I'm not kidding: 10 minutes before this picture was taken, this room was spotlessly clean. This is what can happen when two very well-behaved, quiet twin 2-year-olds come home to find that someone has cleaned their room. Their vengeance was righteous, it reminded me of what happens when we clean the catbox...the kitties have to immediately run in there and fuck it back up again, reclaiming it as Feline Turf. Granted, the kids did not shit on the floor (this time).

But as I've been trying to emphasize: these are very calm kids. They performed this task with a ritual seriousness, methodically, in complete silence, like very small ninjas in sneakers. I can't even imagine what kind of daily cleanliness negation is possible with the kind of unruly, malicious little demons that you see asking for domination on a daily basis in Amsterdam (I'm singling out Amsterdam toddlers only because I haven't seen many American toddlers on this trip, and frankly I'd like to limit my exposure to these two who already know me by my name, which by the way they think is "Uncle Monkey").


Meanwhile, in my secret hidden lair (which by the way I just realized is exactly as messy as the boys' room), I am compiling a list of targets for external meals. I'm definitely keeping it minimal, but there are some things I'm going to need to eat while I'm here: New Mexican (as in, from New Mexico) and real Mexican is at the top of the list, closely followed by some eGullet-touted locations. I figure if I divide my time evenly between free weights, the elliptical trainer, and New Mexican food, I can still come out of this trip a kilo or two lighter.

Driving around in Phoenix is just terrible, and quadruply so on the weekends. Unfortch, my dad is really only reliably home on the weekends, so part of the strategy here is to figure out which destinations he'll enjoy and are also reachable on Saturday or Sunday without becoming involved in a road rage incident. Here's what's Mexican on the viewscreen right now:

El Nopalito, 2831 North 24th Street, Phoenix. Real strip-mall Mexican that looks perfect from the outside. Chowhounders have good things to say about it, and the pictures look like what I'm looking for.

Rosita's Fine Mexican Food
, 960 West University Drive, Tempe. I would really love to get there for their Dia de los Muertos celebration, but that means that we would have to go there today, a Saturday, in Tempe, which is a definite no-no as far as traffic goes. Maybe I'll just go for huevos rancheros whenever I eventually end up in Tempe.

Pepe's Taco Villa, 2108 West Camelback Road. Looks like good, standard Sonoroan Mexican food.

Los Dos Molinos, 8646 South Central Avenue, Phoenix
. This place is a Phoenix institution, you should never go on a weekend, the food is not spectacular, etc. But, it is very consistently above-average Arizona Mexican food, and if we're in the neighborhood on a weekday, I don't want to forget about it.

Dick's Hideaway, 6008 N 16th St, Phoenix. Not Mexican but New Mexican actually, this is the lunch counter version of Richardson's, the kitchen responsible for my now decade-old obsession with southwestern cooking.


I'm also doing some exotic chile shopping on this trip, and eG has suggested that Phoenix Ranch Market III, 1602 E Roosevelt St in Phoenix is where I need to be heading.


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