Viva Alabama Autumn! Viva Mexico! The Big Lebowski?

By on 11 September, 2011 in Karren Pell with 0 Comments

Father Miguel Hidalgo

Viva Alabama autumn’s cooler temperatures.

Certainly we can use the Mexican  Independence Day celebration as a good excuse for a night out, especially when El Rey is serving its own version of carnitas that can be heartily consumed outside on the deck so we can enjoy the cool air, Mexican Independence Day, and carnitas. So Viva Mexico! But the Big Lebowski? Well, you know those fun, clever guys at El Rey. I’ll let you check out their connective reasoning. But, I ask you, why not?

Let me further enlighten you with a tad of fascinating history about Mexico’s independence — especially since my husband, Tim Henderson, is a professor and author of a book on the subject, The Mexican Wars for Independence. The period is called “the independence wars,” as it took a decade for Mexico to win its independence from Spain. The Sept. 16 date commemorates the first movement in 1810 by Father Miguel Hidalgo in the small town of Delores. He rang the ancient church bells, made a call to arms now known as the Grito de Dolores, and marched at the front of several hundred farmers to neighboring towns. Along the way, he snatched a church tapestry with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe off the wall as a banner. For his efforts, he is revered as the father of the Mexican nation. That is the good news. The bad news is that not only was he unsuccessful, but he was imprisoned and eventually lost his head. He lost his head, but the head was not really lost — it rolled around in a cage hanging from a large ornate grainery called the Alhóndiga for about ten years. Don’t let this spoil your appetite! Finally in 1821, the Mexican people achieved freedom from Spain and became an independent nation.

Now, let me tell you about El Rey’s carnitas. In a word: fabulous. The special “Duroc” pork (a locally produced old heritage breed of pig) is slow cooked all day in special spices, fruit and chilies. They also offer a vegan jack fruit carnita — fruit cooked slow in the same spices. Pair with some rice or beans. Oh, go on, have a margarita too. El Rey starts serving at 4:00 and the carnitas won’t last long. Folks in Mexico will also be indulging in food and drink and also in a Mexican version of the rebel yell called the “Grito Mexicano.” You just might hear some of that around East Fairview Street too.

The Big Lebowski? 7:00 at the Capri. What a night! Why not?

Karren Pell is a writer, teacher, and performer who lives with her husband, Tim Henderson, and an assortment of cats and dogs in Capitol Heights. She is the author of three books. Her musical compositions range from commercial songs to theatrical works, with five musical adaptations to her credit.

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