It's been a kooky week, lovely readers. Teaching in a theatre department can definitely have its share of drama & a brief midterm episode of such took some resolving. Plus, you know that excellent big cash gig that StinkyLulu had off-and-on last Spring? The one where StinkyLulu "scores" the "essays" written under intensely pressurized circumstances by hopeful high schoolers on a brief break from bubble filling? Well, that gig kicked into high gear this week. And then -- just as abruptly -- that gig stopped. See, the Lu was booted from the project for not maintaining "validity" and "calibration" standards. (It seems the Lu could not see the "qualities of a well-reasoned essay" in the way that the muckymucks wanted the Lu to see them. Alas, alack, aloo.) Ohhhh, lovely readers, StinkyLulu has seen the face of standardized educational measurement for post-secondary instruction in the humanities... Ain't pretty.
Oh well. Easy come, easy go. And it's not like StinkyLulu has any lack of real work to do. (But that easy/extra/big cash bit? Ouch. That'll be missed.)
So, in a concerted effort to completely avoid any and all such work, StinkyLulu, MrStinky & MamaStinky hit the road this weekend for a long-planned daytrip up north to El Rito.
El Rito's just north of (but way beyond) the nearest metropole, Espanola. It's a teensy-weensy little burg that the Stinkys would likely have never known to notice but for the fact that PapaStinky lived & worked there for a number of years in the 90s (when the Lu was chomping the big apple & other such urban density.) But during the years of PapaStinky's tenure, MamaStinky became something of an aficionado of an annual event, the El Rito Studio Tour -- where area artists open their home studios & display their crafted wares for perusal & purchase.
MrStinky's always up for an exploration of the enchanted land, so -- through the wind and fog and rain (seriously) -- the Stinky Gang tooled up north. The tour was nice -- a hodgepodge of artsy-craftsy & artsy-fartsy that could really only happen in a venue as tiny as this. The only real standout work was that of the nearly famous retablo painter, Nick Herrera (who MamaStinky started collecting way back in the day & whose prices are now just beyond). Quilter & fiber artist Carol Martin-Davis' studio was probably the most pleasant & friendly. (Plus she let MamaStinky & MrStinky snatch many pears & apples from her trees. Very kind, those quilters.)
But, of course, the real purpose of any road trip is the eating. And the StinkyGang got some real good eating in. Fresh fruit snatched from the ground. Cookies offered in home studios. "Death By Chocolate" at the library. A single misfire came in the form of a nasty homemade apple pie that MrStinky bought (looked pretty, tasted evil). The true highlight, though, was lunch from El Rito's only (yet nonetheless legendary) restaurant: El Faralito. The impossibly cute shackalack seats about 20 & the place was crammed with stuffy old white people in town for the studio tour. So the StinkyGang opted for take-out, devoured on picnic tables at the college.
StinkyLulu made the wise choice to order the Frito Pie. Now, many of you lovely readers know that Frito Pie is among StinkyLulu's most favorite dishes, tasted & tested at fine restaurants and taco stands the world over. A simple concept: frito chips, piled with beans, chile, cheese & -- well -- whatever; sometimes served in the frito chip bag, more commonly in a paper or styrofoam take-out bowl/box. Like most simple concept foods, it's easy to get done proficiently. Yet there are those magical, marvelous, magnificent frito pies -- so few & far between -- that remind the Lu just why this dish is an all-time fave. Of course, the Frito Pie from El Farolito was just such a concoction. The beans were whole & stewed on their own; the chile was fresh green chile stew with small but hearty chunks of pan seared pork. Plus, Lu's Frito Pie leaked all over MrStinky. That's the true sign of magical frito pie. It'll leak all over your fancy airs, reminding you that "this is Northern New Mexico, ese." And seeing that gloopy slop of chile & bean juice all down MrStinky's expensive sweater, StinkyLulu just got all full of Hispanic Hillbilly Pride.
Home is where the frito pie leaks.
So after much artful adventuring -- just to make the Northern New Mexico Cultural Encounter complete -- the Stinkys popped into a casino. (Where MrStinky dropped $5, had enough, & retired to the car for some civilized reading.) Not so StinkyLulu & MamaStinky, who stuck around dropping enough on penny slots to return the initial investment plus twenty bucks or so. 'Twasn't enough to qualify as big winners at Cities of Gold. (Nor was the extra $20 enough to counterbalance the pain of StinkyLu's recently lost cash gig.) Nonetheless, the Stinky gang hit the high road home, flush & full of the pleasures to be found in the Land of Enchantment -- especially, leaky frito pie.