Monday, March 8, 2010

Temecula Mommy & Me Day by Johanna Lack

by Johanna Lack

Saturday February 6th, 2010

My husband and son were out of town on a camping trip, so I figured I would have a special mommy-daughter day with my six year old. Unfortunately, we woke up to pouring rain, and even though I had all kinds of activities planned around Temecula, the idea of slogging it out in an ark-worthy downpour wasn’t my idea of fun.

It was tempting to let Marissa just marinate in front of the TV while I did some much needed cleaning but then I figured that really wouldn’t win me the mom-of-the-year-award (and I’ve given up on ever coming close to winning housekeeper-of-the-year). Plus, I had promised Marissa a mommy and me day and that’s what we were going to do.

We made a framed picture with pressed flowers. We had a tea party that went on and on and on… then – thank you! – the sun came out. We quickly changed out of our pajamas and jumped in the car.

First stop was Target so that the little girl could spend the gift card she got for her birthday. With that out of the way, I promised her a surprise destination and made my way over to Old Town Sweet Shop’s grand opening.

We stepped into this candy land and Marissa’s eyes popped open wide. There was bulk candy and jelly bellies and old fashioned packaged candy and fudge and… it was enough to make any six-year-old’s head explode.

We made our way to the back where they were offering ice cream. The friendly lady behind the counter told us they were selling it for the first time and as a kick off were giving out free tastes all day long. Marissa had a scoop of the Cotton Candy flavor and I tasted a scoop of a delicious concoction called Espresso Explosion. The nice lady went on to explain that it was the Cascade brand ice cream made in the Pacific Northwest, and they selected it out of a zillion others because it was so especially good.

We then moved over to the fudge counter where they were also offering free tastes. So, why not? We each tried a bit and yes it was to die for. Then it was time to go to town filling up sacks of bulk candy. We grabbed a couple of extra large lollipops for good measure.

With my diet out the window, it was time to move on. Since we were right next to Granny’s Attic Antique Mall, I thought we’d go into my kind of calorie-free candy land.

I love this place. You never know what you’ll find and though I had absolutely no intention of buying anything, I saw the perfect jewelry armoire. I’ve wanted one since forever and the price was right. Marissa was a good sport during my sojourn here but after a while her patience wore thin. I could have easily browsed another hour but it would have been too much for any kid to take. I juggled the little armoire and held the little girl’s hand as we darted across Front Street to our car.

(Question to The City of Temecula: Would it be so hard to have a few more pedestrian cross walks in Old Town? Hmmm?)

After a stop at Michaels we headed over to Painted Earth. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve been there. It was heaven for my arty child who’ll happily spend hours drawing and painting.

After her masterpiece was done, it was time for dinner. It had started raining again, so we dashed to the car and my mind started spinning. Where to go? Where to go? Then I remembered that my brother-in-law Leo had recommended El Taco Nazo. Leo knows his Mexican food and I figured he wouldn’t steer me wrong. He told me it was in the K-Mart shopping center but I didn’t know where exactly. We drove around in circles until I found it next to Bella Cappelli hair salon.

Now here are some things about El Taco Nazo:

1. Its name has been changed to Senor Baja but the sign outside still says El Taco Nazo. Curious.

2. It’s a no-frills place when it comes to interior decorating. We got our food to go.

3. The fish tacos are absolutely fantastic and very affordable (and on certain days they’re only 99 cents!)

4. Last but not least: marinated onions at the salsa bar. Need I say more?

We wrapped up our excursion with a stop at Hollywood Video to pick up Ella Enchanted. Back home again, we settled in to inhale our tacos and watch the beautiful Ann Hathaway struggle with fairy spells and true love. My heart was full when Marissa agreed; it was one of the best, girliest mommy and me days ever.

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