Moving WestSunday, February 13th, 2011 – Moving day today. All the left-overs of the cold weather are all packed away, folded and shoved deep in storage. Hopefully won’t need it anytime soon. I also folded and rearranged all the “normal” hoses that were still thrown on the bed of the truck, so it wasn’t before noon when we actually started driving. The direction – Silver City. Destination – Campground. Which one? doesn’t matter. The first part of the way was just a straight black line crossing a brown flat infinity. Shortly south of Carlsbad there was a sign: “Next Service 130 miles”. That is just before El Paso TX. Nothing on the way… My tank is full and I am carrying a spare tank on the truck. Just in case. I also have now a spare 40 gallon LP Cylinder. Trying to be on the safe side.
After couple hours of driving, we saw a weird solid shape coming out of the ground. We could not believe that there is actually something that is not flat in this area. We got closer but the shapes were still there. It was a mountain! a real mountain in the middle of the flat! So odd that they declared a National Park for that purpose! A brief thought crossed my mind, from left to right – should I stop? Neh – we will be here next year– Guadalupe Mountains.
We drove into El-Paso, a big urban stretch, and lots of traffic. Filled up the tank and stopped for lunch at Flying-J at Anthony, same gas station we were last year when they fixed our rig at Camping World. The Iron Skillet Buffet was gone, and instead there was a Denny’s restaurant. You know, Denny’s. Should I say more?
Back to NM on I-10 all the way to Deming, passed by the campground we stayed last year just before we split away on hwy 180 north towards Silver city. Patti started looking for a campground and found Manzano’s. Big lot, Internet, low rates... can’t go too wrong with that. When we got there it was already dark, no one to talk to. There was a sign on the office door that tells you to pick a site, and come back when the office is open. We parked the truck, took our phones and loaded the WiFi Signal meter. We usually take a walk to see the places esp after dark, and make sure that the signal is strong enough. But there was no signal. Nothing!
We can’t stay here without WiFi, so back to the truck to the next place. Found Rose Valley Ranch, with good reviews about the park and the internet. A little more expensive but still not too bad. $170 a week. We found the park and drove up and down the alleys. Finally we settled in a perfect spot at the back of the park, looking towards an open field. with much privacy.
Monday, February 14th, 2011 – Valentine’s day! Got up to a beautiful morning, with a great view on our back window. It has been a while since we could actually open the curtain on the back, and not see a wall or a neighbor, so that was a great refreshing start to a great day. I could not find flowers, so I got a dry wood stick and drew some flowers on it, gave it to Patti. She smiled. Worth it!
The rest of the day was mainly work. Lots of phone calls and catch up with urgent issues. Patti looked for a place for us to go out tonight and found a Mediterranean style restaurant – Shevek & Co.. I called to make reservation but there was no answer. Left a message. I don’t think they will call back. But they did! Tonight at 7:00pm we have a table for two.
We pushed it to the last minute. At 6:30 we started to get ready, and 6:45 we were at the door ready to go. The restaurant did not look appealing from the outside, a standard store front on a quiet road. When we got in, I could immediately feel a European atmosphere and a sense of a fine dining restaurant – those that you can find in small towns where they converted a residential dwelling. We were invited in, and opened the menu – One thing for sure – this restaurant is unique! You could not find here any ordinary dish, No Fettuccini Alfredo, No Fillet Mignon, and no burgers. Every dish was well thought and more unique than the other. For example – Orange & Coriander Duck, Mahi Mahi with Capicollo and Lemon and many more.
At the top of the menu, there was an interesting option – Let the Chef decide. The Chef will come and after a short Interview with you will cook a meal just for you. That sound interesting!
We decided to go with it all the way. Food, wine and dessert – are all by the Chef’s choice. Shevek came out to meet us, and asked just few questions, like if we are allergic to anything, if we like spicy, and if there is anything we absolutely will not eat. Patti said – Eggplants. Shevek also noticed the star of David on my neck and asked if I eat Kosher, and then made a comment – if you would, you probably wouldn’t have come to this restaurant. Hmmm.
The wine arrived – Angels whisper – a white wine from France. Delicious. Great start for the evening. With the homey atmosphere and the excitement of a great dining place we were both looking forward to be surprised, and the surprises came. Oh did they come. One after the other. The first dish was Zalook. A Moroccan salad. Patti tasted it and her first comment was – WOW – Amazing. She finished the whole dish almost by herself! When we were done, Shevek came out and asked Patti – well, how was the Zalook? Wonderful Patti said. “Did you know that it is made out of eggplants?" he asked… Patti was in shock! She hates eggplants, yet this was so good…. It is not eggplants that you don’t like, told her our Chef, it is just that they were never prepared to you as they should. That was an amazing experience that left a great impact on Patti.
But the surprises did not stop there. The dishes came one after the other, maybe 4 or 5 of them. From Zucchini to Fried Brie with dried tomatoes all so flavorful and well prepared fresh and from scratch. Later, when the pressure on the kitchen was not so high, the Chef came out and start talking to us. Listen to this – He is a Jewish guy from Brooklyn, lived all over the Mediterranean, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Greece, Turkey… Fell in love with the Sephardi cuisine and decided to become a Chef and open a restaurant in a small town in the US. And so he did. He knows some Hebrew, and even few words in Arabic. Unbelievable.
We ended up staying and talking to the Chef and the two tables beside us joined too. It was just a great conversation of great food (not to mention the desserts) great company great time – just as I said earlier – it was just great. I will not forget this evening for a long time :)
Tomorrow –back to normal More work to do, but before we will get out of here, there are 2-3 places around I would love to see. So you are invited to continue and follow along, and just to let you know – I appreciate you are came along so far!