We went to Juan's, as we usually do on Fridays, which is carnitas night. Met a friend there ... she had a present for me, a photo from the late-60s, and that was going to be the topic of this post, but 1) it deserves its own post, and 2) the afternoon/evening was so delightful, IT deserved its own post.
It started out pretty much like it always does ... I had carnitas, Robin and our friend had a quesadilla. We were talking about how nice it is to have a restaurant of "our own," one we've gone to for so long, where everyone knows your name, as they say. We've been eating at Juan's for 30 years or so, and the friend who was with us was also along on some of those visits back in the 70s, so the whole feel of the meal was nostalgic in a good way. She marveled at the relationship we have with the folks at Juan's ... they have always been very kind to our family. She was just glad that such things still existed.
And then came the proof that those things do indeed exist. The wait staff kept asking us what else we wanted ... it was late in the afternoon, it was clear we were staying for a bit to chat with our friend, and certainly one nice thing about having "a place" is that you know you can always linger when you want to. They kept trying to break down our resistance to coffee, or flan, or tea, or whatever. Finally, the waitress suggested buñuelos, and that got my attention! I grew up on those ... they're usually eaten around Xmas time, but we ate them whenever. Every culture seems to have their own version ... my grandmother's were basically chewy fried bread with anise. She went off to get the buñuelos ... they were going to make them special, just for us. Robin figured out before they arrived what they would be ... they're the crispy tortillas with cinnamon and sugar that Juan's serves to birthday celebrants. They were very tasty when warm, and of course, the fact that they made them special for us just added to the tastiness. Then the waitress started insisting that we needed something to drink with our dessert. We said no thanks, but she could tell I wanted something, so she bugged me some more, and I thought maybe a nice Mexican chocolate would be yummy. Well, they don't have that, she said, but don't worry, she'd get some, anyway. And off she went to the kitchen.
About ten minutes later, Freddie, one of the two sons of Juan who run the restaurant, personally came out with our cups of chocolate, which he had made himself. It was cream-colored, and the taste was milkier than the usual hot chocolate ... and he went to great lengths to remove any harsh taste. It was smooth and delicious, and we all burned our mouths. After awhile, Freddie came out and refilled our mugs, and finally, our waitress came and joined us, her own cup of chocolate in her hands.
January 2 is one of my favorite days of the year, because it's the day when the holidays are over. Today our holiday was extended in the best possible way ... this January 2 was special indeed.
And I still haven't told you about the photo ...