poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

A Grand Adventure


Two months ago, I was here:

Isn't it GRAND? har har

Yep, I was in Grand Canyon National Park with my friend SP. It wasn’t my first time; I had been to the Grand Canyon 12 years ago with my mom and a bus filled with Chinese tourists. We awoke at the butt crack of dawn in our Flagstaff hotel and got to the Canyon first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, it was so early that a thick layer of fog obscured our view. Our tour group was on a tight schedule, so we left the Park before the fog cleared. Our consolation prize? A trip to the IMAX theater at the strip mall outside of the park, which was showing a movie about the Grand Canyon. FAIL.

Needless to say, that experience left much to be desired and I vowed to return. So when I found out that I would be going to a conference in Albuquerque in August, I immediately started scheming for a post-conference trip to the Grand Canyon. Luckily, SP was game. We stopped at the Petrified National Forest on the way, which was really amazing and highly recommended.

Our spacious campsite with matching tents.

Even though we were car camping, we had a few challenges when it came to food. Mostly, we were limited in what we could bring from home, since we were both traveling by plane to the Southwest. We bought a janky styrofoam cooler at the store and had to strategize about what had to be chilled. It helped that, since SP is a vegetarian, there were no meat products to worry about. It was also the first time I was using my camp stove (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Frightened (left), followed by the relieved smile of success (right).

Yummy breakfast: strawberries, toast, eggs, and coffee.

A sleepy but happy camper.

For lunch, we made avocado and tomato sandwiches, supplemented with fruit and granola bars. The first day, we hiked the Bright Angel Trail — 6 miles round trip, 2400 feet elevation change. We were exhausted, especially since we hiked in the midday heat — pretty much when the rangers advise you NOT to hike. To celebrate that we didn’t die from heat stroke or dehydration, we enjoyed a refreshing beer (a little counter-intuitive, I know).

Cheers! Enjoying a local lager.

Dinner the first night: couscous with peppers and onions, supplemented with drained lentils from a canned soup. It was really delicious! But then again, I really love couscous.

No, all that couscous wasn't for me, even though I ate quite a bit.

The next day, we took it easy, mixing walking and shuttle riding on the west end of the South Rim. Then we got into our car to explore the east side, and ended up watching the sunset from a spot near the South Kaibab trailhead. SP packed a surprise carton of wine for us to enjoy during the sunset — genius!

Our very own sunset view at the edge of the earth.

For dinner, we experimented with the backpacking “just add boiling water” chana masala. It was pretty good and very filling, though I wish I stirred it better since I got a few undercooked pieces of rice.

Backpacker's Pantry -- not too shabby!

Chana masala with peppers and onions, cucumbers, and Greek yogurt.

Before heading back to Albuquerque, we went to Sedona, AZ to do a short hike in the Red Rocks. I was there 5 years ago, on my way out to California, and it was another place to which I vowed to return. Again, we made the mistake of hiking midday but it was really worth it.

Cactus pear. No, I didn't eat it, but SP violently stomped on one.

After the hike, we were famished and thirsty. We ended up at the Hideaway Restaurant, where we refreshed ourselves with water and beer. SP got a ginormous Greek salad. I was so hungry I went for the endless angel hair pasta with meat sauce that also came with endless cheesy garlic bread (Figure 2). Our server was annoyed that I was giving my cheesy bread to SP, but we thought her annoyance was completely unwarranted. It’s not like I was asking for just the bread — I ate the pasta too! Anyway, at $10 for the pasta, it was a great deal. I rolled out of there, rubbing my belly full of noodles.

Figure 2. Bon appetite! First bowl (left), followed by another (right).

We got back to Albuquerque quite late. I was given a tip by some good friends that Frontier Restaurant was the place to go for late night dining. Indeed, it did not disappoint. I had breakfast for dinner and it was just what I needed.

Scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, toast, and hot tea. Butter on everything.

During the conference, we went to Sadie’s for authentic New Mexican cuisine, also on a friend’s recommendation. Sadie’s is famous for their salsa. The food was very good, if a bit heavy (no photos, unfortunately). I had a sopaipilla stuffed with shredded beef. I ate, like, 1/3 of it. I shudder to think that there’s actually a 6-pound version of the same dish.

I leave you with this lovely photo:

Double rainbow!


Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

7 thoughts on “A Grand Adventure

  1. Fun trip! Your camping food is more elaborate than most of the ‘kitchen’ food I cook. Greek yogurt and cucumbers? Who thinks of that when camping? Not Girl Scouts, I’m sure!

  2. Hey, I was a girl scout and we cooked some pretty good meals out there. I think there was a cooking badge we could earn. J, you should see if you can get that for this trip 🙂

  3. looks like a fabulous trip! I’m so glad you got to try some of my local Albuquerque favorites. You guys did great with the camping food, too! I think you could have gotten away without the cooler, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt to have it.

    • Thanks again for the suggestions!
      Yeah, you’re right about the cooler. It was nice to keep some of our fruit, hummus, and leftovers chilled but it probably wasn’t completely necessary.

  4. Dude, if you put butter on your bacon, I SALUTE YOU.

    I also like that she stomped stuff dead on the ground. M does that. I find it charming.

    You two are troopers!

  5. That poor prickly pear! Stomped and not eaten? If you avoid the shoedirt and thorns, they’re not that bad.

    Your camp food looks way better than my aborted attempt at making and eating pemmican.

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