I also had one truly fantastic meal. Jennifer James 101. As good as it gets. One of my favorite dining experiences in memory. Perhaps it had something to do with the great company. Five of us ordered every item on the menu with the exception of the chicken entrée. All the appetizers, all the desserts.
The owner used to cook at a hidden little place called Chef du Jour, now sadly defunct. Lou and I would eat there every single night when we could.
For my entrée I chose the bacon steak, a thick chunk of braised pork belly served with grilled romaine, chipotle and blue cheese. Michael ordered the Wagyu flank steak with wrinkled beans and fried potato salad. Heidi had the tomato gnocchi. All dishes were equally fantastic.
Jennifer James 101 could dominate the culinary landscape in any locale in the country. I can't stop raving about it.
Dessert was awesome as well. I was particularly impressed with the lime tart, topped with toasted swiss meringue, whatever that is? The white nectarine and berry cobbler was pretty yummy too. Check the place out. Truly awesome.
He invited the gang over for a feast, secured massive chunks of steak, salmon and turkey at Kellman's and whipped up a feast for a king on his Santa Maria grill. I made a rather clumsy salad, not being much of a cook but more of an end user. He also took me to Bruno's where I happily devoured an awesome sopapilla stuffed with cheese, beef and green chile.
Things were pretty quiet at the Bosque, the Rufous necked wood rail now long out of sight, not having been seen since July 18th. That was fine, we had the whole place to ourselves and had a great time slowly tooling around the roads and marshes. A blue heron soared quietly overhead. Saw a peregrine falcon and rushed a gorgeous glossy ibis out of the tules.
We took the long hike around the marsh and got separated. It was hot and Steve didn't make it out for a long time. Thought he might have ended up in a mountain lion's belly. Turns out he ran into some artifacts.
Afterwards we decided to drive into the storm, past the picturesque old town of Magdelena and farther on to the Very Large Array. Such a fascinating place, each of the many track mounted radio telescopes bigger than the largest optical telescope in the world.
Would have liked to catch a rainbow and I am sure it was only a matter of time but we had to get back on the road.
I drove back to Mike's to spend one last night, get my gear and thank my gracious host for his hospitality. Always nice to get better acquainted with a friend. Then I drove up to Santa Fe and started unloading for the show. I am midstream right now, long haul, two more days to go at the show and I don't want to hex anything. So I will be back at you all later. Don't have a lot of complaints - good people, beautiful clouds and skies and the occasional afternoon monsoon rain. Everything is okay. To be continued...