My Most Memorable Meal – November Blogging Challenge #27
Yep. I suck at these challenges. I let the holidays get in the way of my blogging. This is also my busy season for work. That includes all my jobs. Minnesota really loves its winter sports for some reason. Maybe it’s that whole 6 months of winter thing. Anyway, I’ll be a slave to the hockey, basketball, wrestling, and gymnastics teams until March. It also seems that all this holiday eating has people feeling a little guilty this time of year as well. Things are starting to pick up at the gym. Not only am I picking up new clients, but both gyms have me starting some new classes in the new year that have me really excited. But more about that later. Then there’s that whole ultra marathon training thing. Just over a month left to go!!!!
As you can probably tell from my posts, I love to eat. Like really love to eat. This is why I exercise. I can’t diet. I need food. So trying to think of a memorable meal brings up so many great ones. Holiday dinners with my family. Crazy restaurant experiences. Catching the bruschetta on fire when trying to impress a new boyfriend with dinner. So instead of one, here are my top 3.
#1 – Some Restaurant in Some Fancy Hotel Near LAX
Back in my college days, I spent a week and a half over one of my Christmas vacations kayaking in Mexico with some of my fellow backpackers and friends. After 10 days of living off tortillas with peanut butter and nutella and pasta or rice made with sea water (no need to add salt!), all I wanted the second I stepped back on to American soil other than to make it through customs without being strip searched (random bag checks my ass!!!) was a to get my hands on a decent dinner. After arriving in LAX, my bestie H. and I went to check in for our flight to KC where her parents would meet us, only to learn that since our flight wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning, we’d have to wait several hours before they would let us check in. Normally this wouldn’t have been an issue, but this was just a few months post-9/11, and you had to have a ticket to get into the concourse, where all the food was. Being the resourceful college students that we were, we found two of our friends that were in the same predicament and decided to head down to the visitors information booth to see where the closest restaurants were. There is NOTHING around LAX as it turns out. Well, not that a bunch of college students had any business trying to walk to carrying expensive backpacking gear that screamed “ROB ME!!!” So we started picking up hotel phones and seeing who had a free shuttle and a restaurant. Not really paying attention to which hotels we were calling, we decided on the first one that gave the affirmative to both our requirements. We found our shuttle, loaded up our packs, and hopped on the mini-bus.
The whole ride to the hotel, we were trying to figure out why we were getting such funny looks. Thinking it was probably just our stench from not having showered in nearly 2 weeks, we quickly figured out while pulling up to the hotel is that it was because we had chosen a 5-star hotel and stuck out like a sore thumb among the wealthier and far better groomed clientele. But instead of trying to blend in, we did the opposite and started conversation with just about everyone minus the hotel staff that we were trying to avoid. Sitting at the table next to us ended up being one a well-known name in Washington that our one guy friend instantly recognized and had a long conversation about politics and economics. I can’t tell you what they actually talked about because I was too wrapped up in eating whatever food was put in front of me. So what does one eat after a trip to Mexico? Mexican food of course. While not exactly authentic, So Cal Mexican blows the lid off anything I’ve been able to find in Minnesota. The chile relleno was to die for. I finished it off with something that was chocolate smothered in more chocolate and then topped with a bit more chocolate for good measure. I think I had an orgasm in the middle of dinner. And I’m pretty sure I told half of the hotel residents about it after. It was amazing! I was violently ill for days following since my body couldn’t handle so much rich food after eating nothing but rice and tortillas during the rest of the trip, but it was worth every single calorie that I consumed that night.
When we caught the shuttle back to the airport, it was of course the same driver that had dropped us off. How can you not remember a pack of smelly, hippy kids? When he asked why we were headed back to the airport, we made up some lame excuse that the hotel wasn’t really up to our discriminating standards. He left us alone the rest of the ride back to the airport. We tipped him well.
#2 – How Many People Can Say They’ve Been to a Birthday Party for 80 Year Old Twins?
My Grandma was a twin. So when she and her brother turned 80, we booked the dining room at her favorite restaurant in Parkville, Missouri, and threw them a birthday dinner. All of my mom’s family was there as well as all her cousins and their kids. It had been years since I’d seen many of them. As we all sat down, the server came over to get our drink orders. We could see her scanning the table trying to find the birthday guy and gal.
“So I heard we have some twins celebrating a birthday today.”
“That would be me and my brother.” My Grandma piped up.
“Wait, how old are you?!?!” The server asked her.
“80, just like it says on the cake.” (Wonder where I get it from…)
“OMG! I thought that I was doing a party for 8-year-old twins! I must have missed the ‘0’! 80!!! Wow!! That’s something. I think you might be my first set of 80-year-old twins ever!”
And so it went. I think most of the wait staff came by to catch a glimpse of the 80-year-old twins. I can’t tell you what I ate, but the cake was this amazing butter cream from one of the bakeries down there. If I remember right, my family gets all their special occasion cakes from Wally’s Pastry Shop. Seriously, I could live off their butter cream.
#3 – My First Holiday Dinner Away from Home
I went to a small liberal arts, non-denominational college. The only holidays we celebrated were Thanksgiving and MLK, Jr. Day. Yep, you read that right. So when Easter fell in the middle of the spring semester and those of us that lived out of state were stuck on campus for the weekend, a group of us that lived in my dorm decided we would cook Easter dinner for anyone who wanted to stop by. We spent the week before slowly stealing plates and silverware from the dining hall so that we would have enough dishes to feed a small army. That morning, we met in the kitchen of the dorm next door since it was more cooking friendly than the one in our hall and got to work. We each made a few dishes to add to the menu. I made french onion soup, pineapple upside down cake, and a few other goodies. There was ham and I think some sort of chicken. Deviled eggs. Cheesy potatoes. Salad and all the Easter staples. Around lunch time, we started carrying dishes across the quad. The pool table in the lobby was full of food. Random strangers were greeted at the door and invited to join us for dinner. It was one of the most fun meals I’ve ever had. Everyone was laughing, telling stories about how their family celebrated the holidays. Never underestimate the power of food to bring people together.