You know, when it's winter time, you almost forget the color of the grass. Even around here, where it rains more than snows (or it doesn't snow at all), so the grass is there, not hidden under a blanket of white, the grass sort of disappears. It grows dull, like a piece of silver left in a cupboard and starting to rust. The grass may be green but it's a muddy, khaki green, nothing wonderful.
We always long for spring, Danny and I. (and you, I'm betting too.) We long for new vegetables and the chance to fire up the grill and warm air on our skin and picnics.
Meals during the winter most often happen under the cover of darkness. Dinner means looking out the window and imagining the trees growing leaves out there in the pitch black. Nothing feels that casual. It all feels planned.
Last week, we had our first picnic of the spring, with tacos carnitas.
And tamales, the paper plate flung on the suddenly vivid green grass.
We were driving near the Arboretum in Seattle, wondering if our little one would go to sleep by the motion of the car. We really wanted to eat our take-out food from Rancho Bravo, an unadorned Mexican place, run by the same folks who ran the legendary taco truck of the same name in Seattle. They've let go of their itinerant ways and settled in an old KFC in Capitol Hill. There's nothing fancy about the place. The swiveling chairs are attached to the tables — this was clearly a fast food place. They only take cash. They have Mexican Coke and tamarind soda and about 12 items on the menu.
I still have to try the posole. But I keep coming back to the tacos carnitas. They're just so damned good. And cheap.
And the tamales, falling out of their corn-husk wrappers, fragrant with spiced pork and spicy sauce and all this warm goodness that steams up on the face and really makes you believe that spring is around the corner.
When the kid wouldn't sleep, we stopped the car near a patch of green grass. We climbed out of the car and had a picnic.
She could not have been happier, clutching her plastic fork, dropping rice on herself, nibbling on carnitas, and smiling. She didn't care that the grass was actually still damp and we all had wet butts. What does a kid care about that?
We were on a picnic in February.