Pcasso's Page

Friday, July 16, 2010


We have spent the past several weeks in The Land of Enchantment, enjoying the high desert, mountains and crisp, cool air!

Our first stop was in Raton, NM, where we lived when we were first married. This flag is at the top of Goat Hill and the sign is lighted at night so travelers might find their way there.

Raton Pass which is located just north of the town center had been used by Spanish explorers and Indians for centuries to cut through the rugged Rocky Mountains, but the trail was too rough for wagons on the Santa Fe Trail.
Raton was founded at the site of Willow Springs, a stop on the Santa Fe Trail. The original 320 acres for the Raton townsite were purchased from the Maxwell Land Grant in 1880. In 1879, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway bought a local toll road and established a busy rail line. Raton quickly developed as a railroad, mining and ranching center for the northeast part of the New Mexico territory, as well as the county seat and principal trading center of the area. This is where Frank and I lived when he got out of dental school and here you see out first apartment.

It was very cold in the winter, so in order to save money, we would turn the heat off at 6:00 p.m. right after dinner, go to bed and snuggle under an electric blanket to keep warm. Those are the kind of things that make good memories!
We arrived just after lunch at our favorite Raton "hangout", Bearadise, and started on our vacation. We always leave home no later than 3 a.m. in order to avoid the heavy traffic in the Metroplex (Frank's idea ... NOT mine!)

We spent a great deal of our time in Raton doing absolutely nothing but sitting on the couch, watching movies on the TV and relaxing. A good way to start a vacation.

Our good friends who own this guest house, Beverly and Larry, were in town only one day and then they left for Las Cruces as their daughter, Lisa, was graduating from medical school.
Bev and I have been friends for nearly 1/2 century and it's always good to get together with her.

Her husband, Larry, is not only Frank's fishing buddy, but also runs in very lofty circles. He's a scientist and spends a lot of time in D.C. as well as Europe and Russia. It's good to have friends who have friends in high places :-)

That first evening we went to Trinidad, Colorado which is just over the pass to Cougar Canyon Resort for dinner.

We had crab legs and made a complete mess of ourselves and the table, but they were delicious. There's nothing better than too much butter!

We reminisced about all the times we had driven over Raton Pass to go to different restaurants and clubs when we were young. We had so much fun back then and still do!
That night after we had gone to bed, we heard a noise and discovered that there was a bear outside (they didn't name our place Bearadise for nothing!) The bears love to visit the "big house" at the top of the hill where Bev and Larry live, but now they have decided to come and visit us.
A couple of years ago when we were there I photographed one of the uninvited "visitors". When Frank found out that I had done this he was furious. He said, "And just exactly what would you have done if the bear decided to run after you?", and I told him that I had a plan. I was going to go into the garage with my trusty Nikon and pull down the door. I had no idea that bears could be so fast. He said that the bear would have probably been inside the garage waiting for me and we would have been closed in there together! So much for my plan. At any rate, here are a couple of the shots that I took. I guess that it was worth the risk.

You can see where Frank had been cooking the night before! I've never been very comfortable in their wonderful yard since that experience. I'm always waiting for that uninvited guest!

Several days later, a bear tried to get into the big house. Here are some photos that they took right after we had left for Santa Fe. Their dog, McKenzie, is having a fit and I would have been having one as well if I'd been there. Talk about the Wild West!

Stay tuned ... more adventures and much more excitement to come!
XOXO, Pcasso

Sunday, July 12, 2009


This blog will be a little different as I’m writing it in “journalistic” style.
Instead of doing Day 1, Day 2, etc. as I did when we went to China, I’m putting it all in one long entry. Please bear with me. Hopefully the food shots will hold your interest :-)

June 26-27

We spent our first night of vacation in Tucumcari with Teresa and Gary, our niece and nephew. Teresa is moving to Albuquerque since she’ll be teaching in Los Lunas.

Their school starts on Monday. We visited that evening with all the family and left for Santa Fe the next morning. Once we got settled into our condo we went immediately to Tia Sophia's for lunch (it was time for an enchilada fix)

After lunch we went to the Railyard which was a zoo since it was Gay Pride Day and there was a parade which ended there. There were hundreds of people everywhere and it was much too crowded to get out and look around. Many of them were in costume and they were a sight to behold! The Farmer’s Market was open as it is every Saturday and Tuesday. Since there was no place to park we headed back to the condo.

We finished unpacking and then Papa went to store. When we were settled in we had a little drink and enjoyed the wonderful cool weather. That evening we went to Kohnami Japanese Restaurant for Tempura. Home by 9:00 and in bed by 10:00.


We got up, had breakfast at the condo and then took a late morning nap. It was drizzling rain .. 64 degrees, the perfect weather to be lazy. We had lunch at PC’s since our favorite places aren’t open on Sunday. Our dear friend, Larry Stolarczyk is coming for a short visit this afternoon. He and Frank are big time fly fishing buddies.

He arrived around 3. We had a nice visit at the condo and then we went to Java Joe’s for a coffee. He left around five, we dressed and went to Vanessi’s to meet the Waldies.

There was a gentleman there named Clayton West who Doug invited to sing and he had a marvelous voice. He sang "Me and Mrs. Jones" and he was so good that it gave me goose pimples to listen to him! We could have listened to him all night. However, we were home by 10:00. As we are part of the "Golden Generation" we need our beauty sleep! As an addition, we have just found out that he sings at El Meson on Thursday nights. If you're going to be in Santa Fe, I'd encourage you to go and hear him. You won't regret it!


Watched Cash Cab since it's a favorite show of mine and then had breakfast and cleaned up. Our friends, the Cooks called. They will be coming to SF the 8th for a day or two. We had lunch at La Choza and as always, it was delicious!

We came home and rested the rest of the day. Played cards in afternoon out on the portal and had Fettuccini Alfredo with chicken here for dinner. It was our first time to try Bertoli and it was great!


Frank went to the Farmer’s Market after breakfast. Bought red chili as we are starting to run a little short of it at home and we needed to replenish our supply. He heard an interview about green chili that we will order from this farm in September when it is ready. We then went to Tomasita’s for lunch. It was not very good. You can never tell about enchiladas here in Santa Fe. It mainly depends on the chili and when it was picked so the flavors tend to vary in restaurants. We went to a movie in the late afternoon, Pelham 123. We were on the edge of our seats most of the time and worn out when it was over. It was a very good film.


Today was a slow day We went to the Shed for lunch with our long time Santa Fe friend, Patty, and had a nice visit.

Had dinner at home and watched So You Think You Can Dance.

We had Almond Croissants from the Sage Bakery for breakfast that Frank went to get for us,

and shortly after we had lunch at Bagel Mania

and then took the Rail Runner to Albuquerque and back.

It was a nice trip but lots of very odd looking people on the train. I was glad when the trip ended. Frank got help with the schedule so we would be sure and make the right connection.

We arrived home by 8, just in time to watch So You Think You Can Dance. Jeopardy is on here at 10:00 in the evening as well as in the afternoon, so we have been watching that before we go to bed each night. These are both favorite shows of ours.


We went to look at condos at El Corozon de Santa Fe and then met the Ellis' for lunch at La Choza.

We’ve decided that they have the best enchiladas in town on this trip as far as we're concerned.

After lunch we went to see “Whatever Works” which was directed by Woody Allen and starred Larry David.

If you're a Woody Allen fan like we are, you'll love it.
There’s a new movie coming soon called “The September Issue” which is documentary with Anna Wintour, the Editor of Vogue. She’s our friend Patty’s niece. I found this information about her and the movie and thought I’d share it. Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue for 20 years, is the most powerful and polarizing figure in fashion.

Larger than life and more complex than fiction, Wintour embodies a fascinating contradiction of passion and perfectionism as she reigns over a dizzying array of designers, models, photographers, and editors. The Director of this movie delivers a rare insider account of the nine months leading up to the printing of the highly anticipated September issue of the magazine, which promises to be the biggest one ever. He takes us behind the scenes at fashion week, to Europe and back, on shoots and reshoots, and into closed-door staff meetings, bearing witness to an arduous and sometimes emotionally demanding process. At the eye of this annual fashion hurricane is the two-decade relationship between Wintour and Grace Coddington, incomparable creative director and genius stylist. They are perfectly matched for this age-old conflict between creator and curator. Through them, we see close up the delicate creative chemistry it takes to remain at the top of the ever-changing fashion field. Cutler cleverly deconstructs the creative process as it plays out in the hollowed halls of Vogue, lined with racks of couture. In The September Issue, his access and insight are impressive and make us aware that he is offering us a privileged glimpse into a world many dream about but few see. The movie was an award winner at the Sundance Film Festival in January of this year.
I can’t wait for it to be released. It will be especially interesting for me since we know Patty so well.
We had dinner after the movie at the Dragon Room which is a part of the Pink Adobe.… green chili stew with a very good dry Riesling. The stew was different … not as good as mine in my opinion, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. Home by 9:30 and off to bed. We skipped Jeopardy tonight.


We were up early and had breakfast here at the condo. Since we were going to brunch at 10:00 we decided to skip Pancakes on the Plaza and just enjoy the people and the music.

The entertainment was good and at 11:00 we’ll be going to the Williamson’s for Bloody Mary’s and a great brunch at their condo at Ft. Marcy. This is our "Hostess with the Mostess, Cleo"

and here we are with her husband, Bob.

That evening we headed off to Albuquerque for a visit with Bonnie, Teresa’s mother, Gary, Teresa and Gary’s sister, Sandy. She made a shrimp boil for dinner and it was great.

We spent the night with family to avoid driving back home after dark on the 4th. It is also a Saturday night and not a good time to be on the highway. When we first arrived we visited Teresa’s new apartment and then were on our way to Bonnie’s. Gary, T and Edd joined us for dinner. Bonnie also made hush puppies and they were delicious.

We visited for a while after dinner and then were off to bed at a decent hour. Her home is great for dining al fresco since the weather is so nice in the summer in New Mexico.


We had a big and wonderful breakfast and then bid adieu to the family and went to see Ray and Eleanor, our long time friends from Raton who now live in Albuquerque.

We had a nice visit over Bloody Mary’s and then headed back to Santa Fe in time for a late lunch. We had lunch at Maria’s and then came back to the condo to watch the golf tournament. Tiger pulled it off one more time. He’s a great golfer and exciting to watch. Forgot to mention that we watched a lot of the matches at Wimbledon and saw the Williams sister play against each other for the title.
We brought chicken in for dinner and took it easy the rest of the day. I’m not feeling well so this has been a trip with a lot of rest included. The altitude is really playing havoc with my breathing and I plan to go see about this when we return. Looks as though we might have to cut the trip short this year. I really hate that for poor Papa. He enjoys New Mexico so much so it really bothers me when we have to leave because of me.


We went downtown and bought a wedding gift for David Guion at Nambe plus some lovely crystal votive candle holders for us. From there we went to the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino to look around and we had lunch.

It was probably one of the worst meals I’ve ever had. I ordered a chicken-fried steak. Big mistake! I asked her if it had cream gravy and she said that it came with brown gravy but she could get me cream gravy. Well … when it arrived it was cream of mushroom soup that they were trying to pass off as gravy. Thank goodness I didn’t pour it all over my steak before I tasted it!
I know that it might sound as though I think I’m a food critic, but all I ever seem to do is eat, so that certainly should qualify me to some degree. We probably should stick to enchiladas.

July is the beginning of the monsoons in New Mexico and every afternoon the storms move in, there is a brief shower and it cools everything off.

It makes for a wonderful little break from the heat and then there are glorious rainbows and unbelievable sunsets!
We met with our friends Chuck and Linda for dinner at Max’s, which is a new restaurant to us.

Since they are locals, then know all the wonderful little places where tourist don’t usually go and don't even know about.

The meal was absolutely delicious .... one of the best that we've ever had in Santa Fe including Geronimos! It’s a small place with only about 8 tables and two people run it …. Max and her chef, Brian Rood.

I had Gulf Shrimp and Grits with prosciutto, haricot verts, mirepoix, fresh thyme and lemon butter sauce. Divine!!!

It was one of the best meals that I’ve had in a long time. Frank had grilled lamb chop and leg with an Italian summer vegetable salad, pesto and a port reduction and he said that it was delicious as well. I wish I had taken a photograph of the beautiful presentation. Hopefully we’ll go back again before the trip is over and I can take a shot.
Max's, which has been open in the rail yard district since 2007, has brought a new energy and excitement to the Santa Fe restaurant scene. Specializing in locally farmed, sustainable meats and produce, Max's strives to bring the farmers market to your table. It's casual but elegant, and it is perfect for a romantic night out. With a selection of fine wines to accompany your meal, a night at Max's is sure to be a night you will remember.


This has been a very lazy day for me. I’m having a very difficult time breathing, so I have basically done nothing and Frank has gone out twice for food for me. We have decided to come home early due to my health problems I’m very sorry to say.


We got up early in order to get cleaned up and to try to do a few last minute things before we leave for home tomorrow. Our dear friends, the Cooks, will be arriving in the early afternoon and we plan on having dinner with them and the Waldies tonight at Max’s.

The food was so wonderful on our last visit that we decided to go there one more time before we leave. I remembered to bring my camera this time so here are a few more food shots. It was wonderful as you can see and a good time was had by all.

We started with this olive appetizer which also included roasted garlic, garlic coated crostini and an assorment of cheeses with a Balsamic Vinegar accompaniment. It was to die for!

Here are a couple of the entrees that were ordered,

and the desserts were to die for!

The Cooks had car trouble so they were a little late getting to town. Their brand new car broke down at Cline’s Corner and they came into town in grand style, riding in a tow truck! After they got settled at the Inn on the Alameda, they came to our condo for a drink and then we were off to Max’s again. We had a wonderful visit and were home by 10:30.


We loaded the car and were off to breakfast by 9:00. When we got to Baglemania, a favorite breakfast spot for us, I happened to notice that Frank wasn’t wearing any jewelry. He had left it all in the condo! As soon as he ordered, he rushed back and it was right where he had put it the night before, thank goodness!
After a delicious final meal in Santa Fe of Eggs Benedict, we headed toward Amarillo. When we got close to Tucumcari we decided to give Gary a call. He is the Superintendent of Schools in San Jon and he was on his way to have lunch at home, so we made arrangements to meet him at Blake’s. We arrived there a few minutes before he did and secured a big booth. We had a great visit with him. He’s such a wonderful young man and we feel so blessed to be able to spend time with him.

Since Frank is now the Patriarch of what was a large family at one time, we try to get together with the younger generation as often as possible. Family is so important and we hope that when we are gone all of the next generation will continue to stay in close touch with one another.
We arrived in Amarillo around 5:00 (there’s a time change between NM and Texas), rested for a while and went out for a quick bite. We ate at The Golden Corral … BIG mistake! I have never seen as many weird looking people gathered together in one place for a cheap meal in my life. Maybe there was a full moon out! The food was so-so and I was glad to get it over and get the heck out of Dodge! We were back at the motel by 8:00, watched So You Think You Can Dance (we're addicted) and were asleep by 10.


We left the motel by 7:00 a.m. and were on our way home. Passed by Cadillac Ranch and I felt compelled to take a photograph.

We’ve been by there a hundred times so I felt that the time had come to record this place.
Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in
Amarillo, Texas. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm, and it consists of what were (when originally installed during 1974) either older running used or junk Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line from 1949 to 1963. They are half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Cadillac Ranch is visible from the highway, and though it is located on private land, visiting it (by driving along a frontage road and entering the pasture by walking through an unlocked gate) is encouraged. In addition, writing graffiti on or otherwise spray-painting the vehicles is also encouraged.
We had an uneventful trip home if you discount a dreadful traffic jam on the freeway just urside of Fort Worth, We got off of it at Beach Street and took another route. Arrived at the house around 1:00, unpacked, and went for a bite to eat. When I got my computer hooked up I had an Email from the kids with this photograph to show that they had arrived safely and their vacation had officially begun.

They are in Disneyworld and I’m sure will be have a wonderful time for the next 8 days.
As much as we hated to leave our beloved Santa Fe, it’s good to be back home where I can get the necessary medical attention that I need. I have an appointment Monday with Dr. Sobti and then he will refer me out to eith a Pulmonary physician, my cardiologist or both. Stay tuned for the Pcasso medical report.