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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snow Day

The Great Blizzard of 2011 turned out to be at least partly weatherman hyperbole. I normally don't alter my schedule on account of the weather, I go to work or whatever I need to do, I just try not to over-drive the conditions.

But hearing this described as a storm the likes of which the area has not seen in my lifetime, and being that my desk was pretty well caught up, I decided not to attempt to go to work Tuesday. I could have gotten there easily, the morning wasn't bad at all. Monday's freezing rain was more hazardous.

The Poet Laureate was back Monday night, early, from her trip to Jeff City. Bike Pedestrian Day took a snow day, too, so she and Brian boarded the Amtrak and wisely got out of Booneville before that sleepy town got nailed by 20 inches of snow.

(Serves those bastards right, I got an outrageously expensive speeding ticket in Booneville about 17 or 18 years ago and I'm still miffed that they feel entitled to mug passers-through with such a stiff fine schedule.)

I decided I'd rather be snowed in at her place than at mine.

Anyway, after sleeping in a bit, we decided not to push our luck too far on the white-out conditions they were forecasting.

I've never seen such, but I've heard of people freezing to death a few feet from their front doors because they couldn't see where they were going and got wore out. So an early afternoon walk to El Bonito Michoacan was undertaken to get needful things for the Philly cheesesteaks I wanted to cook for supper.

Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the dawg I had the other day, but I've been hankering for a cheesesteak lately.

It was an adventure walking in the maybe eight inches of snow that had fallen. A challenge, too.

Most of the vehicles that were out were snow plows or four wheel drive trucks and SUVs. This latter group should have stayed home, their steering was by faith and accident, and their brakes were non-existent, but they had plenty of traction to get moving fast.

We had taken to walking in the street because it was sort of plowed, moving aside for cars when they came. One pickup came weaving along so fast it inspired us to run for cover because he was about one jerk of the wheel from being thirty feet off course in a snow drift.

Michoacan was dead, hardly a line for Taco Tuesday, and I realized that while the blizzard wasn't impressing me compared to the hype, it is heavy weather when the Mexicans stay home from work.

We got some bistek suave, which is the perfect meat for cheesesteaks, already sliced so thin you can almost see through it. Then, instead of Cheese Whiz, provolone or cream cheese, we got some queso quesadilla. We already had one bell pepper, and the ones they had in the produce section weren't that fantastic looking, so I grabbed a bunch of huge, gorgeous jalapeños that also happened to be the cheapest peppers on offer.

They also sell 'legal' coffee at El Bonito Michoacan. It does make me wonder.

They also sell 'Manteca da Cardo' and 'Chicharrón' at the butcher counter—aka fat-back and pork rinds. Not unappealing when you're hiking in weather like this, but the Spanish suggests to me 'Manteca da Cardiac Arrest.'

No baguette shapped bread was to be had, but there were loaves of bread not quite too big to pass for a sub roll, and we were in business.

Well, we were in for another eight or nine blocks of marching in the snow.

And stopping to try and help get a PT Cruiser out into the road, a doomed effort even with 500 pounds of humanity leaning hard on it while the driver gunned it. I really wouldn't have been doing them a favor if we'd gotten it into the lane, a car that light with that little ground clearance didn't stand a chance.

The wind never got as intense as the forecast lead me to expect, and I think that's why visibility was as good as it was. There was some blowing snow but nothing that required you to have a guide rope to get from the house to the barn. Mainly it was just coming down faster than the plows could clear it.

The coat I found at the thrift store proved worthy, it was actually too warm while we were walking and I had to open up the ski vents. The hike wasn't as sweaty as cycling.

I'm not as stylish and sexy in my coat as Max is in his, but it turns out Corinna looks fantastic in it.

I did ponder a ride in the mess, and while Gallmeyer called to say he'd been out for a ride in it, I doubt the bicycle would have much utility in these conditions. You'd get there as fast on foot and without having to lug thirty pounds of vehicle with you. And without falling down every five minutes, as I surely would have.

Once we were back aboard the Busted Flush, as Travis McGee would say, I commenced to sautéing the onions, shredding the beef, and cutting up the peppers. I started to strip the membrane and seeds from the jalapeños before I realized how stupid that is. It's a habit, but I'm not sure where it comes from; the pickled version of the same fruit is sliced without removing any part of it, there's nothing inedible about the seeds, it's a big waste of time, effort and a small waste of food.

We did the 'sandwiches' open faced, heaped up on a plate and nuked for a minute to melt the queso. Presentation-wise, not really a Philly. And as far as taste, it was its own thing, nothing they'd recognize in the City of Brotherly Love, these were Bonito Michaocan Cheesesteaks.

I was surprised at how worn out the walk made me. Fifteen blocks or so round trip, all of about a mile and a half.

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