One of the books I had along to read was Gaia's Garden, recommended by Amanda Soule. I like the idea of permaculture, and this second edition has a chapter on urban permaculture which is making me think and consider. I think I also understand why my dear friend was looking for stacks of newspapers when she started her garden (to mulch! mulch everything!).
I have a lot to learn in gardening, so I was especially fascinated by Aunt Elena's gardens. She mixed veggies and herbs in with her flowers. She composts her scraps in one of the ways Gaia's Garden mentions: just put the stuff in the ground and let it go. Her soil sample tested beautifully last year. And she has little broken bits of china here and there in the sweetest way. I adore the mix of order and whimsy in her garden: not perfect and prissy, but definitely cared for, definitely abundant and happy.
On the drive home, we stopped at Yocco's Hot Dogs. My hot dog quest continues! I wasn't seeking out a hot dog joint - we just needed somewhere fast to get food that hopefully wasn't a chain and hopefully before the toddler lost her mind. My husband remembered that foodie friends had worshiped at the Yocco's shrine, so we wanted to check it out. The hot dogs were fine - good, sure - but my attention was caught by their steamed buns. I had never heard of steamed buns before a commenter on my Patagonian hot dog post mentioned Chicago-style hot dogs, and I went googling off to do some research.
Yocco's clearly is an institution and has a loyal following. I always love when people make a fuss about food - it immediately becomes a goal of mine to track down the food and taste it.