Once we landed, drove to Yakima, and spent the next day resting, we were ready to embark on an Adventure. With just a full tank of gas and an old school road map, we literally climbed into my grandparents' '88 GMC van and took off. No plan, no schedule.
Not a good idea.
You see, the Sous Chef and I are different in many ways. He is thin, I am curvy. He is patient, I am…not. He is good with flora, I am good with fauna. But in one very important way, we are incredibly similar:
We get really cranky when we don't eat.
Which is why, four hours and fifty miles east on I-82 later, we were ready to kill each other or die trying.
We were hot, dehydrated, and famished. My back hurt. Sous Chef had the full heat of the blazing desert sun on his side of the vehicle. We had no plan, no direction, and no food. It was about to get all Hunger Games up in there.
And then I saw the sign; that familiar red outline, with the friendly bird hanging out in the center, its yellow beak pointing us in the right direction:
I saw the sign for Chukar Cherries.
We were one exit away from Salvation.
"Chukar Cherries! Chukar Cherries!" I exclaimed, because at that point, my brain was so foggy from jet lag and lack of glucose that all I could do was repeat the words I was reading over and over again. "Chukar Cherries, Joe! Chukar Cherries!"
Chukar Cherries is a Washington state institution. The company was started in the 1980's when founder Pam Montgomery discovered that the forgotten and shriveled cherries left on trees turned out to be pretty darn tasty. In 1988, she was inspired by a trip to Harrod's in London and started experimenting with dipping the dried fruit in chocolate.
Since then, Chukar Cherries has expanded to include three stores, including the flagship in Prosser, where the Sous Chef and I found ourselves on that fateful day. As soon as I walked into that familiar setting, I felt happier. Displays of cellophane-ensconced cherry delights were everywhere. Jars of preserves, ice cream toppings, and even savory cherry sauces were perfectly arranged on the shelves. And the samples - oh, the samples. You can try almost every product they offer. If you don't see a sample of something out on the store floor, ask one of the friendly staff and they'll happily see if there's an open bag behind the counter.
I love Chukar Cherries.
That day, the Sous Chef and I stocked up on chocolate-covered Chipotle Cherries (you know how Sous Chef loves his smoke-flavored foods), classic Truffle Cherries, and Spiced Hazelnuts, which taste exactly like the holidays. I got two bags of those.
Fueled by our thorough sampling and a refreshing beverage out of the store refrigerator, the Sous Chef and I were much happier campers.
So thank you, Chukar Cherries, for rescuing my day, my blood sugar levels, and my marriage.
P.S. Chukar Cherries didn't sponsor this post - I just really love them.