Monday, September 28, 2009

my bff: the food edition

Few people in the world have a best friend as cool as mine. She told me months ago that she wanted to come out and help me with the baby when Jim was gone. And she did! For a whole week!

So what did you do while she was here? In one word, we ATE!

Kerri loves Mexican Food.

When she wasn't eating it, she was talking about it. (In fact, really, that might have been the real reason she came to El Paso.) State College, PA has exactly one Mexican restaurant. El Paso has a kazillion. And I'm not exaggerating. At least one every 10 feet. Of course, we only had time to hit up 5 of them.

And Kerri even came prepared, looking on all of her foodie websites and blogs to find out where the hot spots were. (I didn't even know El Paso was cool enough to have hot spots. It was an education for me, too.)
  • Directly from the airport I took her to Carlos & Mickeys. It is the place to take out-of-towners around here. The food is authentic, but I think it's the Texas-sized margaritas that draw the crowds. It was my first chance to have one of my own since being pregnant. But my pomegranate margarita was so s-t-r-o-n-g, I could only enjoy one quarter of it. Kerri's strawberry one was right on, though.
  • Next up was the Little Diner. Don't be fooled by it's name. Apparently they are known for their killer gorditas. I'd never had one before but am now a big fan. Of course, I had to steal one of Kerri's since I ordered my ever-safe taco plate. I did introduce Kerri to horchata. It's a rice-milk beverage that to me tastes like chai. It's not my favorite but Jim loves it so I figured Kerri should have a try.
  • Then we hit up L&J's. Delicious! It started back in the day as a bootlegging joint. And when we walked in the front door and were greeted by a dark bar, it kinda made sense. But there's a small restaurant in the back with a Mexican Combination Plate that let Kerri try one of everything. And my tacos were fantastic. The best I've had in El Paso so far.
  • La Casita was a bit of a disappointment. Besides feeling a little dingy inside and out, the waiter was clueless. My special-of-the-day steak tacos were out of this world. But Kerri's plate was so flavorless, she didn't even eat half of it. I won't be back.
  • And I've saved the best for last... Ranch Market! This place is a mecca of Mexican comida. It's actually a grocery store that had a little bit of everything else, to include a juice bar, a huge bakery, and a food court that rivals Wegmans. We spent a couple hours here. Yes, at a grocery store. I got some tacos, Kerri tried their horchata, her first tamale, salsa verde, mole sauce, and something chicken. Not to mention that we both walked out with a stack of fresh tortillas the nice senora handed us hot off the press. (It should be said that these were the same stack of tortillas that tipped Kerri's luggage past the overweight mark.)

Kerri's first horchata.

I small taste of Ranch Market. It was amazing!

Enjoying my pig cookie from the Mexican bakery.

More baked goodness.

It was such a good time. There's more to say, and more pictures to share, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow for the second installment.


Kerri Smith said...

Karen you're awesome. I can't even tell you how wonderful it was to be with you and meet Eli. Like I said before, it really was right on time for me. I miss Eli A LOT!

Susan Calzada said...

You guys are too cute! I can't imagine what kind of flip-flops my stomach would be doing after 5 mexican restaurants in one week. How did Eli like it? said...

What an awesome friend Kerri is! I am so glad you guys had a great week together.

Apparently, you have been remiss in posting pics of Eli recently, b/c man oh man... has he changed in last month!! Look how grown up he is!! How did that happen?

Crafty P said...

you two are my kind of people. gosh, i love food. And babies and games (you did play some games, right?). Wish miss Kerri Linto Smith lived in my town, we could eat our way through and maybe she'd get me to play guitar again...

Penny Linto said...

What great pics....and you have such a beautiful Eli....he is so very precious. You, Kerri and Eli had such fabulous kodak moments!!! How much fun and great memories. Keep quilting my friend.