I'm Home!

I am officially back from vacation.
No matter how long I am away from work..it is never long enough.

St. Louis was a blast. My husband is a professional magician, and magic conventions are some of the most interesting affairs I’ve attended. The Midwest Magic Jubilee is one of the best. Top notch talent, friendly people and I helped host a kickass convention suite all three nights of the convention.

Hosting a party for magicians requires special planning. You have to have enough alcohol to lubricate the brain, but no grease to lubricate the fingers. Cards, coins and props, some costing hundreds of dollars, must be considered at all times. This means you have to be careful what types of snack are served. They can’t be greasy, or leave a residue on the fingers. They can’t require lots of drippy dips and salsas. That means I usually stick to dry roasted nuts, unflavored potato chips, cheese and crackers, and veggies. If I do serve dips, I make sure they are far away from where the action is taking place. Also, for this convention, we made an exception to the rule on the last night, but we’ll get more into that later. (Note all the wild and crazy antics in the picture to the right. That is about as exciting as it gets!)

For drinks, you have your usual: beer, wine, liquor and non-alcoholic. You never really know what people are going to drink so you have to guess-ta-mate. This year, it was pop and bottled water. Lots of both. Who woulda guessed…not me…I have a ton of booze left. Good thing it won’t spoil. That means I can make mixed drinks at home for the next 9 months. “If you like pina coladas..and getting drunk in the rain…” you all know the rest.

The last night of the party, Steve, one of the organizers of the convention, announced he knew a place that sold great pizzas. He and Lisa, his girlfriend, went out into one of the worst thunderstorms of the summer to pick up 64 pounds of pizza. That’s right. 64 pounds. That was four pizzas folks. They were the biggest pizzas I have ever seen in my life. Where are the pictures you ask? You would like visual evidence? I was so busy playing hostess I didn’t take any pictures of these giant pies..these kings of pizza-dom..no, not one pixel of proof have I. Ok, I am a sucky blogger. So sue me. All my guests had a great time.

Most of the food I ate was just fuel to keep me running. Lots of burgers and other fast food, caffeine in massive amounts, sugar and grease. However, we did get a chance to head to a small Mexican restaurant, Las Palmas on Woodson Rd . The d├ęcor was not..um..well..let’s say if you want sophistication, you need to try somewhere else. (If you are in doubt, check out their website, it fits the crazy atmosphere. And make sure you turn up your speakers!) If you want killer food and drinks…this is the place!

Being in need of as much food as we could eat quickly, the whole family decided on the combination platters. I had an enchilada and burrito, both with pork. Tony had a burrito and a chimichanga with beef and our daughter had a tamale and an enchilada. To supplement the rather plebian fare, we ordered a spicy shrimp soup. Having to drive back to the hotel, we decided not to get any of the margaritas. Our neighbors at the next table told us they were the best margaritas ever and had ordered a whole pitcher.

To tide us over until the main courses arrived, the waiter brought us fresh tortilla chips and homemade salsa. The salsa was rather odd, almost creamy in texture, but tasty nonetheless. Tony and I decided it would be great as a sauce over chicken and rice, but not with chips. The platters came out quickly. All plates had the required beans and rice, but what great beans and rice. The beans were cooked until creamy, with large chunks of bean left in for texture. The rice was moist and seasoned with lime and cilantro. The main course items were great…the enchiladas were not swimming in sauce; the burritos were full of nice moist meat. The star of the show, however, was the shrimp soup. Large shrimp swimming in a thin, spicy tomato-based broth, accompanied with diced onion, chopped cilantro and lime wedges along with warm homemade tortillas. After all that food, we didn't even think about dessert...and you know we had to be well fed for that!

Overall, Las Palmas has made it onto the short list for great places we have eaten on vacation. When we return to St. Louis next August, we are definitely eating there again.

Tomorrow…Lake of the Ozarks!

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