Sunday, June 29, 2008

Welcome to The Jungle

NO, NO. This isn't about them or that horrid song.

So then, are my children even crazier than usual, and my house extremely humid like a tropical rainforest, due to 6 pre-Church showers? Well, yes; but no, that's not what this is about. Keep guessing.

What? Am I finally going to post photos of Jake's golf trip to Costa Rica last December? Um, I wasn't planning on it, since he's got his own blog he could use if he wanted; but here's one if you are interested (playing Tarzan instead of golf):

Well, then, if none of those, could I be referring to the graphic, stomach-turning images of unhealthy meat packing, made famous in the 1906 Upton Sinclair novel, The Jungle, a book that I have never read?

YES, YES, that's it! You've guessed it! (I really didn't think you would).

You see, unlike everybody else, (who totally loves it like they love puppies and chocolate chip cookies) I am not a big fan of raw meat. I avoid it, mostly. I buy flash frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so I don't have to manhandle them, much. Or whole, seasoned, cooked birds at Costco. Semi-annually, I buy a roast and cook it in the crock pot until it is shrivelled and nearly charred. I have been known to attempt a few rather tame things with ground beef. I do prefer the people at In-N-Out to do the work for me, if possible. If I had to kill my own meat, there is 100% chance I would be a vegetarian.

In college, my roommate/cousin Melanie would occasionally make me buy meat, but she would mostly cook it, all the while making jokes that she was going to leave the little blood-soaked pillow at the bottom of the package under my bed pillow. These good-natured jabs would often give me horrible dreams, which in psychiatric jargon are called meat-mares (or should be).

These days, Melanie has been canning her own meat at home. When, say, chicken goes on sale at Albertsons, she buys 20 pounds and 'puts it up'. I once walked in on one of Melanie's meat disciples, Heather, with a sink full of raw meat, while I was in the throes of morning sickness with Tom. I nearly puked on Heather's living room rug.

One day, though, Melanie gave me a 1/2 pint jar of beef and told me to go make some tacos. When I finally got around to it, 6 months later, Jane told me it was the best meat she ever had in her life (course, the standard is quite low at our house, but it WAS good), and the rest of the kids concurred. So when Melanie told me the beef prices were low because the cattlemen can't afford to feed them and are slaughtering them, I thought, okay, I'm ready. Let's do this.

So we did. I canned meat. 18 pints in Aunt Ardy's pressure canner. Then, I might have gotten a little crazy, and did more on Saturday night, since we couldn't find a single babysitter; even though we called like 40 of them, who all had better things to do. You know I totally would have gone to that party and maybe seen Get Smart, instead of playing with meat, given the chance. I may have joined the meat cult, but I haven't been fully brainwashed. YET.

I'm fairly sure at some point in my past, I said something like "Me? Can meat? Sure, right before the world comes to an end." So you all better watch out for the Apocalypse. Cause I think I also said something similar about me driving a minivan. And we've had 4 mini-vans. So, repent if you need it (and we all do). The time could be nigh.

If this is the end, though, I'm ready. With lots of beef in jars. (I'd put a photo of my actual jars on here, but Tommy took off with the cable that sucks pics from the camera to the computer.)

This morning, Melanie called and tried to lure me back into The Jungle with cheap chicken tenders at Sprouts. (Tempting, since tenders don't need any butching before being stuffed into jars). But I haven't given in to temptation. YET.

Still, I have joined the ranks of the meat packers. I've got the bloody apron. Now, is there some sort of union I need to sign up for, or some Safeway I need to picket?

Just let me know.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Charlie Bit Me: Why Can't My kids Speak the Queen's English?

Why don't my kids sound awesome, like these kids? Huh? Cause like, their 5th great grandfathers and 17th cousins thrice removed in England sounded (and currently sound) like this:

It really ticks me off that we sound like a bunch of hicks from the Colonies.

Oh, wait. We are a bunch of hicks from the Colonies.

How did this happen? I mean, there are lots of Britishisms we shrugged off for good reason: the monarchy, powdered wigs, black pudding, aristocracy, and unreasonable taxes on our tea and pesky stamps on all official documents. (Um, that's all I got; unabashed anglophile that I yam.)

I really think we should have thought twice before throwing out all those delightful-sounding vowels, though. I know our forefathers (many not English) got over here with a mish-mash of accents already, then had to borrow names for all the new stuff they saw: raccoon, squash, moose from the Native Americans; cookie, cruller, and stoop from the Dutch; levee, portage, and gopher from the French; barbecue, stevedore, and rodeo from the Spanish. (I stole all that from Wikipedia.)

The changes started so early, it really does seem as if they shrugged off the 'English English' like many other niceties that must have seemed impractical in frontier life. Many smarty linguists think that General American (like newscasters speak) was already in use by the time of the Revolution, because the Canadians sound more like Yanks than even the Southerners do (all that's different is a couple of vowels and some slow-talkin'), and almost all immigration into Canada from the colonies was before 1820. Thus, if they sound like us now, they sounded like us before 1820, too.

I sort of think it was a Puritan conspiracy. They didn't want to sound like English Country Gentlemen. An English Country Gentleman was THE MAN to them. When Noah Webster published his first dictionary in 1828, it was partly to prove to the world that Americans had their own dialect. In it were 12,000 words that had never before been published in a dictionary. When he published his school spelling textbooks he hoped to rescue "our native tongue" from "the clamor of pedantry." (Here: 'pedantry'= British Aristocracy). Webster, at least, was proud of his hick talk.

Maybe I should be proud, too? I took this quiz to see exactly what I'm dealing with: a starting point, if you will.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland
North Central
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

This quiz could not tell you that I am from the San Fernando Valley, which makes my native dialect even more tremendously embarrassing than just Western American English. It is a close relative to the infamous SoCal surfer. I was known, on many occasions in the 1980s, to use the terms "grody to the max" and "gag me with a spoon" with a completely straight face. I still say 'like', like, totally too much; as if it were, like totally awesome fer shur, instead of painful to the ears. I have noticed that when I get on the phone with my friend Shawna, I regress into my junior high vernacular, and I enjoy/am horrified by listening to myself speak. Jake said that I sent him an audiotape on his mission in which I spoke in such a way that the Filipino missionaries did not believe I was speaking any sort of English at all.

Some of you might have a 'special' version of the Western accent, known as Utahnics. This is really outside the scope of today's post, but you can read someone picking on you with great aplomb here. I can proudly say, that my 'teat-chers' (professors) there in Provo at the BYU (a true and living school if ever there was one), even those from American or Spanish 'Fark', had no lasting impact on my accent.

So you see, Noah Webster or not, there really isn't much coming out of my mouth of which I can be proud. I decided that, with my language handicap, I was in no position to teach my kids to speak like Charlie and his brother, or even Harry and Hermione. So my sister Jen (we are of one mind on this issue) and I decided what we needed was a proper English governess. A nice orphan like Jane Eyre would suit nicely. Turns out, though, those aren't as cheap as you'd think. So plan B is: have our Mom tutor our kids in the Queen's English. Mom is a speech therapist with a knack for imitation. She can parrot almost anybody, anywhere; and does, wherever we travel. We normally find this hilarious, but now, it is serious business. Ross also has a special talent for it. His Bahamian as well as Indian Colonial is really prodigious for a nine year old. With just a little help, in no time he'll sound just like Madonna and Brittney Spears.

I had been mulling this over for some time, but I think my thoughts were perfectly expressed on Saturday night at Gammage, by Professor Henry Higgins, in My Fair Lady (this is the movie version, with Audrey Hepburn, and Rex Harrison, plus some helpful Portuguese sub-titles):

"An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him, The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him. One common language I'm afraid we'll never get. Oh, why can't the English learn to set a good example to people whose English is painful to your ears? The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears. There even are places where English completely disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years! "

So I guess I'm uptight, pompous and priggish like Professor Higgins. Unfortunately, I sound more like Eliza Doolittle (before her speech lessons).

Like, I am so fully lame. I wish I could talk like, TOTALLY RAD, like Charlie's brother. And Henry Higgins. Oh, and Colin Firth, and Emma Thompson.

And the Queen, God save her.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The story with the elusive moral; or, how Tommy learned to waterproof his own bum

Yestermorn, whilst I was doing laundry, dishes and making beds (i.e. catching up on blogs after mini-break in Payson), Ross yells "Mom! Do you want to come see this?"

I do want to come see that.
I've been a mom long enough to know to always answer that question in the affirmative.

While still en route to Tommy's room, I can see from the far end of the hall that Tommy has disrobed entirely, has climbed up on the changing table, removed his wet diaper, and taken a new diaper from the drawer.

He's changing his own pants.

It isn't until I enter the room, though, that I see he has also located the Desitin, and is applying it with great care and skill to his own backside.

He's doing a marvelous job. There will be no diaper rash in his immediate future, not with such thorough coverage of his nether regions.

I'm not sure what to make of this. I think there are some clear lessons, certainly. The two that first came to mind were these:

1. Do not read anything while Tommy is awake. At 2 years, 1 month, he is at the zenith of his destructive game. On the smart/destructive scale, he sits evil-eyed in the center of the graph. From here, he will only get more smart, and less destructive. Of course, there will be a period in his teens, when he first gets his driver's license, when there might be a spike of destructive, as well as a dip in smart, but that doesn't change the fact that today, he is very, very dangerous.

2. He is capable of changing his own diaper, and looking after the welfare of his own crack; ergo, he should be capable of using a toilet.

The more I think about it, I feel I am missing some more subtle lessons. I just don't know what they are. What is the moral of the story? Maybe if I squint hard, I can read between the lines:

1. My children are capable of much more than I appreciate, and I can expect more if I teach more?

2. My babies are only pretending to be helpless; when my back is turned, those sneaky babes are probably online betting on the ponies, or studying calculus by the sof glow of their fishy night light. Then they cry for a bobble, and fill their pants. I've been duped. We've all been duped.

3. I should just be happy that, although he isn't out of diapers YET, I won't have to change them anymore. Which is almost as good, but still expensive. (Really, am I willing to let him have a go with any solid waste? No.)

4. I should be thrilled that Ross actually noticed something that was going on outside of a book, the computer, or the wii.

That's all I've got. I got no more.

I'll think about it some more while I get ready for My Fair Lady over at Gammage tonight. Janie is coming along for the first time, with Jen and Mom, too. Dinner first at House of Tricks off Mill Ave.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stuff I did instead of blogging:

Took all kids to pediatrician for check-ups. Doc says: "does Jane eat enough? She is in the 20th percentile for weight, but she is very tall. From whom does she get it? No offense, but you are a sort of medium-boned gal."

Oh, of course. No offense taken, even if by 'medium boned' you meant 'big arse-ed.'

I've lost 8 pounds since Dr. Smithe (sneaky name change, eh?) made this observation. I should send him a note of thanks!

Was busy keeping Ross in Harry Potters. He read numbers 4-7 in 1.5 weeks. Plus some other books. Was like 2000 pages. Then he quit and started Calvin and Hobbes comic books.

Took kids to Payson. Ate Dairy Queen for dinner. Forgot to take computer for to blog up a storm, as planned.

Instead, painted all nails in 'orange you cute.' Is more tomato red than orange. Is show of solidarity with save the tomato cause.

Re-read some of 1776 by David McCollough for book club (only got to September 1776 this time around, but in my book club, no one ridicules me if I don't finish official club-sanctioned text because have read "The Seduction of the Crimson Rose" instead. It is just that kind of awesome book club filled with wonderful non-judgemental ladies. LOVE my book club). 1776 is great book. Worth finishing out the whole year, even a second time around. Author's depictions of both George Washington and George III very three dimensional. Whole book is chock full of juicy, lengthy quotes from primary sources. My kind of history. Also, I have small crush on Henry Knox, because even though he was short and thick, he was also very smarty and brave, and ran the Brits outta Boston.

Saw Emma Smith movie. How can any one woman have so many trials? Compared to Emma, I have no actual problems. For Emma, my problems would be like Disney vacation. My attitude is fixed completely. No more whining about having kids at home all summer. Is unseemly and mortifying to whine, plus kids and I are actually having a good time. Things are going much better than expected. Unlike they did for poor Emma. Movie is beautifully filmed and her hair is spectacular. Not that I notice such trivial things anymore. Because now, I am a non-whiny and non-shallow, Emma-like, tough cookie. It is still playing through the 26th at the theater by the Bass Pro Shop.

Is nearly 2 am. Need sleep.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Save the (potentially-infected) tomatoes. Or not. Your choice, really.

UN-TOMATO-RELATED-NOTE: There's a little preview of the new Coldplay album on my player over yonder, not due out 'til the 17th! I've got all but two songs here. Don't worry, Chris will get his dough: I've got it pre-ordered at itunes. Now, back to tomato business...

Yesterday I read an article that said the country's tomato business was in 'complete collapse.'

For some reason, the idea of all the red, ripe, juicy, mostly-salmonella-free tomatoes, all across the country, rotting in warehouses, in trucks, behind grocery stores, or on the vine, is making me sad. I keep thinking about it.

Yes, I know, it doesn't make any sense. I do nothing about Darfur, I've never saved any whales, and I always use more than one square of toilet paper, but finally, over fruit-masquerading-as-vegetables, my conscience is pricked. I feel moved to action. It makes no sense. I don't pretend otherwise.

See, there are likely just a few bad tomatoes, but all the tomatoes are being punished. For some reason, the spinach scare a couple years ago did not effect me in this way. Or meat recalls. Bad meat is too scary. Cannot save it; though, of course, it is a sad waste of life.

No, this is not a joke. I am not employing sarcasm as a literary device. This is a call to action.

Gentlemen (and Ladies), start you ovens.

I looked it up, and if you cook the tomatoes at 145 degrees for only 15 seconds, guess what? Wallah! Dead salmonella (if there ever was any on your tomato).

So then I thought, I should go to the Superstition Ranch Market, and save some tomatoes. I could buy boxes of them, and slow-roast them (at 200 degrees for 11 hours, that salmonella will be super dead, see?), and freeze them for sauces and soups. I'm wondering if the prices are good? Or if they will sell them to me at all, because maybe they are afraid I'll sue them or something? If I die (from handling raw tomatoes)?

So you see, the poor tomatoes don't deserve to rot. You can save them, too. Think how good you will feel if you save just one tiny grape tomato from the rubbage heap, landfill, or compost pile(no, wait, grape tomatoes are already in the clear; buy a sad little roma tomato, who would otherwise go without a home)!

UPDATE: My sister Jen has talked me out of eating potentially infected tomatoes. She said is very creepy and I should not blog of it. But I already blogged of it (see above rant on eating sicky tomatoes), and these days, with all the house cleaning and offspring-entertaining I'm doing, I find I have little time to write. So cannot waste even creepy, partially misguided (even if my heart was in the right place) posts. She also reminded me that I am not a Freegan. Which is true. I am not. I have no stewardship over those tomatoes. I have no responsibility for those tomatoes. I need to let the infected tomatoes ROT.

So, to kick off my tomato therapy, I just roasted the tomatoes from Melanie's certified-disease-free-garden (Tommy picks any of my tomatoes with the first sign of orange color, then chucks them against the block wall, so I have none of my own.)

(Okay, I'll be honest. I did get one. Like three weeks ago. Sheesh.)

I will make delicious soup, but maybe add no cream this time. Have lost 5 pounds this week (even though slipped and ate 1/2 a frozen brownie, three candy orange slices, and a handful of caramel popcorn), and have gone to gym twice.

TWICE, people.

Here's the recipe I use to roast fresh tomatoes:

see more details on Kalyn's blog
Slow Roasted Tomatoes Kalyn's Way
(slightly adapted from Alanna's master recipe)

20 Roma type tomatoes (same size tomatoes are best if your garden cooperates)
2 T olive oil, plus a little to oil the pan if you don't have a mister
1 T ground fennel
2 T dried basil
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried marjoram
(Any combination of herbs that appeals to you can be used.)

Preheat oven to 250 F (about 9 hours roasting time) or 200 F (10-11 hours roasting time.)

Wash tomatoes, dry, and cut each tomato in half lengthwise, keeping the stem spot in one piece (to grab when peeling the tomatoes later.) Put tomatoes in a bowl and toss with olive oil and herbs.

Spray cookie sheet with olive oil mister (or brush very lightly with oil). Arrange tomatoes cut-side down on cookie sheet.

After about 8 hours, start checking tomatoes. They're done when skins puff up and tomatoes are reduced in size by at least half. It's a personal preference as to how dried you like them, and I prefer to cook mine until they look fairly dense, but still a tiny bit juicy.

Friday, June 06, 2008

R.I.P., Granada Hills High School.

So, you know how sends you (and by you, I mean, me) emails, like twice daily, telling you that 10 old friends have signed your guest book on their website? And that for only 3 bucks a month, for a contract period of only 36 months, you can read what these potential long-lost loves and BFF's (who are only just trying to honor their solemn yearbook promises to K.I.T.) have got to say to you?

And you totally want to know who they are, and what they said, because you didn't go to your 10 year reunion because your actual BFF from High School, Shawna, thought she wanted new ceiling fans more than tickets to the event. And you sort of agreed with her that ceiling fans would be the better investment, in the long run.

Fact is, you REALLY didn't want to go to the reunion alone, or even with just your super-hot husband on your arm. You were afraid you wouldn't know anyone there, because only the extra, icy-cool kids would come to the reunion, the ones you had almost nothing to do with. You were busy editing the Editorial page on the newspaper, not dating any boys, and adjusting your kilt and pulling up you knee socks on your horrifying drill team uniform, while they were busy being awesome, 90210 style. Only their zip was 91344.

You pretty much looked exactly like the above googled image of the Highlander Drill Team (is amazing what you can find, eh?), except somehow these kids got outta wearing the knee socks with little flags on them. Lucky ducks. And even though you had John Elway's very, very OLD Spanish 3 book, it didn't make you look any cooler; not while you were wearing that jabot (lacy neck thingy), or when someone had to explain to you who John Elway is.

Even though you are in all the fake yearbook photos of the prom, you didn't actually go, like the cool kids did. (The prom was on a boat out of Long Beach. I have no idea who this guy is/was.)

Anyway, you were pretty sure the highest tier of class-of-'91 society only attended the reunion with the evil plan to make the not-terribly-cool kids feel like they did in high school, just one more time before they died. (that is, mildly lame, like when they've found broccoli bits from their morning omelettes stuck in their braces as they floss before bed).

Plus, people might have noticed that you looked a little squishy, and that your legs were not in top kilt-ready form, since you just had baby Jane just 2 months previous to said reunion.

Of course, you were just being dumb and paranoid, as usual, cause then you got emails and cards from people who missed you at the reunion, and you were a little sad you didn't go. Because your actual friends were there, ones you lost because you moved from California to Arizona within weeks of graduation in 1991. And some of them were cool kids, only you'd forgotten. You also forgot that almost everyone (cool, uncool alike) spends most of high school feeling like they've got the broccoli teeth.

Really, all this mental turmoil took took all of about 15 minutes, over the course of 10 years. So, really, you are making a bigger deal of it than it is, in reality. For blog effect. As usual.

Still, in the 7 years since, whenever you get the emails from, containing potentially expensive messages from the past, you would wonder what they might say. Because you are human, and your extreme inquisitiveness is what differentiates you from the rest of the animal kingdom. That, and your opposable thumbs. Wait. That's not right.

Whatever. It's not important.
Because now, you know what the guestbook notes are about. You figured it out, without your Visa's help.

Those old friends just wanted to tell you that your high school, as you knew it, is gone. Since 2003. You don't really keep close tabs on things like that, and you just found out today. It is a charter school now. So now, the cheerleaders scream "GHCHS" instead of "GHHS". Apparently. And The Jets won't come and throw the whole student body a free concert in the gym because those kids wasted the most in-school, potential learning time, and killed the most trees, of all the kids in the whole of Los Angeles Unified School District, writing KIIS FM rocks GHHS on like 100,000 little pieces of paper. Those charter school kids would have to write GHCHS, and they'd likely think The Jets were even lamer than we did. (Though we screamed a lot, just to be polite. They did get me out of Algebra 2 for the day.)

And there might be even bigger changes at GHHS, besides the name, and the knee socks; you just don't know what they are. You're not really in the mood to google it, either.

So, RIP, GHHS. Now, if the gangsters have burned down Sepulveda Junior High School, somebody should let you know. You won't be surprised. Remember the drive-by shooting drills during PE? And all the ladies-of-the-daytime you could watch through the chain link fence, sidling up and down the other side of Sepulveda Boulevard? Course you do.

So, friends, how many of you attended (or will attend) your 10 year reunion? What about the 20 year? Has any one out there ever had any actual fun at one of these events?

P.S. You should tell to stop harassing you. You aren't going to pay them. You are cheap that way.

Monday, June 02, 2008

El Charro Rocks the Taco

Until Saturday night, I hadn't been to El Charro since my first date with Rendell Lofgreen in 1992. (Maybe I shouldn't have used the fella's name? Maybe he'll google himself and find me, over here in this deserted corner of the internet, blogging about our 16-year-old dinner, and think I'm a big, giant nerd? I'm not too worried about it.)

I'll need to back up a tiny bit. First, we went to see Joe's band at this Music Festival. They were quite good. Joe has a beautiful voice, and when he sings, it sounds like he isn't much trying. Like he just opens his mouth and good stuff just flys out, stuff like fairy dust and tiny blue hummingbirds, stuff that makes you feel like your nice uncle James Taylor is singing you a lullabye. (My actual Uncle Nyle Layton sounds this way, too. And Chris Martin, and Don McLean. So you see, Joe is in good company.)

Did I mention that Joe and I were in a band together for like 2 weeks? Yeah, if you count Joe and some squirrelly guy named Skye Wolfee, and one other sort of cool guy, who's name eludes me, and me, sitting around in my apartment at the Riv (Provo, UT) and plucking out some songs together. I can't remember what happened to the band, or why we broke up. We had so much promise. It was probably Yoko's fault (aka my cousin Melanie, Joe's squeeze).

Anyway, I think Joe should keep MC-6, but moonlight with his guitar, playing Lemonheads songs again. You set that show up, Joe. I'm totally there.

So after the show, we were cruising Main street in Downtown Mesa, and after coming up with like 4 fruitless ideas (not that we were looking exclusively for fruit), we decided on El Charro. El Charro es muy viejo. That's OLD, for you gringos. It has been there more than 70 years, run by the same family. And it looks it. El Charro obviously isn't into nips, tucks, or botox. Or into hiring a cleaning crew who isn't near-sighted. Apparently my bug-eyed face said it all, because Jen wanted to take a phone photo to send to Andrew, who was at home, attempting scorpion genocide (a story for another day).

Is it the broken down booths, or the weird oil portraits of extra-bosomy, just short of PG-13-rated senoritas circa 1910? Or was it the way my skirt kept sticking to the underside of the table, or the way they brought Jen and Jake pops with that great tiny ice like at QT, but my tap water had horrible big chunky cubes and tasted like dirt/pennies? No, none of these. Somehow, the entire effect works, in a Mel's Diner meets El Greco sort of way. I think it is because there is no pretense. I was surprised our kind-but-emo young waiter didn't tell us to 'kiss his frijoles'. It is what it is. And you know what it is? Great Mexican food.

Now, I have no idea about authenticity; and actually, I don't care. I'm not about that. I am no Mexican food snob. I like it all, really. Some of my favorites: Tia Rosa's, On the Border, Rubio's, Serrano's, Filibertos (rolled tacos: GOOD). It's all good. El Charro has something called Spanish Tongue on the menu. Which sounds gross, to this white lady. But es posible que it is authentic. Or could be the Latino version of the French kiss. No se. Either way, not ordering it.

What did I order? My 'first-time-at-this-place' standard: A bean and beef chimichanga with green sauce. You can tell a lot about a place by its chimi (Grandpa Taylor loved em, too. When he ordered one, it rhymed with that game, Jenga). But first Jake got me an RC, so I'd stop drinking his.

That chimi was GOOD: Insides, GOOD. Deep fried tortilla, GOOD. Green sauce, GOOD. Now, I should warn you that I could not locate any tomatillos in the green sauce. Is guacamole, as far as I could tell. But I love guacamole. It was GOOD. And the beet garnish on the side? Who the heck knows. I'm not eating that.

Jake got some kind of enchiladas (sour cream I think), floating in a delicious red sauce-y, cheesy soup. The red sauce was quite remarkable. Maybe next time I'll order the chimi with red sauce and have them put the green on top. Yummy. Jen got a single taco (I know. That's why she looks like that in her tiny, awesome jeans, and I look more like the buxomy mujeres on the walls, except I'm more buxomy on the bottom than the top, si es posible). Skinny or not, though, Jen knows her tacos. And she quickly texted Andrew to let him know that 'El Charro rocks the taco'.

So, to sum up: El Charro. GOOD. Me gusta mucho. I can't remember too much from my first visit there, at age 18. I was so young, so boy-crazy, I failed to see the obvious: the only potential for a lasting relationship that night was with the chimichanga, and not with the cute boy. I had already met Jake at that point, and Rendell was wasting his pesos on me. Too bad I didn't yet know it; I could have focused on my dinner. Think how many delicious El Charro tacos I might have eaten in the last 16 years.


El Charro is on the northeast corner of 1st Street and Country Club.
105 N. Country Club Dr.
Mesa, Arizona
(480) 964-1851
Here is a recipe book published 1959:

So, what do you think of El Charro?

What's your fovorite Mexican spot, and what do you order? (No special reason for asking. I'm probly not going to eat my way through America's best burritos. I likely won't leave the state for dinner, gas prices and all. Unless you know a great spot in San Diego, cause we are going there soon.)