sacred sanctuary

9

Get Stuffed

For many, their kitchen is a sanctuary. A sacred space of love, safety and sometimes, utter euphoria. Some people are kind enough to grant us access to this personal haven; one of these people is Naina.

Naina’s kitchen has a modest and unassuming exterior, but this adds to its charm and contributes to a cozy and receptive welcoming the moment you enter the eatery.

Naina’s doesn’t feel like a restaurant. Sure there are TV’s playing, specials written in chalk on the walls, and a wait staff greeting and seating you; but this doesn’t negate the feeling of everyone in there being friends of Naina and just stopping in for a quick bite and a catch up.

Naina’s is known for its (her) award winning stuffed burgers. These half ½lb delights are featured on the “Wall of Fame” chalkboard in the heart of Naina’s Kitchen, with stuffing ingredient varieties ranging from the likes of: Apple Pie, Donair, Spaghetti and Cobb Salad. With all of these possibilities right at your fingertips, Naina’s is a magical place for a marvelous mashup experience.

Him: Ordering at Naina’s Kitchen is overwhelming. Not just logistically from the sheer amount of choices posted on the stuffed burger “Wall of Fame,” but also emotionally, as you are forced to choose between two or three or ten of these exciting burger blends you never thought were possible, prior to visiting Naina’s.

There are so many options you don’t have to sit around and say “Imagine if they put…” or “What if you stuffed a burger with…” these concoctions have already been thought of and implemented. However, even if you do decide to step outside the elaborate menu items already available to you, Naina hands over the righteous reins of stuffing with a “Build Your Own” option. Not for the faint of heart, but a shrine for those hungry creative types who know no bounds of palate imagination.

Before I placed my order at Naina’s, I felt as though I was serving Jury Duty on a capital punishment case (or at least I would imagine this is how it would feel). You are presented with over 70 exhibits of evidence. You deliberate day and night, exploring every moral, ethical and legal fiber of understanding in your body, mind and soul and finally reach a verdict. You must condemn this person to live or die; much like choosing a stuffed burger option from Naina’s illustrious patty mixtures.

After an excruciating, gut wrenching quest, I elected to move forward with the Bacon Mac n Cheese Stuffed Burger. Finally the fourth chamber of my hungry heart has been given an appropriate heading; Bacon, Mac N Cheese, Burgers and now all of those things put together.
When the BMNCSB arrived I had to cut it open to confirm that this day had finally come. A day where all my favourite foods would join forces and take my tongue where it had only been in fantasies. And then I took a bite, and my world changed forever. The creamy Mac N Cheese with the salty, crispy bacon, all within an exquisitely cooked and seasoned patty, surrounded by a soft, sweet bun. My world’s had collided and it was a magnificent moment.

Naina’s Kitchen gave me a gift and I am eternally grateful. We all knew bacon, cheese and burgers went together, but the Macaroni shell infusion in its buttery soft state really made this burger unforgettably delicious. Naina’s doesn’t only prepare the most exciting stuffed burgers in the city, it teaches you about yourself. Naina’s Kitchen gives you burger heaven on earth and transforms your wildest desires into tangible edibles.


Her: If you’re gonna do anything in life, do it big. At least that’s my motto when it comes the finer things in life, such as: shoes, wine, and of course food. I decided it just wouldn’t be sufficient or sane to only try one burger. Trust me, if you saw that menu over at Naina’s.. you would understand. So I ordered two stuffed burgers. Ambitious? Why yes, that’s my middle name.

I started my palate off with Canadian pride and clearly my menu go-to. Poutine. But not just any Poutine, a poutine…stuffed…burger. This anomaly was the most satisfying, sensational, soulful burger I’ve ever eaten. Call me dramatic, but this interpretation of Poutine would make the gods dance. From the moment they placed that plump baby down on table, you couldn’t resist it.

It sat there beautifully in a warm golden bun, layered with fresh lettuce, the perfect amount of mayonnaise spread and a big luscious ½ LB Patty. Then came the reveal. We cut open the PB and out came golden fries, hot and rich gravy, and gooey..cheesy goodness. I don’t know how Niana did it, but she managed to completely capture the perfect amount of beef, bun and a classic canadian Poutine all in one bite. I may or may not have happily teared up during my first bite.

In case you’re feeling guilty about indulging in this magnificent beauty, don’t. Because, as if this burger didn’t give enough, Naina’s will donate a meal to someone in need when you purchase any stuffed Poutine burger. Talk about a burger that keeps on giving:)

My second choice (and trust me it was hard) was none other then the 2nd place 2016 World Food Champion: The Nainalicious Stuffed Burger. This burger embodied creativity and love at it’s finest. The Nainalicious masterpiece is stuffed with beautifully braised pulled porked, finely aged cheddar, fresh lettuce, delicately sliced Granny Smith apples, and wrapped up like a bow on box with caramelized onions. It’s complimented again with a mouthwatering warm bun, mayonnaise, and this time a lovely sweet and salty touch of homemade sliced pickles.

This burger is like poetry, it moved me. Honestly, I took one bite and felt like I had just experienced a revelation. I simply couldn’t form words. All I could do was sit in it’s presence, thanking Naina in my head for coming into my life. I allowed the flavours to dance in my mouth and vowed to tell the world about Calgarys best kept secret.

Bonus Tip: Go to Naina’s for a burger before a flames game and get yourself free parking, just a few minutes walk from the Saddledome.

Naina’s has a special homemade icecream every week. While I wouldn’t get too attached (and I know it’s hard), but you’ve gotta try it!

About Yennefer’s mind reading ability in the Witcher books

Ok, so I’ve seen lately a lot of people bashing on Yennefer and using her mind reading abilities as a way to prove that she is an awful bitch. Mind reading is something everyone fears. I mean, who has never thought in an embarrassing situation “OMG, I hope that nobody can read my thoughts right now…..”? I think we all did think that someday. Our mind is this secret, sacred sanctuary, the one thing nobody can take from us. So in the witcher saga, Yennefer does have the ability to read thoughts, and it apparently makes some people really uncomfortable with her character. So, yes another reason to hate her. Yes, according to some people she rapes Geralt’s mind all the time. And in my opinion nothing could be further from the truth. So what is the mind reading thing really about in the witcher saga? In order to be more precise and objective, I’ll use book quotes.


First the mind reading doesn’t come up that often in the books. And it might be a surprise for some of you but Geralt only complains about it ONCE, in the whole 8 books saga, in the Sword of Destiny short story, when Geralt and Yennefer meet again after having been apart for quite some time.

Geralt, tense, stroked Yennefer’s curls and breathed in the scent of lilac and gooseberry they gave off. If I desire her too intensely, he thought, she’ll sense it and she’ll be put off. Her hackles will rise, she’ll bristle and spurn me. I’ll ask her calmly how she’s doing…..
“Nothing to report” she said, and something in her voice quavered. “Nothing worth mentioning.”
“Don’t do that to me, Yen. Don’t read me. It unsettles me.”
“Forgive me. It’s automatic. And what’s new with you Geralt?”
“Nothing. Nothing worth mentioning.”
They said nothing.

Andrzej Sapkowski - Sword of Destiny

Ok so this is the ONE time Geralt tells Yen that he doesn’t want her to read his mind in the books. We will need context here. Geralt and Yennefer just met again, after a long time without seeing each other and a very difficult break up. They are in a tough place at this moment. So yes, of course Geralt doesn’t want her to read his thoughts. I mean would you want your ex to learn, in ANY way that you still love her and desire her? I don’t think so. So I don’t think the issue really is the mind reading there. Plus you will also notice that Geralt is not really mad, he doesn’t yell at her, he only says don’t do that nicely. He doesn’t tell her that he hates it, he only says that it unsettles him. And how does Yennefer react? She apologizes, immediately and she backs off right away. And she says ‘It’s automatic’, what does this tell us? That she used to do it, that it was normal for them. Yennefer apologizing, stopping it and adding THIS clearly means that she used to do it and Geralt didn’t use to protest against it!
So yes, you have it, Geralt “hating” the mind reading thing! Big deal isn’t it?


But well if this is the one time he complains, then how does it usually go when she reads his mind?

Geralt knew that, in moments like this, the enchantress’s telepathic abilities were sharpened and very powerful, so he thought about beautiful matters and beautiful things. About things which would give her joy. About the exploding brightness of the sunrise. About fog suspended over a mountain lake at dawn. About crystal waterfalls, with salmon leaping up them, gleaming as though made of solid silver. About warm drops of rain hitting burdock leaves, heavy with dew.
He thought for her and Yennefer smiled, listening to his thoughts.

Andrzej Sapkowski - Time of Contempt.

In this moment, Geralt and Yen just made love to each other. And Geralt knows her magical abilities are stronger in this moment. And do you see him worrying about her reading his mind? He is happy about it, he is thinking for her, to make HER happy. This is one of the most beautiful moments between the two of them in the entire saga. So yes, mind reading, evil right?


I know what you will say at this point. Yeah well, ok, Geralt doesn’t mind THAT much. It still doesn’t make it ok for her to read his mind and invade his privacy. So is Yennefer really reading him all the time? No. No she isn’t, and she tries to respect his privacy.

“I love you Yen”
“I said drop the ostentation….’ she broke off, tossed her head, drew some black curls away from her cheek and opened her violet eyes wide. “Geralt! It’s the first time you ever said that!”
“It can’t be. You’re making fun of me”
“No, no I’m not. You used to only think it, but today you said it.”
“Is there such a difference?”
“A huge one”
“Yen…”
“Don’t talk with your mouth full. I love you too. Haven’t I ever told you? Heavens you’ll choke! Lift your arms up and I’ll thump you in the back. Take some deep breaths.”
“Yen…”
“Keep breathing it’ll soon pass”
“Yen!”
“Yes. I’m repaying sincerity with sincerity.”
“Are you feeling all right?”
“I was waiting” she said, squeezing lemon on the salmon. “It wouldn’t have been proper to react to a declaration made as a thought. I was waiting for the words. I was able to reply, so I replied. I feel wonderful.”

Andrzej Sapkowski - Time of Contempt

So obviously Yennefer knew that Geralt loved her because she heard his thoughts. But she didn’t act on it. She respected the fact that he wasn’t ready to say it. She didn’t use it against him, she didn’t pressure him, she didn’t manipulate him. She didn’t do any of these things even though she could have! Nope, she only waited, patiently, for him to say it. And the joy it brings her when he finally says it, it is priceless. And once again do you see Geralt reacting to the mind reading? I don’t.  
I won’t quote the entire book, but there is also a part where she does read him a bit too far and hear something she wasn’t meant too. What does she do? Oh yes, she apologizes, again.
The mind reading is one of the way they use to communicate with each other and it’s beautiful.


Next potential issue. Does Yennefer also read other people minds? Well she does it with Ciri, at least three times. Same as Geralt, Ciri doesn’t seem to have anything against it, and here again mind reading leads to some very beautiful moments of complicity between the two of them. Here is an example of Yennefer and Ciri, talking about the day they first met :

“I didn’t like you” she repeated.
Yennefer did not look at her as she stood at the window with her back turned, staring at the hills looming black in the east. Above the hills, the sky was dark with flocks of ravens and crows.
In a minute she’s going to ask why I didn’t like her, thought Ciri. No, she’s too clever to ask such a question. She’ll dryly draw my attention to my grammar and ask when I started using the past tense. And I’ll tell her. I’ll be just as dry as she is, I’ll parody her tone of voice, let her know that I, too, can pretend to be cold, unfeeling and indifferent, ashamed of my feelings and emotions. I’ll tell her everything. I want to. I have to tell her everything. I want her to know everything before we leave Melitele’s Temple. Before we part to finally meet the one I miss. The one she misses. The one who no doubt misses us both. I want to tell her that….
I’ll tell her. It’s enough for her too ask.
The magician turned from the window and smiled. She did not ask anything.

Andrzej Sapkowski - Blood of Elves

So I guess you understood why Yennefer didn’t ask. Mind reading. And once again it appears in one of my favorite part. This is a beautiful moment between them. You can notice here that Ciri knows Yen very well, sees right through her cold mask and….. And yes, loves her deeply.


Does Yennefer use it on anyone beside Geralt and Ciri? Well we don’t know. It’s not mentioned anywhere. We don’t know either how far Yennefer can go with this ability or how it works exactly. Does she need to have a personal connection with the person? Can she do it with anyone? Sapkowski has a very unique way of writing. He doesn’t write anything that doesn’t serve the plot. He won’t describe a landscape or a character if it doesn’t serve the plot. He won’t tell us more about Yennefer’s telepathic abilities either because the plot doesn’t require it.
So why does he use it at all? To underline the very special bond that Yennefer shares with both Geralt and Ciri. To show how beautiful these relationships are. THIS is the purpose of Yen’s mind reading ability in the books! The one time it is used in a “negative” way (aka Geralt asking her to stop), it is used to show that this bond is weakened in THIS specific moment and that they have to work some things out, as OPPOSED to what usually happens (aka Geralt not minding Yen reading him).


So what’s with the game then? Yes, I agree, in TW3, Geralt often complains about the mind reading and Yen kinda shuts him off without hearing him out. I personally don’t mind. I like their banter, it’s funny and not so far from the truth IF you see it as “being meant to add some fun”.
Still, basically, CDPR uses ONE line of the books, they use something that happened ONCE in a very specific situation and choose to completely ignore the general pattern. The general pattern being that the mind reading is almost always used in a very positive way in the books. So, sure it adds some fun but it also twists the book lore in a way and it gives people a reason to hate on Yennefer. And it is not deserved. At all.

10

El Cerrito, Queretaro, Mexico

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Cerrito_(archaeological_site)

Since 300 BCE, settlement of the region with the Chupícuaro culture and subsequently with Teotihuacan and Toltec, continuing with chichimeca and Otomi, immediately prior Spaniards arrival at the valley of Queretaro.

Towards 400 CE, the Altépetl, ceremonial center and its prehispanic urban zone, becomes política and religious capital of several peripheric settlements.

El Cerrito had a long permanence as regional political and religious center, was contemporary of Teotihuacan and Tula. As a regional capital, had a series of urban religious and residential, urban complexes in Cerro Gordo, Balvanera, La Magdalena, Santa Barbara, La Negreta and the banks of the River El Pueblito.

El Cerrito functioned as a regional political and religious center of regional importance from 400 to 1500 CE. Its apogee occurred in the postclassical, from 450 to 850 CE, during the Toltec culture influence of the center.

Over time, El Cerrito became a sacred space or sanctuary. The buildings and altars around the pyramid are expressions of religious activities around the worship of a female deity, probably the old mother or mother of the gods.

During the Spaniards arrival, it was populated by Chichimecas, sedentary and semi-nomadic cultures, with the addition of Otomi and Purépecha.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/miriamwarren/9511978865/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/56111005@N03/9663463641/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/x_angel_x93/4108208810/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/meckleychina/8443748850/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lau_bubbles/5252103004/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lau_bubbles/5251496969/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/x_angel_x93/4107437315/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fominphoto/7947167768/

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