Yesterday was a good day in Logan, and a good day at Ute Lake Premier Properties, LLC (www.utelakeproperties.com), the place where I hang my hat when I’m not being the paralegal for the Harris Law Firm or the jewelry salesperson in the booth at market for Pick Up Sticks Jewelry Company (www.pickupsticks.net). I get to hang my hat there because I’m a partner, and while the pace might not be as demanding as the divorce mill that is the law firm, or the craziness that is the market booth for the jewelry divas, there’s always something to be done, or someone to talk to. There seems to be an inordinate amount of schmoozing at ULPP – I’m either on the phone chatting it up with a prospective buyer or visiting with the client sitting in the chair across from me. TJ and I got to go out and walk through a house on the south side of the lake that has a breathtaking view and then I got to e-mail a client in Manhattan. One of my Clovis clients drove up for the day and came by to talk about the market. I worked on a pile of pictures for someone in Arizona interested in horse properties.
Driving by our office just north of Allsup’s Convenience Store, you might not get the impression that there’s a lot going on, but what we seem to eventually do every day, even when we’re not listing or showing property, is churn the wheels and try to make someone happy. It’s not a bad way to spend a Tuesday.
In the middle of the day I got to have lunch at the Annex Bar and Grill with my great pal Angie Medrow. She’s just home from her honeymoon in Jamaica, and she slid into the booth with a “I am SOOOO ready for chips and salsa!” Yeah, the seafood was amazing in Jamaica, and yes, she had a wonderful vacation, but it was truly time for some chips and salsa from the Annex. We had an animated discussion of her trip and then a more animated discussion of the latest Logan news (I’m pretty sure some folks would call it gossip, but honestly – in a small town, news is news. . .) and in the midst of lunch, we got hugs from Junior and Mildred Osborn (he was my bus driver when we lived in the country, she played the piano and organ at my church for about 100 years) and then a hug each from Hank, and then a stop-by-meet-and-greet from Jason Bruhn and a wave across the room from Kim and Glen Lubera. That’s how it is at the Annex – the salsa is fabulous and the company is always friendly. I’m happy we have it.
At the end of the day, I started home and saw the sunset – a brilliant pink and blue that I had to have on film. I whipped down to the boat ramp at the state park – by the time I got there, the colors had faded a bit, but I still saved it to post here. The winter sky is so different from the summer sky – almost every evening there’s another gorgeous sunset to enjoy. I’ve added a photo from Saturday at the end of this post. As I’ve said before, the sky in New Mexico always seems to overpower any other scenery.
And then for dinner, Dave and I went back to the Annex for Taco Tuesday. We didn’t necessarily plan it that way – given my rushing around and getting ready for a jewelry selling trip to New York tomorrow, I’m not even sure I knew it was Tuesday. But that’s definitely what it was, and that’s definitely what we had to have (three tacos, beans, rice, chips, salsa and a drink for $6.99 every Tuesday night), and the ubiquitous chips and salsa showed up first, and I was immediately relaxed and happy.
I love the Annex Bar and Grill. It opened on my birthday in 2006, and my friend Elaine put together a birthday lunch for me that day, about twelve of us at a long table next to the old wagon under the big screen. Given that it was opening day, the meal, especially for a crowd like that, took a while, but when my green chile cheeseburger with hand cut fries arrived, I was thrilled. It felt like they opened just for me.
The exterior is deceiving – just another green and white metal building (Logan is famous for lots of metal buildings) attached to a gas station/convenience store. But Warren and Angie Frost scoured the country and went to about a thousand estate auctions and pulled out old photos and sports memorabilia and then went to town plastering the walls and ceiling and rafters and every surface with items that are, quite nicely, very frequently connected to Logan or Quay County or the surrounding area in some way. My uncle Herman’s old quail trap sits under the old wagon. The huge Pearl beer sign from Mae’s Ranch Bar (aka The Road to Ruin) is hung behind the bar. There’s a Logan Longhorn poster next to a corner booth. Everywhere you look there’s some sort of funky and sometimes historic reminder of who we are and where we live. It’s a hometown Chili’s-meets-Applebee’s-but-better kind of decor. My mom and dad know those people in those old photos.
And there is the food. The menu isn’t necessarily inspired, but if I’m leaving town tomorrow to go to New York for seven days, what I want most before I leave is a dose of Annex salsa and queso, and last night I thought green chile as well. Their green chile sauce is consistently good and their shredded beef burrito with BOTH queso and green chile is yummy, especially when you’re needing a New Mexican food fix. Of course I didn’t have green chile – I had tacos, big beefy beautiful tacos with lots of fresh garnish. Except that I almost got too filled up on salsa and queso long before the meal arrived.
I love the Annex because it filled this great vacuum in Quay County. It gave us a very accommodating and friendly space where people gather and where the food is comforting and consistently delicious. Last night we got to visit with Dustin Robertson and Gary Kelly and his friend, Carol, and Matthew served my chilton from behind the bar exactly the way I like it (real squeezed lemon juice rather than Reallemon from a jar) and my cousin Tommy came by the table and we waved across the room at Jr. Cox and his nephew. We were surrounded by some new faces (construction workers for the new wells out at Hess) and familiar faces, but mostly we were surrounded by friendly faces.
If you’re ever in Logan, I recommend a meal at the Annex. With any luck Hank will come by your table and say hello. Have the shredded beef burrito smothered in queso and green chile. It will cure anything in the world that ails you.
I think all that small town warmth and delicious salsa just might get me through a January week in New York City. Just maybe. . .