Light Rail Etiquette

I’m a big fan of the light rail (RTD) here  in Denver.  Most regulars follow these rules instinctively:

  1. Don’t put your bag on the seat next to you. Lap or floor are the only polite choices.
  2. Don’t sit with your legs crossed. (See also #3)
  3. Don’t slouch so far you leave no room for the person across from you.
  4. Don’t sit on the outside of the seat when no one else is there.  Not only will people step over you to sit on the other side of the seat, but then you’ll be stuck with the less desirable outside seat.

If you do #4 and #1 at the same time, congrats – you’ve won the douchebag award!

All of these rules can be ignored if the train is deserted. Putting your feet up on the seat across from you when someone is sitting there is NEVER OK. It doesn’t matter if they are not sitting directly across from you, this is still an invasion of person space. This only happened once, thankfully, and I was able to restrain my rail rage.

Also, I should say that I am far from blameless – I will sometimes set my bag down on the seat when the train is pretty empty and not move it soon enough, or let my big winter coat take up some of the seat to my right.

Other observations:  people sitting almost never offer their seat to women, (older-looking people do a bit better) and the seats at the end of the light rail cars are not as wide as the standard seats (to allow room for bicycles) so they are not exactly two person seats. This sometimes leads to awkward interactions.

Bonus points for helping tourists out.

Santa Fe “Salsa” is neither

Watching TV one evening, we saw a commercial for salsa we had never heard of before: Santa Fe “Salsa”. The commercial boasted that this unknown salsa was “What all the locals eat”. This sent Karen into a fit of rage; we know salsa, and we never heard of this stuff. We live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Karen commutes daily to work in Santa Fe — if this were really “What all the locals eat,” we would know about it.

To make matters worse, the jar prominently features saguaro cacti, which do not grow in New Mexico. They grow in Arizona and the extreme eastern edge of California, but they just don’t grow here. If you live in New York, like the people who make this salsa, where saguaro grow may not matter much to you. But here in New Mexico, it matters. It’s an identity thing — just like salsa.

Salsa, or Spaghetti Sauce?Chad did a little research and found that although the address on the label is in Santa Fe, and the outfit responsible is “Santa Fe Packing Company®,” the parent company, LiDestri Foods, Inc, is actually located in New York. John Lidestri runs LiDestri Foods: he bought out his old boss, Ralph Cantisano, whose family founded the Ragu® company. Yes, that Ragu®, the spaghetti sauce people.

But does it taste like spaghetti sauce? We ran over to the grocery store and picked up a jar of Santa Fe “Salsa” and one from the Albuquerque Tortilla Company®, both of the Hot variety. Albuquerque Tortilla Company® is actually located in Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque Tortilla Company® salsa tasted fresh, tangy, and complex, and its texture was more varied than the bland Santa Fe “Salsa”. Its heat level was enough to get a good endorphin high, and make you come back for more.

Salsa ComparisonOn the other hand, the texture and color of the Santa Fe “Salsa” was horribly reminiscent of tomato sauce, and the taste was awful. Just an unpleasant bell pepper flavor and the feeling that you should be eating this on pasta instead of chips. Plus, the “Hot” variety we tasted barely registered as hot. Yuck!

What all the locals eat? Maybe the locals in New York, but not here in New Mexico. Santa Fe “Salsa” is neither.

So what is a salsa lover to do? In a pinch, the widely available Tostitos® salsa is passable, but if you really want authenticity, buying online may be your best bet. Here are some of the best salsa brands: