-making cycle, end the honest discussion, and the tone and environment turn off people looking to discuss, worse too often, those attacking become trolls and attack outside the discussion

Anton Ego 2Part of living in a Republic is the need to form opinions based upon our individual knowledge, experience, and perspective choice decisions.  Living in a Republic is messy; this is a good thing!  The more chaotic, the better because it means freedom is alive and kicking.  When a Republic becomes less messy, people lose their rights to speech, privacy, liberty, and freedom.  Do you understand this connection and relationship?  Your perspective builds your opinions and biases.  Your opinions and biases make a Republic messy, and this is a good thing.  Please, engage and form perspectives, originate an opinion, and make yourself heard!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

An Open Letter to Trader Joe’s – Shifting the Paradigm on the Grocery Purchasing Experience

Image result for images, trader joe'sHello Trader Joe’s,

I want to thank you for an amazing shopping experience.  I have loved entering your stores across America, from Portland, Maine to Seattle, Washington, from Phoenix, Arizona, to Spokane, Washington.  I have enjoyed every location we have traveled.  I am so thrilled to buy products that are original, cleverly packaged, and where humor is a tool for improving food.  For example, during the last trip, I saw the packaging on the white potatoes relating how they (the potatoes) like hot places, cream, and much more.  The humor employed takes buying potatoes to a new, higher level as well as bringing a laugh and several smiles to the customers.

No other chain store in America pays so much attention to the customer experience.  Thank you for hiring amazing store associates!  I have never walked into a Trader Joe’s and had a bad customer experience.  Of all these years shopping at Trader Joe’s, only once have I had to return an item, and the return was done pleasantly and effortlessly.  I have had questions about products, and all the customer interactions regarding these questions were enjoyable and often entertaining.  Best of all, when I have had questions about products to buy, the crew members have had no problem offering a taste or supplying recipe information.  The freedom to meet the customer’s desires in a fun, friendly, and fresh manner makes an excellent shopping experience from coast-to-coast.

In fact, one of the most desirable things about shopping at Trader Joe’s is interacting with the crew members and the other customers in discussing recipes, flavors, and getting new ideas.  In fact, when I have had more information about a product than an crew member, the crew member has been gracious and thanked me for the helping hand.  Always, the customer experience promotes a desire to return and keep investigating for new opportunities to eat well.

I was having a rough day this past Wednesday (09/13/2017).  I went to Trader Joe’s for a quick stop and my mood began to lift.  Watching the little kids pushing the “Shopper in Training” carts, watching the kids get excited about food, and experiencing the Trader Joe’s difference was exactly what I needed.  Best of all, I saw raisin/cinnamon bread and mango chutney, and I was going to have toast upon my return home, one of my favorite comfort foods.  I cannot relate satisfactorily how much enthusiasm and smiles the customers show upon entrance at Trader Joe’s.  No other store sees this type of customer interaction, and I am grateful to you for fostering this environment for it helps other customers to enjoy the shopping experience, as well as improving the crew member’s day.

Related imageThank you for the murals on the walls, the interesting posters, the flowers, plants, cards, and new hidden treats to explore every trip.  I enjoy immensely the ginger granola, the dark chocolate crepes, the triple ginger cookies, and the list goes on.  I was in Trader Joe’s off Louisiana Street in Albuquerque today (09/18/2017) and tried “Trader Ming’s” products, a great gustatory and amusing experience.  Several times in my shopping history I have tried to taste every item, except the alcohol products, in a single Trader Joe’s store.  Never happened to date, but I have enjoyed the journey and the adventure where food and shopping meet.

I have to say, as Trader Joe’s is the sole provider of pretzel rolls in my area, I am always looking for new recipes for using pretzel rolls.  My love of all things pretzels continues to be a fun distraction and gustatory journey.  For example, two-weeks ago I bought six pretzel rolls and tried three different recipes, roast beef with sharp cheddar on a pretzel roll with some black pepper/olive oil mayonaise, which was absolutely amazing; fried egg with bacon on a pretzel roll was a great delight, your crew member suggested a coarse mustard that totally made this meal; and the coupe de resistance continues to be the pulled pork/chicken/beef on pretzel rolls with any flavor of cheese.  Hot or cold, these sandwiches make eating a new adventure.

My wife is vegetarian/vegan and appreciates having a variety of choices in her meal planning that she cannot find elsewhere from the tiny, tiny Brussels sprouts, the mini sweet potatoes and mini avocadoes, the beautiful, fresh, ripe, sweet fruit that you don’t have to wait to ripen, to coconut milk frozen desserts.  She loves the seasonal specialties, the beautiful murals and fun decor, the pleasing scents of flowers, the tidiness and cleanliness of the store, the wide aisles, and the people, the wonderful people, both customers and crew members, people who smile and laugh and share what they know and have experienced in their adventures with food in polite, kind, and fun ways.  She says it’s a little bit of heaven on earth.

I know when I see the Trader Joe’s sign, good food, good shopping, and good people are available and ready.  Thank you for more than two decades of wonderful food and people experiences.  Wherever the road has taken us, Trader Joe’s continues to follow, and it is very much appreciated.  In Ohio, I regularly traveled more than three-hours from northeast Ohio to Columbus for Trader Joe’s, a trip I was glad to make!

From a very satisfied customer, thank you!

Dave Salisbury

© 2017 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved