I’m not much into souvenirs. We bought a few things in El Paso. The stuff I can usually afford is all junk, and I can’t afford the things I would actually spend money on.
Food is the exception.
Despite a concerted search for Mexican vegetable seeds, pulque, and a few other hard-to-find items, I left El Paso mostly empty-handed. The “local food” trend hasn’t caught on at all in El Paso as far as I could tell. There were several interesting-looking shops and farmer’s markets in Las Cruces, but we never made it up there. I did finally find some local honey and unsweetened flor de jamaica to make jamaica agua fresca, which my husband had at a Mexican paleteria and enjoyed very much. I’ll be planting several of the hibiscus bushes that produce these flowers if I can reproduce the recipe.
By far our largest spending day on the whole trip was a shopping spree at Dorignac’s in Metairie, Louisiana. Any time we get near New Orleans we stop and load up at Dorignac’s. It’s a large independent grocer that specializes in Louisiana products. How can I resist? We stocked up on Creole and Cajun spices, popcorn rice, creole mustard, Louisiana raspberry wine, a few boxed mixes, a couple bags of frozen crawfish tails, and lots and lots of sausage: alligator sausage, smoked beef sausage made there at Dorignac’s, 2 different kinds of andouille, and a particular green onion boudin that I love.
We also stopped at Jacob’s in Laplace and bought their house-made andouille, turkey tasso, pickled quail eggs, and boudin, but I’m fairly sure we left the damn bag in the hotel room fridge in Metairie, ’cause I haven’t found the bag since we unpacked. The maid got $50 in free sausage if we did.
Saturday night we had a fantastic dinner at Zeke’s Restaurant in Metairie. My middle son and I split one of the shrimp boil buckets. We ate ourselves sick. I had truly forgotten just how delicious a Cajun-style shrimp boil can be. We bought this ginormous bag of shrimp boil spices the next day for a very special occasion. We don’t know what that occasion will be yet- maybe our anniversary in August- but whatever it is will be special… this bag is for 20 pounds of seafood!
Needless to say, we’ll be eating a whole lot of Cajun and Creole food in the next few months!