Creative Grilling

I apologize that there are no photos to accompany this leg of my California journey. I always worry about freaking people out in places like grocery stores by taking photos. And sometimes I just want to enjoy visiting with people without taking snapshots and disturbing the flow. Hopefully, my words will be sufficient

After our trip to the beach, Lain and I went back to Oakland and picked up V to do some grocery shopping for dinner and for the special meal on Friday that Lain and V were making for me.

We went to the Berkeley Bowl grocery store. I’d never seen so many fruits and vegetables in my life! There were rows and rows of bins on top of bins filled with foods I’d never even seen before! I was feeling like a Minnesota hick again. Lain and V picked out cilantro, avocados, small red potatoes, dill, onions, mustard, and a number of other ingredients to prepare potato salad and the fixings for Carne Asada.

After shopping at the Bowl, we went to a small Mexican grocery store to buy marinated skirt steak and salsa. The meat counter reminded me of a place in Arizona close to my Mom’s house where we often stop for breakfast burritos and it’s not unusual to catch the guys working behind the counter singing along with the music playing over the speakers. I’d love to look and sound that happy at my job.

So after shopping, V made us hamburgers and we sat and watched “The Office” on TV until I returned, exhausted, back to the hotel.

I spent the next morning once again enjoying my free breakfast and coffee. Around noon, I went to Lain’s and worked on editing photos and video while Lain and V went on a scavenger hunt. You see, a grill was needed for the skirt steak preparation for the carne asada and they had no grill. But, there was a house that was evacuated, and they knew that there were a couple grills left in the backyard. Granted there was a reason the tenants didn’t bother to take the grills with them as they were pretty beat up, but one of them would do. Hey, it’s called “reuse”. It’s a good thing.

Lain just happened to have a shopping cart to put the grill into. He hoped that they wouldn’t get into a fight over the cart with a homeless person along the way. Now, I suppose I could have driven them, but hey, I didn’t know how much rust the grill would deposit in the car and I figured a cop might not say too much to two young guys with a shopping cart, but a middle aged woman from Minnesota driving a rental car? I kind of wish I would have walked with them though, because this definitely would have made for some good photos. Video would have been even better!

Anyway, the shopping cart rattled noisily as Lain and V departed. On their way to the abandoned house, they passed too close to a store with a magnet that locked the shopping cart’s wheels. As luck would have it, right near by was another shopping cart without locked wheels, so they continued on their way. They took the grill that was in the best shape, just the top part without the frame so it would fit in the cart and wheel back more easily.

V scrubbed the grill clean, filled it with charcoal, got the coals going and waited for them to heat up. Once the coals were glowing, V put the steak on the grill. It was pretty shady in the backyard, which made it kind of cool out. The only sunny section in the yard was on a skateboard ramp a previous tenant had built that practically took up the entire back yard. We moved the card table and chairs onto the sunny spot on the ramp, brought out the fixings for the carne asada, including homemade guacamole, chopped onions and cilantro, salsa, and tortillas. There was also the potato salad, which I have to get the recipe from my son for. It wasn’t the heavy mayonnaise version I’m used to, but just slices of the red potatoes that I think was marinated in mustard and mixed with fresh dill. I’m not sure what else was used but it seemed lighter and fresher than regular potato salad.

The carne asada turned out excellent. It was fun eating and drinking a few beers outside on a skateboard ramp. When even the ramp was in the shade, we went inside and watched music videos, including Lady Gaga, whom I’ve never seen before — quite an educational experience. I think I left Lain’s house about 9:00 as I had packing to do and had to get up early to catch my plane.

It’s fun to have your kids grow up and be the ones to entertain you. It was tough saying goodbye.

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  1. Ya’ll had a great meal with great company. I hear ya on the fruits and veggies. I’m always in awe to the mass variety and quality when I go to Brownsville to see my parents.

    Ya’ll have a terrific Thursday sweetie!!!

  2. “Lain just happened to have a shopping cart”….I am sooo laughing right now!
    And then they went and stole another one, too! lol! lol!

    I had no idea that stores had magnets to lock their shopping carts. How clever! Good thing they don’t have alarms, too….or that would have really been a fun time. hehe!

    The meal sounds like fun and very delicious, too. My sons are only 13now, but I imagine that visits with them as adults will be just as entertaining. 😀


  3. It sounds like you had a great time with Lain! A good cook, a good sense of humor and adventure – a fun son!

    I’m glad that you had such a good visit.

  4. omg– I missed a TON while i was also out of town– for 2 weeks! I had a great time catching up on all your exploits. Lain sounds so fun. It’s so cool you guys can hang out and have fun. Lady Gaga? ya ya. Did you see the 10 minute long telephone one??? omg. omfg actually.

  5. Sue – I bet you are as busy playing catch up as I am. Yes, I did see the telephone one and the video that leads up to that one, can’t remember what it was called. I know I’m supposed to be all freaked out about her depravity or whatever but all I could think of was, wow, how imaginative.

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