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I think a great way to gauge if a relationship is going to work is to go on a long road trip together. Rudy and I have always traveled well together. We’ve driven from Indianapolis to Jacksonville together. We’ve driven from Jacksonville to Key West together. (Even though they are in the same state, that’s an 8-hour drive.) We always find a way to have fun. We once drove from Hamlet, NC to Myrtle Beach, SC while speaking in a southern drawl the ENTIRE way. We’re kinda stupid like that, but we get each other. We used to travel a lot separately in order to get to the other because we were in a long-distance relationship before I moved here, so we’re just happy to be together.

Last week we drove to Texas with our littlest Buentello, 2 1/2-year-old Sully. It was a 17-hour drive to my brother Steve’s in Abilene. We made it to Minden, LA, just east of Shreveport, before stopping the first night. We had been on the road for 12 hours and were in desperate need of hot food, hot showers, and cold beer. We checked in, got Sully settled, and I left to find food. I had found a place on Yelp for sandwiches but it was closed. The girl at a gas station pointed me in the direction of a place to get beer and deli sandwiches but once I got there, (a place aptly called “Buzz Buy”) it was apparent that we would be ordering pizza since the food was less than appetizing. (I did manage to get beer though. Priorities.)

The next day we rolled into Abilene. It was so nice to see Steve, my sister-in-law Kelli, my nephew Ben, and my niece Lia. The last time I saw them was two days before Sully was born so they hadn’t even met him before this trip.

Steve is an awesome cook and I knew he would have something in the works for dinner the first night. Kelli said, “You guys are always about the food. Your parents come and they bring food and we make a bunch of food…” I said, “That’s how the Kishes roll.” True to form, Steve made an amazing tri-tip roast with homemade chimichurri sauce and a side of asparagus picked from their garden. I had never heard of a tri-tip and when I asked Steve what makes it a tri-tip he said, “it has three tips.” *eyeroll* Then he said if cows had armpits in their back legs, this is where it would be from. Anyway, it was a very delicious cow armpit. And the chimichurri sauce will most definitely have to be on the blog at some point.

The next morning, after Sully made his rounds saying hello to the chickens, bees, and neighbors’ goats, we went on a mini tour of Abilene and hit the Mexican grocery to prepare for that night’s dinner. Because, you know, we’re “all about the food.” We picked up some pre-seasoned skirt steak for fajitas.

We stopped and had burgers for lunch and then later the guys and I went shooting while Kelli ran to the store and Lia cousin-sat. Steve’s friend who owns the land where we went shooting had a very interesting sign…


Steve insisted it was meant to be a joke. I figured if I did see a rattlesnake, at least I’d be armed.

We swung by the liquor store to get liquor and beer, only to get home and discover Kelli had also swung by the liquor store to get fixins for margaritas. Since margaritas pair well with fajitas, we started the night with those.

Steve grilled the skirt steak over charcoal and made the veggies in this really cool invention called a Discada Plow Disc and it is exactly what it sounds like, a cooking disc made out of a plow disc.

He has the 22″ with the Santa Fe handles (horseshoes) and I have this 24″ one in my Amazon cart right now (*affiliate link), along with this burner. I am so excited to get one of my own! I mean “for Rudy.” Early anniversary gift? Early birthday gift? What’s the next holiday coming up? St. Patrick’s Day gift? In any case, it was a really neat thing to discover.

Now, Steve claims to not like avocados. I warned him that I would be making my guac recipe for him while I was there and that he was going to love it. Well, he tried it and I saw, for a pico second, his eyebrows raise in interest. Then he took a 2nd chip and ate that. Then he said that it was the most guac anyone has ever gotten him to eat. I consider this a win! Kelli and I thought it was a good thing that he doesn’t know he loves it because that meant more for us to go along with our margaritas.

Like most visits with family far away, the time went by way too fast. Before we knew it, it was time to pack up (after eating breakfast burritos cooked on the Discada) and we were on our way to Austin to visit some of the Buentello fam.

To be continued in Don’t Mess With Texas – Part II…


Gringa's Guacamole


  • 4 ripe avocados pitted and peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves pressed in garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons Renfro's jalapeno salsa
  • 1.5 limes juiced
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and diced
  • 8 grape tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped


  1. Using a potato masher or fork, mash up the avocados, garlic cloves, garlic powder, Renfro's, lime juice, and salt.

  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and chill briefly before serving.

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