Friday, November 12, 2010

Figured I wouldn't let you get away without tellin' you about the big birthday dinner.

Just a warning, for those of you who are on diets (I pity the fool) or are just not used to comin' around here. There WILL be gratuitous, gastronomic porn in this post. OK, you've done been warned.

For those of you who don't know, my little wowman and I share the same birthday. Yep, that's right. And I wanna tell ya, it's pretty handy too. Saves me from havin' to try to remember dates. You'd think a history teacher would be good at that? Er, nope.

Denise turned 39... AGAIN... and I turned 50 last Monday. Yea, I know. Over the hill. Whatever. I've heard it all. But here's the deal. So long as I look this damn good (CAREFUL!), and feel this damn good (everything still works the way it's supposed to, without medical enhancements of any kind), and so long as just about everyone else I know is OLDER and more BROKE DOWN than I am, I figure I'll still be just a young whipper snapper. My 82 year old mother confirms these opinions (accept the part about the "medical enhancements." Eeew, no, we don't go there).

So, since Denise and I both share the big day, we decided to head down to Austin, to our favorite Tex-Mex place, Pappasito's, and have a feast. Since mom is feelin' good these days, and she loves the food there too, I decided to invite her to come along.

There was a time when the folks and I (and sometimes sis) would hit that place about once a month. Those days are over, but we still try to hit it now and then. It was a surprise when mom decided that she wanted to pay the bill... Her way of giving us both a birthday present. I resisted at first, but Denise has worked on me, getting me to realize that I should just let mom do this sort of thing when she wants to.

The notion is, she feels that she needs to level out the playing field a bit, considering how she and dad supported my sister in the past. As a mother, Denise knows that you always want to try to be fair. Give to one kid if you're gonna give to the other, etc.

It's no big deal to me. If it weren't for me being in my present reduced position, I probably would have fought harder, with Denise givin' me that look the whole time. I'll just insist on payin' the next time we go.

Anyway, Denise and I drove over to Temple and we all piled into mom's Buick Lucerne. She wanted to blow out the cobwebs in it, and we'd all fit in it better than we would in my car.

It takes about an hour to get down to Austin. Happily, during the drive down, all the traffic snarls were in the north bound lanes of I-35.

We got in at around 4;30PM, which was prime timing. We beat the rush, getting a prime parking space right out front and going right to our table. The waiter asked us if we'd ever been there before, to which I replied with a quick rundown of the drink and queso orders. Yea, buddy we've been there before.

First thing to drool over... The special Ixtapa beef Chile con Queso. This stuff is awesome!

Along with the complementary chips and dip (great stuff in it's own right), the spicy beef queso really gets the meal going in the right way. Thing is, if you're not careful you can easily fill up on a few baskets of those thin, crispy little chips and then you end up taking half your dinner plate home with ya. Yea, I've done it many times.

The drinks? Both of the little ladies went for Margaritas: the strawberry for Denise and the Top Shelf on the rocks for mom. I had a big 18 oz. glass of Negra Modelo off the tap. I could have gone for a 32, but I was driving.

By the time the dinner plates arrived, we'd made good work of the chips and dips, and the drinks were sufferin' too.

I ordered the Chicken Fajita Enchiladas, with a side order of Brochette Shrimp.

Yea, I know you need a closer look. That's two Chicken Fajita Enchiladas, with the Salsa Verde sauce slathered all over them. It's really too bad that Blogger hasn't figured out some kind of scratch and sniff app for this thing. Trust me, it's wonderful.

Thing is, as good as those enchiladas are, the best dish they offer, in my humble opinion, is the Brochette Shrimp; Big, plump shrimp, split down the middle, stuffed with a slice of bell pepper and cheese, wrapped in bacon, covered in a white wine and butter sauce and grilled.

And they give you a little cup of that white wine/butter sauce, whipped, for you to dip them in. Good Lord, trust me, these things are to die for. Mom, loves 'em too, and also ordered a few on the side (whoever invented "on the side" was foookin' brilliant. I'm just sayin').

Her main dish was a pair of Chicken Tinga Tacos, crispy, with rice and beans on the side (we all go that). She loved the tacos, and ended up giving me one of her shrimp (I'm still her little baby).

Please note the awesome bling.

God bless her, mom loves her bling. Southwestern style that evening. She's always been very persnickety about her appearance, as any lady would be. I'll really start to worry about her when she doesn't bother to get all dolled up any more.

Denise can't stand shrimp (I know, what the hell?). Her dinner dish was the Chicken Tinga Enchiladas. (By the way, y'all may want to check out the menu for yourself).

Yep, it was all wonderful, and made for a truly wonderful evening. One of the best things... We managed to get in and out of the place without the birthday cat being let out of the bag. Otherwise the waiters would have run over with sombreros to place on our heads and sung to us, embarrassing the hell out of us.

Oh, if it'd just been Denise's birthday? Oh yea, it would'a been on. But since I'm in line for collateral damage, we're not goin' there. Though, I must say, they're better about it than the folks at my favorite Chinese Food place. Those folks have a friggin' gong that you could used to send signals to the space shuttle, and they don't mind bangin' it.

After the carnage, we drove back up to Temple, happily unobstructed by traffic snarls, and after visiting with mom for a bit (including a little celebratory tipple), Denise and I drove back to the house, and the still smoldering remnants of my birthday cake. Mission accomplished.

You may now take this time to change out your drool cup. Ooops, spillage. I'm off. Cheers.


Kenneth said...

It's amazing so many people are leaving Mexico when it has such great food. I about drowned myself looking the picture of the shrimp in the wine/butter sauce, and I think I ate my ink pen.

FHB said...

I think the food is actually better on this side of the river. Much of what you get in Mexican food places in the US is our version of something down there. Like Chinese food, it's what we've made of it.