I started with some pho at the new Vietnamese restaurant, Pho A Dong. I ordered a Vietnamese pizza and shared some of my boyfriend's chicken fried rice. He had never had pho before so I brought him around to be a pho lover. Also that fish sauce with the pizza is fantastic on anything.
My boyfriend and I skipped breakfast and worked hard at the gym to have loads of stir-fried veggies, rice and noodles at Katana Grill. We love the $10 lunch buffet there and the fried rice is one of my favorite rices because it's peppery, savory and not weighed down with any spices or vegetables; it just tastes like rice.
My family drove into town to help celebrate my birthday and we decided on pizza at Dion's for dinner. I like Dion's because they have the best Ranch dressing and their pizza is very good. I like that the pizza is not as spicy or salty as they can be elsewhere.
My family got so complicated all of a sudden. They are on this no-carb diet (they cheated a little bit during my birthday week), one can't eat pork and another can't eat gluten or dairy. It was never like that before and eating with them became annoying. Four different pizzas came to our table of six people and the restaurant still got our order wrong.
My mom and dad came to my apartment with a bag of vegetables and eggs. My dad made an awesome omelet with spinach, peas, peppers, mushrooms and cheese. It didn't have carbs and it was great. I also had a giant box of salad that I needed to get rid of so we also had a sweet, apple, pecan and blueberry salad. We ate al fresco in my tiny back yard, which was really nice.
My dad, my boyfriend and I then took off to El Paso to pick up a new table set for our kitchen. We stayed there late enough to run into the lunch hour so we stopped for lunch. I don't know anything about El Paso restaurants, so we decided on something quick. It was my first time at Taco Cabana and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had street tacos because I'm a fiend for street tacos. $20 filled all three of us up pretty good.
Then we all took off to Mescalero to the Inn of Mountain Gods. It was not what I expected. Everyone was saying "camping! camping!" but we ended up at an RV park that looked like someone's drive way. I slept outside, in the cold, in a small leaky tent with my boyfriend on a bunch of gravel. I thought it would be a camping area in the woods, but we "camped" out right under a neon sign on the side of the road. I didn't like that. And I didn't like the very late dinner we made in the RV. Meat, with meat and more meat on the side.
From my previous posts, you can see that I am an aspiring vegetarian who doesn't eat that much meat in the first place. When my family took us camping they made chicken, steaks, hot dogs and turkey chili. No carbs; no buns, no macaroni salad, no potato salad, no chips. It was kind of gross to look at the amount of animal flesh everywhere but the carnivore in me told me to eat as they do. So I did and I had serious gas for the rest of the night.
Cake No. 1: Simple white cake with real frosting.With a cold cake like that I enjoy a sweet and heavy icing like that. It turned all our teeth red.
I had a surprisingly good night's sleep in that tent on the gravel. I got up quick, washed my hair and helped pack up because we had plans to eat at the casino.
When our family is together and we do something like this together, it takes a long time to get ready. It's usually me and my parents all ready and waiting for the others. I don't like that.
So close to noon, we arrived at the Inn of the Mountain Gods buffet. It was fantastic. I started with a bit of breakfast; eggs, enchiladas, scrumptious salsa and a sweet pecan cinnamon bun that made me melt. I had a wonderful, creamy seafood roll, a piece of a calzone, garlic bread with pesto and a few other things I can't remember now. I saved a lot of room for dessert and got a plate full of cakes for all of us to share.
Cake No. 2: Pineapple cake with an intricate design and purple chocolate art on top.
Cake No. 3: Lime cake with a clean white frosting.
Cake No. 4: German chocolate cake with chocolate shavings.
Cake No. 5: Chocolate rum cake with a thick, dark chocolate finish. I liked this one better than the German because it was richer in chocolate and wasn't so sweet.
Cake No. 6: Carrot cake as tall as my spread fingers.
When we arrived back in Cruces, we had about two hours to get ready for my big prize. Back up: last year I won the Ticket to Taste Dining Passport contest in Las Cruces. My sister and I ate at 20 local restaurants and got our passport stamped at each one. My prize was a dinner for eight with Kelley Coffeen, local cookbook author and food guru.
Her house is beautiful and if I had the space and money, my house would look like that too. It was colorful and spacy in that homey Mexican/Southwest way.
We started with chips, salsa, seafood guacamole and a cheese ball. We also had virgin bloody Marys and mango smoothies.
Our second course was a fish taco with a refreshing white, jalapeno sauce, cabbage and cilantro. It was good, but it was messy.
Our third and main course was a chicken taco with a number of toppings to choose from; salsa, that white jalapeno sauce, cilantro, onions, lettuce and cheese. It came with rice and beans and I thought the rice was amazing (can you tell I love rice?) because it tasted like rice. Usually rice is so bogged down with spices and oils that you can't really taste the actual rice itself. I loved the grainy taste of this particular grain. The tacos were amazing as well. They were so simple, too.
For dessert Coffeen made a:
Cake No. 7: A beautiful homemade two-decker chocolate birthday cake surrounded with chocolate covered strawberries and topped with whipped almond frosting.
She also made a biscochito in an almond pudding, which, I thought, was very delicious.
I had an amazing dinner at Coffeen's house. There was roaring wind outside, but from her dining room we saw a full moon rise over the Organs as we finished up a great meal.
My dad made another egg omelet and we had left over pizza for breakfast.
For lunch we ate at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The fries were my favorite part. I thought the burger was small for the amount of money we paid for it. I definitely wasn't anywhere near my top burgers list.
My family left Las Cruces.
St. Patrick's Day!. It was just my boyfriend and I in our messy apartment. I worked and came home from lunch to a festive, green, two-person St. Patrick's Day party. My boyfriend is cute like that. He'll go all out with balloons and streamers for holidays like St. Paddy's even though we're two grown adults.
Cake No. 9: He made a beautiful, tall and round green cake with green frosting and green sprinkles.
I didn't know he had it in him, but he pulled off a pretty vibrant green cake.
My birthday week was quite delicious. It didn't quite go as planned, but I had a relaxing time. I totally support my parents on their no-carb diet. Together they have lost a lot of weight and have really cleaned up how they eat. They're doing it for their health and it really seems to be working for them. I would like to try no-carb or low-carb, but it's actually very difficult. As I said, I love rice and I love cake. My goal this year is to clean up my diet and get healthier.