(Are people familiar with the Julio Iglesias song cited in the title of this post? It is phenom. We sang it in my freshman year Spanish class).
So life is sweet at the moment. Mi vida esta dulce.
I am, following an hour and a half talent show which my third through fifth graders (which was, unsurprisingly, RIDICULOUS in every sense of the word and involved several stage dives), a woooooooooeful goodbye with Steve at the airport, and some entirely unhealthy eating (fudge for lunch, cookies for dinner…), on BREAK!
I get WINTER BREAK! Nothing compared to the leisurely weeks of college (in 11 days I’m back at work) but I’ll take it.
As for the rest of my life, in case the absurdly cheery tone of my blog posts hasn’t let you on, it is rather marvy. Case in point being last Saturday, in which Steve spoiled the bejesus out of me.
Amor #1: Musical theater! We saw OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooklahoma at Arena Stage. It was awesome.
Amor #2: Mexican food. We bounded into Oyamel for some blissful tapas.
Beginning with a PITCHER of margaritas. Which Steve insisted on ordering. Despite the fact that HE was driving. So… I drank… a lot… of margaritas.
When there are margaritas, there must be chips and salsa. Ohhhhhh the salsa.
Note that tie in the background.
Amor #3: Boys in suits :D
Now let’s discuss the food situation.
Ensalada de chayote: Mexican squash salad with crumbled queso fresco cheese and crushed peanuts, in a hibiscus dressing.
I got all obsessed with chayote squash earlier this summer when I prepared it for the first time for a Mexican feast. Stuffed into poblano peppers, it is bliss. It’s entirely different in salad and still super tasty. I was all over that vinaigrette, though I’d forgotten it was hibiscus. I had hibiscus juice in Thailand!
Next, some unbelievable beauty in the form of some feng shui ceviche:
Ceviche de cayo de hacha con limon y chile: Bay scallops with key lime, powdered ancho chile, bood orange and Siembra Azul blanco tequila.
So fun! The waiter came out with a tiny little tequila spray bottle and sprayed that on top. Then you picked up the lime half, sucked off the unbelievably sweet and fresh and tender scallop, and squeeze the lime to get a shot of juice. So fun, so tasty.
Chapulines: the legendary Oaxacan specialty of sauteed grasshoppers, shallots, tequila and guacamole.
Steve was the one who insisted on eating… insects.
I have to say, it was mainly just a novelty thing. It was in a super flavorful sauce, and that was really all you tasted. The grasshopper was… we’ll just say crunchy.
Some serious Saturday night drinking too many margaritas food:
Papas al mole: Jose Andres’ favorite potato fries in a moe poblano sauce of almonds, chilis, and a touch of chocolate, topped with Mexican cream and queso fresco cheese.
I mean do I have to tell you this was good? How could it not be?
I got this the last time I went to Oyamel, and I got it again. I cannot not order plantains. I don’t know how. [sidebar: click on that link and marvel how my photography skills- and camera- have improved!]
Machuco relleno de frijol con salsa negra: Plantain fritters stuffed with black beans and a chipotle chile and piloncillo sugar sauce.
And finally, THE MOST DELICIOUS THING EVER.
Sopes de calabaza frita: traditional corn flour cake with sauteed winter squash, tomatoes, chiles, and house made requeson cheese
First of all, BEAUTIFUL. Second of all, EXQUISITELY DELICIOUS. The topping was this unbelievably warm buttery rich succulent flavorful whip of loveliness, and then having the beautiful crunchy pomegranate seeds on top?! Dear God, how can I make this?!
The night continued with more awesomeness. We wanted to see the White House Christmas tree, but apparently they turn it off at night… like say if you got there at one in the morning, the lights would not be on.
But, in the extremely practical state of mind I was in, I figured that I was in front of the President’s house, and thus there were likely all sorts of listening devices being employed, so I took the opportunity to give what I thought was a very candid and thoughtful discourse on the current unfortunate tax cut capitulation situation.
And that was that :D
It was so fun, though, dressing up, going to the city, going to the theatuh, eating at a fancy restaurant.
Amor #4: Getting to take a break from our grubby job with its below-minimum wage pay and get to be grownups.
But the nice thing with us is that we can also have a very fun time at a hole in the wall. Case in point being Pupuseria Dona Azucena. Having a powerful hankerin’ for pupusas, we hit up this place in Arlington, recommended by Yelp, and ate our body weights.
We begin with that nectar of the gods, horchata.
Yeah, horchata, you’ve earned yourself an Amor #5.
This horchata was special, though! Typically when I’ve had it, it’s tasted like cereal milk. Which is obviously awesome. But I think the traditional preparation involves ground corn/grain, as this seemed to. It was grittier and somehow tasted… a little smoky and a little chocolatey. It was SO GOOD.
Then we had an impulse order when we saw this on the menu:
What arrived were some gorgey gorgey fritters in the most wonderfully bittersweet caramel.
The outside was MEGA crisp (cutting them up with plastic utensils was a fun little challenge) and the inside was flufflicious.
What MADE IT, though, was the hot porridge you dipped it in. SO WEIRD, right?! Yet somehow, despite the fact that the stuff was really bland on its own, something about its heat activated and enhanced all the flaors in the fritters, and it was this… amazing scientific thing. SO YUMMY!
Already packed to the gills, we watched the pupusa fixin’s arrive: the spicy red sauce and the all important curtido, the wonderful tangy cabbage and carrots that perfectly balance the corny richness of the pupusa.
I dug into my usual order of the cheese and loroca, a flower that grows in El Salvador that reminds me of… like a green onion and an artichoke’s baby? Kinda sorta?
Pupusas are the bomb. And this one had a good cheese to corny crust ratio. I am all about the corny crust. When it gets all blistery on the griddle… and the cheese oozes a little bit… ohhhhhh yessssss.
I got one pupusa and Steve, in our usual ratio, got three. So that was nice cause then I got to try the squash (yummy) and the frijol, which was so beany and delicious and melt your face off good.
Then I decided that dammit I wanted a picture of us. Steve’s roommate David was happy to oblige.
“Smile and say David!”
Amor #6: You know who you are.