Mississippi Gulf Coast

While in New Orleans we decided to spend a day at the beach in Mississippi, which is only about an hour away.  You can take either the highway or the coastal road.  We took the coastal road and were extremely pleased by the beautiful scenery.

The bridge at Port St. Louis has amazing views.  After returning home I decided to look up what happened to this area during Katrina and I was amazed.  It was completely wiped out.  But now you can’t tell.  The bridge is there and the homes and businesses have rebuild.  That is why everything looks so nice, it’s all brand new.

The first beach you come to is Pass Christian.  I think some of the houses must have survived the hurricane because they look old.  If not, they did a good job of building old looking grand houses.  This must be the expensive beach because the houses seem to be all huge.  

We were supposed to wait until Gulfport but my kids just couldn’t wait to get in the water so we stopped in Long Beach.  We enjoyed the warm, calm water but were saddened to see that there were still so many oil spots on the beach.  However, we were pleased to see all the fish and the crazy bird dives trying to catch them.  There wasn’t a place to eat but an ice cream truck stopped by.  We were glad we had stopped there because the water was cleaner than further down. 

Because we were hungry we decided to drive to Gulfport.  There is a pier and a place for a market right as you drive into town.  There wasn’t a market going on that day but my kids enjoyed playing in the water feature in the playground.  Lots of kids playing and having fun. There are also showers to clean up after the beach, which Long Beach didn’t have.  

We ate at the White Caps Seafood Restaurant.  I had their grill of the day which was a white trout.  It was one of the best fish dishes I ever had.  It was so perfect eating outside by the beach, watching all the military airplanes land and just breathing that fresh sea air.  We found out that there are three military bases nearby so there are military planes landing every few minutes.

Finally we made it to the beach in Gulfport.  It was heartbreaking.  It is still so polluted with oil.  The water felt very oily in certain spots and the sand was almost like a rubber.  When you walked in some polluted spots, the oil would simply spread around you.  You had to look for clean spots.  It broke my heart to see that these beaches are still so dirty after so many years.  I feel we should make BP clean this up.  There were no fish or birds at this beach.  Heartbreaking.

My son wanted to rent a jet ski.  I was blown away by how expensive it was.  $100/hour or $60 for half hour.  I thought $60/hour would have been expensive enough so we didn’t do it.  But we did enjoy the famous snowball, which is shaved ice for everyone else.  My kids loved it.

Once again the advantage of using the Gulfport beaches is that they have showers to wash up after going to the beach.  But having sand everywhere is the proof that you went to the beach. 

Best Tacos

I wish I had taken pictures of the best tacos ever, but I was too hungry and simply devoured them. We were lucky to stumble upon Barrio Queen in Scottsdale’s River District. This upscale Mexican restaurant gives you quite the choices for your tacos. Eighteen different choices. If you are like me you can’t simply have one, so I chose three different varieties:
Cochinita Pibil-Chef Silvana’s acclaimed pork marinated sour orange and achiote paste, topped with pickles sour orange onions and pico de gallo
Suadero Azteca-Slow cooked brisket topped with diced onions and cilantro
Barrio Pollo-Spice rubbed chicken, caramelized onions and roasted poblano peppers in a spicy pinon cream sauce topped with queso fresco

Then because my kids were being picky I asked the waiter to bring three more varieties so we could try different tacos. We were pleasantly surprised by his selection:
Al Pastor-Chile and spice marinated pork topped with diced onion, cilantro, fresh pineapple, and red salsa
Salmon con Mango- Chilled smoked salmon, diced fresh mango, pico de gallo, and queso fresco
Pescado-Victoria beer battered fish, cabbage, pico de gallo, queso fresco, and spicy aioli

My oldest son had some of the hotter tacos and he inhaled them so quickly that I didn’t even get a chance to see what they were. My husband loved the Arizona burrito he had. I didn’t even get a bite.

Overall this one of the best Mexican restaurants ever. The vibe is relaxed and fun and the wait staff is chill and friendly. If you are in Arizona you should run there and enjoy the creative dishes.

Pictures of the tacos at Barrio Queen from their website