My Last All-Nighters

I am both old (well…middle aged) and very much a morning person, so with two exceptions, it has been a very, very long time since I’ve pulled an “all-nighter”.

The most recent time was the night before my gall bladder removal. Ugly symptoms started around bed time and carried on deep into the night, culminating in a trip to the emergency room at 4AM and surgery later that day.

The time prior to that was in July of 2010. My father had passed away earlier in the month and I flew to where he lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico (home of New Mexico State University) in order to finish up paperwork with the estate lawyer, the bank and to drive his car (filled with stuff) back to Ohio. My eldest son was approaching driving age at the time and it was a much better choice for me to drive his car back to Ohio then to try to sell it and purchase one later.

I flew in on a Thursday night to El Paso, Texas, rented a car, and made the trip up to Las Cruces. By the time I arrived at the house, it was 2AM. I set my alarm and was up by 8AM the next day.

I spent the day closing the house, closing bank accounts and meeting with the lawyer. Finally about 2PM I was free to hit the road and I started driving.

My path took me over the mountain pass and past White Sands National Monument. I drove through the afternoon and by dinner time I had reached Amarillo, Texas. I stopped at the Big Texan (home of the 72 oz steak challenge) for a steak (not 72 oz), some jalapeno bottle caps and a draft beer.

It was getting dark when I returned to my car and I continued East. My plan was to stay fluid, which is really out of my planning nature. I figured that I would drive until I was tired and then find some inexpensive hotel to catch a few hours of sleep. I thought I might even have to do that twice on my drive since I got such a late start.

In preparation for my drive, I had purchased an audio book of my favorite book, Pillars of the Earth. Pillars is not only a great story to keep me entertained, it is long. Very long. The book is 1000+ pages and the audio book was more than enough for my journey.

I soon found that I was in Oklahoma and on my way to Oklahoma City. I wasn’t tired and other than my dinner, I had only stopped for gas and bathroom breaks. I flew past Oklahoma City and soon was in Missouri. It was deep into the night and it was only then that I started thinking “I’m not too tired and getting a hotel room might be a waste of money”.

About 5AM I was approaching St. Louis and my eyelids were getting heavy. I pulled off at an exit and into the parking lot of a closed restaurant. I closed my eyes as a few sprinkles started hitting my windshield. I didn’t sleep but after about 20 minutes, felt surprisingly refreshed. Back on the highway I went.

I entered into Illinois and stopped for breakfast. Back on the road and later a quick fast food lunch in eastern Indiana. Crossing the border into Ohio, I stopped at the first exit and again closed my eyes for a few minutes. This time I only lasted about five minutes and was back on the road. It wasn’t until I was two hours from home that I truly felt exhausted. By then, it was too late. I was two hours from home and two hours from my own bed.

I pulled into my driveway and stumbled into my house, surprising my wife. As she put her arms around my tired body she said “I love you and you are a stupid, stupid man.” I completed the trip in 27 hours with less than 30 minutes with my eyes closed.

Chicken Fajitas

Photo Jul 20, 5 16 32 PM - Featured Size

A low carb alternative uses lettuce leaves in place of tortillas. Also, any fajitas without grilled/fried jalapeños should be sent back to the kitchen.

Photo Jul 20, 3 44 45 PM

I have a big container of taco seasoning to give it a little flavor.

Photo Jul 20, 4 01 49 PM

Heating up the fajita grill.

Photo Jul 20, 5 03 44 PM

The marinated strips of chicken are cooking.

Photo Jul 20, 5 11 51 PM

The veggies make their appearance.

Photo Jul 20, 5 14 19 PM

All together and ready to serve.

Photo Jul 20, 5 16 38 PM

A dish worth waiting all night for!

Chicken Fajitas


1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 cloves garlic
1 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno, seeded
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
lime juice
10 flour tortillas or large lettuce leaves


Flatten chicken breasts to 1/2 inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap with a mallet or rolling pin. Place chicken breasts in glass baking dish. In a blender combine oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and pour over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and let chicken marinate for 30 minutes. In a large skillet over medium heat oil.

Add onions and peppers and cook until they are tender and begin to brown.

In a 9×13 glass baking dish toss potatoes with oil and seasonings. bake in 375 degree oven until crispy, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Heat a cast iron grill pan or an outdoor grill. Toast flour tortillas for about 30 seconds per side and keep warm in an aluminum foil pocket. Grill the chicken on each side for 4-5 minutes. To serve slice chicken into even strips. Serve hot with onions and peppers, potatoes, grated jack cheese, salsa and sour cream


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

Categories: Chicken2, Fried, Fruit 2, kosher, Low Carb, Main Dish 3, Mexican, Recipes, Vegetable4

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at

10 Comments on “My Last All-Nighters”

  1. March 7, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    I’ve done that drive twice – each time buying an a car in Arizona and then driving it back with one of my young daughters. New Mexico has some really beautiful scenery.


  2. lorieb
    March 7, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    that’s quite the drive! Love the recipe, made my mouth water…


  3. March 7, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    Great story and delicious looking fajitas!


  4. March 8, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    As has become the norm of playing catch up when I have a breather, I’ve only just read your post about the Saveur Blog Award nomination.

    Since my intention of singing ‘Happy Thweeeee Birthday!’ to your blog on the 18th of last month is glistening on the road to hell, this is the perfect way for me to make up – bamboozle the folks at Saveur with some raving about The Ranting!

    Wait. I won’t spare you, Team Ranting, either. Below is what I flooded them with. 🙂


    Why am I nominating The Ranting Chef? A couple of reasons.

    1. The posts are ‘clean’. The seemingly non-recipe related stories that somehow always link to the recipes are devoid of vulgarity.

    2. The posts are not snarky. A person at peace with himself is flame that burns bright for this moth.

    3. The stories that precede the recipes are wide ranging in theme. With every post, I enjoy learning something new or being reminded of something I was aware of earlier.

    4. There’s a regular guest poster – his former boss, Maggie, and there are other one-time guest posters, too. This leads me to believe that despite his huge popularity, The Ranting Chef is not afraid to share the limelight … or the love.

    5. The Ranting Chef is honest about his personal struggles with food and his brushes with failure. Overall, he comes across as a good, honest person.

    6. He is of Irish stock, ergo, he is funny.

    7. Oh yeah, the recipes. I like that the bulk of the recipes are everyday-ish fare with a touch of flair. Makes them easier to attempt and therefore, makes life a little more delectable.

    Getting the photographs just right and writing out those posts take a lot of time. Writing his blog is something The Ranting Chef obviously loves. I hope his passion translates into the Saveur Blog Award 2015.

    Belated Happy Birthday, dear Blog. Thank you for your collaborative effort, Ranting Chef, Ranting Wife, Ranting Kids and Maggie.


    Liked by 1 person

    • March 9, 2015 at 8:07 am #

      Wow! Thank you for the love. I do enjoy the blogging and like you said, love having guest bloggers as I always learn something myself. Irish? With a name like Patrick, I’d have to be. 😉


  5. March 8, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    Silly drive but my husband and I have done similar going to Florida from Massachusetts.

    On the food note: where do I get one of those fajitas grill pans? I would love one I could use on my grill as I have a ceramic stovetop.


  6. March 9, 2015 at 5:09 am #

    Agree with your wife! You should have rested. Love fajitas and your recipe. Didn’t think to put potatoes with them. Great idea and great post.


  7. March 9, 2015 at 8:00 am #

    Cast Ito would work. I just need to get on seasoning a couple of them. Thanks. Makes more sense and far more versatile in the kitchen


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