It’s been two weeks with an ER visit, broken window woes, and a winter storm from Mother Nature. But now we are finally getting back on track and back on the road.
New Year’s day was to be our ‘send off’ day, but Austin had a bad cold that got so severe that we ended up spending the day at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center Emergency Room. He still has a cough, but I finally let him break out of our tiny camper for some errands today with me after a week of being couped up.
In November we had a broken dinette window. That was a fun one! I went to open the window the day before Thanksgiving and just as I slid it about three inches out it shattered. The glass company came about a week later, and now, after two previous misfits, they finally installed a properly fitted working window today. (Yes, that’s right, over a month later!)
In the meantime, between the ER visit and the window being installed, Mother Nature picked the perfect timing to send us our first winter snow here in El Paso. Of course, so rare is the snow and ice here that the roads are never cleared and the drivers are without enough practice. The main juncture here, affectionately called the “Spaghetti Bowl” has steep and twisting angles not meant for days without sunshine.
But today we find ourselves ready to roll. We’ve gotten things organized and stored and squirreled away, ready for travel. Austin keeps talking about tomorrow like it’s Christmas all over again and even the dog is looking at me like he truly understands our imminent departure.
One last dinner at Chico’s Tacos, one last glimpse of our beautiful snow covered mountains, and one last drive west out of our city for 2013. Our journey has begun!
Although Texas is known for its steaks and chili, here in the borderland we have the ultimate in border Mexican cuisine. Anything from the simple to the gourmet, the chiles and the tortillas never tasted better than those from the heart of El Paso.
While some El Pasoans will argue the worth of some of the foods I love, it’s like a calling when coming back home. Australians have their vegemite, Scots have their haggis, and El Pasoans have our own Chico’s Tacos made infamous by “Fluffy” (comedian Gabriel Iglesias), and all of us who grew up with late night visits after Friday high school football and crashing quinceaneras. Chico’s Tacos are the tacos that are really flautas drowned in tomato water, drenched in a hot green chile salsa, and covered in an un-meltable shredded cheese. And did I say nearly impossible to eat? While some use the fork-tong method to temporarily hold them above the paper tray and attempt neatness while eating, many of us just grab the thing and damn with the mess. Honestly, aren’t some of the best tasting foods the messiest to eat? (Ever had a Whopper that didn’t drip? What a disappointment!)
My other favorite El Paso landmark restaurant is Kiki’s, made famous by locals and multiple awards and appearances on the Food Network channel. Every Sunday afternoon following church you will find my son Austin and me enjoying a perfect specimen of borderland food there. Known for it’s machacas, which are amazing, this restaurant doesn’t fail on any of it’s menu. When not splurging, I enjoy just a simple green cheese enchilada, my favorite of all foods. Enchiladas are also my test food anytime I try a new restaurant. Hell, if they can’t get the basics in tortillas with chiles, sauces, and cheeses, then you won’t find me returning for a second go.
I love my border Mexican so much that I took it with me on my last trip. Loaded up on frozen tacos and enchiladas, I pulled them out and shared them with friends and family unfortunate enough to live back East, far away from our desert paradise.
And now I face their dilemma, a full-year without my favorites. Dry ice and FedEx anyone?
If you ever have the fortune of visiting El Paso, use the links below to find my favorites:
Kiki’s Restaurant http://www.kikisrestaurant.com/
Chico’s Tacos locations http://www.yellowpages.com/el-paso-tx/chicos-tacos (Bring cash, Chico’s does not accept credit cards)