Yelp Stylin’

Yesterday, we traveled to Tucson, Arizona to pick up a crew member from the airport. Her flight was scheduled to arrive late in the evening, so we had to find somewhere to eat dinner. In a group where vegetarians outnumber meat eaters (I know, when does that ever happen), I knew I needed Yelp’s help to find a suitable restaurant that we would all enjoy. I ended up finding this gem: Tucson Tamale Company.

Now, I know most of us will never get to travel to Tucson and eat here, but my love of tamales and love of my meal at this restaurant compels me to tell you about the amazing food served up here everyday. Oh, to be a local and get to enjoy this place on a regular basis…

Curb Appeal

  • Not a huge building, but plenty of seating inside and a patio outside in the back; conveniently located on one of Tucson’s main roads. Our only suggestion would be to add a second restroom.

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Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly

  • They have separate menu sections for both vegetarian and vegan tamales! This restaurant is a dream come true. I had the Vegan Blue tamale with Squash, Tomato, Onion, and Green Chile in Blue Corn Masa and the Berkeley tamale with Black Beans, Fresh Corn and Spices in Red Chile Masa.

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Extreme Value & Service 

  • For less than $10, I purchased two tamales, the salsa of my choice, a full side of chips and guacamole (the freshest and most delicious guac we’ve ever tasted), and a fountain drink! On top of it, we didn’t even have to wait 10 minutes for our food to arrive, which was great since we were all starving.

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Local Pride

  • This is one of those restaurants that displays it’s local pride. All along the walls you find artwork produced by local artists that is available for purchase. There is nothing better than a restaurant with a unique vibe like this that makes an effort to break the traditional mold.

Reviewer Rating

  • The crew gives Tucson Tamale Company five stars. We walked away full and extremely satisfied. My love for tamales knew no bounds before, but this place blew away even my wildest expectations. This restaurant is a MUST if you are ever in the area.

Got Bats

For the last couple of nights the crew and I have been mist netting for bats in Arizona. To mist net, we string an extremely fine net across a waterway that we think bats will utilize for drinking while they are out foraging. Bats that don’t detect the net fly into it and get “trapped” until we come along and remove them. The same basic process is used to capture birds for research, too.

Over two nights of netting, we have caught more than 40 bats representing 10 different species! Two of the species we caught this year we have never caught in our nets before (of course, we are novices so that doesn’t really say much, but it’s still really exciting). If you are wondering what bat species we have caught look for images of the pallid bat, Townsend’s big-eared bat, and the hoary bat to get an idea.

In addition to our research, we continue to have crazy animal encounters. Two stand out in my mind.

1) We have dozens of black widow spiders that have taken up residence around our doorway and the rest of the lodge. Fortunately for them, we are biologists that will coexist peacefully with them so long as they maintain their respectful distances from the interior of our dwelling.

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2) We have mice that live in our lodge. I was okay with that until one decided to crawl into bed with me in the middle of the night (not cool). That instigated World War Mouse. I knew catching the offender would be unlikely. But, he made the fatal mistake of entering the bathroom while I was showering. The three of us were able to corner him and catch him (after dismantling an entire washing machine that he was hiding in). Naturally, we then got in the car and drove 3 miles down the road to a nice field and released him – hoping that we wouldn’t run him over in the road on our way back home. Drunk on our success we returned home victoriously – except not even 10 minutes later we saw a second mouse run across the room (probably his lady love). Where is the respect? Couldn’t they wait even a day before dashing our hopes and dreams of living in a mouse-free home?

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Finally, in case you haven’t heard, tonight is the SUPER MOON so make sure you take a moment to appreciate it. This is the largest and fullest the moon will be all year, though last night it still looked pretty big and beautiful. I actually had to wear a hat in the field in order to block out light from the moon, because it was so overwhelmingly bright.

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Cape Town, South Africa

As you know by now, Tristan and I just spent 11 days in Cape Town. The trip was perfect in every way, from the on-time flights and weather to the exchange rate and fantastic restaurant selections. We thought we would post some of our top photo picks for everyone to enjoy. Here is a little bit of Cape Town to brighten your day:

Us.

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This is the view from Table Mountain (3500+ ft. elevation), looking down into the city bowl.

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This is Boulder’s Beach – home to a colony of wild African Penguins.

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Sunset on Chapman’s Peak.

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The Bo-Kaap (Malay District).

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Wild Baboons at Cape Point.

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A BEAUTIFUL King Vulture.

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Table Mountain.

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Giraffe on our safari.

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