Tuesday, April 30, 2013

First trip to the desert

Four years ago my friends Denise and Steve hosted French Odrey at their house, and I hosted Denise, French Odrey and Dutch Karlijn at our beach apartment for a night.  Odrey is doing an internship in LA and I made it a point to see her before her short US stint was up again.  
I picked up French Odrey and her intern friend Korean Kim and took them to Pizza Port in Carlsbad.  Kim was amazed by the concept of fried macaroni and cheese, and seemed more than happy to eat the last one. They loved the vibe at Pizza Port (probably because it is so different than the LA vibe).   

Our main event for the following day was to take them on their first trip to the desert.  It was 101 degrees Fahrenheit (or 38 degrees Celsius- whatever that means) at noon when we hiked the three mile Borrego Palm Canyon Trail.  We drank plenty of water but Odrey and I both had a headache after the hike.  

Fred read on a trail marker to look for bighorn sheep, and what did I find on the horizon...?
It is super exciting to see large mammals in their natural environment doing whatever it is that bighorn sheep do best.  

We reached the palm oasis.  It was impressive to see and hear how much water was flowing on such a hot day in the middle of the desert.  

But the most exciting thing that happened on our hike was on the way back.  We ran across an entire herd of  bighorn sheep!  This Peninsular bighorn sheep is one of 335 that remain in the United States.  Out of those 335, 215 spend time at Anza Borego Desert State Park.  

Right after this picture was taken Kim's life flashed before her eyes and I was really happy to have met her, that was until the sheep changed course, of course.  It ran and jumped onto the rock right in front of her and then decided to go up hill.

When we were more than half way done with our hike Odrey's Nikes quit on her.  It seemed as though they could not take the heat.  The soles on both of her shoes literally separated from the rest of the shoe.  It was Fred's idea to wear her socks outside of her shoes so she could get what was possible out of her bunk shoes.  

On the way to drop our guests off at the Oceanside train station I just had to take them to Baltimore Snow.  It is amazing and they totally agree.
Even though French Odrey and Korean Kim experienced faulty shoes and territorial sheep today was a really special trip to the desert.  
We already miss Kim and Odrey!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Devoted to being Mexican

Marla and I usually make tamales around Christmas time, but due to our Japan trip it did not work out this year.  A year cannot go by without making our delicious tamales so we set a tamale making date.  It takes just about all day, but it is well worth the work.

This year our tamale fillings were:
1- Mom's recipe (chicken, cheese, olives, and corn)
2- Mediterranean (green stuffed olives and black olives, roasted red peppers, red onions, spinach, feta and mozzarella cheese)
3- Mexican (nopales*, jalapenos, corn, Mexican cheese, black beans, and onions)

Just like my mom taught us, Elle is learning the tamale making process.

This is an uncooked Mediterranean tamale.

The girl's artwork on the sliding glass door matched the Mexican theme.  

We made almost one hundred tamales.  They freeze well and will be yummy, quick dinners and lunches.

My dad, Derrick, and Hilary joined us for dinner.  I think we had enough...

What?!  Dinner and a show?!  How awesome!  
It seems like I am the only one who is impressed with my attempt to hula hoop and do Skip-it at the same time. Believe me, this is no easy task.
Thanks for the great day, Marla!  Until next year.  I mean, see you in the car.