Friendships and food are a funny thing, especially when they’re tightly linked to a particular place. Primo’s on McKinney Avenue was, for more than a decade or so I guess, where I met everyone at one time or another. I went there for first dates and anniversaries. To celebrate birthdays. To mourn deaths. For no reason at all.
Sometimes my timing is the worst ever, but this is not one of those times. As if being back in Paris again couldn’t be better, the winner of the annual best baguette competition was announced recently, and as luck would have it, the boulangerie is right next to my favorite weekend flea market, Porte de Vanves, in the fourteenth arrondissement. (I know, right?)
The other morning, Rose and I hopped into the car with my friend Barbara and Lucy, her sweet red Labrador puppy, and went for a hike — to Rio en Medio, east of Tesuque and just a mile or two past Ali MacGraw’s house. In other words, way outside of the city limits of Santa Fe.
Now settled into an historic 250-year-old adobe just east of the Plaza – my cowgirl boots and French flea market plates are finally here! – starting this month, I’m teaching COWGIRL CHEF COOKING CLASSES out of my tiny kitchen just like I did in Paris.
New Mexico has spoiled me. I can hardly think of a cheeseburger now without wondering what it would taste like with heaps of freshly roasted green chile on top. Now, sans chile, a cheeseburger just seems naked. Plus, living in France isn’t exactly the cheeseburger capitale, so I usually don’t bother ordering any sort of burger, unless the meat happens to be Charolais, still a distant second to my beloved Angus.
I can hardly believe it myself. After just two soggy months back on this side of the pond, losing and/or breaking three different umbrellas and hopping on more planes, trains, and boats (to Spain, Morocco, Belgium, and the South of France) than I can remember, I’m packing my big suitcase again and coming back to Texas!
When the temperature in Dallas finally dipped into the mid-90s, signalling summer’s slow ease into fall, I figured it was time to stop whining about the heat and get out there and enjoy nature’s sudden and unexpected turn. Which on a particular (and peculiar) low-humidity Thursday in late August, meant food truck night at Old City Park.
Chips and salsa have replaced chouquettes as my go-to mid-afternoon snack, and I’m liberally splashing Valentina sauce — available for about a buck fifty at the Mexican grocery stores — on everything I can. Tick-tock. I’ll be back in Paris soon, but while I’m here, I’m making melty orange cheese a daily food group.
I just taught my first class at Central Market in Fort Worth. To a sold-out crowd of more than 50. I had a staff (a staff, y’all!) of wonderful people — volunteers and Central Market employees — buzzing around behind me and putting everything together, as I walked everyone through four of my favorite recipes from my new cookbook. I chopped. I folded egg whites. I told silly stories. People laughed. When it was all over, I signed books and talked to everyone. I’m still sort of pinching myself.
There comes a time when I must take a tiny break from the nonstop consumption of: green chile cheeseburgers/breakfast burritos smothered in red and green/posole/blue corn chips, tortillas, and pancakes. That’s when I head to Vinaigrette, the salad restaurant that’s doing everything right.