Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 2: Kickin' It In Las Cruces

 Happy Champagne Friday and a toast to all of my friends who are appalled that I said all Mexican food tastes the same. When I am visiting you in California/Texas/Anywhere But Mexico, please feel free to treat me to dinner at your favorite hacienda. I think I can be persuaded.

While Saturday started with sunshine and temperatures in the 70's, it cooled off by early afternoon...the calm before the storm that came on Sunday, I am sure. So, we took advantage of the morning warmth by shopping the Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market that is held every Saturday on the downtown mall. Boo to TripAdvisor for not even listing this "attraction" on their site - it's a good thing I pay attention to roadside signs (although sometimes I think I'm supposed to be relaying GPS turns. But a good co-pilot also finds the local hot spots on road signs, too, right?) The sign boasted over 200 local craftsmen and farmers! I would say it's closer to 75 stalls and tables. Still pretty impressive for the middle of the desert, though. And since I use every trip as a possible shopping opportunity (although trying to write it off will cause your audit color to change from green to red), I wanted to see what the locals were selling in the way of jewelry and gemstones.

What you will quickly realize upon your arrival in New Mexico, is their insane love of the red chili. It is everywhere. Hanging in doorways, hanging at a gate entrance, hanging over the garage. The red chili is the varsity cheerleader and the Prom Queen all rolled into one and the owners of this booth are making a mint off of the chili addiction.

Honestly, by the time we left, I was ready to buy a chili wreath and smuggle it in my carry-on. But that would just look bizarre in Middle Georgia.

While I negotiated for the most lovely piece of egg lace:

the mariachi band played on. Unfortunately, I was so absorbed by the negotiating and then the people-watching (lady, you should not be doing that with your dog. It has to be illegal in at least 12 states. Plus the District of Columbia.) that I only got a photo as they were packing up for the day.

Oh well...they provided excellent background music for a morning of shopping and when they left, we took it as our cue to exit stage right also.

And then I dragged Neal to a bead store.

And he was a champ. He chatted with one of the employees while I debated between 4 strands of beads that, I'm sure, all looked exactly alike to him.

I am a loving and thoughtful wife, though, and only put him through that once. And also there was not another bead store within a 60-mile radius. Really, Las Cruces?? Scottsdale has a better selection. And it's Scottsdale. There are like 20 people who live there year-round.

So our next stop, which ranked #4 on TripAdvisor's Las Cruces Attractions list was Old Mesilla Village. It's fairly historical but not really all that famous, with the exception of Billy the Kid. For the most part, the residents who settled the area were unknown to me...but they did construct a beautiful, Spanish-style, Catholic Church and they should have owned stock in stucco.

I don't know...I got distracted by the declaration that they obviously have wine...

This blue around the windows and doors is beautiful and I am in lurrrve with it. I think the blue is to ward off evil spirits. Apparently, it does not ward off common criminals. 

Hail Mary, full of Grace....Also, a PSA: Lent starts next Wednesday. Better ride that Sin Wagon this weekend.

If this guy doesn't get into Heaven, with Jesus posted under his home address, we are all screwed.

Fountain Theatre is also historic and now exclusively shows Indie films. I had planned to purchase tickets for a movie about a monk leading children across the desert. However, neither one of us wanted to pay $12.00 each for a 2-hour nap.

I am in the process of drafting a letter to our Homeowner's Association to see how they feel about this. I would use blue, though. Adios, ghosties! 

We did run into Chief HasNoRhythm and DivaV at a jewelry store (shocking, I know) on the town square. Chief was urging DivaV to buy something and DivaV was resisting (such is the style of an accountant). We promised to meet up for lunch at La Posta, which was recommended to all of us by different people. DivaV said they had accidentally driven past Old Mesilla the first time and found themselves in a lovely grove of pecan trees, just a few miles down Hwy 28. We had a couple of hours before lunch so we hopped in the car and went in search of pecans. 

We found pecans.

We also found a winery.

At the base of the Organ Mountains (as in kidney, liver, duodenum)...

They are breathtaking and don't look like organs at all. 

Our bartender at Rio Grand Winery was named Sarah and she was everything a mistress of the grapes should, full of interesting stories, and a listening ear when the wine started to kick in. I kind of miss Sarah. But I don't miss the wine because I brought some home with me! I am giving up Muscat for Lent, so it looks like I will be drinking that bottle tomorrow.

I tend to slouch when I get tipsy. My wedding photos are also excellent proof of this.

After an hour and a half with Sarah and 10 minutes with the pecans, we ventured back down 28 to meet up with The Dynamic Duo for lunch.

The chips were delicious, the salsa had a kick, and our server Steve was the most relaxed individual I have ever met. I am not going to ponder on why Steve was so relaxed. Regardless, he takes a stellar table picture.

What this picture is missing is the 2 Desert Rose Margaritas I inhaled during the course of lunch. La Posta's Desert Rose Margarita is mixed using cactus juice. And it's pink. My mouth waters just thinking about it. While we were munching on Mexican food that *does not at all taste like any other Mexican food I've ever had*, The Dynamic Duo mentioned that they had just bought new silverware at Nambe. And since we have been looking for sturdy, balanced silverware for almost a year now (and, honestly, I finally caved last July and bought a set from Target because how can you drive a Prius and continue to use plasticware?) and Nambe was right around the corner, we all 4 cruised over after lunch.

DivaV was right. The silverware they bought was amazeballs. And the table knife is wickedcool.
via Google Images (because right click disabled their photos)

The utensil that is third from the left? Is a KNIFE!! And hello, cute slotted spoon! (Oh how domesticated this lioness has become...)
While we perused, we discovered Nambe carries a double old-fashioned glass that we fell in love with during our stay at the Waldorf in London (we may have had to open our wine with a pocket knife, but at least they provided gorgeous barware once you could pour it). I realize I am prone to over-exaggeration (yes, more than 20 people live in Scottsdale year-round), but when I say that I have been looking for these glasses for 6 years, that is no fish tale. I saw the heavens open and angels began to sing on high. 

via Google Images
*GASP* I know, right? And because we had the silverware and glasses shipped to the house instead of weighing down my checked baggage, I run to the door all Pavlovian dog-like every time I hear a UPS or FedEx truck roll through.

An hour and some large amount of money later (although not that large...Nambe offers a military discount and that will endear them to me always), we parted ways with DivaV and Chief and headed back to the Hampton. Saturday night concluded with a bottle of pink champagne, a bottle of Rio Grande Winery sweet red, take-out wings from BW3's, and 2 hours of Jeff Dunham (pretty much the only ventriloquist who can make me laugh until I pee a little...remember "Jalapeno, on a steeeeeeck"? That guy is a little bit special and a whole lot of genius). No late nights for us since check-out was 10 AM and we had a hot springs waiting for us in Truth or Consequences. Oh, if only we knew what else awaited us there....

Happy Champagne Friday and if you are still reading, thank you! These are long posts...way over the suggested 500 words per post. But we were on a quest to fill these 4 days. Mission: Accomplished.

Also, that is a digitized camo fleece blanket that Neal surprised me with when we got up on Friday morning. At first I thought it was a camo Snuggie. I may pin the sides so it becomes one. Hate 'em or love 'em, the Snuggie is the 8th Wonder of the World.



  1. Fun! Makes me want to visit the Southwest...someday. Love the glasses and funky silverware!

  2. This entire trip looks like so much fun!!! Promise me you'll one day make it to Alabama where I live and Mike and I will take you and Neal out for some good local Mexican grub and you can school me in the ways of Champagne... did I tell you while in New Orleans I had a frozen Bellini and thought of you?

    I can't wait to hear more!! ox *CHEERS*

  3. I'm going to be in Austin the first week of August for a conference. You should come down and we can have Foxy take us to her fave Mexicano joint!

    Sounds like you had a blast and I don't doubt it continues in the rest of the weekend.

    Question: Is the margarita sweet? I don't do sweet. I like my basic top shelf margarita on the rocks with salt. Just gotta get the picture right in my mind :)

  4. LOVE that silverware and a desert rose margie sounds divine!

    Regarding Lent, I figure I am giving up my husband for 12 months so that should count, right?? lol ;)

  5. You look beautiful!
    I want that glassware.
    I've never heard of egg lace but it's gorgeous.
    **shh, i think all the mexican food places around here taste the same too.**
    I want to go to London and that slotted spoon is adorable.
    Random comment? Yes, please. LOL

  6. More great pics. . .something tells me that you visited at the right time of year. Looks comfy as opposed to scorching.

  7. That has got to be the coolest glass i have ever seen - I can see why you have been dreaming about for 6 years!
    And there may only be 20 full-time residents of Scottsdale, but in the winter, the population increases with an influx of Albertans - so you know...its pretty awesome.
    I love a girl who can work "duodenum" into a travelogue about shopping and wine!

  8. Did you just love all the adobe houses? I felt like I was in the middle of a Christmas time train display, but I really loved them. Kept trying to imagine how one would work in Central Virginia - not!

    Love the silverware - you'll enjoy it forever.

  9. Okay, I feel like I just spent a lovely day in the Southwest. And maybe bought a little Nambe glassware. Cheers!

  10. So fun!!! So glad you found your glasses that you've been searching for :)

  11. Love all your purchases!!

    Hope you guys have a great vacation, off to a good start!!

    that is all

  12. That margarita sounds like a little slice of heaven... glad you got that all in before Lent! (Clearly I need to finish off those two bottles of wine in my fridge in a hurry...)

    And I totally understand becoming domesticated. One of my grandmothers offered to buy a starter set of sterling silver as a wedding present, and all of a sudden I find myself spending two hours a day on ebay silver auctions to try to get the most bang for her buck... It's addictive!


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