Ski Inn: The Lowest Bar in the Western Hemisphere?

A few years ago, I took a weekend trip to Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea, in Southern California’s Imperial County.

The Salton Sea was formed in 1905 from the spillover of a badly planned state irrigation system, and quickly became a weekend getaway from SoCal residents.  With a growing population, farming activity greatly increased in the region.  By the 1970s, however, agricultural pesticides and other chemicals contributed to the demise of the man-made Salton Sea, creating an incredibly saline – and dystopian – point of interest.

Scattered Fish Skeletons Form Today’s Bombay Beach Coastline of the Salton Sea

In addition to being on the coast of the United States’ own Aral Sea, Bombay Beach, in the former “Winter Tomato Capital of the World” of Niland, California just so happens to house another unusual claim-to-fame: the Ski Inn.

Sign at the Ski Inn, Niland, California

The Ski Inn – named for water skiing in the heydays of the Salton Sea -opened in the 1950s, and bills itself as the “lowest bar in the Western Hemisphere.”  Unless a bar opens up in Death Valley’s Badwater Basin, the Ski Inn, at 223 feet below sea level, might actually own that record.

It’s one of the last remaining vestiges of the once prosperous Salton Sea resort area, and has an unusual collection of dollar bills taped around nearly the whole interior of the bar.

If you’re ever in the area, you’ll be glad the Ski Inn is still open.  Shops and their hours of operation are limited, so go on in, pay the friendly folks a visit, and grab a burger and a brewskie.  Directions are here.

The Slinger (St. Louis, Missouri, USA)

Though I have only visited St. Louis a few times, I reckon it’s one of the underrated food destinations in the United States.  They’ve got delicious barbecue – and barbecue sauce, pork steaks (aka blade cuts), Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, gooey butter cake, toasted ravioli, and owing to the largest Bosnian population outside of that country, ćevapi (che-vapi, lamb sausage).

But there’s one local STL meal I only learned about this past weekend, the slinger.

The St. Louis Slinger, a Local Diner Specialty (taken at Courtesy Diner)

The slinger, likely created in a St. Louis diner in the 1970s, is a mountain of a meal.  A slinger – possibly named for a chef hastily “slinging” ingredients on the grill – normally has eggs any style, hash browns, chili, sausage or a hamburger, and raw onions.  With evolving taste buds, they now might include jalapenos (as mine did), cheese, a Mexican tamale, bacon, ham, and mustard, among other extras.

I tried a slinger at the Courtesy Diner, a small St. Louis-area chain, and felt that each aspect of the local dish balanced out every other.  After ordering one, I was remiss that I didn’t ask for cheese, but it turns out that cheese would have been that much more excessive.

YouTube: The Slinger.

The 26th Annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Starts This July

From July 15th until November 20th, 2021, if you’re raring to travel abroad but your desired countries are still closed due to COVID-19, perhaps you will want to check out The 26th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  To attend, you will need to have both admission to Epcot, as well as reserve a place in the Disney Park Pass system.

Marketplaces such as Greece, Germany, Hawaii, and Islands of the Caribbean will be present, showing off food and drink commonly found in those parts of the world.  Wine and beer aficionados will also have their shops at which to indulge in buying souvenirs.

Due to the pandemic, the Festival will be taking place in a somewhat modified format.  For instance, due to frequent overcrowding at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, in order to properly maintain social distancing among Festival attendees, Epcot will instead host local musical acts spread throughout the day.  Also, the number of global marketplaces will only be twenty, as opposed to thirty before the pandemic.

Epcot is known for its futuristic attractions as well as its permanent country pavilions, with Morocco, Japan, and the United Kingdom among the more popularly visited ones.

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