Almost a Great Day

The vagaries of proper book marketing had me at my wits end Tuesday morning. Hidden buttons to push, menus that led me to a labyrinth of dead ends terrified me with threats of losing data, or worse, closing me out of the site and into web la la land. Pulling my hair, which is a tougher thing to do for me as there only remains two to four pull-able hairs requiring at least a month of no hair cutting.

So i gave up, walked to Maureen’s work room in the front of the house and said unequivocally, “You have three choices: walking the beach, going to the zoo, or going to Balboa Park and the museums. Think about it and let me know which one.”

Rather surprised at my rare abruptness, but pleasantly so given her options, she thought for about 1.2 nanoseconds and came back to my office up the hall. She queried, “The Mingei has reopened, hasn’t it?”

“Yes,” i responded, “It was open when i was in there at Christmas time. Remember, that was were i saw the shawls that you might like to use as a runner on the dining room table.”

“Is their new restaurant open?” this San Diego all things expert probed the goofball from Tennessee who is real good at baseball news but pretty much a washout on any other subject.

“Well, let’s find out,” i exclaimed as i turned to my trusty laptop.

The “Artifact” the restaurant on the main floor was, in fact, open.

So just before noon, we headed out, parked on the street about the state of Rhode Island away from the targeted Mingei and trekked. It was wonderful. i could spend about half a day several times a week just walking around Balboa Park. Walking past the wonderful fountain at the south end of El Prado and through the beautiful and classic architecture of the original buildings built for the 1915 Panama-California Exhibition. That’s not considering actually spending time in the many and varied museums in the park. Nor does it consider dining at one of the unique dining spots. There is a special joy in just walking around and taking it all in.

We did. After crossing Plaza de Panama, we entered The Artifact, and is our custom, sat at the bar. The menu was small but astounding. Maureen ordered an “artifact house tonic I gin + fig+ lemongrass + cardamon+ seltzer” from the bar list. i, remaining much less complicated than my bride, ordered a sauvignon blanc.

Now, i come from a Tennessee meat and three world. i ‘ve grown a bit from that with my travels and certainly, my time with Maureen has increased my appreciation of fine food. Well, that lunch (still dinner to me) Tuesday was in another stratosphere.

i had “achiote berkshire pork + tehachapi grain project taco + salsa macha + pickled red onion + cilantro lime crema + rancho gordo beans + rice.” She had, of all things, a dumpling described as “pork flower shumai + lapsang souchang + star anise + black vinegar + ebiko chili oil.” Then Maureen, the dessert maven, ordered “coconut tapioca + mango + macerated blackberries + yuzu granite.” i am not a tapioca kind of guy. But this stuff goes beyond my conceited, look-down-the-nose-at perception of tapioca. i’ll order it again.

Now if you know a majority of the ingredients in the items above, then you have eclipsed me in food knowledge. On that basis, i remain a solar eclipse. All i know is that this was one of the better lunches i’ve had in a long time.

As an aside when finished, we actually went inside the museum. They have renovated, and this was a great experience. The international art was well displayed, some astounding. My favorite part was the library, roomy with intriguing books on all things art. Wish i could have taken it home.

Finally, we went to the scene of the crime. Maureen saw the shawls or throws i had mentioned six months earlier. She bought one. It is now a decorative runner on our dining room table. She also bought three artist carved wooden bowls that sit atop the runner, artfully arranged. Thus, i will not be buying a Tesla for quite a while.

Tuesdays, it turns out is a day when most of the museums are free. Our targeted other museums had waiting lines this fidgety old man cannot abide. So, we walked back to the car, again a lovely experience in beauty under the Southwest corner skies, mid-70s with a slight breeze.

Took a nap. Perfect day, only ruined by turning on, briefly, the Major League Baseball All-Star game, which is not a game at all but a schlocky, chest pounding excess into…how do i say this?…Sorry, i can’t come up with polite…shitty self-promotion. Turned off the sound. It was still bad. And there were folks in the stands who paid a minimum of $303 up to $15,750 to be there. Ugh! Turned it off. Ahh…

We read in silence. Perfect. Perfect Day with a minor 15 minute blip into excess.

We plan to go back to Balboa and our other museums next week and not watch any all-star game.

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