I’m probably the last person to wish you a Happy New Year, as we are now one third of the way into the month. But, Happy New Year!
Jeez, we just took our tree down yesterday! It smelled so good, and we were both enjoying its “mood lighting” so much that we weren’t in a rush. This is the first holiday season, since we moved here four years ago, that we’ve enjoyed the holidays so much!
We’ve had greatsocial-media interactions with friends, hours on the phone with beloved out-of-state family members. We had a delightful, delicious, and very relaxed Christmas brunch with in-town family, and finished everything off with a stunning dinner with dear friends at a special restaurant that is extra-special during the holidays.
Our friends arrived early, just as the restaurant opened and captured this photo… 15 minutes later when we joined them it was buzzing with life! I hate to admit it has been more than 20 years since I’ve eaten here. Fonda San Miguel serves the finest authentic interior, and coastal, Mexican cuisine outside of Mexico. The restaurant opened in 1975 – I moved here three years later, but it wasn’t until the early-eighties that I first dined here. It always felt like a “special occasion” restaurant to me; the regional cuisine, authentic decor, their greenery and a parrot or two, and a glass skylight over it all. Fortunately, I used to go rather often. I learned a lot about great food here, many of their recipes were inspired by their friend Diana Kennedy, an expert and cookbook author who has been described as the “Mick Jagger of Mexican Cuisine!”
Please go to their website (fondasanmiguel.com) for a look. You’ll see a photo of a beautiful poblano pepper with a (brandy-walnut) cream sauce and pomegranate seeds sprinkled over it. These are made especially for Christmastime, and that’s what I had for dinner. Amazing!
We are talking about making a reservation and going again in the spring for their Sunday Brunch. I can’t wait.
Speaking of food, it’s just cookies, but it was a big win for me: I finally baked a batch of Linzer Tarts for my son that came out nearly as good as his Italian Grandmother & Great-grandmother’s. Despite having their recipes all of these years I’ve avoided a few… how could I ever hope to equal theirs? This year, their recipes and my skill level have finally, deliciously aligned. I may have to bake him another batch for his birthday in a couple of weeks!
And, speaking of Mexican food menus, I have been studying Spanish for more than 500 days on Duolingo. I began during the pandemic and have developed a routine now. I’m always surprised when I receive my weekly update of my stats which tells me how many new words I’ve learned in a week, how many phrases I’ve mastered, and how many hours I’ve put in; usually 3-5 hours a week.
I studied Spanish all through high school, and although I was a good learner, I was a middle-of-the-road student because I didn’t do my homework. At one point in my life I could actually carry on conversations and read books (One Hundred Years of Solitude) in Spanish. Trying to become fluent seemed like a good goal, something to give structure to my mostly unstructured days.
I definitely recommend Duolingo. I started with the free version, and have upgraded to the paid one. If you are doing it, or decide to do it, let’s connect and get a study/fun group going, okay?
I hope your holidays were merry and bright, and that this new years offers new opportunities, good health, and happiness.
I am glad you are here with me, reading my rambling, and hopefully smiling.