The Little Red Stick - Tabasco to Texas
Trip Start Jul 12, 2013
158Trip End Feb 21, 2014
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You had to pay a $1 per car to get on the island but otherwise it was free. The place seemed small but they insisted that all Tabasco is bottled here. These days most of the peppers are grown in South America but they still grow some token amount on Avery Island.
The tour consisted of a girl reciting a few minutes of facts in a monotone voice pointing at displays that looked like my elementary school book report projects. We then watched a video that appeared to be from the early 90's judging by the fashion and that Chipotle was the cutting edge brand new flavor. This is where I learned how to pronounce McIlhenny as they must have said "Mackle-henny" 17 times during the film. So now when I look at a Tabasco bottle the "McIlhenny Co." and "Avery Island, LA" on the label will have much more meaning
We got to sample all the usual flavors and some more unusual ones Habanero/Garlic Pepper/Sweet N Spicy/Buffalo. We also tried a Raspberry one that was really interesting but I have no idea what you would put it on (This one is not even on their website) They had a ton of other products that I never knew existed (Spicy pickles/Jellys/Salsas etc) but the strangest had to be the Jalapeno and Raspberry/Pepper ice cream.
We loaded up on a few sauces etc. and waived farewell to the Island folk.
I had read that there was a free ferry to Galveston if we went via the Bolivar Peninsula so we decided to go for that as well (this adding another hour to our drive and an 18 minute ferry ride)
Having officially entered Texas we started seeing oil wells dotting the landscape. The peninsula was interesting with all its brightly painted houses high on stilts to avoid flooding etc. The sun was setting as we boarded the fairly small and speedy ferry to Galveston. We did see a few cool looking buildings in Galveston before the sky went completely dark..but really not much. I found us a "hidden gem" of a locals restaurant and we popped in there for a bite to eat. It turned out that it was not much of a gem and that likely the locals would like it to remain local.
Fun fact: Le Petit Baton Rouge (The Little Red Stick) is used by some of the field workers to aid in picking only the perfectly ripe peppers that are the same color red as the stick is painted.