Daily Archives: March 8, 2008

My first words…

I know I’m going back in time a bit here, but it was also here in Las Vegas, New Mexico where I wrote my first words — blogging and texting aside — since the WGA strike began in November of last year. Yeah!

Father Salinas filler dialog!

I wish I could say they were in service of something really cool like an action sequence or something, but alas, my first words written on February 13th, 2008 (the day we returned to work) amounted to little more than filler dialog for our female lead, Paz Vega, to read at a vigil for her missing daughter, Toby.

Sadly, I did not manage to get a pic of those pearls of writerly wisdom, so here instead is the second filler monolog I was called upon to write that day. These words are for “Borat” star, Ken Davitian, who plays the Del Rio, Texas parish priest, Father Salinas. Yes, the fat naked dude from “Borat” is playing a priest.

And he rocks at it too. Seriously, just look at the picture below…is this dude not convincing as a kindly, west Texas parish priest? Amen.

Ken Davitian and me @ the Catholic Church in Las Vegas, NM

Anyway, the funny part about both filler dialog assignments is that there is so much going on in the foreground of the scene — which takes place in a crowded Catholic church with tons of extras — that you’ll probably barely be able to hear either Ms. Vega or Mr. Davitian’s stirring recitations of my “beautiful” filler dialog onscreen.

Ah, the glamorous life of a Hollywood wordsmith. Ha! Either way…it was really fun just writing again, even if it was just background chatter nobody’s ever gonna hear in the actual movie…

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Charlie’s Spic & Span Cafe

As I think I mentioned in my previous post on Las Vegas, New Mexico…this town is sleepy in the extreme. And late night dining? Forget it. If Ginger and I got a hankering for some late-night grub after we wrapped we had two choices…fast food and Wal-Mart. Seriously, they don’t even have a Denny’s!

Charlie’s Spic & Span Cafe, Las Vegas, NM (2008)
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You’d think the daylight options would be better…but you’d be wrong there too. The free breakfast at the Plaza hotel’s Landmark Grill wasn’t bad, but if you wanted a truly spectacular taste of New Mexico…there was only one place in town worth hitting on a regular basis…Charlie’s Spic & Span Bakery and Cafe.

Not only do they make and sell fresh flour tortillas all day long (see picture below) but the food was my first — not to mention second and third — taste of classic New Mexican cuisine. And wow…what a way to start! Similar to Mexican food in many ways, the big difference here are the chiles. They are fresh, spicy, and best of all, they use them in and on top of everything here!

The tortilla maker @ Spic & Span!
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There are two different shades of chile here in New Mexico, Green and Red and almost anything you order (including bacon cheeseburgers, which are amazing!) is smothered with them.

Your server will always ask a color preference first, and if you’re unsure, there is always the option of ordering your food “Christmas” style. That means red AND green chiles! And let me tell ya, that is the only way to fly, baby! Delicious.

Best dinner in Las Vegas!
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The other big difference between New Mexican and Mexican cuisine is the way they kind of cover everything with a layer of beans and chiles. My sister-in-law, Laura — a stickler for segregated food groups — would probably die, but everything here just sort of runs together in a big old plate of deliciousness. Yep, it’s messy, but man, is it good!

Most places here also serve their enchiladas (mostly made from blue corn tortillas) flat rather than rolled. It’s kind of odd, but the taste is right, so, who cares? In case you were wondering, that’s a blue corn enchilada and a homemade pork tamale under all those beans and lettuce above.

Machaca plate de Dios!
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And lest you think Charlie’s Spic and Span is all about the fresh tortillas and tasty dinners, they also serve a pretty kick-ass breakfast too. Ginger had some strawberry French Toast that was melt-in-your-mouth good but the real highlight for us was my machaca plate with papitas. The potatoes were a bit ordinary, but the machaca — served with shredded tortillas, fresh salsa and eggs — rivals some of the finest Mexican chilaquiles I’ve ever had. IN MEXICO! They were amazing!

And finally, it should also be noted that Charlie’s is the one and only place in Las Vegas where you can get a real Starbucks latte. And trust me, after drinking good, but mild, craft service coffee all week long, that is really something to look forward to!

To quote my Grandpa Romero and the colorful t-shirts the staff wears: “Panza llena, corazon contento…full stomach, contented heart.” Rock on, Spic and Span!

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