We missed Cinco de Mayo traveling back from Europe. Not that it really matters, because I could eat tacos every day. We landed in Chicago and I had about 24 hours before my flight back to Seattle, so we decided on one of our favorite places, El Milagro in Pilsen for lunch. Their tacos are not for the light eater. I only usually can eat one because they’re stuffed with your meat of choice, rice (yes, inside the taco), beans, shredded cabbage and their spicy salsa. Delicious. But they have something else that I accidentally ordered, that I cannot live with out when we visit.
My first time at El Milagro, I was really hungry, so I saw they had a side of chips and salsa. Yes please! The woman behind the corner asked me if I wanted cheese on them. Huh? I said ok, not entirely sure I understood her correctly. Then, it arrived. Warm, freshly made tortilla chips with a warm green chile salsa and Cotija cheese on top. I took a bite and the crunchy, salty, warm chips and green chile, combined with the cold cheese… I told J it was truly, one of the best things I’d ever eaten. I asked the staff working what kind of chiles they were and they said “green.” Hmm. I would guess using Hatch could come close, and I’ll be trying to replicate these soon.
I wasn’t going to come along on this trip. Work schedules, family, stress, money… all reasons we give ourselves for not being able to get away. The opportunity came up for J to DJ three cities in Switzerland, Germany and Prague. I decided to take the opportunity and get away. Friends had always told me Prague was beautiful. It’s old, rich in culture and home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe.
The first few days were spent wandering taking photos, hiking to the Prague Castle and sampling their Pilsners. But it’s what happened in the moments of quiet, like quickly deciding to go watch the sunset after a thunderstorm, that was truly moving. Travel gives you perspective and a glance into the human experience like you don’t get with anything else. Watching people of all backgrounds take photos, experience meals in a picturesque outdoor setting under an awning, or wander tiny streets holding hands while speaking French, Italian, Japanese or German. I’ve had a hard time finding reasons to take photos or be creative and recently felt that I was in a slump. But this city was reinvigorating. It surprised you around every corner with a beautiful old wood door, a canal flanked by sunny lilac bushes, or a chef in full uniform and hat handwriting specials on a menu board.
In our last full day here, we ventured out to find some brunch. After a grumpy manager didn’t want us to sit at an outdoor table yet, we decided to walk and find someplace else. We found a small cafe by the river with a view of the city and had an open face sandwich with Prosciutto, cheese, balsamic, and sun-dried tomatoes on a baguette. Simple, but with the view, spectacular. It’s in moments like this, that spontaneity is the best medicine.
The “original” Budweiser
Doors in Prague