Yesterday was Saturday the Fourteenth -- or in a nod to The Bard and his "Julius Caesar" drama, it was the Eve of the Ides of March.
Oh, and also it was a birthday for yours truly. I celebrated the double-nickel!
Nobody baked me a birthday cake, I received no gifts -- not even an offer for hiring for a desperately-needed job -- and only one card came in the mail. Nevertheless, it was a very satisfactory observance for yours truly. I may be getting to the age when the annual rolling of the number of years on God's green Earth matters less 'n less. In fact, I probably wouldn't have made much of this birthday, except that it was the double-nickel, and I'm back in Tennessee and in Nashville.
My wife Ellen and our daughter Sarah drove down from Clarksville and took me out to lunch. They said it would be a surprise. Well, what a pleasant surprise! Instead of going some place where all three might have eaten before together, we ate at La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant on Nolensville Road. Now, dear reader, I'd passed this place many times on the bus. And about every time I considered that some time I needed to try it out. It's a bright, inviting-looking building, and always has plenty of cars parked in its lot.
I was amused that, after we were seated near the front windows, in looking around I saw a TV on toward the back, with a Spanish-channel show being broadcast. It looked like "Sábado Gigante" and the host sort of appeared like "S.G"'s Don Francisco. However, the waiter said that no, that wasn't the show nor was that him.
While living in Houston, Texas, Sarah had gotten as well acquainted with Tex-Mex cuisine as I had in San Antonio. It was very interesting to listen to her comments about this or that Tex-Mex food item or about specific experiences she had had in the huge Texas city. I was delighted to learn that the chain Taco Cabana extends to Houston. And she liked it as much as I did, including (or especially) the picante/condiment bar with the little portion cups and lids. She and I both took advantge of the lidded cups to take home small portions of the various picante or jalapeño slices or whatever!
Here at La Hacienda she ordered a torta, and she used some Spanish in the ordering! I'm proud of her for that! Ellen ordered a plate of quesadillas. And I wanted a combo plate, of taco enchilada and tamal -- but I ordered by the combo number -- and ordered número cinco by mistake instead of número cuatro. So what I got wa a combo plate with refried beans, rice, tamal, enchilada and chile relleno! And that last was a large chile; in fact, at first I considered it to be a bell pepper.
Oh, well, it was delicious, regardless. And then the girls urged me to celebrate my birthday with a sopapilla. I'd had these before, in fact several times when I first got acquainted with Ellen at TCU in Fort Worth. But what came out to the table was what I would have labeled a taco-salad gone sundae! There was a tortilla bowl like the ones many restaurants serve taco salads in. But instead of the veggies and other taco ingredients there was a generous helping of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and three maraschino cherries. I shared a cherry and a portion of the rest with each of my girls.
M-m-m! What a delicious birthday celebration! I might just take such a sopapilla over a traditional birthday cake any year!