At its best, a summer night is indescribable. Elusive. From the warm breezes; the comforting, rhythmic chant of crickets; and the beautiful starry sky filled with deep blues and purples – a summer night dances, flits. It then flees before dawn, leaving us to languish only with its enchanted memory. But most importantly, a summer night reminds us to stop, relax, and simply “be.”
That’s exactly what I did last night. After braving the increasingly treacherous Merritt Parkway in Connecticut – treacherous in its gridlock traffic, car accidents, and close proximity to wildlife (hello, deer and turkeys, please don't jaywalk into my lane) – I was tired. Where to eat? I decided to visit an old favorite – right off my exit and right down Memory Lane.
Olé Molé is a colorful Mexican restaurant with rainbow-colored seating, dazzling silver-framed mirrors, and an array of authentic Mexican dishes and imported sodas that hearken back to my old Mexico days. I first traveled to Mexico in 1996 – on a Habitat for Humanity college trip. I then returned to host a government roundtable with my job in 2008.
But, perhaps most impressively, Olé Molé is the FIRST restaurant I visited when moving out of ol' New York City and into Connecticut in 2002. High honor. I was only twenty-six and scoping out local Mexican restaurants (Mexican being my favorite ethnic cuisine) when I came across Olé Molé. At the time, it was a small hole-in-the-wall with only a few tables, and did mostly take-out. Today, it comprises a full dining room with additional tables outside. Outside is where I sat last night. And what did I order? On this special night, I ordered something new. Maybe due to the tiny, sweet wobbly orange table where I sat, or my bright red fold-up chair, whichever the case – I’m glad that the whimsical summer night had swept me away, thus inspiring me to order one of Olé Molé’s “Saturday Night Specials.” I ordered the “Enchiladas Azteca.”
Olé Molé’s “Enchiladas Azteca” is a glorious dish – it’s braised pork in soft corn enchiladas; doused with green chili-lime sauce; and sprinkled with soft, white, crumbly Mexican cheese; onions; and cilantro. The dish is spicy, but not overpowering. You can enjoy every flavor, texture, and even every color. It’s a delight for ALL your senses. Add in the side dishes of red rice, brown pinto and black beans, chopped lettuce and tomatoes – it’s Mexican “food heaven.” Can we all say “Hallelujah?”
I actually stopped mid-meal and took a break – a la a contestant in a hot dog or baby-back ribs eating competition. Yowza. I drank water, e-mailed my niece who had just arrived in Spain for her study abroad semester – another trip down Memory Lane as I, too, studied abroad in Spain when I was twenty – and then resumed my feast.
Olé Molé was wondrous. It reconnected with me so many beloved colors, flavors, and memories. It also reconnected me with the beauty of a summer night. Satisfecha. I went home and slept well. You guessed it – the sound of those rhythmic crickets filled the air.