In spirit

Back in New York in spirit

For the first year of our relationship, Sean was in NY and I was in LA. We made it work and traveled to see each other monthly. During that year, I got to know the city I’d visited for vacation or conferences a few times before. I also got to know Sean’s family and friends. Even though many of them only knew me from conversations with Sean or through Facebook, they became instant friends. I felt welcomed in to the group. We felt blessed and honored that so many family and friends made the trip out for the wedding.

For the past few days, we’ve been checking in with family and friends. Thankfully, everyone made it through hurricane Sandy unscathed. My in-laws’ home in Long Island is fine, but there was a mess in the yard. Too bad we can’t be there for the clean up.

We’re grateful for our loved ones’ safety and are keeping those who are still suffering in our thoughts.

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Halloween with the cousins

Halloween was pretty chill this year. My cousin Nancy hosted another party this year. She teamed up with a co-worker and used his house. Some of the cousins came out too.

The costumes:

First Halloween

No, we didn’t plan this out. The costumes were just convenient and easy to put together.

The explorers

Adrian and Alexis as Diego and Dora; too bad you can’t see her really cute backpack… or Adrian’s purse satchel.

Calvin Ellis

He’s not Clark Kent, he’s Calvin Ellis, Superman in Earth-23. Ellis is black. (I love it when he shows off his geeky side.)

Sorceress and Diana Prince

Ingrid made a great sorceress.

R2 Chola & Calvin Ellis

I got worried when Nancy (R2-D2 in a tutu) started getting near the fire pit. Tutus are flammable, right?

Ingrid & Tony

Tony has had that mask forever. He used to scare me with it when I was a kid over 20 years ago.

Superheroes gotta eat

Superheroes gotta eat.

Superheroes gotta stay hydrated

And stay hydrated.

As for the day of, I went on a run in the neighborhood, checked out the decorations and dodged trick-or-treaters. A lot of people put up cool decorations and people drive in to the area. Despite seeing a bunch of trick-or-treaters a few blocks away, no one actually came to our apartment. Oh well, more candy for us.

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Morning becomes offensive

The first present for blackface Christmas — what my play cousins at PostBourgie call the season shortly before Halloween and through Thanksgiving — comes from KCRW’s Instagram account.

Not cool, KCRW

I voiced my disappointment via Twitter and on Instagram.

I checked back a little later to find a flippant response from the person behind the Instagram account.

Not cool, KCRW

Oh right, I should just chill since it’s Halloween. I forgot that makes it okay. Not really.

Earlier this week I receive a mailer asking me to resubscribe to KCRW. Over the past ten years I’ve subscribed on and off as I enjoy the music and news programming. I was likely going to renew my subscription, but now am reconsidering.

I follow KCRW’s social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram. I was extremely disappointed, offended and saddened to see one of my favorite cultural institutions in Los Angeles feature one of it’s deejays (Anne Litt) in a Native American costume during the Masquerade Ball (10/27/12). While I respect an individual’s First Amendment right to wear what he/she wants, I do not support institutions that feature a prominent member in what is the Native American equivalent of blackface. I also do not appreciate the belittling response: “Hey y’all. No disrespect .. It’s Halloween. !!” (Screenshots can be found here: [link] and [link])

Dismissing valid concerns is not a suitable response for a public radio station.

Sincerely,

Cindy Mosqueda

For those not in LA, KCRW is a public radio station based out of Santa Monica College. They carry NPR as well as locally produced programming. Their music programming is highly regarded. I’ve always enjoyed the diversity on Morning Becomes Eclectic, especially when Nic Harcourt was at the helm. Harcourt featured some of the best bands in Latin America even though the primary audience is not Spanish speaking. I first subscribed in 2002 after starting my first full-time job. I subscribe on and off, mainly because I’m lazy about renewing my subscription or funds were tight in grad school.

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Chilaquiles in Culver City: El Rio Bravo & Kay ‘N Dave’s

Remember when I was going to review chilaquiles at local restaurants like El Chavo reviews huevos rancheros? No? That’s probably because I’ve only done two reviews. Anyway, today I decided that my new mission (also known as gimmick) should be eating chilaquiles at all the Mexican restaurants in LA and then writing about it. I have two reviews for this week, which is the same amount of reviews since I first mentioned this project back in July 2007.

On Wednesday night, I went out with a new blog friend (hi, Faster Bunny) for a late dinner and drinks at Kay ‘n Dave’s in Culver City. I chose the chilaquiles since I love Mexican breakfast at any hour of the day. I didn’t get a photo, but that’s okay.

The chilaquiles at Kay ‘N Dave’s were made with a mild red salsa and scrambled with eggs. The jack and cheddar cheese mix on top (I think) was plentiful, but clumped up. They served it with a side of corn or flour tortillas — weird I know — pinto or black beans and rice. I never touched the tortillas, seriously did they expect me to make a taco de chilaquiles? The black beans were decent. The chilaquiles were okay, but I wouldn’t get them a second time. I didn’t really like the way the cheese clumped up and would prefer the eggs on the side. I was much more impressed with the tamarindo mezcal margarita. I’ll definitely get that again.

Tortilla chips

Today I visited El Rio Bravo, a newish restaurant in Culver City. Sean and I have been there a few times, but mainly for dinner. As soon as we sat down, they brought us the typical chips and salsa. Well, not typical as the chips are better than I’ve tasted at most local restaurants. They taste as if they just came out of the fryer and are perfectly salted.

Chips & salsa

Along with the chips, the waitress brought out two bowls of salsa. One is a very mild tomato salsa. It would be boring if the tomatoes didn’t taste so fresh. The second is a spicier tomatillo salsa. I’m a fan of both.

Chilaquiles at el Rio Bravo

If I was going to rank the chilaquiles by chips, El Rio Bravo would get a 3.5 (5 chips being the best I’ve had, the ones from my mom’s kitchen). The cook used the same chips as those brought out to all the guests. The salsa poured over the chips was good, but not enough. The chips were way too dry and when I finished some of the chips were still crunchy. I did like that the chilaquiles were not too cheesy. I ate barely half my plate at Kay ‘N Dave’s but finished all of my chilaquiles, plus the beans and scrambled eggs. I was hungry.

I can’t complain much about El Rio Bravo. The chilaquiles are not amazing, but the other meals I’ve had there have been great. The service is great and even though we said we’re too full for dessert, our servers still brought out a complimentary dessert. Last time we went for dinner, our server brought out fried ice cream. Today, it was a plate full of fresh pineapple, watermelon, melon and grapes.

Chilaquiles chip review (out of 5 chips)
Kay ‘N Dave’s: 3
El Rio Bravo: 3.5

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Nerves and tears

A few hours before I was to enter the church, meet Sean at the altar and enter the sacrament of marriage, I sat in my hotel room full of bridesmaids, stylists and makeup artists sobbing.

The mini freakout was ridiculous, but not a big surprise considering my emotional tendencies. Still, I should have been okay given that everything was going as planned.

View from the suite, it was already hot at 8 am

The morning started off fine. I woke up on time. Took some time to myself in the morning and looked out at the hills. Lori arrived shortly after 8 with the hair stylist and makeup artist, she hired. Sarah and Nancy set up shop near the living room window and huge bathroom. Andrea and Isabel showed up next and took their places getting their hair and makeup done.

Not one of those brides who didn't eat

I left the room to grab a quick bite to eat and ate breakfast with my aunts-in-law.

As soon as I was done, I met my dad outside the lobby. He dropped off my dress, veil, a steamer, and flowers for the bridal party. Kenton (father-in-law) was in the lobby at the time and helped me get everything up to the suite. Dad left to drop off the fruit salad at the reception venue.

There was only one minor annoyance before breakfast: the front desk never sent up a shower cap despite calling and asking for it twice.

Bar area

My hair stylist, Andie, arrived promptly at 9. She set up at the wet bar for easy access to electrical outlets and a mirror. She then began the not-so-painless process of styling my hair. I like Andie’s work, but being as tender-headed as I was at 6 years old, it hurt a little.

Bedroom

To distract myself from the tugs, I started to think about taking a nap. Crawling back in to bed sounded wonderful. I was sleepy and starting to get cranky. I blamed the uncomfortable bed, missing my pillow at home, checking in too late and not sleeping well Thursday night. I looked tired too. I could see the bags under my eyes. Sniffles and a tear or two turned in to more.

No one said anything. I don’t think they even noticed since we were all busy. Andie made small talk, but thankfully didn’t mention the tears. She was probably used to brides freaking out. In fact, she told me a story or two later.

I excused myself for a moment and went to a corner of the bedroom to grab tissues and tried to calm down. I needed to stop crying, if only for vanity. Elisa, the makeup artist, would be arriving at 10:30and I didn’t want a red nose and puffy eyes.

Mom's always been at my side

I was fine for a few more minutes until mom showed up armed with dresses and oatmeal for any hungry bridesmaids. She noticed the tears. Of course she did. I’ve never been able to hide my emotions from her. She spoke to me with compassion and concern, the same voice I’ve heard for the past 32 years.

“What’s wrong, mija? Why are you crying?”

She put her arm around my shoulder and squeezed me. I tried to explain that I was tired and didn’t sleep well, but that just made me cry more.

I tried to speak. “I was doing fine until you made me talk.”

“Everything is going to be okay, mija. Ya no llores.”

I took more deep breaths, dabbed my eyes, drank some water and hope I’d cried the drowsiness and nerves out of my system. Or maybe I just needed my mom by my side to calm me down. That has worked since before I could remember.

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