Dahl's Market, home of the chile relleno burrito, the Turducken of Tex-Mex.
Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)
What we are doing here:
Dwelling in mystery.
Luxuriating in pleasure.
Seeking the hot tracks.
Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.)
And: asking What else might be possible?
Have I mentioned I've taken up Zumba? (And Zumba Gold, which I think is for Old Ladies Who Are Still Killin' It, and for people who take a long time to learn a new dance move. Like me.) I'm doing it at the Y, because that is the only gym within a five-minute radius of my house, which will be good in the winter.
Anyway, I haven't joined the Y yet, as I've only been three times. I've been paying the per-class price. Last time I went, they looked at the cash I held out, and said Yeah... just pay next time... if you want... as though paying might be optional the next time I turn up, too. Thank you for the free Zumba, Cambridge Y!
A coincidence: I was just out in California, driving from LA to San Luis Obispo for a retreat with Meadow DeVor. I left the freeway to have lunch in Ojai, just because I've always wanted to see it. Ojai is home to the splinter group of Tibetan buddhists that left Shambhala, the Boulder-based lineage I used to belong to, when there was a succession struggle. (It's complicated - if you're interested in this not-very-savory little chapter of American buddhism, here you go.)
Anyway, to get to Ojai, you drive through Casitas Springs, which is tiny, and which I had never heard of, but is notable because they have a big sign commemorating Johnny Cash, who famously lived there. I waved to Johnny. Ring of Fire! Oh, Johnny - I geddit.
I think I missed Ojai, though, because I started getting nervous about the time, so I stopped to get lunch at maybe the place voted Least Likely to Come Through Judging by Appearances. This, by the way, is what I do when I get freaked out about Taking Too Much Time. I go straight for the worst possible choice. (Whyyyyyy?) That is how I wound up at Dahl's Market in Oak View, just beyond Casitas Springs.
Dahl's is heavy on the pre-mixed cocktail supplies, light on fresh things. I put together a basket of crackers, cheese and a sad banana and felt … sad. Then I noticed, in front of the butcher's counter, a cold bar with two kinds of salsa and pickles on it. What was that doing in a grocery store… unless…
Yes! A secret taqueria. Thank God.
Now anything on this taqueria's menu would've been more exciting than what's offered at a New Blighty taco stand, but I picked the chile relleno burrito, because extra strange. If you are not familiar with this dish, it's basically a large mild green chile, like a poblano, stuffed with mild cheese, and then fried, usually with a carbohydrate coating of some kind. Relleno means "full" or "stuffed," so if you then stuff it inside a burrito, it becomes a doubly stuffed foodstuff. Basically, it's like the Turducken of burritos.
So this is a pretty baroque burrito already, and I thought that would be it, but when I cut it in half, I found that the guy had added a fried egg to it, too. Off the menu. Until recently, this would have been just about the most horrifying surprise I could find in my meal, except for a poached egg. (It is not a bloggerly conceit to say that I have poached-egg PTSD; it is fact.) But! Another fact is that trendy eaters who like trendy restaurants are going to encounter crazy eggs in all sorts of dishes. I was strangely okay with this egg in my chile relleno burrito lunch. I barely recognized myself. (This is like 2-for-1 Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, come to think of it.)
Then I got back on the road to San Luis Obispo, did my retreat, and came home to a care package from the lovely Kay. In it was (under the chocolate) a copy of Rosanne Cash's memoir, Composed. It fell right open to the chapter that begins "When I was six years old, we moved to Casitas Springs..." I knew right away I was holding a Friendly Book. (Thank you, Kay!)
Safety, health, happiness and love for all, but in particular for my children.
Updates on past experiments
There was an unwitting stop on the Hot Springs World Tour. While in California, I stayed at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Avila Beach. I don't know why I hadn't realized it was a proper hot springs, but it certainly is. The hotel was built in the late nineteenth century, and my room ("Casual," the room next door was "Bodacious") was among the oldest at the resort. It was ... not fancy. But! It had its own hot tub on the private porch, and the volume of hot stinky sulphurous water! Heaven.
Not everyone would get excited about Sycamore Springs, but when you grow up in a dry climate, with your Marine Corps dad timing your showers, all-you-can-stand hot water is high on the list of true thrills.
Destination: Date night
What has happened? Nothing this week. We have a trip to Chicago planned, though. Alinea is our aim. Please cross your fingers for us.
- Alden & Harlow
- Alinea (Chicago)
- Area Four
- Battersby (Brooklyn)
- Bondir Concord
- Coppa (for brunch)
- Franny's (Brooklyn)
Kirkland Tap & Trotter
- Myers & Chang
No. 9 Park
Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
- Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
- Roberta's (Brooklyn)
- West Bridge
Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:
- B&G Oysters
- Brick and Mortar
- Miracle of Science
That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.
Join the experiment?
You can report on your own Wayfinding experiments, if you like. Or tell me about your love for Rosanne Cash. Or just say Hi.