Anything but Labor-ous


Yesterday, Labor Day, Christian and I bypassed a chance to go to Aguirre Springs to picnic for Labor Day, and instead took a drive over to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to visit Enchanted Gardens nursery to check out pepper plants, the COAS Bookstore (the largest used book store in N.M.) and to have lunch at our absolute favorite Italian restaurant, Zeffiro’s. Well, one out of three ain’t bad. Enchanted Gardens happens to be closed on Mondays, and Zeffiro’s was closed for Labor Day. At least COAS was open, that maze of a place that has probably any and every book (in any and every language) you can dream up. It’s a miracle … or a travesty … to walk out of there empty-handed.
I picked up 2 pregnancy/parenting books, plus a “You’ve Got Mail”-type novel about two pregnant women called “The Mommy Chronicles,” as well as a few classic children’s books (meant for 5+, but hey, it’s never too early, is it?). Christian hobbled away with a dozen science fiction books, many written before he was born.
Since our dream lunch was a no-go, we decided to settle for International Delights, a cafe specializing in European and Middle Eastern cuisine about a mile away. We’d been there before, and we loved it, but you know when your heart is set on a wood-fired oven baked pizza Margherita and a Mediterranean salad, it’s hard to get excited about something else.
Well, I was wrong. It was one of the best, most succulent and most relaxing lunches I’ve had in a long time, and despite the fact it was Labor Day, there were no huge crowds or lines.
We ordered from the main counter, where there is an extensive menu of items such as: Mezza platter, Gyro plate, French Toast croissant, Bagel and Lox, Tabouli, omelettes, crepes, etc. Oh, and the counter holds the prize in showing off some of the most gorgeous, sinful and oh-so-very-European pastries. I ordered the special of the day, Chicken Curry, a Perrier and a slice of apfelstrudel. Christian went for the Lamb Kebab; and we shared an amazing appetizer of Babaghanoudj. I can eat that stuff spread on anything, it’s so smoky and smooth. But the heated, puffy pita bread served with it sufficed quite nicely.
We took our table number and had a seat near the restaurant’s food shop, which sells all kinds of European and Middle Eastern food products, at amazingly reasonable prices. There was a reason Zeffiro’s was closed! I wouldn’t have had it any other way, because our lunch rocked our world.
•••
After driving back to El Paso, we went home for an indulgent 2 hour nap (my pregnancy is making these a necessity, and poor Christian might be having sympathy symptoms!), and then some work online (my work this week consists of resume-tweaking and sending and writing my birth plan).
For dinner, we knew we wanted to incorporate Christian’s wonderful homemade salsa (see previous post), and I wanted to use up some leftovers. Soooo, we went Mexican again. I made Gorditas out of fresh, homemade (but bought at the local Mexican market) flour rounds. Instead of frying them as many Mexicans do, I grilled the flour disks to get a nice bubbly surface, then stuffed them with Jack cheese and put them in the warm oven. While the cheese was melting in the gorditas, I heated up some leftover black beans and rice, and also supplemented that with some pinto beans. I took out some leftover cabbage salad and roasted Hatch chiles, cut up some avocado, onion and limes, and voila… a reasonably healthy Mexican dinner (not ALWAYS an oxymoron!).
I’ve gotten to the point where I need dessert after every meal, and last night was no exception. After dinner we headed on over to Starbucks to sit on the patio, have an after-dinner coffee, read, and indulge (well, I did anyway) in their reduced-fat banana chocolate chip cake.
Well, I DO have more time on my hands for exercise 😉

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One response to “Anything but Labor-ous

  1. your special looks delicious. just gave me the idea to make chicken curry one of these days. our labor day plans didn’t go too well, in german you would say: sie sind ins wasser gefallen, because it was RAINING. pouring down, so there will be no BBQ pics, but i will cook that fish tomorrow in the oven with butter, wine, garlic and parsley.

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