After months of talking about it, I finally made a trip to Tucson to see my family. It was my aunt’s 80th birthday and I knew I couldn’t miss her party. She is one of my favorite relatives and one of the sharpest and funniest women in the family.
She’s hilarious and biting and I remember one time in particular when my mom’s flamboyantly dressed friend was over. This woman always wore bright lipstick, tight clothes, and high heels. But this time she was wearing a turtleneck and my aunt said to her, “Oh, I didn’t recognize you without seeing your breasts.” I always think of that when I see a low-cut shirt in a store.
I left the kids at home so it was a completely different trip than I had planned. The first day and night was spent with friends, some of whom I’ve known since the 2nd grade. We had dinner at a new restaurant, Contigo, and it was very good. We shared bacon wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo, mussels with saffron, shrimp with garlic, and this treat (below right) that was cold and tasted like creamy masa with green chilis.
The next day my sister arrived with her daughter and after talking her out of going for a run in the 103 degree heat we went to Zin Burger, my new favorite non-Mexican spot. We shared sweet potato fries, truffle fries (above left), a Zin Burger with manchego and carmelized onions, and a salad with bacon and tomatoes. What I really wanted was a chocolate sangria, but it seemed too hot for that.
After a lovely day with my nieces and my mom, we headed to the party. My cousin hired a group of high school students who played at the Tucson International Mariachi Conference to perform for my aunt. They were fabulous and my aunt seemed very happy.
The food until then in Tucson had been very good, but nothing could compare to the spread at the party. And it wasn’t catered. It was all made by my aunt’s cousin from Mexico. She made shredded beef with garlic and green olives, roasted vegetable salad, homemade tortillas, and beans so good you could smell the bacon.
I can’t believe that after all of the food (and tequila) on Saturday my sister and I were able to go on a hike the next morning. We went to the Linda Vista Trail and hiked for an hour or so. It’s a nice, moderate trail and it was unusually green.