First of all, thank the stars above for Johns Hopkins. Thanks to them, I can avoid years of mid-life therapy. They just put out a study that says I had it the hardest. Cha!
Apparently, no one in this town is impressed with Cinco de Mayo. It’s a non-holiday, here. We were unaware, and so planned a night out as if we were in Philly, and every bar would be waiting with open doors and open arms and so on. The guy at the end of the bar at Chili’s also missed the “only white people care about this holiday” memo, as evidenced by his swift disposal of 4 (FOUR) Irish Car Bombs in a row. (He only wore the sombrero while downing his liquid therapy.)
We went out with Rad and Nae (our married friends, pictured above) after our celebratory Cinco de Mayo dinner. The newest bar in town was hosting an “art exhibit” that we heard about from some guy behind the counter at PacSun. Given the source, we would have been happy with a place to sit down, and some beers, but our expectations were wildly exceeded. Which was a very nice change of pace.
The bar looks like a Philly bar, complete with a little outdoor patio in the back. The artwork was impressively decent. Maricachis played, niños danced, and we enjoyed the company of others. We even met a new couple, and were delighted to hear that they love Ikea almost as much as we do. All in all, it was a great evening, and ended much later and in much higher spirits than we expected it to. I think we also committed to buying a painting of a luchador. We’ll see how that one turns out. Someone’s cousin is supposed to call us next week or something.
Today, inspired by last night’s ethnic experience, we thought outside the box while grocery shopping. At first, I was waylaid by the juice aisle, which doesn’t feature that much actual juice, but has every imaginable color of processed juice product. I’ve been transfixed by this aisle before, and this time I had the foresight to pull out the camera phone and snap a quick pic. Which was well received by the other customers…
Anyway, rather than our usual 10 inch tortilla made by a national brand (and never touched by any self-respecting Latino), we decided to take one small step into the local culture by buying smaller tortillas, made by a factory in town. They actually sell their tortillas wholesale to the local WalMart, so we didn’t have to go outside our comfort zone to get them. Further, while we got the usual flour tortilla (which is the only option all you non-border types ever get, and the only type we’re familiar with), we invested in a package of corn tortillas, the “original” tortilla, according to the locals. You can read all about the histories and differences here.
Since we’re almost-fatties (give us another few years), we’ve been eating nothing but tortilla-based foods since we got back from shopping. For lunch-dinner, we made cheese quesadillas (with the flour tortillas). That turned out so well that we spent the next hour prepping a steak marinade (I think I’ve already established that we watch a lot of Food Network, and therefore think we can do anything). So for supper/late-night-pre-work-meal we used the marinated steak for fajitas (with corn tortillas). And, because we’re so awesome, both meals were incredible (the steak was the kind where it’s so good you eat it until you throw up, and then you’re sort of pleased that you threw up, because that means you can fit a little more in the tum). Despite our obvious culinary genius, there’s also something to be said for fresh ingredients, made by people who know what they’re doing. Added bonus: we now have something else to be snobs about. Expect to hear a lot about maize tortillas when you see me again.
Once Hubs left for work (this is the last week on the midnight shift, yeay!), I was still in kitchen-mode, so I pulled up another Alton Brown cookie recipe (Thin Cookies, this time). I should start a company called Night Owl Bakery. My customers would be cops, agents, and famished illegals on their way out of town.
I must blog the next bit, though I have no supporting photo documentation. In line at WalMart, the guy in front of us has a curious cart full of goods. I’m puzzled for a good five minutes, then ask Hubs what’s up. Before I give you his brilliant answer (he should be a detective), here’s what was in the cart, see how good you are:
- 36 individual-size bottles of Gatorade, in different flavors
- 3 Extra Large (24 pack) boxes of Coca-Cola
- 2 “family size” bottles of shampoo
- 2 large tubes of toothpaste
- 3 packages of index cards
Give up? Hubs said he was a “holder,” (that’s not the exact term, but it’s generally correct, and that’s what counts) buying supplies that might support a few very tired, very hungry people for a few hours or a day, before they make their way further inland. I was fascinated. I’m not going to lie. I stared.
Finally, we are officially Texans. Went to get the licenses today, and are currently in possession of very flimsy temporary licenses until our real ones come in the mail (in, like, a month). They still do old-school DMVing, here. No friendly guy to meet you at the door and point you in the right direction or anything. No finished product available upon payment. You fill out a lot of paperwork, and you wait, gosh darn it. And if the girl who’s waiting on you decides to stop and flirt with the same cop who pulled you over the very first day you drove into town after three days and thousands of miles on the road, then you’ll wait for them, too. Reminded me of Dirty Jersey.