Category:

Creatively Authentic Vittles

Simple Easy Pork Marinade

Posted on April 26, 2021

I would love to tell you some long involved story about Pork chops and how they are the most delicious of meats. But instead, I am just going to give you a recipe for the most simple easy pork marinade.

Now my blog is going to tell me I have to write so many words for it to score high on google searches. I will add that it is nearly Farmers Market time here in Westerville. That means you can buy the amazing Pork from Tier 3 Heritage Products every Saturday at the Westerville Farmers Market.

I kid you not it will be the best Pork you have ever tasted. Now on to the Marinade

Drum Roll…. ok it’s not that fancy so we can skip the pomp and circumstance. The recipe is just a simple easy pork marinade. It can be used on any cut of pork. I prefer pork chops or chopping up a shoulder for tacos. Though this has a little Asian flavor because of the Soy Sauce and Sriracha. Try it with sticky rice or noodles.

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simple easy pork marinade

Simple Easy Pork Marinade


  • Author: trippingvittles

Description

Super easy marinade for your favorite cuts of pork.


Ingredients

Scale
  • Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon -1 Tablespoon Sriracha
  • Juice from citrus. I used juice from half a grapefruit.
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon – 1 Tablespoon Not your Mamas Garlic Seasoning

 


Instructions

put pork in a zip lock bag. Toss all ingredients in and shake till really mixed let sit at least an hour up to overnight.

Then cook. I love grilling but do it how you like.

Notes

You can see my list of items I used below and follow the link to my page on Amazon to buy the  items I use.

In the past, I have shared the about my Influencer site on Amazon. I add to the lists on Amazon each time I write a blog. I just updated the items I used to make the simple, easy pork marinade. So you can see what I use and purchase it if you want to use the same thing. Click below. It will take you to my Amazon site.

https://www.amazon.com/shop/trippingvittles

Spices Why We Need Them: A Food Insecurity Post

Posted on April 10, 2021

It is Easter, and I am sitting thinking about Spices and why we need them, I am thinking about all the different ways seasons change; I am not religious, but this marks the beginning of summer food and new growing seasons. Just like seasons changing, food changes with seasoning.

 Growing your food is something my parents and sister have excelled at over the years.  My dad’s yard and garden were so impressive that strangers would stop and talk to him about his yard. We had our ditch line filled with pumpkins, squash, and zucchini.  He planted a vast raspberry bed along the side of the garage.  Until I got a box of Cheerios from the food pantry, I could not figure out why I did not like them as an adult.  They taste completely different when you can’t have fresh-picked raspberries and half&half on them with a spoonful of sugar! 

My Mother and Sisters Green Thumbs

moms garden

My mom and sister continue the planting and green thumb growing.  They have beds of fruits and vegetables. They have planter boxes all over, and my mothers’ flowers are stunning.  While they were all born with green thumbs, I was born with the black death thumb. I have killed everything I have ever tried to grow, even killed a fake plant once.  the fake plant was on a radiator in the sun, and one day I came home, and it had melted into an odd, misshapen pile of plastic.

I have started to form a plan, the plan is to form a charitable arm to Tripping Vittles that will begin to reimagine what it is like to feed the hungry, houseless, and people who may not have what they need for a complete meal. No one in this country should be hungry. We have the wealth to feed in the manner of kings three meals a day. But many who hold the wealth do not see it that way. They grip tight to their money, and innovation grinds to a halt.  I feel it in the spring of invention.

 I have met people reimagining this model, but they cannot do it alone. They need help. I want to be in on helping at the very roots of this movement. The way I have lived the last month on the food given,  I have found some fundamental things missing.  Seasoning!!!! To name one.

Spices and why we need them

In the last 4+ weeks, I got only one bulb of garlic—no salt, no pepper, no essence, nothing else to season food with.  The heart of Tripping Vittles is the spice of life. Spices ground people; they take people home if only in their taste buds. So to be without spices, in my opinion, is tantamount to being without food. The world cooks with seasoning.  Seasonings are a massive part of every ethnic food in America: Indian, Latino,  Asian, Black,  Pacific Islanders, and white.  

Yet, in the world of food insecurity that I have encountered, spices are as rare as finding a lost bitcoin mining operation!  You know they are out there, but you have no idea the secret to getting them. So doubling back, I am looking at how I can get spices and such in the hand of people cooking food from pantries—starting by dragging all the grow pots out of my garage, buying some potting soil, and trying to grow some herbs.

grow pots

 My Garage is filled with grow pots!  I have tried so many times to grow things to no avail, yet I also do not throw anything out! I can build things, so I am going to attempt to construct some herb boxes.  The plan is to start with spices and see where this all goes. Sharing spices has been a 30-year dream of mine. It is how I came to form the business of Tripping Vittles. I would love for you to join me in the growing endeavor.

Here is a link to a plain growing box.  

It should not be charity it should just be what we do to help

We will talk about growing other things at a later date.  If you are close to me in Westerville, keep an eye out for how Tripping Vittles’ charitable arm, Roots of Change, will work at a grassroots level to change what it means to be hungry.  It starts in our communities. So I encourage you to join me no matter where you live.  To change how we feed those of us who are hungry.  I am taking a page out of my friend steves book and his organization Couch Philanthropy, and I have opened a cash app. Roots of Change. Donate if you wish.

The goal is to have a 501.3c arm of Tripping Vittles, but The 501.3c is an involved process, and I will eventually get there; if you want to donate now, I will keep everyone abreast of how we will be using the money from preparing meals to growing spices. This has all come from my last month and seeing areas where there are holes in people’s Feeding.

Big Food Banks don’t think about the small things like spices

The big food banks serve a purpose, but just like the companies that donate to them, humanity and dignity are lost in translation from food donation to a human being’s mouth.  I cannot stress enough we all have a right to eat a delicious meal.  Let me know what you are growing, tag me in your photos, drop a comment and follow me on all the socials. Let’s do this across the country—a movement of spice.

My series is technically over; it has been a month. I have so much more to write on and to share about my experiences. I am not going to call an end to the series; there will be a continuation. This has become a passion of mine. The sharing of recipes on food pantry sights has given rise to others sharing what they cook. We are all human beings, and we all have something to contribute to this world. It has been awesome to see the discussions started and people taking a risk to share their food ideas. This is some of what I envisioned Tripping Vittles to be all those years ago.

I have been changed by this experience

Food Insecurity will not be all I write about, but it surely has shaped how I will view food from now on, and we will talk about that when the cause arises. I hope you will help me in whatever ways possible to get spices into the hands of people who may need them. I envision this being a multi-cultural sharing of spices and love. Stay tuned to see how this plays out.

The Best Artichokes Ever in an Airfryer

Posted on April 6, 2021

There are affiliate links in my posts if you click on one I could get paid. thats how they work

From the food pantry on Monday I got some Artichokes, a crazy, wild very happy surprise! Using my air fryer that admittedly I have only used to reheat chicken wings I made something glorious! I cooked up the best artichokes ever in an air fryer!

Yes, I am a bit full of myself, and it’s true I have not tasted all the airfryer artichokes created in the world. I am going to take that leap and say mine is the best!

So here is what you need to make these bad boys!

I am positive I am the only person that has not used the air fryer I purchased on a regular basis. The air fryer I have is the one pictured above. There are several manufactures that make air fryers and they all seem to work basically the same.

I may have arrived late to the air fryer party but now that i’m here watch out! I am creating recipes in my dreams, while I shower and anywhere else I have a moment to think!

The Best Artichokes Ever in an Air Fryer Recipe

In a pan melt 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil together. Toss in a bulb of chopped garlic and a tablespoon of Italian Seasoning. I used my own Tripping Vittles Pasta Pizzaz. Add Juice of 1 lemon and zest about a 1/2 teaspoon from the same lemon.

Snip off all the spiky tips to the leaves on the artichoke and cut the stem off. Slice in half and scoop out the fuzzy stuff near the bottom. Place inside up in the basket of the air fryer. The butter mixture is enough for 1 artichoke cut in half. Pour that butter sauce all over the two halves be sure to get in the cracks Set temp to 350 and cook for about 13-16 min. depending on the size of your artichoke.

Eat by picking apart each leaf and scraping the meat off with your teeth. Dunk it in the butter that rests in the pit. When you get down to the bottom make sure all the green leaves are gone and enjoy the heart! The heart is firmer but full of flavor bottom!

If you like what you have read and would like to see what I use to make the recipes click the photo to visit my Amazon Storefront

The Best Egg Cooker

Posted on March 28, 2021

How do you say good bye to The Best Egg Cooker EVER? Death has come to my egg cooker. She lays in the trash next to an old bag of chips. So undignified for one of the best kitchen appliances ever invented.

I use Affiliate links If you buy something there is a chance I may make a little cash from the transaction

I went to make hard-boiled eggs the idea was to make a bunch and give some recipes. Now I realize I can boil water and drop the eggs in and still achieve a hard-boiled egg. But that is really not the point.

You must travel back with me to a time before the year 2000, I think. I’m a little fuzzy on time but it was back when I stilled lived in Chicago. I had a second job so I could hang out with super cool people. You know who you are!! It helped also that I got free cookware and knives and gadgets just for selling cookware.

I may never have gotten married but I did not need a stinking shower for I had Chefs Catalog to outfit my kitchen(the most important room in the home), Yes, Yes some of you will argue that the bedroom is the most important but that’s only because you lack imagination and clearly have never made love by the glow of a refrigerator light!

But back to the task at hand. Laying to rest the best egg cooker on the planet. Yes I got it for free that made it better. I think we told the makers what we thought of the thing and at the time I said it was the dumbest appliance on the planet. For Gods sake we all had a pot and some water we could boil eggs the old fashioned way!

Oh, what a fool I was. The Egg Cooker by Salton was the most glorious of kitchen tools. Oh, the things you could do. Scrambled eggs, poached eggs(the fancy kind where you cut the top off), hard-boiled eggs, coddled eggs. It did it all. Today she tried mightily to cook her last batch of eggs but to no avail the bottom blew, boiling water ran from one end of the counter to the other the best egg cooker dying, taking her last gasps as her beeper/buzzer let out one last squeak.

I have searched I can buy a used one(gross) on eBay for over 30$ with shipping, they say it maybe back on Amazon in April but the rest of the internet indicates that just is probably not the case. So I have options but none of them will be the salton.

Will I buy this one its fancy and stainless, Cusinart Is a great name and I have other products but this just seems like over kill but If you like it go-ahead and buy it!

There are some sweet retro cool looking egg cookers, and cookers of all colors and even different sizes. That egg shape seems to be popular go figure!

I have am leaning towards this one.

But I am going to take a few days to morn the best egg cooker a girl could have asked for. Let me know if you have an egg cooker and what You like about it! Im in a vulnerable spot I may just buy what you suggest! and Honestly if You do not own one of these I would suggest you get yourself one ASAP.. it may very well be the best thing you ever buy yourself.

#eggcookers #bestkitchenappliance

Amazing Blackberry Muffins: Food Insecurity Series

Posted on March 21, 2021

My neighbor made Amazing Blackberry Muffins for me yesterday. Made from blackberries I got at the Midohio Food Pantry. I am nearly two weeks into my Food Insecurity Series and it has left me with so many feelings that I am not sure a month of writing will cover all I want and need to say.

Please be aware I use affiliate links and could make some cash if you click on those links.

We don’t talk about it

The conversations that have started over the food insecurity series have been amazing. from is it right I am eating this food, to how do we help people in my community of Westerville. where on the face of it food insecurity is not a problem, but it’s not a problem not because it’s not here but because we don’t talk about it.

Why is that? Why don’t we talk about the fact that even in this community of privilege 1 in 3 kids in our schools face Food Insecurity? We are not a food desert. That means grocery stores and other places with food operate their businesses here. It is viable for them to do so.

Amazing Blackberry Muffins

This last week when I went to Mid Ohio Food Bank I was given a flat of blackberries. Along with a lot of other food. I am a one-person household so I cannot always eat all the fresh fruit and veggies I am given. I have started to share what I am doing with this series with my neighbors. My sharing includes my writing and some of the food I have received.

I did so not because I know they need food and are hungry or because I’m making a judgement. I did so because I had an abundance of something and I had no need to hoard the food.

Food no matter your socio-economic standing is a way to bridge barriers and relate to people. In giving of the food, I have started speaking with neighbors and hearing about friends and families. I have also gotten some delicious recipes. and even two Amazing Blackberry Muffins on a plate delivered to my door!

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Amazing Blackberry Muffins

Amazing Blackberry Muffins


  • Author: Dana Kays

Description

This is my Neighbor Danas Recipe for Amazing Blackberry Muffins


Ingredients

Scale

Muffins

Streusel 

  • 1/2c flour,
  • 1/4cwhite sugar,
  • 1/4c brown sugar.
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (table salt if you don’t have pink)
  • 2 Tbsp butter cut in until crumbly.

 


Instructions

For the muffins: 

Mix all muffin ingredients until no visible dry ingredients. The mixture Will be lumpy.  Pour into greased or lined muffin tin 2/3 full.

Streusel Topping

Add by spoonsful over muffin mixture and bake 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean

 

Notes

I love this recipe it is easy, and it tastes so good and the best part this time someone made it for me!

Keywords: Blackberry Muffins,

Radical Solidarity

In asking above why don’t we talk about Food Insecurity? There are so many things that lead to us being quiet. Embarrassment, not knowing how to get help, fear of judgment and so many more are natural feelings especially in the society we have lived in up until this moment.

I was at a memorial last night for the Atlanta 8 and a woman spoke and her words were powerful. They also called for us to do something out of our comfort zone. She called for us to stand in Radical Solidarity.

It meant something different last night when referring to the Asian Hate that is taking place in America right now. but I feel it can be applied to the fight to feed people.

What does Radical Solidarity mean and what does it look like in this movement to feed people? Below is what I feel it means and what you will see myself and Tripping Vittles Practicing sometimes to my own discomfort.

Radical Solidarity in Food for All

Acknowledging and talking about your own food insecurity

Speaking out against laws that make it harder to get food into the hands of those that need it

Mutual Aide: churches working with the community, cities helping citizens, social justice groups standing together, and then all of us working together.

Volunteering can look like many things. restaurants getting leftover food to human beings and not trash cans, driving boxes of food to those that can’t drive, taking food to the elderly homes that need it, writing checks. If you have more than enough money be sure to share with organizations that feed people. Cash is far more important than an old can of beans. Cash allows food pantries to buy what their shoppers want and need.

Setting up a Little Pantry in your yard or in front of your business so you can allow people to pick up food not under scrutiny, Do not tie the receiving of food to a message of faith. You can be faith-driven but to force that faith on someone just so they can eat is not the best way to share the gospel. Try just leading and those that feel the love will follow but forced faith is false phosphatizing

Keep Practicing Radical Solidarity

Push for some of the larger food pantries to make it easier and less stigmatized to get food from you. I’m looking at you WARM. If covid has done nothing else it has forced or encouraged many places to stop with so many rules about who and how you get food.

Start holding corporations accountable for the amount of food insecurity in this country. How is it that most of what I get from Mid Ohio comes from Kroger, Walmart, and Sams Club? And yet those same places do not pay their employees enough to make a living wage. They refuse to put their stores in food deserts. Yes, they help feed people through donations of food but they also contribute to people being hungry. That simply is fucked up!

Acknowledge that we as white people have for the most part (yes there are exceptions) have it easier to feed ourselves than our BIPOC counterparts. start to learn the reasons for this. Learn what a food desert is. Learn what working poor means. Make it completely natural to do your shopping at a Food Pantry as it is going to Costco. White folks, it is our responsibility to tear down some of these walls, we built the damn things and reeducate ourselves on how we have benefited from Capitalism and colonialism. we can feed our neighbors and our nation

Food is a right! No one should go hungry!

How Will You Practice Radical Solidarity

Food Insecurity a Series: Blueberry Simple Syrup and a Cocktail

Posted on March 13, 2021

... I think you all know I am trying to make a living one day at this so if you click a link on this blog there is always a chance I will make a little cash. All opinions are mine and mine alone. now that business is done on to You Can Be Food Insecure: And Enjoy A Cocktail...
Tripping Vittles

Try to think of a positive character in film or television that is not a muppet who is food insecure. From the cartoons we saw as kids — “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a burger today” — to the subtle images of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games getting a loaf of bread from Peta. Somehow at the root of food insecurity is the idea that you must be a con artist like Wimpy, or have mental illness and not care for your kids properly like Katniss’ mother. How many other images have we been bombarded with that tell us there is some defect at the heart of why someone is food insecure?

How do we see food insecurity

I am just talking entertainment images, not even taking into account what the politicians have bombarded us with about those that are hungry and need food.  For so many, they lost their job, don’t get paid enough for their work, hours have been cut.  This last year it has become glaringly obvious that we do not value the most essential workers in this society enough to pay them a living wage. 


And yet we still want to make the hungry in this country have something else wrong with them: drug addicts, prostitutes, gang members, “welfare queens” scamming the system.  We tell ourselves that food insecurity comes from a lack of financial planning, scamming the system, wasting their money on cars and phones and sneakers, so they do not have the money for food. Not ever acknowledging that you need all those things just to survive in society today. Could you do your job without a car? Phone? Shoes? If your job did not pay a living wage, what would you cut to keep your car payment or the roof over your head?  

It’s Not Us Against Them Its A We Issue


The biggest issue with what I just wrote is that I used the word “they” a lot.  Well, it’s me, it’s you, and it’s us. It’s our neighbors and our relatives. There are nearly 60 million people in this country who are food insecure. Nearly 12 million of them are kids. Almost 40% of us in this country are one paycheck away from poverty. 


We do not think people on “welfare,” “assistance,” or the government dime should have the same things we have. We limit the foods and drinks they can buy—no boozy cocktails for you. You are poor!
We have a society based on Loverboy, “Working for the Weekend,” Jimmy Buffet and Alan Jackson telling us, “It’s 5o’clock somewhere”. Advertisers tell us that after a hard day’s work, it’s “Miller Time.” 


But if you need help getting food or rent assistance, you are not supposed to use the food you get to make fancy cocktails or mixers for those cocktails. We have this idea you should toil away in your jobs and go home like you are in punishment. Or If you are not employed, you have no right to any fun like those of us that do work can have. 

Bullshit…You can be food insecure and enjoy a cocktail

Well, I say BULLSHIT to that!!  We will make cocktail mixers, and from those, we will make cocktails, and we will toast each other. 

You can be food insecure and still enjoy a fancy cocktail


Let’s start with the blueberries I got at Mid-Ohio Food Bank. They gave me a whole flat!  It was over 15 pounds of berries.  I ate them raw and prepared a few other items that you will see in recipes. In this blog post, the idea I wanted to share is that everyone deserves to “Pour a Little Cherry Wine.”  and relax as Nas sings.

Two Recipes One for the Syrup One for the Cocktail

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simple syrup

Blueberry Simple Syrup


  • Author: trippingvittles
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20-30
  • Total Time: 45 minute
  • Yield: 6 cups approx 1x

Description

Water Sugar and Blueberries combined to make a syrup that is great for all kinds of things.  But the one I like the most? Cocktails!!


Ingredients

Scale

3 pounds of Blueberries 

4 Cups of Sugar

8 cups of Water 


Instructions

In a 6qt stockpot Bring sugar, water, and blueberries to a boil. Continue a rolling boil until blueberries start to pop open. With a Potato Masher crush up and at least half the berries by pushing down through the water to the bottom of the pan.  Let the liquid reduce by approximately 1/3rd until it is a thick liquid. Strain the liquid using a Colander into a large bowl. Reserve The berries for additional deliciousness.  Let the liquid cool and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. I like to use a Fancy Glass Bottle because it is fun to have out when making cocktails but any airtight container works.

Notes

A few notes this is easy to make you don’t need the expensive stockpot that is linked above to make this there are amazing inexpensive pots also I just was blessed earlier in life working at a cookware store where I could earn free high-end merchandise.  Check out this Stock Pot

  • Category: Cocktails

Keywords: Simple Syrup, blueberry


One of my favorite things about making simple syrups is: first, it is simple! Second, it is sweet! (Yep, I like a sugary cocktail.) And third, they are versatile.  This one added to lemonade is amazing! But the following is a cocktail made entirely from ingredients that came from the food pantry.  (With the exception of the tequila: that came from George Clooney.) As I stated above you can be food insecure and still enjoy a fancy cocktail.

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Blueberry Simple Syrup

Blueberry Citrus Delight


  • Author: trippingvittles

Description

A riff on the classic margarita 


Ingredients

Scale

2oz Tequila

Juice of half a grapefruit

Juice of half a lemon

2oz Blueberry Simple Syrup

Ice


Instructions

Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with Ice. Shake till ya can’t shake no more! Strain into a Martini Glass

Serve right away. 

  • Category: Cocktails

Keywords: margarita , blueberry cocktail

Rules of Engagement on Food Insecurity

Posted on March 11, 2021

I have been trying to figure out how to set rules of engagement for my series on Food Insecurity. If you have not read my blog yet, I will tell the story of food insecurity by eating almost all food pantry food for the next month.  I will live food insecure for the next month, but what does that look like?

Challenges

I face some unique challenges So I am trying to set rules of engagement on the food insecurity series. One, I write a food and travel blog. I  usually take photos of food that sometimes cost as much as what a person has to spend on food for a week or month.  If I am going to do this challenge, I have to admit that part of what Tripping Vittles does is a privileged way to look at food.

 Since its inception, the concept behind the Vittles was uniting people over food. That has not changed, so I am comfortable telling this story of Food Insecurity. We need to unite and what better way to do that than over food.

 The next part is more complicated. I am not using this series to sell anything; that is not why I am doing it.  It comes about by being touched and finally finding a way I, Lauri, can make a difference globally, where 35 years in the foodservice business and what has taken place the last year.  These circumstances helped me find my passion for helping people and becoming more of a community citizen. 

Do I Change My Writing?

That said, do I change how I write? Do I remove my affiliate links? And do I not talk about Tripping Vittles products from spices to coffee? I have wrestled with this, and there are some things I have to say that will lead me to my rules of engagement for the next month. The first. It is not my place to decide how anyone food insecure or not spends their money.  I will continue adding my affiliate links where it is essential to the writing. If I cook with an air fryer, there will be a link to the blog post’s air fryer.  I am still a business, and that does not stop me from telling this story. The second all the things I have in my cupboards are fair game.  So yes, if I have a spice in my cabinet, I may use it. It may be my spice, or it may be some other brand, but my cupboards are fair game.

Rules of Engagment on Food Insecurity: The Freezer if off limits

 What is not a fair game is my freezer. What is in the freezer is mainly a quarter a cow; it is not to say someone that is not food insecure cannot have steaks or roasts; it just would not be valid if I kept going to my freezer to make a meal. The only thing that will come out of the freezer to cook is what I put in from a food pantry. 

Will I make gourmet food and other things with the food I get? Yes, Yes, I will! It is who I am. I cooked gourmet food with an iron and a tea kettle in college. Why would I stop when I have been given some wonderful and beautiful ingredients. College was 101 ways to make noodles taste different. I have many better ingredients now than back then.

Eating Out

Lastly, I am trying to put into words about going out to restaurants I will probably eat out this month, this is a quandary for me and I am not ready to talk about why. What I will say is I will as I always have, make an adjustment to my budget to afford a restaurant meal. These are choices we all make. I am sure I will discuss it in a future post. but I had to include it in my rules of engagement.

A Month-Long Series: Surviving Food Insecurity

Posted on March 7, 2021

Hello Tripping Vittles followers. This is a little something different than I have done before. This is going to be a month-long series. Surviving food insecurity or as I have come to call it “no shame in needing help”

Why This Topic Now?

I am embarking on this project that I feel is super important, but I want it to strike the right tone and give the correct information as not to offend.  I have dubbed this project “no shame in needing help.” It is a way to make people feel comfortable in asking for help feeding themselves and their families.

 A few things have happened over the last two months or so.  The first being I have found the way I want to give myself to my community and people in need.  I have learned a great deal over the last few years about food insecurity. With the pandemic,  many more people who have never worried about putting food on their tables now wonder how to feed themselves and their families.  Others are caring for more people in their homes and could use extra help to find more food and new ways to cook the food they get. 

What Am I doing?

After having some lengthy conversations with friends and people I look up to in the food donation world, I have decided to do a one-month project. I am going to use the resources around Columbus to eat for a month. I am going to show you how you can use these resources. And with what I get, I will show you some possibly new and different, and I hope tasty ways to use the food to make it feed more, stretch longer and taste delicious. 

I very much look up to The Food Soldier, and yesterday she gave me her stamp of approval not only as a great idea but also a much-needed element for food-insecure people. 

What is Food Insecurity?

At this stage, I would like to explain a little bit about food insecurity.  Someone asked me to explain what it is and who is affected.  I appreciated a person who was not themselves food insecure taking the time and care to understand. The following is how I explained it. 

The common definition is not knowing where your next meal is coming from. But it goes deeper and it looks like many things to many people.
If you have ever not had food in your possession to eat when you are hungry. Have you had to choose between feeding yourself or your kids, that is food insecurity.

 Have you had to take a pet to a shelter because you cannot afford to provide the pet and yourself food? That is food insecurity.

When the first of the month rolls around, and you choose to pay rent vs. buy groceries, that is food insecurity.

 Nearly all of us in the suburbs need a car to get to work( we can discuss the need for public transportation another time). Have you had to pick your car payment or gas over food? That is food insecurity.

When I Realized I was Food Insecure

At the first of the month, I realized I was food insecure in that time between jobs where the money is tight, and I had been working in a restaurant where I got a meal a day, five days a week.  Pay rent or go to the grocery store?  I am beyond privileged, and I could dip into a savings account and get a little money, but the realization is if I used that money to eat today, it might not be there for what it was intended later on in life.  The Thing is I am not alone; I have spent money earmarked for my later years to survive the last year.

If this is happening to me for the first time in 53 years. I imagine it must be happening to other people, and as I volunteered and heard people’s stories, it was and is. 

How the Month-Long Project Surviving Food Insecurity was Born

My story is how this project came to fruition. I needed to acknowledge it is ok to ask for help. Yes, it is super scary, but it is also super easy, and the road is paved with fantastic, kind, and generous people. 

How to Survive Food Insecurity


Tomorrow I start on this journey of Surviving Food Insecurity. Today I do a little planning. 

Lesson # 1  Finding Food. 

There are two resources I will share with you today that will help us find food to eat. The first is the aforementioned Food Soldier. Follow her on Facebook. The second is mapping out where to get food and the process. I will do this on Sundays using Freshtrak. You just put in your zip code, and a wealth of food options come up. Over the next month, I will share videos and recipes, and I will show you the food you get. And maybe most importantly, I will show you how a sense of community and caring can make it, so no one is hungry or alone in this world. There will be blog posts, Facebook posts, and Instagram photos I may even tweet some! Follow along, please, and share because we are all in this together!

My Cousin Author SJ Tilly and Mr. Sin

Posted on March 5, 2021

My cousin Author SJ Tilly (Sarah) is published and rocking the romance literary world!

oops… Gotta do business…. I think you all know I am trying to make a living one day at this so if you click a link on this blog there is always a chance I will make a little cash. All opinions are mine and mine alone

Tripping Vittles

This starts with a bit of Jealousy. My cousin Author SJ Tilly is officially a published writer. I personally have been writing a book for 10 years now… It has 5 maybe 6 chapters. I am jealous! She did it!

Have I read the book?

Nope! Full disclosure I have not read the book. But today is payday, and I am ordering it! You can too.. Book In a perfect world I would have read the book and been able to rap on about how outstanding it is. I have heard from multiple people its great and that is good enough for me.

For years I have dreamed of telling peoples stories. I fantasize of having a podcast where I sit with people and we have a fun discussion while hitting some questions that would give cause to more and more conversation. My cousin author SJ Tilly (Sarah) has agreed to be my first interview.

Its not a Podcast but it is still fun

I am no where near financially ready to set in motion a podcast. But I am dreaming about it so one day it will come. until then I have decided to tell a story through a brief interview.

The Explanation

I should disclose that I feel a bit more like an Aunt to Sarah than a cousin. Our family has a past… nothing sordid like I hope takes place in the Mr. Sin book.

My mom and her sister had their babies many years apart. My first memories of Sarahs mom Karen were this super cool chick with long flowing hair and bell bottom jeans. she was an adult by the time I was forming memories. I was going off to college when Sarah and her sister were forming memories. So we were not cousins that played in the sandbox together.

I have stood in amazement at what an amazing young woman my cousin Sarah has become and with that I present to you our interview.

The Interview

Hi, Sarah this is your cousin. I am so thrilled about your book can we talk? I want to know a little more about SJ Tilly the author and her character Mr. Sin without giving anything away.  

Thankfully she agreed to this interview or I would have just written the above for no good reason!

Question 1

How and when did you decide to write, and then how did you become published?

Maybe this will help me get past the 6th chapter in my book!

I’ve always loved writing, and I’ve always had an overactive imagination. If we want to go way back, my fourth grade teacher (shout out to Mrs. Woxland) would excuse me from English class so I could go write short stories in the library. That probably started my obsession.

Being raised in a family that loves to read also helped to stoke my creativity. Flashing forward – I’ve always been the type of person who daydreams. And over the past few years those daydreams turned into full on sagas. Every book I’ve written (currently a total of 5) all start with one scene. One moment. One interaction, confrontation, spark of passion… and from there the story builds. I wait until I have an outline done (or mostly done) before I start typing out my book. So far, each book has taken about a month and half to two months to write.

I love the insight she gives to her experience of getting published!

It’s the editing and the re-reads that kill me! So that process started almost 2 years ago. (Two years this summer since I started my first manuscript.) But then there I was, with 5 completed books and no idea what the freak to do with them. I tried going the traditional route of reaching out to literary agents. I had a few reply. A few of those that requested more of my book. And ultimately no takers.

(A side note that will become important to my story – I’m in all sorts of reader groups on Facebook. All for different authors or subsets of romance. And all full of amazingly fun people.)

Then this past Thanksgiving I was on Facebook and saw that a group of my favorite authors were putting on an auction with all proceeds going to a charity. And one of the items up for bid was a “mini-mentorship” with one of my favorite authors. Jaymin Eve

. Long story short, I stressed the F out. I drank too much wine. I did a last minute asshole bid and won the auction. #noregrets It was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Jaymin is not only one of my favorite authors to read, she’s also one of the nicest people ever. (She’s also in Australia so it’s super entertaining to listen to her talk!) She helped convince me that self-publishing as an indie (independent) author is the way to go. And when I told her I had 5 books, she cheered and told me “launch them all”.

Cut to Jan, and I set the date for Mr. Sin to launch March 1st. And every day since then has been a blur. Mr. Sin is now out. By March 3rd I’d sold over 120 books. And I’m quickly counting down to my April 1st launch of Sin Too. Then May, June, July I’m launching my Sleet series. So the entire first half of 2021 I’m going to be a goddamn hot mess.

Question 2

 Does author SJ Tilly lead a different life than my cousin Sarah? Does Ms Tilly have a favorite food or cocktail? 

It is Tripping Vittles after all gotta talk food and drink!

Author S.J. Tilly gets to publicly say all the shit that Sarah can’t. S.J. is also more fun because she doesn’t have a real job. When I’m S.J. I’m all in. If I’m going to write a scene where the characters are drunk, I’m going to get a little drunk. And if I have the ability to drink what they’re drinking, I will. Margarita, wine, beer, coffee, I’ll try to match. Call it method writing. Or call it weird. But it helps. I want to feel what my characters feel. Both physically and emotionally. Books are supposed to pull you in to their world. And if I can’t make myself laugh or cry then how can I expect anyone else to.

Question 3

Does Mr. Sin cook? What is his favorite food? 

I wanted to ask about the book but I did not want anything given away

Mr. Sin knows his way around the kitchen. About halfway through the book you’ll find out why. But the man is Italian and his mama passed on her best recipes. Her lasagna is his favorite meal. And it’s not a stereotype when it’s that’s damn delicious. He’s also good at breakfast. 😉

Here is the nitty Gritty of the interview. The Tripping Vittles 4 Questions. I hope to make these the corners of the interviews moving forward. They may need some fine tuning but I think you get where I am going.

The following are 4 questions I will ask all my interviews. You can answer these as Mr. Sin or as SJ Tilly or as my cousin Sarah! 

This is a work in progress send me your thoughts on questions or questions you would like to see asked.

Cousin Sarah is answering as S.J. Tilly Author

This thrills me
Nitty Gritty 1

If you could travel anywhere in the whole world where would you go? 

I day dream everyday about this question

In 2023 there is a romance conference called BABE (Books and Ballgowns Event) and it’s in Sydney, Australia. I currently have my name on a list to try to attend as an author. A lot of my favorite authors live in Australia so not only would it be amazing to be an author at a large event, it would be absolutely mind-blowing to be an author at an event beside those legends. But even if I don’t get selected as a an author, I do plan to go. I can attend as a reader and that will be nearly as awesome. Plus… Australia!

Nitty Gritty 2

If you could take a plus one and attend any event in history who would your plus one be and what event would you go?

I wish we would normalize taking people other than our husbands, wives or partners to events.

Jesus woman, you don’t ask easy questions! Ahahahah Okay – I’ve always been a bit obsessed with Egypt and the pyramids and the pharaohs and just that whole period of time. I don’t know my history well enough to name a particular moment, but I would just love to witness that opulence in person.  It was a brutal time. And awful for so many of the people. But I find it all very fascinating. And a little bit terrifying. Which is why I’d bring my husband. He’s a giant in modern times, so he’d be a monster in ancient times. He can come with as my bodyguard.

I did not know that was a hard question and then she throws the wrench and picks her husband as her plus one and yet he is a giant so it seems perfect!

I still wish we would normalize not having a plus one or that one being something other than the person you sleep with.
Nitty Gritty 3

If money were no object what would you buy yourself and why?

I think this can be a very telling question about someones heart and soul!

A house in the mountains. Like right in the middle of the mountains. With giant windows and no neighbors. I can’t think of a more wonderful place to live peacefully and to write my stories.

This is where our whole family seems to be in agreement. Mountains good! Open spaces good! places to read and write ESSENTIAL!

Its in our blood
Nitty Gritty 4

If for one night you could trade places with someone who would that someone be and would it be on a specific night? 

I did not specify Real or Fictional and I love she gave both!

Real person – Jeff Bezos. And while I’m him, I’d give away 90% of his money. He’d still be super rich, so he can’t get that mad.

Fictional person – Kit Davenport. Girl has magical powers. And a harem.

Thank You

I cannot thank Sarah/ author S.J. Tilly enough for being my first interview. She has 5 books in this series and I cannot wait to share them all with you! You can follow Author S.J Tilly on Facebook to keep up on all her amazing writing.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER MR. SIN

Leaving the Restaurant Business

Posted on January 30, 2021

Today Is the Day

Today marks the end of an era. I am leaving the Restaurant Business. I have left Antonio’s one  other time, but for whatever reason, the last time did not feel permanent. Maybe it was because my heart wasn’t ready. Maybe it was because the plans were not firm.  
Today is my last day at Antonio’s and today it feels over. 

My World Changed

I have a new job and a new goal. There is a learning of a new skill, and there is doing what I have done in the past: helping to grow a company. 
At 53, is this my swan song? These are my feelings, not those of the people at Antonio’s or anywhere else.  This is my heart, sometime full and sometimes broken.
My intention was always to finish my career at Antonio’s, but in the last 12 months the world changed.
Not just my world but the whole world.

The Covid Effect

Tripping Vittles suffered blow after blow with shortages caused by the political climate and by covid. 
The restaurant business I loved so much became something I dreaded going to work in. 
I saw the very best in some people and yet there was also the very worst. 
For a few short weeks we were “heroes,” but then we very soon became the doormats for everyone’s frustration. 
You somehow dragged us into your political theater of rights. 
I am not just speaking of my job, but of those jobs my friends and I have done throughout this country in the restaurant business for the last year. 

I Really Care, Do You?


As liberal leaning as I am, I’m smart enough to know that a virus does not care if you were for Trump or Biden.  It only cares what kind of host you are and how it can use you to spread throughout the population. 
We as an industry have been told over and over again: You don’t have to wear a mask, we don’t care. That became disheartening. I CARE!!!
If I can at all help it, I don’t want to give this to a customer and  have them get sick or die. And people have died  to the tune of over 400,000 in a year. 


We were mandated and told how to do business. I worked for a woman who had the health department on speed dial because she cared about us, our business, and most of all you as patrons. She made sure we did it right, even when others did not. We did it right and we cared! Everyone I know in this business has tried to do it right because they care about you, about their business, and about the rules and the nation. 


But too many customers did not care about those of us in this industry. 
They have yelled, screamed, aimed their cars at us, suggested we go outside and fight it out. People have been rude and nasty and suggested how our procedures should be changed. They told us we were not doing it how they wanted, told us that the virus was not real, told us that we were paranoid. And even when we carried an order out to their car, in the heat, rain, snow, or freezing cold, so many could not even shoot us a $1 tip.

Many Customers are Angels

customers
Pizza Shop Amazing Customers

On the other side, there really are many, many generous, amazing customers who tried to make up for the empty tip line. I have heard stories and seen firsthand huge tips and gifts given. Customers care. Many of you all over this country tried to make up for the bad behavior exhibited by patrons, but the empty tip lines and outright anger and bizarre behavior have taken their toll. For me personally, I have been given an opportunity to go do something new and I am jumping at the chance.  I want you all to keep eating the amazing pizza and food from Antonio’s, and tip all the servers, be it in the restaurant or curbside. They deserve it! I know I will — I can’t live without the Buffalo Chicken Pizza!

I Loved My Years in the Restaurant Business…It is a real job!!!

The funny thing about writing my honest feelings is that it comes out like I am bitter and angry. I am far from it. I’v made friends who are like family at Antonio’s. I have watched kids grow up into amazing adults. I have watched kids fall in love and get married. 

Pizza Shop to Future Doctor


To every teenager that ever came through those doors whom I had the pleasure of teaching and working with: you made me a better person. I loved watching you become firefighters, hairdressers, bankers, doctors, engineers, Marines, Army and Air Force members. I watched you come in quiet and shy, and develop personalities and go off to college and work. We have Fighting Irish and Buckeyes, Wolverines and Cardinals.  Each and every one of you are going to make a difference in the world, and that is a legacy I could not be more proud of!

You all are my favorites

From make your own pizza to co-worker


To those kids whom I still work with: I am going to miss you! You are going to go and do amazing things. I cannot wait to watch you. I have no doubt that you can do anything! You will be amazing!! You already are! 
To Rita and Robert: all I can say is Thank You! You gave me a home and a place to be me. You saved me when I was drowning after the Boston Bombings. Fran and Sam started a legacy all those years ago on State Street, but you have continued it.  Thank you for letting me be a part of that. 
Off I go to start what could be the final chapter in my work career. I am about to step onto a rocket ship. I feel like I have been preparing my whole life for this ride!  Backroom Coffee Roasters: let’s light the fuse and see how high we can fly!

The Great River Road along the Mississippi River

Posted on October 14, 2020

I wish I could tell you it was the best road trip of my life.. It was not. The Great River Road left me with more questions than answers. It left me frustrated.

Was there beauty? Hell yes! the Mississippi is an absolute wonder. It is gorgeous and powerful and she has earned her name mighty. I grew up in Minnesota and know her origins of just a creek you can step across. I have spent a great amount of time driving The Great River Road between Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. They were just roads to me no markers or calling them anything special.

I am not sure what I was expecting but what I got was an awakening to how things are so different and we don’t want to look at that that makes us uncomfortable. Because the south makes many a northerner uncomfortable.

I also found out that whoever marks the great river road is absolutely awful about it and about directions. Now keep in mind my trip ran from Memphis to New Orleans with some detours and changes. I stayed on the East side of the river all the way to Natchez, Mississippi.

Mississippi River Bridge at Natchez

Crossed over and drove the Louisiana side all the way into New Orleans or until I was off the trail again.

I had planned to camp this whole trip. That became difficult for a few reasons. I underestimated the time it could take to get from one place to another. Setting up camp in the dark is difficult but it is even harder in a place you do not know. Two it took longer because there is no real clear marking so I found myself lost several times. Now lost is a relative term because as long as you are going south you are heading in the right direction and if you go east you will hit a river. but know where I am and finding camping areas are two different things. Even turning to my trusty app The Dyrt I just was not comfortable.

I also had to adjust because of covid. The biggest thing I do not think we are really talking about is how seriously many people are taking this. We hear about anti-maskers in the big cities protesting and screaming for their rights acting like they have an army of people to back them up.

I am in the Red south Y’all and I see as many if not more people masked up here than back home. I am sure everyone will give a reason but I am just going to say poor people no matter their race, religion, or anything else knows that this is affecting them in larger numbers and when poor you do not have as good of health care. It is a privilege to be able to tell people they should not wear a mask. It is insulting to say not wearing a mask is some form of freedom. When what it really is, is privilege run wild.

I will attempt in the next few blog posts to share the good and the bad of a Trip that has been rally amazing. I will tell you to travel even in Covid Times. we will talk about some of what I saw and the people I talked to.

My Schitts Creek Experience

Posted on October 12, 2020

….This is my Schitts Creek Experience I am driving down the road after a major goof up… Did you know Nashville and Memphis are two different cities? In the same state? one is on the Mississippi and one is not.

Nashville, Memphis they sound a lot alike

Yes I did know they were two different cites I just could not remember which one was on the river and I swore it was Nashville heheheh it is not. So I am barlelyning down the road thinking I am saving myself some time jumping ahead a little from the original plan when BAM! It hits me I am not going towards the river but away from it.

At this stage all you can do is laugh so Laugh I do. and then it hits me! The TV show Schitts Creek was so popular there must be little amazing motels sprouting up all over. I will find me a Rosebud Motel and spend the night!. My Schitts Creek Experience is about to start. I am feeling really kind of brilliant with this idea!

Rosebud Motel ahead

I drove off the highway and the first stop there was a little Motel, freshly painted doors. Bright white and clean. You rang a bell… this is going great. an adorable little woman comes out. She is no Stevie but she will due. I get my key.. I am so excited to enter my version of the Rosebud Motel I was clearly looking at this place through rose colored, NO blacked out glasses.

This May not be a Schitts creek experience after all

WTF! This is My Schitts Creek Experience

Key in lock.. door open… a single king size bed in the middle of the room. a tv on the wall, the floor!! clearly they have learned after a murder or two or maybe the wild sex parties that clearly take place in a room like this. that it is best to have a vinyl flooring so the mop up is easier.

Then the smell happens like it comes at you I mean it attacks you I imagine its what an unclean sex den smells like the day after frat boy graduation.

But wait! there is more.. No you say! Yes there is a scream. Like I think its one of those murders I imagine they have that call for the flooring and then a woman voice. “I am not doing that with your dick or anyone else. Fuck you!”

Needless to say I am at a Lovely Marriott a bit further down the road.

If you are wondering what this Schitts Creek is and where You can See it I highly suggest buying the Schitts Creek Series DVD . You will not be disappointed.

My Schitts Creek experience was less than or maybe more than I would have ever imagined. I am currently accepting offers to drive the country looking for the perfect Schitts Creek Experience. You may send all inquires to Hello@Trippingvittles.com!

Saving the Planet : Composting

Posted on October 4, 2020

As Tripping Vittles developers a part of who we are and what we believe has a lot to do with not only human interactions but also those interactions we have with the earth. This is the first in a loose series Saving the Planet: Composting.

As I go through life and something strikes me that other people may be interested in or should know about when it comes to our planet I will share with you my followers.

Sunday Morning Composting

Every Sunday morning I either walk or ride my bike or sometimes drive my bucket of compost over to our cities composting bins. Today I was thinking all summer I have never run into anyone else over at the compost bins.

In this short video I show how easy it is to compost with the City of Westerville’s program. I encourage you to ask your city to look into a similar program.

Why?

Do not know about the program? It exists here in Westerville and probably several other cities and towns throughout the country. check with your city?

Do not know where to get the container? Our city was giving them away at one point for free. I don’t know if they still are but you can also easily order a bucket, lid and the composting bags from Amazon just follow the links.

Saving the Planet: Composting

If your city does not offer a program or you want to do your own composting I do not really know much about it but there are books to read and bins to buy. I say For for it and let me know how it goes. This is our planet and everything we do helps a little.

Working Through a Pandemic

Posted on July 24, 2020

It has been since February since I have written anything other than Facebook Posts. Covid19 blew into town shortly after I wrote my last post like a hurricane that would just not stop. What has it been like working through a pandemic you may ask. Not easy is the overall answer.

2020 Has turned into a year that no amount of imagining could have predicted. You will call me crazy I am sure but I am happy. I feel a bit guilty for being happy and maybe some of that happiness comes from luck.

I am so Lucky

You know I work at one of the greatest little pizza shops in the whole world. Yeah, I know I’m biased but I also write the blog soooo. Antonios has been able to weather the storm of Covid19 fairly well. Don’t get me wrong we have our struggles and on some days I think we all would like to throw in the towel or in my case the mask! But we also love what we do and it shows in our food and the support we have received from our customers.

If you would have ever asked me if I would know what it was like to work in a restaurant through a pandemic I would have said hell no. But here we are. So I am going to run it down for you. At first, it was scary and panic-inducing.

Scary because one I have asthma, two the unknown that can kill you is always a little scary. Add in the fact restaurants are closing and the industry I love is, was, and will be decimated.

We are lucky We are still working through a pandemic

That’s when the panic sets in. How will I make a living? I left the professional world of pants suits and meetings behind long ago. I vowed to do only the things I loved because life was too short to do anything but.

It is hard to sleep at night.

Fast forward and here we are into July and so far we are still serving pizzas to the greatest customers in the world. I could go into all the challenges it entails and how it can still cause panic and fear. but it is easier to say we are doing it, it is going to be alright.

It is still hard to sleep at night.

A Message for Restaurant Customers

I am moved to write the remaining part of this post to the public at large from all my friends in this business. So you understand what it is like to be working through a pandemic. This is from California where I have friends who have not worked in months except to feed other essential workers. To Minnesota where my cousin works for a James Beard-winning restaurant that turned into a take out pizza shop.

Be kind to those who are serving you. they are doing their very best. Please follow the rules and directions they give you. Collectivity we are having to make changes on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis, and sometimes they don’t make sense to you or us but they are what we must do. The industry I love has made an absolutely tremendous effort to pivot our business models to keep as many businesses as we can afloat. To keep as many people working as we can.

There is something very intense about this business. it is built on dreams and it is family recipes and it is hot sweaty work. Most of us do it because we love it to the core of our being. We are watching our friends and other dreamers lose what they tried so hard to build. The effects of this will be with those of us who breathe this industry for a very long time.

There will one day be books written about working through a pandemic in 2020. Someone will tell the story of what it was like working through a Pandemic. I am sad one of those books will not be written by Anthony Bourdain because he spoke for our industry. If you are even the least bit curious about what drives those of us that have served you food all through this Pandemic give these two books a read. Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw

Now please be kind to us, listen to what we say. This is our profession and we love it and we are doing our very best!

What Would Anthony Bourdain Do?

Posted on February 12, 2020

I find myself asking that a lot, What Would Anthony Bourdain do? Why you ask, well he for one is a very big part of why I continue down this path you can read about that here. He was and continues to be a writer who I admire greatly. His insight on food and how it connects us was unprecedented.

Learning, always Learning

I have said many things over the years about what I wanted Tripping Vittles to be. It is something I am learning to stop because sometimes I do write reviews when I said I never would. I have gotten political and will continue to do so when I said I would stay neutral. That brings me to today and the bit of writing that should have been Leis’s Adventure #4 Food of El Salvador.

What Would Anthony Bourdain Do (WWABD) How would he tell people about the amazing adventure to a Salvadorian Restaurant without telling people about El Salvadore? and how do I talk about El Salvadore without talking about The United States’ unbelievably cruel policy of deportation? The short answer is I can’t. Nor would he.

An enjoyable meal

While I sat at the bar of Ranchero Kitchen, watching the hustle and bustle of a very busy restaurant. The bar seat was the only one available. I watched the faces of people and the eyes of the women who were working there, yes mostly women were doing all the jobs. It could be a coincidence or it could be because El Salvadore is a very dangerous place to be a woman and many seek the Safety of The supposed open arms of America and the welcoming arms of the Statue of Liberty, You know the one she is big and sits in Hudson Bay with a plaque with a poem written by Emma Lazarus a woman of Portuguese Sephardic Jewish descent. or in other words an immigrant.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


WWABD?

WWABD? Would he say those words have always meant something to me, to these nations and to the people all over the world who come here looking for safety and an American dream that is so huge the light of it shines to the darkest corners of the earth? I don’t know if that’s what he would say but I know it’s what I would say.

Leaving your comfort zone

I would like to tell everyone to step out of your comfort zone. Go to a Ranchero Kitchen. You may not understand a word anyone is saying for they are speaking their native tongue. It is a step outside of your comfort zone. WWABD? he would tell you comfort zones are meant to be gotten out of even if the travel is across town.

Anthony Bourdain’s Words

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

I will guarantee you someone will be able to take your order in English. That Same person will proudly tell you about the food they have carried all the way here to America. Their restaurant is set up on a little stretch of street in a part of town that is far from El Salvador. It is also far from the streets of Westerville Ohio, not in milage but in perceived safety, this restaurant is more than likely out of the comfort zone for many of my readers. In order to fix what is going on, we have to acknowledge the most basic fears. Fear of certain parts of town, fear of people with different skin colors. We have to break the cycle of fear and see all people as equal. I think we can do that by eating together!

Community

There is a deep sense of community. Families eating together. Young and old coming in their Sunday best after a morning at church. Young men having a glass of house-made Horchata or Pina Marañon, a delicious combination of pineapple, cashew, and apple. While watching a soccer game broadcast on cable from somewhere in South America.

Pina Marañon
Pina Marañon

We have a problem in America today and it is that we have a leader and his administration making people different than us the enemy. They want you to believe that the people that come here from different lands and how they get here are the problem. They are not.

What Would Anthony Bourdain Do?

He would tell you, Someone from El Salvador or anywhere else in Latin America is not the problem. Politics and greedy unethical leaders are the problems. America’s insatiable appetite for drugs is a problem, the prisons where we incarcerate far more people with brown skin color for profit are the problem.

This is not a new problem. We have had an immigration issue here since the day the Statue of Liberty made her appearance in the Bay. I think We are making it worse instead of better. In wanting to write this I have read an article upon article about El Salvador and their politics and gang issues and the United States and our deportations of people back to El Salvador, 138 of them who ended up dead.

Is there a solution? Love More hate less?

I do not have a solution to all of this hate, death, and circumstances both here and abroad. What I do know is when I stepped into Ranchero Kitchen for lunch yesterday I was greeted by smiling women who embraced me and guided me to a delightful meal from beginning to end. What would Anthony Bourdain Do? I think he would start by saying something to the effect…we have got to start by not being afraid of our differences and embracing them. We are far more alike than different or maybe that’s what I am saying!

Salvadorian Sample Platter
Salvadorian Sample Platter

I was able to go on a trip to El Salvador without needing a passport. I ate the food and I came to a better understanding of their culture through that food. WWABD? I am pretty sure he would tell you to go eat some Salvadorian Food!


Leia’s Adventures #3 Chinese Food(Dim Sum)

Posted on January 12, 2020

Welcome to Leia’s Adventures #3 Chinese Food(Dim Sum) Edition.

I have to say when I go to an ethnic restaurant where the nation of origin speaks a different language I always check to see how many people are there from the nation the food is from and how many are speaking the native tongue. Today’s adventure is no different we are going to China by way of Fortune Chinese Restaurant

When you are one of the few caucasian faces and English is not being spoken you can always be guaranteed you are in for a treat today was no different.

I am a fan of dim sum. I suppose it is a lot like last week’s adventure to Brazil It is a way to try different flavors without committing to a whole meal. This is Leia’s Adventures #3 Chinese Food(dim sum). The following link will take you to a kid’s book on Dim Sum. The whole idea of bringing Leia into Tripping Vittles is that kids and adults alike love dogs and maybe Leia can help introduce kids to a whole world full of food they have never experienced. As everything with Tripping Vittles, this is a work in progress.

The Food

The Shrimp Dumpling and the Fermented Eggplant were delicious.

Fermented Eggplant

I went with the Radish Rice cake instead of Taro Rice cake I was not disappointed. The Chive Bun was out of this world as was the golden lava bun. Deep-Fried Dumplings looked like chicken wings but were shrimp was a special surprise. Sticky Rice was a killer it had chicken in it and it tickled the taste buds. For dessert the Durian Cake and the Egg Tart were tops.

Dessert

I have enough leftovers to feed me for a week. I need to find a way to have my followers join me on these little jaunts so I do not have to eat all this food for days.

The Hike

For the hiking part of the adventure, we headed to Indian Run Falls in Dublin Ohio. It is a pretty little park and walk. I would for sure go after a rain because the falls are really pretty. Today Leia is wearing her Gooby Harness

Top of the Falls

As always if you buy from amazon using my links I make a little cash.

Leia’s Adventures #2 Brazillian Food

Posted on January 5, 2020

Today Leia took me to Blendon Woods Metro Park for a hike and Leia’s Adventures #2 Brazilian Food commenced and was a huge success.

Leia’s Adventures #2 Brazilian Food

It was fun about a mile and a half hike around the dog path. It bums me out many of the parks have short dog paths. I guess it is why I like heading off into the woods more but sometimes that is not possible.

Blendon Woods is close to home and it makes for a quick trip to hike. Its a park there is nothing more to tell let’s get on to the real meat and Plantains.

B IS FOR BRAZILLIAN

Estilo Brazil is serving up some awesome Brazilian food inside this little market in Columbus square shopping center.

The woman working the register and showing you how it works, It is a buffet with options. She is the owners’ sister and was super nice and willing to talk with me about all the food. She was so very busy that I did not want to take up to much of her time. but two high lights were the grilled pineapple with beef and lamb and the Corn Pudding.

Meat and Pineapple
Grilled Meats and Pineapple

When we have this wonderful place that is so authentic and delicious don’t go waste your money at one of those Brazilian steak houses. for $15.99 you can try all the amazing food right here. They also have authentic sodas from Brazil and fresh-squeezed juice.

Leia’s Adventures #2 Brazilian Food took me to a really awesome restaurant. As good as any High-End Brazillian Steak House I have ever been to and it had a much more authentic human touch.

Leia's Adventures #2 Brazilian Food
Corn Pudding

As with any time I add a link to amazon if you buy something I may get a little money. It is how I fund these adventures so I thank You. Try the soda it was really good. If you want to know more about the meat they serve and even how to cook it at home this is a great cookbook/resource on Churrasco.

If you do decide to try the at-home version of Churrasco don’t forget this cocktail the Caipirinha I shared the recipe in a post several years ago and I also answered a question this weekend about those big fancy steak houses. Give it a read and be sure to make a drink! #leaisadventures #trippingwithleia

Buying A Tent to Escape Life

Posted on October 1, 2019

How Buying A Tent to Escape lIfe has led me down a path with even more stories and life adventures.

I grew up going camping a lot! I did not always understand why we did it. Why would my parents want to load up the car and head over to Wisconsin or down to the St Croix for 2 nights? To the Rocky Mountains for 2-3 weeks seemed excesive especially as I became a teenager. It seemed like a lot of work and I was a brat and did not always want to go.

As I near My 52nd year I am starting to understand better and better my parents total need to escape life and sit by a fire, eat food made over a camp fire and just be away from everything and nearly everyone.

I had no idea when I started Tripping Vittles what direction it would take. I did not know I would be telling you about campsites the same way I would be telling you how to make simple syrup

When my dad passed away and my mom moved I inherited some camping equipment. Most of it is too old, not usable or needs updating. I have lugged that gear with me for the better part of 20 years and I have no idea why?

A need to keep touch with my Dad? A way to remember my youth? Probably a little of both but it has also served as a compass to direct me here. To this day and time to Tripping Vittles and the realization that Tripping Vittles is really another way to say living life. It is a work in progress. Like learning how to make the perfect poached egg or The best tasting Hot Chocolate.

This past weekend I added to my camping equipment collection and got a Coleman Tent 4 person Tent. More so I can Bring a friend or two along on my adventures. Sleeping in the back of my Ford Escape would take a level of intimacy not all are comfortable with! Spooning is not for the faint of heart!

New Coleman Tent
My Newest Tent

It will also make a great changing and Bike/Equipment storage room when I am out on my own. I did not know I needed that until I was on Lake Erie and the wind picked up and it rained a bit.

Camping and Adventure are just one more thing I can add to this Tripping Vittles Life. I hope I can see you out on the trail, in a campsite in addition to a restaurant or in a kitchen.

I Love Ice Cream!

Posted on September 24, 2019

I think it is clear now that I love Ice Cream! The good the bad( is there really bad ice cream?) all ice cream.

I have said over and over I am not a review site. but I keep getting asked my favorite this or that and where do we find good this and that? So I have decided I will write short little reviews of the stuff I love or not love. You will not find the brutal takedowns of places like the NYtimes does of restaurants.

At One Time I Did Write Reviews

Many years ago I used to write funny reviews for friends. It is how I started writing and it eventually morphed into Tripping Vittles.

The following was my rating scale.

  • 0-This sucks
  • 1-oh yeah it is good
  • 2-oh yeah baby that is really good
  • 3-oh man that was frikin great                        
  • 4-holy crap ya can’t beat that

I probably will not tell you about a place that sucks. or maybe I will but that is a line I will cross when I get to it. I know how hard people in this business work and I know sometimes even the very best places have shitty nights.

Grandpa Knew Best

I love Ice Cream. If you follow me on Instagram and you should, you will know I have traveled searching for ice cream. I will go far and wide. It is the perfect sweet treat dessert and allaround meal if you get the right combo.

“There is always room for ice cream it fits between the cracks”

Grandpa Sloat

Today I am sharing with you the Ice Cream you must get if you are in Port Clinton Ohio.

Best Ice Cream in Port Clinton Ohio
Andy’s Party Mart Port Clinton, Ohio

There is a little place called Andy’s Party Mart, In Port Clinton Ohio. If you are up on Lake Erie make this place a stop. It is a drive thru/deli/icecream shop. I cannot address the drive tru or deli but the ice cream is awesome!

Flavors and Rating

The flavor I got was Brown Butter Bourbon.

It’s a 3-Oh Man that was Frikin Great! Tripping Vittles has been told by a reliable source that the Strawberry Cheesecake and Caveman Chocolate are darn good too!

I Love Ice Cream

I love it, will always love it! Do I have a favorite flavor? Nope, not really. I love almost all brands. I even like to make my own Ice Cream. If you enjoy making your own ice cream the Ben & Jerrys book on Ice cream is the best I have ever used. Easy to make and fun!

The Best French Fries in Ohio

Posted on August 1, 2019

A few Sundays ago it was national french fry day. I decided that whenever there was the time in my life and a fun National food day, I would go ahead and search out the best of that food. So I went on a search for what I thought was going to be The best French Fries in Ohio

I am here to tell you there is something wrong with french fries in America or at least Ohio. This journey is me searching for The Best French Fries in Ohio and what is wrong with that.

The First Best French Fry

Since tasting the first best French Fries that I can remember at a McDonalds in St. Paul Minnesota, At the time we had to make an exclusive drive to get, I was a lover of the little sticks of potato dropped in fat and made deliciously edible.

In college, I wrote a paper about Mcdonalds going to Russia with their first fast food outlet. It was the end of the cold war, and The Berlin Wall had fallen, and American French fries via McDonald’s were taking the world by storm. I think it is safe to say McDonald’s has the best French fries. Pound for pound, dollar for dollar. They have changed over the years, the oil they fry them in and how long they hold them under the warming lamps have all changed. I am also sure there are some corporate secrets on how they have changed that I am not privy to, but if McDonald’s does anything correctly, it is french fries.

I won’t argue these are opinions

We can argue all you want about the corporation and the healthiness of food, but that is not what I am here for I am here to talk about the best french fries in Ohio. I set my criteria for what I was looking for in a french fry. Feel free to place your own criteria and drive nearly 400 miles searching for good french fries!

The Criteria for my Trip

The following were the criteria I followed. The French Fries had to be on at least two Best of lists. The establishment had to be in Ohio I had to want to go there. Simple or so it seemed.

I am not a review site, so I wrestled with myself in naming names of restaurants in this post. Because some of what I have to say is not very nice. If you care to go to my Instagram and follow me, you will be able to figure who is who quickly. So if a name comes up, and it will I am not beating my self up about it.

Why I think I know Good Fries

My credentials, I have been eating french fries for nearly 50 years. I love French fries and have worked in food service for 35 years. I worked at a place that before some cheap profiteers took it over made the best french fries in the world. For my years a distributor of frozen french fries. I have eaten and taste-tested more french fries than I care to admit.

At the aforementioned best french fry restaurant Ed Debevics, I sat in a meeting watching a bunch of dudes that had no idea what an excellent french fry was, discuss changing the best fries in the world to some concoction that cost a few pennies to buy. The fries we tasted were made out of air, rice, and chemicals. The cheese sauce caused it to disintegrate, and they were cool with that. I feel I know my fries!

To Review or Not Review that was a Question.

I thought about writing a review of each fry, but that’s, not me. I mean it could be I have written reviews before, but instead, this is an open letter to all people who make french fries. Particularly Those encountered on my search for The Best French Fries in Ohio.

Dear French Fry Makers of America,

Except for you McDonalds, You get a pass because your fries still rock. On a side note, how about you start paying all your employees a living wage. Thanks, Now the rest of you.

I get it, it takes a lot to hand-cut your fries even with a fry cutter. Then you must soak em in a big bowl for oh like 2-4 hours. Next, you have to bring your oil, Peanut oil or duck fat or beef tallow(its what Mcdonalds used to use) now it’s vegetable oil. Once you fry them in about 300-degree oil until soft. You have to cook them again in 400-degree oil, and all those oils that are good for fries but not good for other food products can cost you the money you may want to put in your pocket. The fry business can get complicated with all these factors.

I understand some of you don’t want to do all of that. The truth is if you don’t do that you will never be the absolute best french fry maker. Even if you do do that you still may not be the best because honestly, people screw up a good french fry all the time. Here is my advice if you make a great french fry let it stand on its own. Keep the parmesan cheese and the truffle oil and the garlic and the Rosemary off the fries.

Do not serve it with aioli or homemade ketchup with spices that don’t belong in something called ketchup. There is but one ketchup! Heinz Ketchup, and it should be served in a bottle somewhere on the table so you can apply as you wish.

Let me back up to the Rosemary for a second… Chefs have you tasted a branch of that stuff!! A little Rosemary goes a very long way. When you are paying money for duck fat to cook your fries in why in the hell would you ruin that excellent flavor with a handful of twigs that taste like something found on the ground underneath a pine tree?

French Fries are best served with salt. Do not ever forget … a perfectly fine french fry is elevated with just a bit of salt. STOP THERE!!

Now let us talk about boxed or frozen fries. Somehow many of these types of fries got on the list.

Notes. If you have frozen fries from Sysco or GFS on your menu at the very least set your friers to the temperature that the box says you should cook them at and then train your employees to cook at that temp for the time in the instructions. Please note cheap box fries usually do not mean good box fries.

Also of note, you can toss a handful of parmesan or some garlic and parsley on it, but if the french fry is not higher quality, it is just a lousy fry with some junk on top.

Now here is a shout out to the winners of my Fry adventure. Kewpee in Lima, Ohio. By taste alone, Kewpee is the winner. They were awesome, though. Honorable mention goes to Senate in Cincinnati they would not have won on just their fries, made with duck fat, see Rosemary and Truffle oil issues. But they took their fries to another level when they turned them into Poutine. Poutine The delicious French fry, cheese curd and gravy combo that hails from our Northerly neighbors In Quebec Canada. Senate instead of gravy added a braised short rib meat and cheese sauce along with curds combo that was breathtakingly delicious.

In closing French Fry Makers of America, my guess is you are paying people to put you on lists or peoples criteria for a good fry is far less than I had anticipated. Either way, get your act together, start looking at your french fries and tasting them and for the love of God stop with the Rosemary!!

Sincerely, Tripping Vittles.

Get What You Need to Make French Fries Here!

If you would like to skip fries at restaurants all together here are some items you can get to make fries at home. The recipe for fries is in the above letter … Deep fryer, Beef Tallow, Duck Fat, Fry Cutter, ketchup. Buy the glass jar it just tastes better!!