A New State

Of the 50 (current) states in the US, I had but nine remaining to see: Alaska, Maine, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. But today was a new day, and I was able to cross off a new state: Michigan!

But first, I have to talk about our last two stops in Ohio! Our first stop was from my very favorite bakery, Vincent’s. They opened in 1954 and are an institution in Cuyhoga Falls. They make a great cookie, but the best thing on the menu (in my opinion) is their French eclair. The pastry is flaky, and has just the perfect amount of powdered sugar sprinkled on, and the custard is rich without being too sweet, and it’s always perfectly chilled. I do recommend eating this treat with either a bib, or over a large plate, because it will cause a crumb mess like you won’t believe, but worth every crumb and calorie. If you’re ever in Northeast Ohio I definitely recommend taking the time to stop by their shop. They don’t have a website, but their address is 2038 Bailey Rd, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221, and their phone number is (330) 923-8217. The second stop was Lake Erie, which Josh had never seen. I love traveling, but I really love traveling with people who haven’t been to the places that we are going. I love seeing a place I love through the eyes of someone new.

So back to Michigan! We were less than 20 miles from the border, so we hopped up, found a Culver’s and ate some lunch. I ordered the grilled chicken sandwich, and it was honestly one of the better chicken sandwiches I’ve ever had, I’d for sure eat it again. Once we had our meal we headed back out on the road to Illinois, where we were staying with a lovely family, the Durans. They opened their home, and made us a fabulous salmon taco dinner. Seriously. Everything was super delicious, but the star (for me) was the mango salsa.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve always been hesitant with mango salsa. I don’t know why, I love salsa. I love mango. Why wouldn’t the combination be amazing? I was skeptical. And I love trying new food, but I always steered clear of mango salsa… Well, it was amazing, and I’m annoyed with myself for missing out on all these years that I could have been eating it. Amber Duran (a phenomenal wife, mother, writer, and photographer) did most of the cooking (though her awesome husband Andy helped) and was gracious enough to share where she had found the mango salsa recipe. I’ll link it below, along with a link to Amber’s book.

It’s funny. I was born in the south (Tennessee), I was raised in the west (California), but as a teenager my family moved to the mid-west (Ohio), and the mid-west will always feel a bit like home. I loved getting to be back in Ohio, to share in Josh’s first visit to the Great Lake Erie, and to finally step foot in Michigan. As any good Ohioan will tell you, there’s no reason to EVER step foot in Michigan, but I’m glad that I did today.

We had just the mango salsa from this recipe: https://www.asaucykitchen.com/jerk-chicken-mango-avocado-salsa/

Amber’s book: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B076PNX4CK&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_u.scFbYQDDJSE

Amber’s photography website: https://duran.photography/

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