Thursday, June 30, 2011

Time in Taos, Day 3

Catch up here! Time in Taos, Day 1 and Time in Taos, Day 2
Our final morning in Taos began with another plate of assorted mini muffins and scones, as well as a plate with kielbasa sausage, two cheese blintzes drizzled with passionfruit sauce and chocolate sauce, and fruit arranged along the rim. Orange juice, coffee, and a bowl of granola with honey made the meal more than complete.
We checked out of our room after breakfast, but not before walking around the Adobe & Pines Inn a bit longer to say hello to the goats and chickens. In the reception area, I held a tiny baby chick in my hand before putting him back into the warm, lit cupboard I'd taken him from. I'm a city girl at heart, but being around so many sweet farm animals made me fantasize—just for a moment—about raising some of these creatures myself.
We left the Adobe & Pines Inn with reluctance, but fortunately lunch at Ranchos Plaza Grill was still ahead. ES and I stuck to what we loved at our first meal there and split a plate of the Carne Adovada, smothered in a red chili made from crushed red chile pods and served with rice and beans. The pieces of marinated and grilled pork were just as smoky and delicious as when we'd eaten it in burrito form.
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We also asked for two side orders of green chili, wanting to enjoy New Mexico's version to the fullest. The one at Ranchos Plaza Grill was smooth and buttery and swimming with little pork bits; it was strong with green chile flavor, and tasted more like a sauce than anything else. We did notice that in New Mexico red and green chili seemed to be more often served as an accompaniment rather than a main event; anyone know if this is actually true? Does anyone in this area just offer a big ol' bowl of the stuff with tortillas on the side?
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Before getting on the highway we made one last stop, at a truck on the side of the road peddling roasted piñon. Having seen similar trucks lining Alameda Ave in Denver, I'd been curious about just what the nuts were and what they tasted like, so I dashed out of the car and purchased a bag.

Back in the passenger seat, I tried them. The woman had assured me that the shells could be eaten, but when I had more than a few in my mouth the shells proved to be sharp and gritty, an unpleasant sensation akin to swallowing rough shrimp shells. Still, they weren't cheap—the bag had cost a good ten dollars—and I was determined to enjoy them somehow. I ended up shelling a bunch of them one by one, though the shells weren't easy to get off and the whole process slow going. ES even went so far as to stockpile the nutmeat so as to savor an actual mouthful. With enough patience, it was possible to get a real hit of piñon flavor as the nuts dissolved in tiny bursts of fragrant oil on the tongue.
And then, finally, we were off. ES had planned this trip to celebrate the completion of my thesis, and though the semester still wasn't over at this point, it was a welcome and much-needed weekend away from home. Even now—a few months later, as I write this—I remember the road stretching out into the horizon, leading us farther and farther south, away from the work and the grading and the lesson plans—just a few days of sun, sleep, sightseeing, and gloriously little else.

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