Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

 I was down in Scottsdale over Christmas and the sunsets were pretty spectacular!
With the cold weather all over the United States, Arizona was getting its share of overcast skies which make the most colorful sunsets.  Even though it was overcast for just part of the trip, the temperatures were just right.
Sitting in Denver with the temperature gauge reading FIVE outside, just looking at the glowing warm colors of this sunset warms me up!
To all my friends in Colorado, Arizona, San Miguel de Allende and beyond, I send you greetings for a very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Small Bites at Cholon are great!

One of my favorite ways to dine is eating a myriad of "small bites" whether it is tapas in Barcelona, bocadillos in San Miguel de Allende or just a "snacky" dinner at home.
I went to Cholon in downtown Denver the other day and had an exceptional lunch of "small bites."  The decor is simple but elegant.  I love the drum chandeliers with the round links hanging in them.  Reminds me of my bright orange bakelite oval link necklace; very retro.
I was having my annual Christmas lunch with my friend Kathy.  This has been a tradition of ours for over thirty years.
 The row of Bamboo was decorated with a sprig of red berries for the holidays.
Our first course was calamari  that was deep fried in a very light batter accompanied with fried lemon basil and served with a alioli chili, sweet & sour sauce.
The pork belly pot stickers with the ginger mustard presented on a banana leaf were to die for.
The beef tartar served was chinese mustard and tapioca puffs was a refreshing change from the traditional version that usually has chopped onions, hard boiled eggs and capers.  The hand chopped beef had small pieces of fried garlic, wasabi and radish sprouts mixed in it.  Really, really nice!
And our waitress Kristin who was so cute and very helpfull in helping us decide on what to order.  It was a wonderful Christmas lunch.  I'll be back.

1555 Blake St.
Denver, Colorado

Monday, December 27, 2010

I published my first book of photos on San Miguel de Allende

I published my first book, San Miguel de Allende: Through My Eyes, on some of my favorite images of San Miguel de Allende; the architecture, the people, events, color... It truly is a magical town and one that I fell in love with over 35 years ago. 

None would believe our town in the green mountains of old, old Mexico was voted the 4th most popular travel destination in the world!  For the past few years, I've taken very small groups of friends, new friends and friends-of-friends to San Miguel for a relaxing few days of exploration, shopping, dining and historic adventure.  Gratefully, I have been overwhelmed by the gratitude and enthusiasm of those who join me in these great escapes.

My next guided tour will be June 7 - 13, 2011 and this will be my only tour for that year.  I limit the number so please email me if you are interested.

I hope you enjoy my book and a little peak at what I have to offer!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Feliz Navidad

A Christmas Casa
San Miguel de Allende.

Feliz Navidad!

Wishing everyone a Healthy
and Happy New Year!


Friday, December 24, 2010

San Miguel de Allende has its share of Creches

It is not Christmas in San Miguel if there is not a live nativity scene set up in the gazebo of the jardin.  Well, a partially live creche... don't worry, there is no live baby in the cradle!
If the nativity scene in the middle of the jardin was not enough... There was a beautiful Creche in front of the San Rafeal Church with a painted stone backdrop, Spanish moss, white twinkling lights and such elegant, lifelike figures. 

This was a photo from another year.  Just as beautiful representing the stable scene.
This is the nativity scene in the San Rafael Church, right next to the Parroquia.
I laugh, this is the same church's nativity scene that I had shot a previous year.  I wonder why Mary is on one side, one year and on the other side, the other year. 
This is the San Francisco's version of the Nativity scene along with a painted backdrop of the town, twinkling lights, Poinsettias, green and red tinsel and big colorful balls strung amongst the chaos.  Only in Mexico.
Nearby, in Atotonilco, there were colorful balls hung on metal Christmas trees flanking each side of the nativity scene.
And my parting shot.  I was sitting in the back of the Monjas church (my favorite church in town) with my telephoto lens on my camera.  This is one of my all time favorite images: the lighting was just perfect, the nun strode across in front of the altar at the right time, there was an over abundance of flowers (especially for this church), the Christmas trees were lit.  I don't know what says Merry Christmas more than this photo does. 

Sending you the best wishes for a Very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Denver Is All Lit Up

Last week Len and I drove around our Denver neighborhood in Hilltop looking at Christmas lights.  This home was so beautifully decorated in such a traditional way:  balls and ribbon adorning the swag of greens hanging on each door, lit little Conifers flanking the doors and the Christmas tree on display through the window.  It's right out of a Hallmark Channel movie.
The green cast of the lights on this home reminded me of icing on a ginger bread house.
There was every color of the rainbow lit up on this home.
This quaint little house looked like it should be at the end of a snowy little country lane.  To Grandmother's house we go.
Beautifully decorated.  Just the right amount of lights everywhere.
This is home to a client of mine (I have done interior design work for them over the past few years) and they always have their home so nicely lit up.  And different every year.
Talk about icicles hanging from the eaves!
On the east side of Sixth Avenue, just west of Monaco, this house is a treat to drive by with their huge wreaths.
But the house that I always look forward to driving by, at least a couple of time during the holidays, is at 10th and Holly.  It's like, Welcome to Candy Land at Christmas!  Santa on the roof, a train lit up next to the driveway, lolly pops, rain deer, you name, it's there.
This is a close-up of the flowers this house has lining the edge of the driveway and around the trees.  Just like the lights that come to life in San Miguel de Allende in the evening, Denver is pretty colorful too.  Don't you wish Christmas was year round!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas time in the evening in San Miguel

One of the most beautiful sights in San Miguel de Allende is La Parroquia, the Parish church right in the center of town, all lit up and the giant tiered Christmas tree made of greens, red Poinsettias and lights.
The jardin, the main plaza, is full of a variety of Mariachis.  This guitarist certainly has a fancy belt on.
This mariachi group were playing one of my all time favorites, El Camino de Guanajuato.
Lights are strung all over the jardin, from one building to the next.
San Miguel sure is a magical place, day or night!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas is in the Air

Christmas in San Miguel de Allende is so beautiful and festive.  There is a 40 to 50 foot tree put up every year in the jardin (town's main square).  This year it was wall to wall greens along with rows of red Poinsettias all strung with white lights. 
Decorations are strung across the street from one building to the next.  At night, they are all lite up.
I just love how these decorations cast such a dainty shadow on the ochre facade.  You can see the Monjas church in the background.
It would not be Christmas in San Miguel without Pinatas.
There is Len (my husband in the hat) and my brother (Carter) stepping up on the curb, on their way to the market to pick up some stocking stuffers.  Who knows what goodies they will come up with!  Don't know if they will be naughty or nice.
Looking down Calle Correo with all the Poinsettias.  I just love walking around town.  You never know what to see around each corner, whether is is Christmas, Easter week or just another day in San Miguel.  But then again, it just is not another day in San Miguel in my book.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas in San Miguel de Allende

Christmas in San Miguel is one of my all time favorites times of year.  The bustle of activity is so captivating.  I was up at the Tuesday market and there are stalls, after stalls, with items for the holidays.  Above were figures to decorate one's home Nativity scene.
Also an assortment of baby Jesus by the dozen.
The main market in the center of town had some new stalls outside on the street selling tangerines, oranges, tamarind and other fruits for the ingredients of the holiday punch, Ponche and for the filling the pinatas. 

In front of La Salud Church, there is a row after row of bright red, soft pink and white Poinsettias.  Ranging in all sizes.   So, so, colorful.
 Not only is there the huge selection of Poinsettias, there are Christmas trees.  The trees are almost fern like.  Unlike the trees one would buy in the states, they are dug up with dirt still around its roots and wrapped in plastic or burlap. 
I buy my share of Poinsettias and select just the right tree.   After I've paid up, my tree man carries everything to the curb and I flag down a cab.  About six blocks later, I am home.  My cab driver helps me unload and carries everything into my foyer for me.  I plant the tree in a terra cotta pot, set it in the living room and give it a good drink of water.  Then the decorating starts. 
I can't think of a better way to kick off the Christmas week!
Merry Christmas!  Feliz navidad!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Time in Denver

Every year Len and I have a Christmas dinner get together with one of my best friends, Suzy and Fred.  It is not Christmas if Suzy does not have her big tree in the front of her house lit up.
Suzy is showing off her big red ball and the "cheers" cocktail glass.
After a cocktail and nibbling on some aged Gouda and horseradish Havarti, we sat down for dinner.  This Sous Cloche was one of Suzy's mother's favorites.  (I was lucky to get a set of these from Suzy's Mother's pantry.)  A thin piece of toast is topped with sauteed shallots, a little thyme and sliced mushrooms.  A little bit of dry sherry and cream is then poured over the mushrooms before going into the oven for about 30 minutes.
The aroma is just amazing when the glass dome is lifted off.
Suzy served a very festive salad with endive, bib lettuce and pomegranates.  I love pomegranates (granadas in Spanish) and I use them often in my guacamole when I am at my casa in San Miguel de Allende.  You can find my Autumn Guacamole recipe on my post dated, September 29.
Four our entree, Suzy served wild rice, roasted pencil thin asparagus and a grilled duck breast with a orange glaze.  It was interesting on how she prepared the duck.  Suzy put it on a very hot grill, skin side down.  Step back!!!  The flames were about two feet tall.  When the flames have subsided, flip the breast over and cook  for another minute.  Take off the grill and let rest.   Slice and plate.  How easy is that and no splattered grease all over your cooktop.
We went back into the living room for the yummy chocolate mousses and opened gifts.  I  can hardly wait until next year!