Since they had yet to spend any time alone on their honeymoon [a side effect of inviting the whole family to come with you on it...] all of ‘the kids’ gave Mama and (new) Stepfather Smart an evening out on the Raquette Lake Navigation dinner cruise as a wedding gift. This meant only one thing:
Sister Smart Road Trip!*
*We do like these.We hopped in the car and headed south to Saratoga Springs, a town I had visited only once before during my summer studying Spanish in Vermont, but rememered loving dearly.
We made it easily to Saratoga Springs–and then not so easily had to figure out where to eat our mid-afternoon meal. Since Spidey on the street didn’t send us any sort of ‘spidey sense’ about where to go……an extensive period of walking up and down the main street, looking at menus, and then going back and looking at them again, followed by a street corner conversation along the lines of:
“Let’s just go to there.”
“But where do you really want to go?”
“That’s where you want to go, so that’s where I want to go.”
“You’re just saying that.”
“Fine, let’s go here.”
“But is that what you really want?”
…led us to Cantina.
It might have been the influence of the Mexican food gods–although I think it was the sight of chips being served in cones––but I am eternally grateful to whatever made us settle on this fun (and affordable) Mexican restaurant. The coarse sea salt covering the handmade chips was a sign of even better tastes to come.Upon looking at the authentic, but creative menu–cactus fries made with cornmeal encrusted nopales, anyone?–I was drawn immediately to the Heirloom Golden Gazpacho.Made with yellow tomatoes, bell peppers, Spanish onion, and cucumber, this beautifully bright take on the ‘typical’ gazpacho featured a subtle sweetness from mango puree, and a savory nuttiness from crumbled pistachios.After tipping the bowl and scooping up as much as I could with my spoon–frosted flake-flavored-milk-in-the-cereal-bowl style–I settled upon licking the bowl.*
*Not like I haven’t done that before…Sister Smart and I shared both the gazpacho, and an order of Vegetarian Fajitas.According to our wonderful waitress, Taylor, the veggies they use change seasonally…we lucked into a saute of peppers, onions, artichoke hearts, asparagus, and hominy.Sister Smart used the housemade–soft, thick, and extremely delicious–corn tortillas in an appropriate manner.While I–the older, and yet sometimes seemingly younger–sister acted like a five-year old and ripped apart my tortillas and made a mess of my food.Everything was incredible, from the simple guacamole to the Tecate-simmered black beans. I also asked for a side of the sweet-and-sour prickly pear vinaigrette…which was creamy and worthy of being eaten with a spoon.Satisfied, but not stuffed, the Sisters Smart proceeded along their Saratoga adventure.As I seem to have a tendency to stumble upon farmers’ markets wherever I happen to be, it was only natural that we stroll through the weekly event downtown.I was tempted by the giant (hello, awesome) kohlrabi, but reminded myself that I didn’t actually live here, and should be trying to clean out the rental’s fridge, not add to it.I did, however, taste some Saratoga Peanut Butter Company peanut butter–a company that makes natural, flavored peanut butters–that I had first seen at the Adirondack Museum and determined to be my Nutty Butter competition. Sister Smart and I decided Nutty Butter was better.*
*We might be biased…but…The rest of the afternoon went by in a blur of pig-kissing (and petting)……dress shopping, strolling, and my sixth sense for kombucha leading us to a natural food store, where I couldn’t leave without a bottle of microbrewed Aqua Vitea Ginger Kombucha, a blend of kombucha, green tea, and ginger, made in Vermont.Our drive home was uneventful–except for hearing ‘Payphone’ for the 20th time (and still loving it…don’t judge)–and then we immediately dug into the delicious watermelon left from breakfast.While watching Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, we dug in big friendly salads. Hers was more amazing, as it fetured the leftover beer beans from lunch, half a veggie burger, salsa, AND hummus….the most exciting thing about mine was the addition of some fire roasted tomato sprinkles and nutritional yeast.*
And now…on to the next