duck-shaped pain


24 April 2001
Hot and Salty

Yes, I'm back. I actually got back late on Monday. I should have could have written earlier, but I missed two days of work and thus has a bunch to catch up on. So, anyway – at least I eventually made the time.

It snowed. Not a lot where I was, but enough in the places I needed to drive through to get home to close interstate 70 for much of Sunday. Which gave me a free extra bonus day in Denver.

By this point, I had already done most of the things I had planned to do during my trip. I went shopping for new spring and summer clothes. [1] (This might not sound that exciting – it wouldn't thrill me even on most days – but it's the first time I've set out to Buy Clothes in, say, years..) My mom and I went on a massive thrift store trawl one day, hitting six stores.

I was up for it, even though my limit is usually two. I'm always excited to get to the first one. I search he store exhaustively – first, men's clothes, then books and records, then women's clothes, then finally dishes and furniture. [2]I need to see everything so that I can be sure that I'm not missing out on any hidden treasures. The second store will be the same, only with a slight decrease in the amount of pleasure gained from it. By the third one, if there even is one, I become really mercenary and tend to quickly run through the most important parts: the jeans, the hardback books, the coffee mugs. Plus, by this time, I'm usually covered in a thin layer of thrift store grime and just want to go home and take a shower.

But, six it was. I was still standing after them all, even though I itched to wash my hands. I didn't find a whole lot, unfortunately. I bought two Fiestaware bowls [3], a couple of books, a brown long-sleeved t-shirt and a matching bowl and platter. The latter was part of a highly incomplete set of circa-1950 Rosenthal china in a weird green and silver leaf pattern. It was a pretty neat pattern – very modern and austere, but I figured it was the sort of set I would never be able to complete without a lot of effort and money. [4] I already have enough incomplete sets of things, thank you. So I left the saucers and salad plates behind and only bought the big pieces. A rare show of strength on my part, I must say.

So, I spent my last day there doing a whole lot of relaxing. I went out for Japanese food, and ate a big bowl of dashi broth with udon, fried tofu skins, seaweed and fish cake. There was also green tea and edamame. I drove into the city (my mom lives out in the hinterlands of Arvada) and went record shopping. Then I met S. for some coffee and we talked for about three hours. He started out telling me this story about what had happened at a party his roommates threw on Easter. It was a pretty basic story: people had a little too much to drink, including his male roommate, who decided to take off in his girlfriend's car for awhile and disappeared and finally came back at four the next morning. But, with all the discussion and tangents this story involved (some related to the main plot, some not at all), it took about two hours for the story to completely unfold. Not like it wasn't worth it, though.

After the coffee was cold and unable to be resuscitated by either the microwave or the addition of more coffee, we left. It was dinner time. It was also time for Pete's. We each had one of the many gyro possibilities on the menu. I, more of a traditionalist at times, went for the basic gyro sandwich. S. chose the gyro omelet. We could have also selected the breakfast gyro (like a normal gyro, but with scrambled eggs mixed in with your meat, your onions and your pita) or the gyro plate (pile of meat on a plate). It was a decent meal to accompany a conversation about whose place of residence spawned the most freaks. I think I won.

My mom has this gift for finding good Mexican restaurants. Ones that don't look promising from the outside at all, but which turn out to be spectacularly good. During my three day stay, we ate twice at the place she's been frequenting the most lately, a restaurant called Luna's, located on 64th Avenue sort of near Sheridan in Arvada. It's a tiny place, housed in a building that was obviously some long-forgotten fast food restaurant at one time. Orange booths. Mismatching chairs. But what they don't spend on d้cor here they put into their chips instead. For the chips they serve are the kind that will ruin you on all other chips for the rest of your life. A basket of them came just as soon as we sat down, which is amazing, since they fry their chips to order. Every basket of chips that comes out of the restaurant's tiny kitchen is fresh and sizzling hot. They're served with a tasty red salsa and a bowl of their green chili mixed with cheese. The salsa is good, but the green chili is what best accompanies the chips. Although, these are mightily good on their own -- crispy and warm with just the right amount of salt.

For the meal, I couldn't decide between a big burrito or an order of chiles rellenos. But it turns out that no decision was necessary, for they offered a chile relleno burrito. This was the customary chile filled with cheese, rolled in egg and fried, but it was them coated with beans and wrapped in a tortilla. After the chips, I didn't have a whole lot of room, but I made a dent in the burrito nonetheless.

On my second visit, I had the carne asada, which was a very tender piece of steak topped with more of their green chile. It was also very tasty. I'd highly recommend eating at this place to anyone.

[1] Two pairs of black pants: a fitted cotton pair and a wide-legged linen pair, two t-shirts, one black and one white, a black cotton cardigan, an enormous white button-down linen tunic, and a pale green dress. Enough to last me for awhile, I suppose.

[2] This pattern can vary due to the layout of each individual thrift store, but that's usually how I do it.

[3] Not the old stuff, unfortunately. Just a couple of the white post-86 bowls.

[4] To give you an idea, my mom has been looking for 20-odd years for more pieces to another set of Rosenthal china that was handed down through the family. Has she ever found one? No. Never. Not even close. Do I want to spend my life looking for that one last dinner plate? Hardly.

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