Wednesday started out like any other day that we do not have Ivan with us: we grudgingly scraped ourselves out of bed, complained about having to work for a living and then went and did it anyway. Chris went to the hospital to fulfill her lifelong dream of performing heart scans on fat people and I went to finish a glass job in Greer for an old friend and associate. 

barroco Mexican Bistro on UrbanspoonOur work day was as close to “routine” as we have in our scattered, hectic lives… for about fifteen minutes.

Chris got to work to find out that her department had only four patients scheduled for the entire day. This should take one person less than two hours so three people scheduled for eight hours seemed excessive. Somebody needed to take the day off so she called me to see if I wanted company on my adventure to downtown Greer.  Since she is my wife and I enjoy her company just a bit, I told her I would pick her up in thirty minutes. 

Our primary destination was the Victoria Arms apartment building in downtown Greer where I had to finish building the walls for the director’s new office.  I only had three pieces of glass to install and a little bit of trim work to do so I really did not need any help. Chris was eager though and sure looked cute carrying my tools around so I put her to work. 

For those of you (probably most of you) that do not know what Victoria Arms is, let me explain. On paper it is an apartment for the elderly. In practice, however, it is home to some of the nicest people on Earth. I have worked in a lot of homes and on a lot of construction sites over the years but I have never had so much fanfare on a jobsite as today.  The office is being constructed in the building’s lobby so nearly every resident walked by at least once and apparently none of them pass without commenting on the new addition to their building. For two hours I felt like Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne with the whole building cheering us on and telling us how fast we worked and how great the job looked.*

Here I should mention that Victoria Arms is not just for the elderly; it is for the lower-income elderly.  As a result, we were introduced to Loaves and Fishes of Greenville when they dropped by just before lunch.  Loaves and Fishes is an organization dedicated to rescuing perishable food from the waste pile and distributing this food to organizations that feed the hungry.  I never knew this company existed but I am glad to know that they do. The residents of Victoria Arms helped unload the truck’s contents into their meeting area and crowded around their windfall of tasty morsels.  <side note: Whole Foods is holding a lunch event supporting Loaves and Fishes on October 25th. Check it out here>

As an indication of their kindness, one woman told us how good the bread was and that we had better move fast if we intended to get any. The fact that the food was not intended for us did not matter – our presence in their building made us one of them in spite of our age and position in the world.  Warmth like that is hard to find anywhere, especially on a construction project, and its significance was not lost on us.

We finished the job right around noon-thirty so we packed up and headed out to see what Downtown Greer had to offer. My usual lunch destination of choice in that neck of the woods is Wild Ace Pizza but a friend and former co-worker suggested the new Mexican restaurant in town. Wild Ace is still a cool place that I will tell you about later but today let me just say this – Barroco Mexican Bistro was beyond outstanding. 

Barroco Mexican Bistro is real Mexican food. It is not as conveniently located one mile from my home like My Taco Mexico is but it would be worth every mile of the trip. While My Taco Mexico provides a totally unique and fun taco-stand experience, Barroco is more of a full service establishment with a broader appeal, larger menu and a full bar. What they share is an authenticity that is hard to come by in this type of cuisine.

I had the enchiladas which served as kind of a sampler platter. One was filled with beans, one with chicken, and other with beef. I took one bite of each then repeated in order, eating across the row of enchiladas like a typewriter until they were gone. Needless to say, this took about five minutes as I was starving and the enchiladas were delicious.

Chris went a little more exotic (at least in my world) with the Mole Verde. Chicken was covered in a spicy green mole sauce and served over a bed of rice with a fried egg and a plate of tortillas to wrap it all up.  Chris seemed extra impressed that the mole was homemade since it such an involved process that it is hard to find the fresh, authentic variety on most menus. As is normally the case when we eat at a place like this, I did not know what she was ordering but it is now one of my new favorite things in the world.

Our waitress was super friendly and the owner, Jesus, even went the extra mile to visit our table and ask about our visit. He seemed to be as excited about our food as we were, which is an attribute almost exclusive to people that are really cooking up something special.  I look forward to going back and seeing what else he has cooked up for us.

After lunch we ran a few more work errands and got home relatively early for a weekday. For a day that started off as routine I never expected the adventures that I was treated to; I met some really interesting people, ate a surprisingly delicious meal at a great new restaurant, and spent the day with my favorite lady in the whole wide world.

Thank you Wednesday for not being what I expected.  I owe you one.

*NOTE: Chris did not understand the Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne reference. It is from one of the best children's books ever written but I am not sure they had books when she was a kid. She is that old.