For those who celebrate, I hope that you and yours had or are having a lovely Easter/Passover holiday. This year, my mom's 60th birthday fell on Good Friday - a day that I conveniently had off from work. So, having known about this months ago, I decided that it would be fun for me and my sister to fly to Texas and surprise her, day-of.
As we got closer to April 6th, I asked Mom what she had going on for her big day. "Well, I'm going to a 'sip and see' for Jessica's new baby, and then we'll have Passover seder at your cousin's house." Really? Could the woman be any less selfish? I mean, no offense to Jessica or my cousins, but a 'sip and see' and a seder dinner didn't exactly sound like the ingredients for a 60th birthday celebration. "Geez, Mom, are you serious? That kinda' sucks. You're such a mensch!" She went on to tell me that she was 110% OK with the lineup, and that her friends had planned a couple of things for her during the week leading up to and after her birthday. "OK, good. At least you have some celebratory stuff to look forward to," I said.
Friday, April 6th: "Happy birthday, Mom. Did you get the flowers I sent?" She responded to my text thanking me, and asked what I had planned for the long weekend ahead. It was 9:30am, Dallas time. I called her from my bar stool at DFW's Pappasito's Cantina, and we chatted for a bit. "Oh, that noise? I'm at Starbucks waiting for a friend," I explained, after she asked what all of the racket was in the background. Little did she know...
And, two delicious "skinny margaritas" later, it was time to board my flight to El Paso.
Have you ever flown drunk? Blech, it sucks. Don't do it! 1.5 nauseating hours later, I arrived in El Paso. My sister's plane touched down about 5-minutes later. The timing could not have been more perfect. "Hi Dad, you can leave the 'cell phone lot,' now. We're both here and ready to be picked up!" With bags in tow, Leila and I scurried to the front of the airport and awaited his arrival.
The plan: A couple weeks prior, Dad invited Mom to lunch on her birthday. He told her to be ready at noon, and that he would come by the house to pick her up.
What really happened: Dad dropped me and Leila off in the next-door neighbor's yard, and we walked over to our house. While he circled the block a couple of times, Leila and I rang the doorbell. "Coming!" We heard Mom yell. We made sure to duck so that she couldn't see us from the peephole. When the door opened, Leila jumped out first. "Surprise! Happy birthday, Mom!" She was shocked. Ecstatic. Could not believe her eyes! "When I heard the doorbell, I thought you were the UPS man," she chuckled. "I had no clue! How did you guys pull this off?"
I got my first El Paso Mexican food fix not 30-minutes later, when the four of us grabbed a bite for lunch.
"You know," Mom said, "you girls were also invited to Jessica's 'sip and see.' The three of us can go together!" Jessica has been one of my best friends since high school, so I was more than OK with that plan. Plus, I had not yet met her little girl.
The three of us arrived at the 'sip and see' just after 3pm. "Surprise!" Jessica was shocked to see me at her front door. She almost cried! After all, it had been almost a year since we last saw one another. Aside from Jess, I got to catch up with plenty of the other guests (...plus their children and/or their pregnant bellies), who also happened to be old, dear friends. How wonderful it was to have so many great folks under one roof!
Friday night's seder dinner was nostalgic and, as always, hilarious. My dad and his extended family are the absolute funniest people on the planet. Throughout my life, all of the banter and laughter have aided in making boring religious festivities go by much faster.
On Saturday, we grabbed a quick lunch at Mexican fast-food standby, Taco Cabana. Think of it what you will, haters - I don't give a damn - their Mexican food makes anything in NYC look Michelin star-worthy. I mean, what's not to love? They have a salsa bar. They make their own flour tortillas. And, they have that delicious, liquid-y queso dip!
On Saturday night, we celebrated Mom's birthday again with a 'special occasion' meal at steak-great, Billy Crews. And, no, my family does not abide by any Passover dietary restrictions...
On Sunday morning, I woke up to the sight of a couple of ducks...in the swimming pool!
After we dropped my sister off at the airport, Mom and I grabbed an early lunch/brunch at our favorite guilty-pleasure mecca: Luby's Cafeteria. Did you know that Luby's serves an all-you-can-eat breakfast on weekends for just $5.49?
As if we hadn't eaten enough fat, carbs, and other crap over the weekend, we picked up Mexican food from The Riviera for dinner on Sunday night. To compliment this spread, I made a batch of my famous margaritas.
I had a great weekend in Texas with my family: We surprised the hell out of my mom for her birthday - I saw a plethora of old friends and family - and I got more than my fill of Mexican and Southern food. And food, in general, for that matter...
Until we eat again,
The Lunch Belle