Some Rooms Have Phones

The Ranting Wife and I met in college at The Ohio State University. We didn’t start dating until a month before she graduated and as I still had a couple of quarters left, our relationship turned into a long-distance romance when she moved two hours north to Cleveland.

We made the most of it by seeing each other virtually every weekend. Either she would drive down or I would drive up. Often we would carpool with another couple who was in the same situation. One weekend the four of us decided to go to Niagara Falls.

I had never been to the Falls. Having grown up four driving hours away, The Ranting Wife had gone several times with family or friends, but this was a first for me. The Falls span the border between Canada and the US along the Niagara river just north and west of Buffalo, New York. While you can see the falls from the US side, the best views and consequently many of the tourist areas are located on the Canadian side of the river.

We stopped by AAA and picked up a book for the Niagara region (this was pre-Intranet days). As we were poor college students (or post-college) we tried to look for a cheap hotel not too far from the Falls. We finally settled on the Cataract Inn (cataract is derived from the Latin cataracta which means waterfall). It was cheap, close but one line in the description in the AAA book was a little strange – “some rooms have phones”.

The four of us packed our bags, piled into my car and headed for Niagara. We got to the border and pulled up to the Canadian booth. Being the driver, I rolled down my window and the border guard looked into the car and asked what we were going to do in Canada. I replied visiting Niagara. He asked where we were from. I explained that three of them were from Ohio but I was from California (my driver’s license and the license plates on the car were Californian).  He then told me to pull to the next station and to wait inside the car until someone came over.

Not sure why we were being detained, I followed his direction. Soon two agents came over and told all of us to exit the vehicle. The agents then opened all of the doors and the trunk. Soon every single item in the car was removed and thoroughly searched. We were dumbfounded. After replacing all the items an agent came up to me and told me that we could go. I asked why we were searched and he pointed to the military sticker on the car (this was my dad’s old car and he was in the military) and said they suspected us of bringing weapons into Canada.

Photo Jan 26, 11 48 00 AM copy - Featured Size

Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Rice and Beans)

This was a great lunch dish.

Photo Jan 26, 9 50 00 AM

After I took this picture, I decided to add some canned chicken.

Photo Jan 26, 11 39 01 AM

Fry the onions.

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Add the beans.

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And rice (and chicken if you so desire)

Photo Jan 26, 11 48 11 AM


Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Rice and Beans)

prep 5 mins ∙ cook 10 mins ∙ makes 6 ∙ source


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 -3 tablespoons vegetarian worcestershire sauce (regular can be used as well)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • fresh cilantro (optional)
  • sliced green onion (optional)


1 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2 Add onion and sauté until it just begins to soften and turns color.

3 Add garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until onion is golden.

4 Add spices and Worcestershire, and stir into onion and garlic.

5 (The first time I made this, I was afraid to add the full 3 Tbsp of Worcestershire, but the addition of the rice balances the flavor out).

6 Next, add the beans and then the rice.

7 Combine the rice and beans evenly and cook until mixture is heated through.

8 Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

9 Garnish with some chopped cilantro or green onions if you prefer.

10 Vegetarians use only the vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.


Calories 249.3
Calories from Fat 47
Total Fat 5.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 2.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 42.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.7 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 7.6 g

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Chicken2, Costa Rican, kosher, Lunch3, Recipes, Sidedish2, vegan, Vegetable4, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

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One Comment on “Some Rooms Have Phones”

  1. May 20, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Looks tasty and love that you include the nutritional info.


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