Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ducati 911

My Ducati M696 and I did a little nine-one-one* last month.  As a Certified Veterinary Technician (no longer practicing regularly, thanks to my, uhhh,  busy flute career) and a volunteer** with the Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) of the United Animal Nations (UAN), I do occasionally get deployed for various emergency animal operations.  You know, ya got your hurricanes, your wild fires… stuff like that.   Fueled with gas station hot dogs, ice cream sandwiches and 91 octane, I put my plans to ride to Big Bend National Park on hold, and rode out to St. Johns, AZ, instead.  (I’ll be honest here, the ride to St. Johns beats the ride to Big Bend by a long shot, so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice.)

Although my four wheeled vehicles have had a nasty habit of breaking down in Salt River Canyon in the past, it was, surprisingly, my first go through this area on a motorcycle.  The Duc and I made it through with flying colors!

EARS St Johns 008
A hazy day in Salt River Canyon

EARS St Johns 003
The Duc, loaded up, now that I finally have luggage capability.  This time the usual camping gear was replaced with rescue volunteer supplies and equipment.

This latest case was different from the standard natural disaster.  In a covert operation, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) rescued approximately 250 animals from an animal hoarding situation.  Animal hoarding is tough to see and understand.  For all the hoarders’ good intentions, their animals suffer, often tragically so, and, in every such situation, some animals do indeed die from neglect.  HSUS found animals living in filthy conditions (think knee deep in poop), tied up, crammed in pens, trailers and abandoned vehicles without the basic necessities of food and water.***  Almost all of those rescued needed medical attention and very few were used to interaction with humans.  This lack of "socialization" severely complicated both the rescue efforts and the required veterinary exam and legal documentation of each individual animal.  The task of the UAN EARS was to set up and run a temporary shelter until the ownership of the animals could legally be transferred to the Apache County’s Sheriff’s Office, care for the animals, and begin to socialize them in preparation for future adoption.   Many thanks to one of  UAN’s official photographers for this operation, Marcia Goodman, for letting me share a few photos with you.

Daisy-IMG_7312-Done Reduced
Although "Daisy" the pig was so underweight she could not withstand the anesthesia needed to care for her crippling overgrown hooves, she was at least the size of the love seat in my living room.

Geese Click and Clack-IMG_7176-Done-Reduced
I am weirdly afraid of geese, primarily because I don't "speak goose."  If you can't correctly interpret animal body language, you are at a distinct disadvantage.  I opted for "immersion therapy" and made a point to be "Click" and "Clack's" caretaker each day.  You may laugh, but you lock yourself in a small pen with hissing geese and see how you  feel.

Dog-Baxter-IMG_7120-Done Reduced
There were many pictures of adorable pups that I could have chosen, but the heart operates in mysterious ways, and "Baxter" was particularly special to me.  Be well, Baxter!

The animals’ transformation over the course of their stay at our shelter was true testament to the power of kindness.  Seeing a dog once snarling and snapping in its perceived self defense, or, quite literally, hiding with its head pressed into a corner for days gradually learn to trust and connect with us is a powerful, gratifying and humbling experience.  It's difficult for me, not knowing the end of each individual animal's story, after developing my own relationship with them over the course of my week there.  As I look at the media about this case (some of which is linked below), I recognize each animal - its personality, its quirks, the difficulties and successes I had, and remember fondly the time I spent with it.  Writing this post almost a full month after my "tour of duty" brings on a few unexpected tears. I guess the bittersweet leash that connects my heart across the miles to these animals is more durable than I thought.

As I write, these rescued animals are being distributed to shelters across the western US for adoption, to begin a new and better life.  Let me take this moment to beg you, if you want to acquire a pet, please adopt one from your local shelter. If you desire a certain breed, then inquire with one of the many breed specific rescue organizations.  Don't bolster demand and contribute to pet overpopulation.  Save one of the many lives that, right here, right now, need saving.  You really are, as they say, either part of the problem or part of the solution.  You choose.

Hard work makes for some very hungry volunteers.  We were well fed during out stay, with local restaurants kindly donating lunches daily.  Many thanks go to “Speedy B’s” and “Iggy’s Country Cookin’” for their generosity and hearty meals, and to the many members of the community who brought us snacks and needed supplies.  Local veterinarians and staff donated their time and medical supplies, and PetSmart Charities unloaded an entire 18 wheeler of fencing, food, bowls, leashes, and everything else one needs to set up an animal shelter. The sheriff's office provided important security, and the local animal control lent a hand as well.  The cast of characters in this operation ran deep.

EARS St Johns 015
After a few too many snacks, I crave plants!

You should know by now that any proper touring motorcyclist will opt for the long way home, especially if it involves the Coronado Scenic Byway (AZ 191), that glorious 100 mile stretch of twisty turny road I told you about at the end of this post.  Having just had two days of instruction at the track the week prior, I had high expectations for fun.   The gentle turns between  Alpine and Hannagan Meadow give the sportin’ rider a chance to warm up both tires and brain.  Just south of Hannagan Meadow, the game is on, with the turns becoming tighter, more challenging, and more fun.  I dug into that first good corner with gusto and…

…sand trap!   Right in that first bend, cleverly positioned such that, if not competently negotiated, the governing laws of physics would likely send motorcycle and rider over the edge of an impressive cliff.  My helmet bore witness to some colorful vocabulary, but I am grateful for good instruction, good luck, and good instincts.   My ride home that day quickly became a skills test of road hazard management.  Sand, gravel, fallen rocks, fresh oil (and the people applying it), flocks of turkeys, leaping deer, herds of cattle (and accompanying slippery poop), all directly in my path, were stern reminders that street riding is about keepin’ it real.

My route.  My sloppy photoshopping pretty much obliterated the twisties, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Further Reading about this case:
HSUS video of the initial seizure
Initial press release on the situation as published by UAN
General UAN blog link.   Scroll through for all updates and details about this case, and others as they occur.
Specific UAN Blog post featuring some of my work that week
UAN Facebook page - updates and lots of photos

* I was going to use a clever play on words here, using the Ducati model 911 I was so sure existed.  But, duh, the 911 is a Porsche, not a Ducati, and even Porsches have two too many wheels, so why bother?
** Anyone can volunteer!  You need not be licensed or even work in an animal health care field.
*** Conditions that, in some respects, reminded me of those in a CAFO ("Confined Animal Feeding Operation," aka factory farm, except in this case, minus the food and water.)  Why so many people find this acceptable treatment for food animals, yet rightfully horrifying for pets is really, really hard to grasp.  It's a matter of education and compartmentalization, I guess.  But all this is an entirely different discussion.  Remember though, our choices, without question, once again make us part of the problem or part of the solution.   Consider the choices we make in this regard over the course of a day, a week, a month.  What side of the equation does your sum total fall on?  Think about it, and choose knowingly.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Track Princess Goes Back to School

New school supplies in hand, I recently went back to the featured locale of my “Twelfth Day of Christmas," the Inde Motorsports Ranch, this time for some formal instruction at the Peris Riding School.

I got to play the role of Track Princess yet again, being the guest of my former employer-now-friend-now-“benefactor”.  And again, this wasn’t the mob of riders I had fully expected, but a class of perhaps ten or fifteen really serious riders and racers from all over the US and Canada.  Yup, all those top notch riders and… me.  Hah!*  I’m not kidding about that “Track Princess” part.

The Princess and her Ride

Chris Peris Riding School 004
The line up gets a spot check.

The two day course was part classroom time (from which I pilfered the lean angle photo I used here) and part riding.  Aside from the obvious thrill of getting to zoom around a racetrack unimpeded**, some other class features included getting yourself video taped for a lap (cool!) and having it critiqued in front of the class (groan!), a detailed talk about motorcycle suspension and how it affects your riding by guru Dave Ciesielski (who couldn’t bear to let me leave my folding mirrors on while I was riding), having the expertise of the Evan Steele Performance team at your disposal (they adjusted my rear brake lever so it would stop dragging on the ground when I cornered - I’d hate to catch the rear brake accidentally when I wasn’t meaning to, can you blame me?), and…


…a bomber thrill ride as pillion with Top Ten AMA Professional Racer Chris Peris!  I can’t think of a more effective way to redefine “fast.”  It went something like this:

Chris:  “Okay, first we’ll go on a slow lap..”

Me (in anticipation):  Hop, hop, bounce, bounce

Chris: “… then we’ll take a lap at speed.”

Me:  “Wahooooyeehaaaaaaa!”

Chris:  [continues to give instruction]

Me:  [continues to hop and whoop senselessly]

I joyously leap on the back of the BMW S1000RR (provided, I think, by Iron Horse Motorcycles).  I’m an expert pillion, but, but… the seat is the size of a basil leaf (maybe) and perched waaaaay up high.    And there’s nothing, I repeat, NOTHING to hold on to.   We take off and hit the long straightaway.

“Yaaaaaahoooooyoooowwwwwwwfffffast!!”  (Wasn’t this going to be the slow lap?)

Brake hard at the end of the straightaway in preparation for the first turn.  The pegs fold up under my feet.  Now I’ve got nuthin’ ‘cept the gas tank to brace against.


And through 21 turns and all the straights in between, with my head being practically blown off my neck:


Second lap.  Oh.  I see.  That WAS the slow lap.  This one is much, much faster.


Apologies to Chris for screaming in his ear.

Here I am, trying (and failing)  to "be cool" before hopping aboard.

Yes, this was the thrill ride of a lifetime on a two-wheeled rocket ship.  And as crazy fun-terrifying as it was (think high-dive or roller coaster, then multiply both thrill and fear factors by ten thousand), there wasn’t a lot of learning going on when you are busy hooting and hollering.  I did have the presence of mind to ask if we could go on a “Paula-Speed” lap as well, and Chris obliged.  The point being, that while I understand the concepts we had been learning about, I needed to see how they could be applied at my pace.  So we went for two actual slow laps where he patiently talked through each turn for me.

I knew my non-motorcycle riding friends would ask me, so I made a point to find out.  (Riders know that the last thing you’re doing while riding at the track is looking at your speedo.)  How fast did we go? Well, Chris wasn’t riding his actual racing bike, so it was just a piddling 160 mph or so.  Yawn, right?

After my ride, it took a good 45 minutes of recovery time before my heart stopped pounding and my legs stopped wobbling and I could consider getting back on my own bike.  Let me point out here that there were plenty of fast riders out there that said “No. Way.” when presented with this opportunity.  Just sayin’.

Teacher and me!

Some of the skills we worked on were the “lines” (the exact path around each corner), body position (hanging your body off the side of the bike when cornering), being either on the gas or on the brakes at all times (never in between), and trail braking all the way into the apex of the turns.  The first three concepts I pretty much get.  I mean, not at 160mph, but I can do them at my own level.  But braking all the way to the apex of the turn?  Yo, yo, THAT was new and crazy for me.  I was taught to brake until you begin to turn, then hit the throttle.  But today’s sport bikes are even more agile when the front wheel is carrying some extra weight, an effect easily created with a touch of your front brake.  I’ve got some learning to do.

We enjoyed dinner in the kitchen I showed to you in my last track post.  Simple, hearty and good – barbecued chicken (our chef for the evening gets two thumbs up for having the good sense to use dark meat), corn on the cob, rolls, beans, salsa and a cold beer or two.  (The beer only comes out after the bikes are safely put away.)

Chris Peris Riding School 054

* As before, gratitude to every single person there for making me feel welcome in a pack way beyond my skill level.  It was a fantastic learning environment, and again, I came away feeling good about my riding ability, despite the advanced company I was keeping.  Respect to all the excellent riders I met.

**Well, there were some impediments for some folks.  “Get offs” (aka crashes) do happen, and there were three over the course of the two days.  Two riders got away with a few curse words and banged up bikes, but my friend managed to do in six ribs, his pelvis, clavicle and scapula.  All in good fun, right?  (???)  Oy, crashing is for boys.  I think I'm going to bring him some croissants.  He needs some fattening up, anyway.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Rainbow in My Kitchen

You can’t help but think about color when you’re painting your living room.  Or cooking with beets.  In an orange and cobalt blue kitchen.  All of which I did this week.  My living room walls are now the color of a brown egg.   Brown eggs are anything but plain.  Take a look next time you open up a carton.  Each one varies slightly with differing tones of pink, orange and gold beneath what we think of as brown.   Eggs laid by chickens that actually eat and live as chickens should are a thing of glory. Brilliant orange rather than the pallid yellow of eggs lain by factory farmed (and extraordinarily cruelly treated) laying hens, their yolks always have me oohing and aahing at the electric color they lend to my crepes, my omelettes, my fresh pasta.

I just made a chocolate beet cake.  Yes, a chocolate beet cake.  The ingredients had as much color as an electric blue Suzuki,  a neon green Kawasaki, or, of course, a 1930's lipstick red Ducati.

In motorcycle related news, I’m leaving on a little trip.  When I look at the backlog of blog posts I have half written, I wonder if I’ll ever get around to telling you about it.

Beet cake 006

Beet cake 008

Beet cake 009 
Beet cake 018 
Beet Cake 024

Roll the credits:
  • Beets and eggs compliments of my beloved CSA.
  • Beets pureed with my German Wheels.  I can’t believe I ever lived without them.  I don’t need no stinkin’ food processor.
  • Recipe compliments of Ross Burden (well almost, I changed a few things), chosen after exhaustive research consisting of perhaps five mouse clicks.   I had my reasons, actually, but I don’t feel like typing out the higher culinary math involved in that decision right now. I’d rather go eat a piece of cake.
  • Sour cream ganache (of my own design) not shown.
  • Happy Earth Day!  How lovely to celebrate mother nature's edible colors.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Croissant Postscript

I had one sharp-eyed reader of my Croissant Daily Special post object to the photo.  He thinks the Ducati cup should continue to be displayed only in black and white, as in this post.

So here it is, duly (and hastily) amended.

The Daily Special: Croissants

I’ve noticed that whenever I do post a recipe (which is rare, I know), it’s usually for  a dish I’ve unthinkingly concocted in 10 minutes or less, about which I think as I sit down to eat,  “Huh.  Not bad for not paying attention.” This is not to say that I don’t enjoy spending two days roasting bones in order to make beef stock to then make a brown sauce simmered for hours to go with a pastry encased mushroom stuffed beef Wellington.  Or a different two days individually roasting and frying a multitude of aromatics and chiles, grinding them each by hand to make Thai roasted chiles in oil, then making my own coconut cream by cracking open a coconut, prying out the meat, shredding it, squeezing the flesh in water the traditional minimum of 89 times and collecting the sweet smooth cream that rises to the top of the mixture, both of which are then used (along with other ingredients) to make the best sate sauce you’ve ever imagined.  Or spending a half day pulling each nub off of dried posole grains so it “blooms” properly in that cozy winter stew.  Or peeling a mountain of fava beans.  Twice.  First the pods, then each individual bean.   I just never write about that stuff,  I don’t know why.

Yesterday morning I woke up and decided to make croissants.  If I started at that very moment, I might have them for a late night snack.  It’s a 10-12 hour project, although in this case, most of that time the dough is rising or resting and you are doing something else.  Like working on your Kawasaki.  Or painting your living room.  (Both of which I’m doing this week.)

Croissants are an ingenious trick of culinary origami.  With just a few simple foldings of yeast dough spread with butter, you end up with 54 thin layers of butter separated by 55 thin layers of dough. With a slightly more ornate folding system you can make fine puff pastry – 729 layers of butter lovingly sandwiched between 730 layers of dough.  So you see, the name "mille-feuille" ("thousand leaves") is not too far off the mark.  In case you were wondering.  Anyway, as your pastry cooks, the water in the butter turns to steam, puffing up and separating those ever-so-thin layer of dough.   What that means to you and me is light, buttery, flaky goodness on our breakfast plates.  Clever, huh?

Croissants 023
Les croissants avec le latte.  How cross cultural of me. Yes.  I had two.  What of it?

Here’s the recipe:
Go to your public library and check out “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck.  Turn to page 96 of Volume Two and follow the directions printed there.  It’s that easy.*   Well, almost.  Don’t use 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Use only one tsp.  Just my opinion, but I thought I’d pass it on.

Really, if you are at all serious about learning to cook, this is the one cookbook you should actually own.  Anything else is, you know, gravy.  Over two decades ago I bought my own copy at a bookstore in Cambridge.  I probably had to skip dinner for a week to afford it.  (It’s not expensive, it’s just that pesky starving artist budget of mine.)  It was my only cookbook for a good five years thereafter.  Fumble your way through as I did, and you will learn everything you need to know.**  You’ll know why one does this, why  one does that, and soon find yourself able to improvise at will with whatever is in your refrigerator.   Funny, I rarely pull it (or any cookbook) out of the shelf now, but I use what I learned in it for every meal.  Will you feel as awkward as I do trying to get my back wheel back on after a tire change without having someone else hold everything in line as I slip in the axle?  Probably.  At first.  But no kitchen toy or extra set of hands replaces the skills and knowledge you can not help but learn from these absolute timeless masterpieces.

* A few tips about working with butter in pastry. Slow and steady does not win the race.  Haste makes flaky pastry.  Be quick about everything you do, forgoing any urge to make things neat.  Leave your tape measure in the toolbox. The butter needs to stay quite cool as you work.  Although it is by no means necessary, you can spring for “European style” butter.  Its lower water content makes it more malleable (i.e. easier to bend to your will) when cold.  Don’t be a hero and try to do this in a 95 degree kitchen.  That’s akin to, oh, I dunno, tightening bolts using the wrong torque wrench.  You make do, but without experience…  well, you all know it can end badly.  I don’t have much of a choice in the matter with regards to kitchen temperature, living in Tucson without the aid of air conditioning, and I have been known to do delicate chocolate work with one hand as I balance a heavy cake with the other in front of the open refrigerator.    Yesterday, my kitchen was a good 90 degrees with the western sun blasting right onto my counters. I had 15 seconds working time, max, to form each croissant before it got too soft and after that the downhill slope is fast and steep.  “Real” pastry kitchens are climate controlled to arctic conditions.  Be sure to save the step where you beat the butter with a rolling pin for the moment you’re about to start hauling tools at the fence in the the back yard because you can’t reach the place where the hose clamp between the fuel filter and carburetor is supposed to go. It’s much more productive than breaking that expensive torque wrench.

** Yes, yes, there’s that movie, but I’ve mentioned that already once before.  I did laugh, though, as I caught myself reciting, word for word, after all those years, bits of “Mastering the Art…”  along with the protagonist during the movie.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shoe shopping! (A Rare Feat)

Even a girl with a defective shopping gene can enjoy a splurge on some fine Italian footwear when she’s down, no?

The boots I mentioned in the fine print of this post.  Sidi Vertigo Lei.  I couldn't find them with the red detailing, only pink.  pbbbbbbt

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas: An Index

Can I be done with this Twelve Days thing, already??  

I've made a little index page, since my Twelve Days of Christmas story was interspersed with other posts.  It gave me an excuse to spend four hours learning to merge photos in Photoshop.  I found it doesn't work very well unless you use a tripod when taking the photos.  I don't own a tripod.  But I do have a ceiling fan pull chain conveniently located directly over the table I was using to lay out the maps.  Line up camera with pull chain and... close enough.

Approximate route. Approximate because I'm trying to remember it over three months after the fact.  Still, I think I got it right.

Day One: Shopping (Blech!) 
Gearing up.

Days Two and Three: Floods and Astronomical Phenomena at Chiricahua N. P. and Mount Graham
Fooling Mother Nature.

Day Four:  Desert Rain Cafe and Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
Making some tracks.

Day Five: Route 66
Unexpected traffic in an unexpected place.

Day Six: Lake Mead, Valley of Fire
Pleasant surprise.

Day Six: Vegas and Shining Stars of Another Kind - Christmas Dinner
Spending a week's pay on dinner.

Day Seven:  Arrival - Death Valley
The other end of the dining spectrum.

Day Eight: Death Valley Blitz 
We've got just one day, but half the roads are closed, anyway.

Day Nine: Headed Home
Mother Nature gets the last laugh.

Day Ten: Happy New Year!
Eating in.

Day Eleven:  Kitt Peak Consolation Prize 
Original Day Twelve plans snowed out.

Day Twelve:  Ducati Epilogue!
I knew this was gonna be fun, but holy lean angle, people.

Well then.  I guess it's about time I start my second "What I Did Last Summer" series.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Day Twelve: Track Day!

Well, Merry Christmas to me, the stars have aligned themselves yet again.  I've been wanting to ride on a track for ages, but the opportunity has eluded me until now.  Not only is it a big hit to this starving artist's budget, but "track days" seem to be designed to directly conflict with the working classical musician's schedule.  A friend (former employer, actually) recently became a lifetime member of the Inde Motorsports Ranch near Willcox, AZ.  What this means to you and me is that he can ride there whenever he feels like it, AND he can bring a guest (that's me!) for free.  So, instead of paying several hundreds of dollars to ride on the track with, oh, a zillion other people, I paid nothing, had my bike transported in the luxury accommodations of the Iron Horse BMW enclosed multibike trailer, and shared the entire track with oh, maybe 10 other riders at most. I am the Track Princess!

Here's the track.  2.75 miles and 21 turns.  What's not to like?

No traffic, road surface issues or grumpy law enforcement to worry about, plus lots of safe run off in the event of a miscalculation all add up to... zoom zoom!

The picture looks so simple, but without a map in your head, it's easy to feel a bit lost on your first few laps. Those little secondary lines don't look so secondary when you're out there, and the map doesn't show the slight elevation changes.  The hills are just steep enough to leave you wondering what's coming next until you have the circuit memorized in your head.  And that's all part of the fun!

Someone snapped this during my "pre-flight" check.

Look at all the pretty bikes!

Although I have nothing to compare it to, I'm told this is a pretty nice facility as far as tracks go.  I'm inclined to believe it.  Located near Chiricahau National Monument and the Willcox Playa Wildlife Area (a popular area to view sandhill cranes, among other birds), the vistas are beautiful (not that you're gazing at scenery while racing around the track, or anything).  There's an observation tower with a bar (I assume those imbibing are limiting themselves to watching, not riding or driving), showers (stocked with fluffy towels and scented bath products), classroom facilities including flat screen video equipment and a glass topped table made from a Ford Cosworth engine, a pretty little dining patio with a very nice barbecue and garden sculptures...



...a kitchen bigger than my entire apartment.  Fully equipped with the best of the best.  Check out THIS baby.  Its brakes and 0-60 time rival that of many of the machines out on the asphalt here today.  Serious cooks know exactly what I'm talking about.  I heard a rumor that the chef gets a break on the cost of class time, so I'll be back, armed, and ready to duel for that privilege.

I was in fine company - owners of motorcycle dealerships, riding coaches and real live racers! They were friendly and helpful, showing me the map and explaining the strategy for each turn (the "delayed apex" line one uses for turns on the street no longer applies!) and taking me on "sight laps" of the track.  They were graciously complimentary of my riding skills, but served up some deserved friendly fire at my footwear* (hiking boots, the only real weak spot in my suit of armor).  And although they could pass me at unthinkable speeds, I ended the day feeling good about my ability.

Part of the fun of riding a motorcycle (especially on the track) is that in your mind, you look very, very cool.  Something like this...

That's "FOG," the kind EX500-er who bailed me out in this post by mailing me valve cover bolts for my Kawasaki.

or even this...

I'll explain where I got this photo later.
Of course, you and I know better.  I'll never look like those photos.  My bike is red!

Chances are, I looked more along the lines of this...

Me (and Kawi), touring in Colorado.

To be fair, that's not quite right either. If you know where to look, there is some physical evidence on my motorcycle that suggests I was somewhere between the two.

Despite my inexperience in this new riding environment, I do think I set at least one record...

Happy, Happy Track Princess!

...the one for biggest smile!

*Tracks often offer formal instruction with professional riders, and each school has its own safety gear requirements.  I'm going to have to buy some real motorcycle boots for the class offered at Inde.  More shopping.  Blech.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Day Eleven: Kitt Peak and Carne Asada
Although we made it home on schedule, the rain we rode through to do so turned out to be snow in other places.  The crown jewel of our trip was snowed out!   Well, not quite. I got to enjoy it myself a week or two later, and I reserve the right to call it “Day Twelve” of my adventure.
 Tires, Telescopes and Tacos (Kitt Peak and BK Tacos) 019
We consoled ourselves with a trip up Kitt Peak and an exploration of South Tucson’s carne asada tacos and Sonoran hot dogs.  Tucson swims knee-deep in a sloppy, saucy, cheesy muck of Tex-Mex combination plates (not that there's anything wrong with that, although, in my opinion, the pinnacle of Sonoran cuisine is its flour tortilla - paper thin, rich, delicious and thankfully not at all like the cardboard that, for decades, kept me wondering what the big deal was with Mexican food), but it took me more than a decade of living here to find Guero Canelo and BK Carne Asada, two of the better places to find proper carne asada tacos.  Truth be told, I wasn’t really looking, for most of my time here, but now that I’ve found them, I can’t imagine not having this vital piece of information.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A View from the Cockpit

I looked up from my work just now* and this is exactly what I saw.    It made me smile.  And stop to snap a photo.

View from over the cockpit 002
Today’s CSA haul, in mid-prep.  Every Tuesday is Christmas!  I live in a pretty small house. The music stand is in the bedroom,  and from there I have a pretty good view of the kitchen.

*"Just now" meaning two weeks ago.  Today's CSA pick up reminded me that I wrote this post two weeks ago and never published it.