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El Mexicali Cafe

Indio, California: With plans to spend the Thanksgivukkah holiday in Los Angeles, our time today was occupied with errands and shopping for groceries. I will be cooking all day tomorrow and DT will be golfing all day tomorrow. This is exactly what happened last year, and my plot to have DT out of my way all day really worked out then... so we are bringing the tradition back.

Oddly enough, I am also preparing the same dish as last year - Salmon Rillettes. Seems like another good tradition, as this appetizer is simply out-of-this-world and Lisa requested it again. I am also baking rolls and making a few other things - including dinner Wednesday evening.

Hopefully My Driver will take me out to dinner after he returns from golf?

While out and about (sorry, cannot disclose all locations as it would provide too many Hanukkah-gift shopping clues), we decided to stop for lunch at the famed El Mexicali Cafe in Indio. On the train tracks. In such an old building (most likely once a service station?) the bathrooms can only be accessed from outside.

Looks and location can sometimes be deceiving, because El Mexicali is a great place, with great food and a great atmosphere - and it is family-owned and operated. What's not to love about a train rumbling-by ten feet from your table during your meal?

Chile Rellano and chicken enchilada in red sauce

Carne Asada Quesadilla

After eating in a little local place like this, it amazes me that those huge national chain restaurants (serving what they claim is "Mexican food") can even stay in business.

earlier post, the family running El Mexicali is originally from Mexicali, Mexico. Mexicali has a huge Chinese population (laborers came from China in the early 1900's to help build a massive irrigation canal system, and stayed) so... this restaurant serves spicy peppers stuffed with shrimp - and soy sauce is used as a condiment. Chinese-Mexican food. Now that is just a very unusual combination.

Funny. Now that I think of it... can you name two types of restaurants in America where "combination plates" are menu staples? Chinese and Mexican. Hmmmm...

Luckily, I had a super healthy low-calorie, low-fat vegetarian meal planned for dinner. Our neighbors, Lois and Steve (and their huge golden retriever, Rocky) were arriving today and we had invited them to relax with us over dinner after their long RV trip.

I made a pot of my Minestrone Soup and served it with a salad of butter lettuce, persimmons, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and crumbled blue cheese in a mustardy vinaigrette. Great meal and great to catch-up with our friends.

Rocky may have enjoyed a few bread crusts here and there.

Until my next update, I remain, your combination correspondent.

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