Aw, man. Sadness. Why couldn't we bring everyone awesome that we know on this trip? For one thing, friendly faces are ALWAYS welcome. For another, I would love to pick everyone's brains. And I'm already missing our friends and family as the months start to stretch in front of us.
We went to the original Ninfa's tonight. It was kind of a celebratory dinner, because Logan and his mom both have birthdays later this month (Logan's dad GQ and I are both in April, so our special day is tomorrow).
The OG Ninfa's has been in this sort of industrial neighborhood off Navigation since 1973. The place is run like a machine; it was jam-packed, but we waited less than ten minutes for a table.
Food came out quick and hot and fresh (there were ladies in the front hand-rolling tortillas, both as a display of authenticity and a testament to the a la minute food).
AND the folks from Anvil (more on that later) have just been in to redesign their drink menu, so the margaritas are ridiculous and taste of serious juices and the sangria is... well, I often order sangria because I want to like it and then I never do. But this one... oh, the balance of bitter and sweet and wine and juice and probably more booze than you can shake a stick at.
We ordered a crazy amount of food and didn't have room on our table for it. Bowls of queso and platters of fajitas, plates of their famous tacos al carbon and an enormous "original Tijuana 1924 recipe" Caesar salad.
Tacos al Carbon:
Please be kind - the lighting in there sucked. Actually, had we known what we were doing, we would have requested outdoor seats; the weather was perfect.
And we had a silly-cute quail on a lot of onions:
It was all quite fine and we all enjoyed it and had a great time.
Beth sneakily asked the waiter to bring out a festive birthday dessert for Logan, and much to his serious embarassment several friendly folks emerged at the end of our meal with an intimidating slab of the best tres leches cake any of us has ever eaten. They crowded around him bellowing "HAPPY BIRTHDAY PANCHITO!"
It was worth it because then, we got to eat the cake. OMG. Puddles of heavy cream drenched the sponge cake, which was topped with a perfectly thick layer of toasted meringue.
Logan and his mama had to bust out the straws.
Then, we came back to our little apartment (which would be nicer if the coffee machine hadn't molded and the light wasn't burned out in our bedroom - we will rectify this tomorrow) and set the folks up with links to all of our travel plans. They headed to bed and we headed to...
We got to see our friend Mindy (of @drinkswmindy and Houston bartender of the year in the Houston Press!) for the first time in more than a bit. Drinks were fantastic and included a London Guinea (Scotch, Pimm's, Lemon, Birch Syrup, House Sarsparilla Bitters), a Maharaja Buck (Cardamom-Infused Gin, Lime, Turmeric, House Tamarind Jam),
a Jacko's End (Applejack, Mezcal, Benedictine, Peychaud's Bitters) and an Improved Tequila Cocktail (Tequila, Turbinado, Maraschino, Xocolatl Mole & Aromatic Bitters - Logan thought this tasted like lettuce, oddly).
Fun. And walking distance from where we were staying. Funner. Though I will say it was kind of sad how many people we overheard shrilly ordering double vodka sodas at a craft cocktail bar. Ah well... they just don't know what they're missing.
Another successful day. Tomorrow... Trip to Ikea, setting the folks up with FaceTime and Skype (we're bootsintheoven, surprise!) and April birthday dinner.
30 hours to Merida. Holy cuss.
Ninfa's on Navigation is at 2704 Navigation Blvd. in Houston. 713.228.1175.
And Anvil Bar and Refuge is at 1424 Westheimer in Houston. 713.523.1622.