Sunday, June 24, 2012

pointing to the coming rains

(...views of yesterday evening's rainbow-in-the-virga...)

Late June in southern Arizona: the 'snowbirds' have fled, but for the hardy (crazy?) souls who endure the heat, the promise of rain eventually appears...Saguaro blooms morph into crimson fruit, harvested by the native Tohono O'odham people who turn it into the wine used in their "singing down the rain" ceremonies...

According to legend, the first Spanish explorer of the desert southwest, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, prayed for rain on the banks of the Santa Cruz river near Tucson on June 24th, 1540. On that day, the Catholic feast-day of John the Baptist, the monsoon began.

Meteorologically speaking, the rains usually begin in early July, but "The El Día de San Juan Fiesta" continues to be observed in June. (A great example of Native/Spanish/civic syncretism)
Sometimes, the skies cooperate...

Maybe, just maybe, the rains will reach the ground tonight...

(photos above taken with my iPhone last night; 
thanks to our friend R. for hosting the party at her place in the Rincon foothills!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"early blooms" & a restaurant recommendation

...always a fun surprise to find a photo published in the morning paper:


And a local restaurant recommendation:

Whether you're in Tucson for a stay or just passing through, "Agustín Brasserie" is worth checking out. Just west of downtown, a couple of blocks from I-10, you might not expect to find 'duck confit' or 'vichyssoise' in this desert city more known (and justly so) for its Mexican food.

But here it is. Sleek but unpretentious, located in a revitalizing historic neighborhood (site of the original Spanish settlement in the late 1700's), this place served up a home-made country pâté platter (see below) worthy of any bistro in Paris.

And after dinner, S. and I were treated to complimentary tarte tatin and crème brûlée for our anniversary!

Venga pa'comer; venez manger! Come eat.