Secretly? This little blog is really an exercise in manifesting. Call it Secret-ing, call it bhavanizing, whatever you call it, I'm doing it with every post I write. All with the hippie belief that by putting good energy out there, I will welcome more of the same back into my life.
I mean, at the end of the day that's why I write... to connect, to attract people and places and moments into my life that add meaning and beauty and adventure.
But of all the amazing things this blog has manifested so far (and there have been a lot), last Wednesday night took the cake.
A decade ago, I was 19, driving around backroads in Connecticut, listening to this new CD I'd just bought by a singer songwriter named Tristan Prettyman and daydreaming about what my life would be like if I lived in San Diego.
And last Wednesday? Oh, I just casually had dinner with Tristan at Puesto downtown at The Headquarters. No big deal.
(ONLY IT WAS A REALLY BIG F*CKING DEAL.)
I've said it before and I'll say it a million times: Tristan Prettyman is my idol. In fact, she's an idol for a lot of amazing women and I don't mind sharing her. I honestly don't think there's any other female artist out there who has such loyal, admiring fans. She's created a sisterhood around owning who you are, around embracing transparency in love and all that you do, around following your heart, and of course... around tacos.
Which is what brought us together last Wednesday, along with about a dozen of her fans and their guests.
That's right, TP is now a triple threat: Singer. Songwriter. Taco Curator.
After a flirtation on Twitter, Puesto scored big time when they convinced Tristan to help them with one of the topics she holds near and dear: tacos. She accepted, taco ideas were bandied about and a plant-based menu built around Tristan's taco was created. To celebrate it, Puesto hosted a dinner party in her honor.
And somehow, someway, the universe worked its magic and I received an invite, all thanks to this little blog.
Disclaimer: I was in a pretty consistent state of shock for most of this night, but the part of my brain that was on blogger autopilot managed to swipe a menu so that I would be able to remember all of the delicious dishes we were treated to, starting with this guacamole pictured above.
While Tristan arrived and sat down a mere two seats away from me (look, I should just make it really clear that I'm going to fangirl out for most of this post, so have no illusions me keeping my cool), the servers were setting out bowls of this gorgeous guac, known as their Guacamole Nogada.
This was one of the dishes that is currently on the menu at Puesto and was easily one of my favorites of the night. Pomegranate, tomato, mango verde, chile de arbol, candied walnuts, cilantro, onion, fresh squeezed lime and orange, and chile habanero were all mixed into this creamy avo goodness.
I proceeded to eat basically all of the bowl in front of me while I got to know some of the awesome ladies seated around me and they were pretty awesome, like Alicen, a photographer with a droolworthy Instagram, and Melissa, who runs the wonderful vegan food blog, Vegenista.
Meanwhile, out came a vegan take on Queso Dip and the only dish I didn't get a good picture of. This faux-queso was really almond chile crema topped with jalapeño pico and was pretty tasty. I've recently had adverse reactions to almonds (bummer for me) so I had to take it easy on this dish, but I did dip a few chip-fuls to keep my mind off the fact that, surreality check, Tristan Prettyman was still two. seats. away. from me. :O
However, my concentration problems were solved when the next course, a Root Vegetable Aguachile, was served. I have no issue with admitting that I am a complete wimp when it comes to spice. Which is why I am not embarrassed to share that this feisty dish lit my mouth on fire.
Basically a vegan Mexican ceviche, the veggies were drenched in an avocado, cucumber, serrano citrus aguachile sauce. All of my attention went straight to refilling my Strawberry Margarita so that I could wash away the flames.
Before the main event, one more dish was passed around the table: the Mercado Salad, which featured local summer greens, farm stand veggies, olive oil and citruses, such as pink grapefruit. My favorite part of this salad was the tiny cucumbers which looked like mini watermelons scattered throughout.
Like a good blonde, I even asked how they found mini watermelons for this salad... I was so impressed!
While the servers starting bringing out the main course, the Coliflor Asada taco, I worked up the courage to carry my taco over to TP and see if she'd be willing to snap a pic eating her dinner with me because... tacos with Tristan Prettyman? Come on... pics or didn't happen.
Looking at this picture now, I still can't believe I got it. It's just so perfect, it cracks me up every time. And can we just take a moment to appreciate how graceful she looks eating tacos? Though it appears I have a bit of a rabid approach to my taco consumption, I am not even a tiny bit ashamed. They were good.
Inside the blue corn tortilla lies a tasty combo of charred cauliflower, pickled carrots, and chile almond crema. This beauty hits the menu August 5th and the best part is, a portion of the proceeds from this dish will benefit Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center. Olivewood is a pretty wonderful center down in National City that provides science based environmental education lessons, hands-on gardening, and hands-on cooking to students and families from under-served communities.
Getting this picture would have made my night on it's own. Still pretty stoked from my moment with her, I was finishing up my food and soaking up the magic of the evening when I noticed her get up out of the corner of my eye... walk two seats down... and sit down in the empty seat. Next. To. Me.
I flagged down the waiter and ordered another margarita.
TP spent the next twenty minutes chatting with all of us and it was pretty much some of the best minutes of my life. It was exactly like I always daydreamed dinner with Tristan would be (because believe me, I have daydreamed about it): totally, completely normal. And wonderful. And fun and comfortable and like she had just been friends with all of us forever.
I swear this wasn't the margarita talking.
I mean, she's such a hilarious, happy soul and her positivity is so contagious, I couldn't help but lose all of my nervousness and enjoy our group's fun, girly conversation. As we chatted away, the final dish of the night, a mind-blowing Mexican Chocolate and Coconut Tart was placed in front of us, along with a glass of the most delicious Peach Horchata the world has ever known.
We toasted our horchatas, nibbled on our chocolate and eventually wrapped up and said our goodbyes. That night I went to bed marveling at how completely crazy it was that I just spent a night having tacos with Tristan and tonight, a week later, I am still buzzing.
I'm endlessly grateful to Puesto for not only treating me to a wonderful dinner but for inviting me to what was essentially one of the most amazing nights of my life: I got to spend a night just sharing food and stories and drinks and laughs with my ultimate idol, goddess-person, Tristan Prettyman.
Taco bout a dream come true.
Puesto at The Headquarters
789 W Harbor Dr #155
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 233-8880