Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday Dinner

We are California natives and so the love for Mexican food is in grained in my family food of favorites.
The tradition began with my parents, as we lived in southern California about 2 hours from the border of Mexico , we would often take trips across the border, we camped on the beach , fished and enjoyed the atmosphere of Mexico. This was in the early seventies, things were much simpler and safer then , but the food has remained wonderful.

We would travel to a small village one hour south of the border called Puerta Nuevo. It is a small fishing village. They would sell Lobster dinners, complete with all the beans, rice and tortillas you could eat and the entire dinner, $5.00 a plate. These restaurants were made from peoples homes, if one filled up the next door would open. It was a memorable time for me as a kid. My dad would pitch pennies with me against the wall of the house outside ,while we waited for a table.  He was so generous and always let me win,
back then you could still buy penny candy!

Throughout my youth into adulthood, we continued the tradition of making the trek to Puerta Nuevo for the famous Lobster dinners. Now, as it is a part of my Family traditions, the plate goes for $13.00 to 15.00 dollars. It is now in remodeled buildings and complete restaurants, about 6 of them, but the original is in the first building that they now call the Newport. always a line out front ,first come first serve and they open promptly at 11:15?
I always thought that was funny, but we waited our turn and so has our kids. They have fond memories of going on the journey to this little village across the border for the delicious goodness of fresh grilled lobster with all the trimmings and cold soda from glass bottles and the girls would have their hair braided and they would swoon over the turquoise and silver bracelets calling out to them as they would drag their Dad from stand to stand and the boys would have high hopes of a kool trinket, like bull horns or a leather slingshot or a miniature accordian to torture us with on the long trek home, slowly moving in the neverending stream of cars awaiting the signal to cross over into Freedom.

           The poor children and adults would walk in and out of the cars, trying to sell their wares ,men carrying blankets and statues,children also barefoot and dirty trying to sell chiclet(GUM) for change. young mothers would walk to the window with paper cups begging for change while the babies would be wrapped in material around the backs of these women, inhaling the car fumes and barefoot on the hot, dirty,  asphalt.
These images are seared forever in my mind . I remember my parents as they would give to the street vendors as we waited our turn to cross the Border to journey home.I think I had an accordian from one of those long line moments and I'm sure it drove them crazy too. As my kids had these experiences, I would engage with them in specific conversations about gratitude for the blessings in their lives and to be more mindful of them as they see these other children juggling golf balls, for entertainment to the massive lines of cars, jetting infront of cars for a solo performance in hopes of  a monitary response. I remember my husband gave this boy a larger bill for his willingness to entertain us, but that he wanted to share his talent not just beg and you could tell he was happy for the gift of his talent.We talked about him all the way home, so many have  exploited their children to do anything they can to survive,  it was all very sad and heartbraking to watch it as it unfolded all around our vehicle , the glass seperating us from such devastating levels of poverty.The pounding on the windows with kids wearing multiple sombreros one on top of the other hoping for a sale.Their faces dusty and sweat lines dried on their cheeks...we were penniless by the time we reached the Border, we dug for every cent we had to give  even in the ashtray and under seats with what we could...but it never, ever seemed to be enough to feel like we gave in some small way, they are just so poor!

By the time you reach the Guard at the border and declare your purchases your elated  and somehow you exhale with a huge sigh of relief that you are headed for safe passage to the comforts of home.But the images of these people and their struggle doesn't  dissappear, the ride home is quiet, the kids fall fast asleep and we both ponder our family day in Mexico....

And so our Sunday Dinner was tasty Mexican food with memories of our trips to Puerto Nuevo and the days of our youth. It is so great to have memories that are generational. I wonder if my children will ever take their kids to the little village of Puerto Nuevo that is a part of my childhood and a part of theirs too.

No Lobster!! darn it!! on Sunday, but we did do the traditional beef tacos, homemade beans and rice with chocolate cake . It was loved by all, hope you enjoy it too!

This recipe is super easy!
follow Duncan Hines Chocolate cake box directions
adding 1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1 large bag of powder sugar or 2 boxes
1 stick butter room temp
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
add cream a little at a time until frosting is perfect consistency
try 1/4 cup of cream little by little, add more if necessary.
frost cooled cake and serve
you will LOVE IT!!
the instant espresso powder is the secret...shhhh...
it makes it so chocolatie that everyone will FLIP!!
I promise you will not be dissapointed,
just promise you will share the recipe with those you love...
All My Aloha


  1. Oh Sweet Brandi...you bring back so many memories for me! Living in So. California, I too have made the same trek and I can relate to feeling so much compassion for those that are less fortunate.

    Your Mexican dinner looks divine! I'm not much of a cook but boy can I make some fab enchilada’s!

    Your cake looks divine! Thank you for the recipe.

    Hope you are having a wonderful week...big hugs!

  2. Hi there, my new friends! Lovely memories, thanks for sharing that. We used to take our family into Mexico and it broke our hearts at the poor people, one of my little daughter gave her shoes to a little girl without my knowing it! I love your cake recipe..it looks SO rich..I will try it for sure...have a good week :D

  3. ohhhhh. YUM!!!. I grew up in NM and Tx and we too have memories of treking to mexico and having the authentic mexican meals. Thank you for sharing this. I love hearing about family memories and traditions!! Now, I want enchalads! lol. xoxo LA

  4. Sweet Memories! I love lobster and I love mexican food as well.My uncle is Mexican and also an amazing cook.I had the honor to live with My Aunt and Uncle for 3 years and I learned how to cook some great authentic mexican meals.

    So sad we can't save the world, but to make just one person's day a lil brighter is a blessing.~Kim

  5. I wanted to comment on everything, but I accidentally deleted my comments, and I'm too sleepy now to type them all over, so I'll just say that cake looks divine!

  6. c'est un pays que je n'ai pas encore eu la chance de visiter mais à travers ton histoire je l'apprécie, j'aime beaucoup te lire
    ps: le morceau de gâteau au chocolat est magnifique!!!!!!!!!!!!j'adore
    bonne journée à bientôt

  7. Being from California I have been to Mexico a few times...not too far from the border though, the farthest being Rosarito beach. The level of poverty and the kid selling chiclets are fresh in my mind even though it has been years since I have been there.

    I use to hate Mexican food, but now it is my favorite. When I worked in the fashion biz, the workers would brings us the bets homemade beans, rice, meats, etc. heavenly!

  8. Bonjour Brandi,
    Sounds like the food was worth the trip, but so sad to see those little children working so hard. If there were only a way to help - I think we have to start with whomever is in our path. You have a big heart Brandi.
    The cake looks delicious. Thank you so much for stopping by and your kind comments, it is much appreciated. I was certain I became a follower a long time ago but now I can't find my link - this has happened several times now, hmmm it's either Blogger or I'm getting creaky.
    Bonne journée

  9. That cake looks so delicious, I feel fatter just looking at it haha! I would love for you to stop by my blog if you get the chance. God bless!

  10. Where have u been all this while deary???? It was a surprise to see u back all of a sudden with so many posts together..... This was one yummy post letting me drool over... :)~ Hope to c u around more often.... Hugs)))



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