Friday, October 28, 2011

Balloons & Bubbles

Any plaza or jardin in Mexico, and especially San Miguel de Allende, is not complete without a man, woman, young boy or girl selling balloons.  This lady above was sitting on a bench in the plaza in front of the San Francisco Church getting ready for the crowds to exit mass.   The children just can not resist one of these bouncing balloons.
A group of balloon vendors heading over to the jardin, the main square.
Good thing these balloons are filled with air.  His load is more cumbersome than heavy!
Such a variety of balloons... Scooby Doo, super heroes and many that I have no idea what they are...  I guess I am not up on my cartoon and comic book figures.
Talk about color!  Hanging from one of the vendor's cart in the jardin are little necklaces with a decorative container full of "bubbles."
And talk about having fun.

 Chasing bubbles.
And more bubbles. 
San Miguel would not be complete with out this gentleman selling his balloons, squirming foam lizards, tiny flying balls and who knows what other treasures he has hanging from his long wood pole.  He has been a fixture in the jardin for as long as I can remember.
Viva the balloons and the vendors, they really bring the jardin to life.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yellow is such a happy color

The beautiful blue sky against the bright yellow facade of the Monjas church in San Miguel was breathtaking.  Yellow is such a happy color.
These Mums in the market were so brilliant.
Talk about a wild color combination.  Don't worry, this is not my house.
During one of the many parades in San Miguel, this man had on such a beautiful head dress.  I like how the sunlight just illuminated them the yellow feathers.
Such an elegant window with the wrought iron and the reflection of the yellow wall on the glass.
You can not beat the eggs in San Miguel.  The yolks are such a deep golden yellow and the flavor in unbeatable.   I was in the process of making Kahlua Creme Brulees for one of my groups that were coming over for dinner. 
My favorite wall in San Miguel.  This is the courtyard in front of the Monjas church.  In the afternoon, the shadows are great.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am inspired by all the fresh produce at the market in San Miguel

I took out my mandolin and sliced long strips of zucchini.  I gently folded them accordion style and put a skewer through them, alternating a few zucchini with a folded up piece of prosccuitto.  I drizzled them with a mint, cilantro, lemon zest vinaigrette and then grilled them.  I had bought more zucchini that I needed for this recipe so I sliced them all up.  The next night I sauteed them along with some sliced onions in some butter and olive oil. Throw in a little sea salt.  The zucchini was perfectly cooked.
In a recent Food  and Wine magazine, a Bibb lettuce salad was featured.  I made it for company the other night and I loved the presentation.  The leaves were taken off the core and then layered on the plate like they were a complete head of lettuce, starting with the larger leaves on the bottom.  I made a scallion vinaigrette and garnished it with radish slices.  It was a big hit.
Bon Appetit!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Up, Up and Away

There is always something to do in San Miguel de Allende and taking a Hot Air Balloon ride over the town is one spectacular way to see it.  I can always tell when the hot air balloons are going over head at my house.  There is a loud rushing noise of the air.  
Weather on foot or in the air, I am constantly discovering new things around town!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Always someting to buy in San Miguel de Allende

It was a warm day in San Miguel de Allende, I had a short sleeve t-shirt on and I was sitting in the shade.  This man selling the rebozos was wearing a jacket.  I was just perspiring just looking at him but maybe he knew what he was doing.  Selling rebozos in the summer, one had to dress the part that is was cold out.
This lady wearing her pink and white checked apron with the the dainty embroidery on the pockets was on her way to the market.  Being a seasoned salesman, he immmediatly pulled out the matching pink rebozo out of his big bag.
They were having a  great conversation and the rebozo man must have done a good job.  I surmised that the gentleman in the striped shirt bought the green rebozo as a gift to bring home to his wife.
This lady was also in front of the San Francisco church waiting for the crowd to exit once mass was over. She had a beautifully woven basket filled with her home baked cookies.  Always a big hit with the little ones.
In the jardin, you can always pick up a new straw hat, hand made woven round straw matts for the floor or table, a decorative straw tube to store those special floor plans in... and even made to order woven bracelets with your name on it.  He whips those bracelets out in just a few minutes.
A sight that is not that common anymore.  This man was carrying wood and wire bird cages tied together up at the Tiangus Tuesday market.  Years ago, I would see men riding their bicycles around with a six foot high tier of bird cages strapped to their backs.  What a site.
You can get an idea of what I was talking about by this man above.  Even though he is not on a bike, his stack of bird cages are pretty tall.  I was sitting with my friend Paula  having something cold to drink over in Patzcuaro when we spotted this man coming our way.
These little displays of religious pieces are in front of the Oratorio Church. The array of colors are just amazing.
Another temporary "stall" of religious pieces in front of the church.
When I was over in Patzcuaro getting things lined up for my Artisan & Architecture tour.  This charming lady was selling those "finger traps," the colorful woven straw tube that locks your fingers together when you stretch it and little woven straw frogs that when pushed down a certain way would leap at least a foot.  Well, we just could not resist buying a few of the frogs, especially when she gave us such a demonstration! 
One of the many things I love about San Miguel and other parts of Mexico is the ingenious ways people will go out and sell their wares.  I just love interacting with them.
Now, I wonder where those frogs went to?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Venders of San Miguel de Allende

The jardin (main plaza) is busy in the mornings as the vendors are pushing their carts into the jardin and are setting up for the day.  This vendor has fresh fruit year round.
This little guy in front of Mama Mia's and does quite the business in the evening with the younger crowd.
Freshly steamed corn.  Boy does that smell good.
 Freshly made potato chips and Chicharron (crispy fried pork rind).
Chips with a picante salsa.  But where is the cold beer?
This bearded, rotund man has been selling papers on the east side of the jardin for as long as  I can remember.  Bernabe Gonzales Silva has a tenor voice and one of the best voices of any newspaper vendor in Mexico.  It is deep and loud and can be heard through out the whole jardin.  His voice always puts a smile on my face.
The tamales were exceptional good looking.

On a warm day, a flavored syrup over some shaved ice really hits the spot.
Or an ice cream bar.....

Head over to the market in the morning for a freshly deep-fried Churro.  You certainly can not go hungry in San Miguel.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Heidi Mixson's "Still Life" Paintings Are Fabulous

When I was in Taos, Len and I went into the Heinley Fine Arts Gallery.  We both fell in love with the still life paintings by Heidi Mixson.
Blue and White Pitcher
18" x 20"
As a young girl, she studied painting with Olga Dorwande, a French/Hungarian painter who frequented Kansas City where Mixson was living.  She learned a valuable lesson from Dorwande, to avoid mannerisms and to paint what she saw without artifice.
Blue Pitcher
28" x 29" 
In the 1980's, Mixson worked as a designer for Hallmark cards and took time off from participating in gallery shows.
 Mexican Tin Frame Altar
After a serious illness changed Mixson's ability to work, she moved to Taos and began painting again.  Her most recent studies includes Saints, altars and religious themes.  I love the bold colors of the fabric behind the Mexican tin nicho with the Virgin of Guadalupe, the terra cotta clay church to it right and the stripes of the Mexican serape.  Of course I like it, it's Mexico and many of the objects in the painting I have in my house in Denver and in San Miguel de Allende.
It is a pretty little gallery in an old adobe, territorial house with the original weathered, wood plank floors.
Marie Claire's Mother's Dress with Pears
The composition of the bold squares with "dress" tablecloth and pears is just wonderful.
Blue Teapot

The Heinley Gallery has a great collection of Heidi Mixson's paintings.  Stop in and check them out.  I bet you will be drawn to them just like we were.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wrestling Masks are big in San Miguel de Allende

My husband (Len), my brother (Carter) and I have always loved Mexican wrestling masks.  But then, who wouldn't?  Carter bought this colorful painting in San Miguel de Allende and I just love the chubby lady with the wrestler along with the mini martinis, smoldering cigarettes, a few cacahuetes (peanuts) and a little romance.
Luche Libre, free wrestling, started in Mexico in 1915.  The wrestlers wear their masks in public to protect their identity.  Some of the most famous wrestlers are Mil Mascaras, El Fantasma, Matematico, Dr. Wagnor...
This little boy was running around Plaza Civica in San Miguel de Allende with his new wrestling mask on.  He was very proud of it.
I bought these two banks from Anna's funky boutique, Mixta, right on Calle Pila Seca.  Her store has some very unique pieces and I rarely leave empty handed.
There is a stall in the market that has wrestling masks and other masks that are creepy, scary, funny, nerdy and some just strange. 
I was talking to some teenage boys and I got them to model a few masks for me.  They were all giggles when I showed them their photo.
This mask with the hat on says it best, Viva Mexico!