Monday, August 30, 2010

The Best Burger in Denver

Every time I pick up the newest issue of 5280 or Westword, there is always a piece on the best burger in town. In my opinion, it is Park Burger. Hands down. When I have been out of the country, especially when I have returned from my home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, nothing hits the spot better than a Park burger.
Park Burger is a small little restaurant on the corner of Jewel and South Pearl Street. My husband, Len, and I usually sit at the bar and watch our burgers being grilled.
Len had his burger with melted cheese, sliced onion and jalapeno slices. I order the standard Park Burger minus the pickles. And definitely with their secret sauce. The potato bun is soft, tasty and the perfect amount of bread. I hate when the bun over powers the burger or sandwich. The burger is juicy and so flavorful. The fries are pretty darn good too!
Jean-Phillippe Failyau, owner & executive chef, recently opened another restaurant near downtown, Park & Company. Jean-Phillippe is also part owner of Osteria Marco on Larimar Square.
The space is casual and tastefully decorated. Similar design aspects can be found at both restaurants. The menu is a bit more extensive than Park Burger. Earlier in the week, Len had Gorgonzola stuffed dates and bacon which he said were great.

I love the funky mirror and check out the floor when you go. It's old, distressed oak strips that have years and years of different colored paint on them.
OK, I had the same burger again. But this time I had a black and tan since they have Guinness on tap.
There is a spacious patio on the east side of the building. A perfect place to dine on a summer evening!

Park Burger
1890 S. Pearl St.

Park & Co.
439 E. 17th Ave.

Friday, August 27, 2010

More Cheetos!

And you thought I was kidding about Mexicans loving their Cheetos!

This wonderful piece of art, Bag of Cheetos, was painted by Tom Dickson. Tom beautifully captures that afternoon light that is so spectacular in San Miguel de Allende. The colors on the walls are like a chameleons as they change and become more intense with the setting sun.

I wrote about Tom's work back in May on the seventh. If you missed that post, please check it out.

To view some of Tom's most recent paintings and his wife's, Donna, go to

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cheetos anyone?

I was over on Calle Insurgentes in San Miguel de Allende and I could not believe my eyes when I spotted this stack of Cheetos on the street. The Cheetos were piled higher than most cars! On one of my guided tours of San Miguel and the surrounding area, I had a lady friend that just loved those messy, orange things. So... as a little joke, I bought a big bag, and I mean BIG, of Cheetos and had it in her room along with her welcome bag. It was a big hit.

All I can say... the Mexicans don't mess around when it comes to their Cheetos!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Cradle at my Home in San Miguel de Allende

On the mirador (rooftop patio) at my home in San Miguel de Allende, there was a corner that was empty and I wanted to fill it with a piece of art, furniture, something that had color, height and could withstand the elements.
A good friend of mine has this "cuna", cradle in Spanish, out at her Rancho full of succulents, flowers and herbs. I thought, what a great idea so I designed a cuna. I figured out the dimensions and sketched side and front views on how I wanted the cuna to look. I called my wrought iron man to set up an appointment. On a Friday, he came over to my house, was exactly on time, to review my plans and specs.

The following Monday, he called me with a price in which I said, "Great, make it." I could not understand why he wanted to come over that afternoon to meet with me since I had already given him approval to go ahead with the cuna. So I relented and said, "sure, I'll see you at 3:00". He came right at 3:00 with a "full scale" drawing of the side and front of the cuna and a 5 gallon bucket full of iron parts so he could show me the diameters and different gauges that he planned on using. I was totally blown away.

He returned the next day to pick up the blue paint that I had matched to an armoire on my mirador.

I went to his taller to look over the cuna before he started to paint it. He told me his taller was located at No. 5, but the No. 5 with the Bouganvillia! (there were TWO number fives)

He delivered and set up the cuna on Friday morning! Talk about service and it is a beautiful piece of work. It is in two parts and rocks perfectly. Off to the nursery I went to buy pots, saucers, dirt and asparagus ferns.

These two ceramic dogs, Lad and Dad, are guarding the Cuna with their life!

Eight months later, the perros have done a great job and look how the ferns have grown.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Stone Carvers of TziTzunTzan

When I was at my home in San Miguel de Allende, I headed over to Patzcuaro to do some preliminary planning for my Artisan & Architecture tour in February 2011. As you drive into TzinTzunTzan (pronounced sin-soon-sawn), you are overwhelmed by all the stone carvings on each side of the road! It seems to go on for ever.

TzinTzunTzan (click on the blue to the left) I shot this little piece of video as I was driving the car and holding my camera. You can hear the sound of the tires crushing the gravel on the pavement. You will not believe it. There is everything from skinny, bearded Don Quixote, a squat Buddha, goofy garden gnomes, turtles, fishes, dogs, elaborately carved pieces everywhere.

The carvings along this stretch of the road are carved by the Hernandez Lopez family. When I drove by, there was no one in sight. I doubt they have to worry about having people stopping and load up their cars for free.
Stone carvings have embellished many colonial cities in Mexico, especially San Miguel de Allende and nearby Morelia, in its architecture and its sculpture.
This stone carving of the Catrina is exquisite. She is quite the dandy.
A beautiful sculpture of the Virgin de guadalupe with an angel below her.
The stone niche is so cool but I could not fit in the car so I settled for the sun ball for my garden. The imagination of the stone carvers are endless.
For a trip of a life time, join me on my Artesan & Architecture tour, February, 2010.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cars around San Miguel

It had just stopped raining and I was on my way to the market in San Miguel de Allende when I spotted this truck coming down Calle Mesones. For some reason, it just struck me as the quinsensual Mexican truck, the body of the truck not always in tune with the direction the driver is intending.

I was kidding around with these young boys about the one being the owner and driver of this truck.
This 1957 Chevy Bel Air was decked out for a wedding couple. My parents bought one just like it brand new but it was a 1956. The first time they ever visited Mexico was in this car. They crossed the border at Tijuana. No passport. No tourist card. No visa. No documents. No car papers. Nothing. They has a great lunch south of the border and went back to San Diego the same day.
These floral arrangements had just been made at the market and were being delivered to the Parroquia for a wedding that afternoon. I can't see flowers in an open truck being delivered like that in the states!

Trucks are used to deliver everything... produce, chickens, beef, live animals, you name it. These beautiful poblanos had such a fresh aroma when I walked by. Hmmm, maybe chili rellenos are in order for comida.
I ended up at Restaurante Italiano for comida; Andrea's Restaurant at Hacienda Landetta located a few kilometers outside of town. And this Ferrari was one of the many fancy cars in the parking area. I know everyone would love to own one but I can't imagine flying along on one of Mexico's roads and being surprised by one if not many of the topes (speed bumps). Oooops. I think I'll stick to walking to the market.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mojigangas around San Miguel de Allende

You can not go to a festival or a wedding procession in San Miguel de Allende without seeing a Mojiganga! This rather crude Mojiganga is about 10 to 15 feet tall. This stylish Mojiganga is for sale in one of the shops just off the jardin in San Miguel. The Mojigangas were brought over to the new world from Spain in the 17th century. They were originally made to draw people to religious festivals. These huge paper maiche figures are made in the image of saints, devils, political figures, a blushing bride and groom, busty ladies and familiar figures around town. They are meant to satirize and poke fun at them.

This wedding couple was going through the jardin in San Miguel along with a band and a donkey with basket saddle bags on his back that had cups and tequila in it. The party was just starting.

One of my groups that were on one of my guided tours of San Miguel were fortunate to see this.
The Mojiganga's head and bust are made of papier mache and cardboard built on a frame which rests on the dancer's shoulders. The paper mache parts are decorated with colorful paint. Such faces with their overly made up eyes. They are draped with colorful outfits with just a small slot in the front for the dancer to see out of.

It was hot out and I bet the "dancer" of the Mojiganga was sweating up a storm.

This sexy Mojiganga was part of a huge parade. You can see the head of the "dancer" peeking out at her crotch. How funny is that!
A fiesta or parade in not complete without a Mojiganga or two!

Friday, August 13, 2010

My beloved town, San Miguel de Allende

This is one of the many shots I have taken of the Parroquia (the parish church) and the jardin (the main plaza) in San Miguel de Allende.

I shot the back part of the Parroquia from the rooftop of one of the buildings on the jardin with my telephoto lense. There is something exotic, even romatic about this photo. It is just so old world to me.
Plaza Civica is one of my favorite plazas to hang out in... There is always so much to see.
One of the old, stately mansions in the historic center of town.

Click on the below for a lovely video on San Miguel. You will want to pack your bags immediately and meet me in the jardin!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A morning at the Denver Botanic Gardens

It was a gorgeous day in Denver, a bit hot, but my husband and I went over to the Denver Botanic Gardens right when they opened. We had never seen the gardens look so beautiful.

The Gardens is host to 20 sculptures by British artist, Henry Moore (1898-1986). Moore is famous for his abstract monumental sculptures. The above is called Oval with Points (1968-70). It is just so striking against the Colorado blue sky.
All 20 of the sculptures are from the Henry Moore Foundation that is located 35 miles north of London. Moore was inspired by nature. From rocks, bones, pebbles, shells, pieces of wood.... Many of his sculptures are reminiscent of the landscape and rolling hills in Yorkshire, his birthplace.
The water lilies were such a pretty sight, ranging in so many colors. Soft pale pink, brilliant red, hot pink, lavender....
"Reclining Figure" (1951)
"Reclining Figure" was heavily influenced by this Tolec-Mayan figure that he had seen at the Louvre.
I love how the sculpture takes on a new life as you view it from a different vantage point. The tree line appears like a sea of waves in the background and plays off the curves of the sculpture.
We walked all around the gardens. I loved the pattern of the rocks in this little path. Reminds me of the fabulous stone work that I see everywhere when I am at my home in San Miguel de Allende.With the death of his mother and the birth of his daughter, Mary, in 1946, Moore concentrated more on family. He expressed this in his work by producing many "Mother and Child" pieces.
Although, reclining figures were still a prominent subject in his art. I love the bold simplicity of this lady, but at the same time, her delicate poise.
This organic shaped sculpture is quite breathtaking in its setting especially with the reflection of the sculpture and the trees in the water amongst the water lilies.
Another view of this magnificent sculpture.
It was a spectacular show in a beautiful setting. I am anxious to go back with my camera in tow when we have our first snow. I'll keep you posted!
Moore in the Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens
The show ends January 31, 2011.