Lorena and I were a little discouraged with the taco scene in the Twin Cities of Centralia and Chehalis even though we have only been here now for a couple of weeks. That has all been remedied now that we have been to El Sabor de Mexico in Chehalis to have some lunchtime tacos. Without reservation we believe the quality of the tacos was every bit as good as the ones at the one true best taco shop, Tacos Regio Monterrey, in Lewisville, Texas. That being said, we would have to give the edge to Tacos Regio because they have more of that street tacos feel that we really like. Nevertheless, that is a matter of personal taste and we truly love the home style tacos of El Sabor which are almost certainly the healthiest of the two. The tortillas are hand made, soft, corn tortillas.
We got a tip from the guys who installed the granite in our kitchen, two from Mexico, one from Puerto Rico, that this was the go-to, authentic taco house in the Twin Cities. The Mexican guys rolled their eyes when the Puerto Rican gave his advice on which Mexican food was the best even though all three agreed on El Sabor. As for those other places we tried, they, too, were irritated with the pushy, much more famous place that sells mediocre (in our opinion) tacos and makes a big deal out of the fact they do not serve chips before the meal like there is something authentically Mexican about that–there is not. Some restaurants in Mexico serve chips, some do not, and none make a big deal out of it. It surely seems they have been away from Mexico long enough to forget both what is good and what is authentic. The other place we tried in Centralia would have been a very mediocre Tex-Mex style place if it were in Dallas and we are not big Tex-Mex fans even when it is good Tex-Mex, not that there is anything wrong with that.
El Sabor de Mexico is an older building, but it was very, very clean during our first visit. We talked with the owner who is from a beautiful colonial city, not to far from Monterrey name Zacatecas. We also met her son and daughter who work at the restaurant and a couple of loyal patrons of the place from Guadalajara. It is a very friendly place and is now, just like with our granite installation buddies, our go-to taco house. It is good enough we doubt it will be displaced from that perch anytime soon.
Cousin Trisha, the government school teacher, heaped abuse on me for writing so much about the one true taco shop in Lewisville, Texas. I think it is because she is feeling either envious or guilty, but, in the spirit of living up to her unfounded accusations (unfounded because there is no way one can give too many accolades to the one true taco shop in Lewisville, TX), we went there twice this weekend with eight new people who had never been there before. Unbelievably, EVERYONE ate carne asada tacos and a fresh churro for dessert. We felt NO guilt whatsoever. In fact, we truly believed we enriched ALL of these peoples’ lives.
The picture to the left is our dear friend Eric P. Notice the smile on his face. He had just finished eating those tacos. We are wildly grateful for his visit and for the one from the Chet, Kayleen and Malia yesterday, not only because of the tacos, but because it was just great to be with them all again. It was so good, we reserved the place for a “going to Washington” party in a couple of weeks.
Right after Lorena and I got married, we lived in a condo in Boynton Beach, Florida so I could work on machine vision systems at Motorola’s now-extinct pager manufacturing facility there. Lorena had really not eaten a lot of Chinese food growing up in Monterrey, Mexico–why would she when she lives in the Mecca of all great Mexican food (I know that is a religious discussion). Nevertheless, even though there was pretty good Mexican food in Florida, it did not rise to the level of that available in Monterrey. So, every now and then, when I got a yearning for Chinese food, Lorena would grudgingly indulge me and go to one after another of a string of truly mediocre Chinese food restaurants (mostly buffets of relatively bland offerings in the retirement haven that is South Florida). She convinced herself that she really did not like Chinese food. I cannot say I can blame her given the fare.
That all changed when we saw a Chinese food drive-through place on the side of one of the main thorough-fares that had once been a Checkers hamburger place. It was drive-through only with no place to sit and eat. I remember it was not situated so well–if we did not go there in the F150 pickup, we had to get out of the car because the window was out of reach of our SHO Taurus sedan. That changed everything. They made the food as spicy (hot) as she wanted, the vegetables were fresh and the place was clean. From then on, we went there once per week until we left South Florida. We searched in vain for something that equaled that Chinese food in Oregon, Texas, North Carolina and just about everywhere in-between. We were unable to find anything like it until I walked by it on my way to work one day. The place we found is called the Rice Pot Express, located on the State Highway 121 Bypass and, in our opinion, fits into that category of food so good we believe (for us anyway), it is the one true best Chinese food take-out restaurant. Of course it is run by some really nice Korean people with Mexican cooks. Just like when we were able to find the one true best Mexican taco shop in Lewisville, this one is going to make us even sadder to be leaving Texas.
My buddy Bryan out chasing balloons this morning. I texted him way to early in the morning for him to be up, but he was out having fun. It is a great time of year to be up early in the Willamette Valley. Nothing like it. Envious.
This is NOT the perfect Mexican meal because it does not involve tacos, cabrito, tamales, or even mole. That being said, it is something that is pretty high on the list. A hamburger with jalepeños and a coke. Shortly after we got married, Lorena and I went to a McDonalds to get a hamburger. She worked at McDonalds for a couple of years while she was in high school in Monterrey. She still love McDonalds and we still go there pretty often. This first time we went in Boynton Beach, Florida, Lorena ordered a Quarter Pounder.
When we got to our table she said, “Just a second, they forgot something.”
She went back to the counter and ask the girl for a jalepeño. She was genuinely shocked that they did not have jalepeños at McDonalds in Florida. She had worked at McDonalds and she KNEW that all McDonalds hamburgers came wth a jalepeño. When she found out that she was not going to get a jalapeño, I think it shook her faith in America.
The next time we went to McDonalds, she still ordered a Quarter Pounder, but she sneaked a bottle of Tabasco sauce out of her purse to make up for the lack of jalapeño.
Lorena’s thing lately is Caprese salad. It consists of fresh tomato slices topped with a thing slice of fresh mozarella cheese topped with a basil leaf all with olive oil and a little bit of salt and pepper. It is VERY good and probably pretty healthy. Saturday night, though, we went over to dinner at my old boss and friend, Igor’s house. For an appetizer, the served something that reminds me of the Caprese salad, but, at the expense of possibly offending Lorena, might have been even better.
They started with a sauteed slice of eggplant, topped with a slice of fresh tomato, a basil leaf, and Parmesan cheese. It was also had olive oil and some spices that included garlic. It was awesome. I know I ate way to much of it, but it was health, right? Now Lorena has decided that we need to start eating more sauteed eggplant. All of us are in complete agreement.
Lorena, Christian, and I made our way to the Community College last night to see the final performance and art show for the fine arts program. Paintings, pencil drawings, charcoals, and sculptures were displayed outside the music performance room. The chorus and the story-telling classes provided the performance arts. It was wonderful. There was a pretty good sized crowd to see it all. They dynamic of the community college is very fascinating. It is obvious that Kelly’s chorus professor and the story-telling professors take their jobs very seriously and derive great joy from them. Kelly sang with the chorus and with one small group of Mexican students who sang “We Are the World” in Spanish. Christian got some great pictures–I will put up a few of them this evening. Wake Technical Community College has an impressive facility, the student body is eclectic and fascinating to watch. It was all pretty impressive and very, very fun.
Lorena, Kelly, and Christian are running in the very demanding 8th Annual Krispy Kreme Challenge. I personally have decided not to run because it is so much more demanding to drive the car, eat the leftover donuts, and hold the coats.
Andrew posted this on his Google+ account. I like it a LOT.
I listened to some of his other stuff on YouTube. If you like this genre Justin Townes Earle is definitely worth a listen.
Update: Should have known this was Steve Earle’s kid. He sounds like he has had a rough life. He surely is talented, just like his Dad. I hope Justin’s politics are not as misinformed (I am trying to be gracious here) as that of his father, even though I love his music when I do not listen too closely to the words.
For the first time in five years we will have a fairly big group of people at our house for Thanksgiving. Grandpa Milo and Grandma Sarah will get here on Tuesday along with our dear friend Gladys Christie. That makes seven and we expect to have an additional three to seven people beside that. It is not as big as we did in Oregon, but it that is OK because we need a medium size one to get back in practice. Lorena had me do a little work on a clogged shower and she has been preparing like crazy for a week. Studies should slow down a little after the weekend, so I am sure she will put us all to work.
We purchased a Wurlitzer console piano for the family about eleven years ago for about $2500. It was a big financial hit at the time, but has been an absolute joy ever since. Kelly took piano lessons for ten years with that piano and Christian took three years of lessons as a little kid before he switched to guitar. Kelly still plays the piano frequently, but, since she no longer takes formal lessons, we have let it get out of tune. We decided that everyone would probably want to sing hymns or play the piano during Glad and Grandpa and Grandma’s visit we would use that as an excuse to get the piano tuned. That happened on Tuesday so we are all set!