Thursday, April 26, 2012

The little faces of Mexico

I was in Uruapan for the big fair over Palm Sunday weekend and this mother was proudly showing off her precious daughter with her dressed adorned with all the hand crocheted lace.

A little bored... just another day at the market.

A little serious and a little pooped from being in the parade with the hot, hot sun.

This cutie was waiting to be part of an Easter procession in San Miguel de Allende on Calle Mesones.

He had been playing hard in the San Miguel's Plaza Civica.  Running, jumping, sliding down the stone steps. 
Lost in thought, he was mounted on the large Clydesdale who pulls the ice cream wagon up the hill and into the jardin in front of the Parroquia Church every Sunday in San Miguel.
Another day dreamer.  He was in the saddle on his father's horse in the jardin during the blessing of the cowboys and their horses.

This little senorita was part of the parade in Uruapan.
Giggles galore.  They were having the best time in the plaza over in Dolores Hidalgo.  I stopped there with one of my groups after I had taken them to Guanajuato.  Even though we had had a huge comida (lunch) at Las Mercedes over in Guanajuato, no one, and mean no one, wanted to pass up stopping in the plaza to have a cone of Dolores's famous ice cream.
This little nino was mesmerized by the two girls playing at the end of the cast iron bench.  He just wanted to be part of the fun.
What's not to love but a little guy in a tiger suit!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Robin's Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup can be found on most menus in San Miguel de Allende.  It is a big hit when I serve it to my friends and some say it is the best they have ever had.  As promised, below is my recipe.


vegetable or canola oil
12  6" corn tortillas, cut into 1/3" strips
sea salt
4  pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded 
2  ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
5  large roma tomatoes
1  white onion, sliced
4  garlic cloves, peeled
1  bunch of cilantro
6  cups chicken broth - more if desired
2  avocado, sliced
2  cups queso fresco, crumbled
1  cup creme fraiche

    Pour oil into pan, 1/2" deep.  Heat over medium/high heat.  Fry tortilla strips until crisp, about 2 minutes.  Fry in batches.  Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels or paper bag lined with paper towels, salt while they are still hot. (Make extra - great snacks) 
    Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the oil.  Working in batches, to avoid crowding, sear/roast tomatoes, onion, garlic and chilies.  Pasilla and ancho chilies will be roasted when fragrant and puffed - do not burn.   Tear 2 of the pasilla chilies in pieces and set aside.  Puree vegetables in batches.  Transfer puree to large stock pot; add broth, pasilla pieces and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes.

To serve.  Place tortilla strips and queso fresco into each bowl.  Ladle soup over.  Garnish with avocado, cilantro leaves and creme fraiche.

* For a hearty meal, add poached chicken to the stock pot when broth is added.
* For a smoother texture, put vegetable puree thru a food mill.


Friday, April 20, 2012

La Posadita, a restaurant with a great view in San Miguel

Just a few steps from the jardin, the main plaza, in San Miguel de Allende is La Posadita.  You climb up a narrow staircase and then another winding staircase to the third floor roof that opens up onto three different seating areas that have some of the best views in town.  Looking up Calle Cuna de Allende, you have a spectacular view of the Parroqia Church.  Looking south and west, a beautiful panoramic view of the town and the countryside.
I had a wonderful comida (lunch in Mexico) with my good friend Paula and my parents.  As you can see, we were having a good time.
Paula ordered Cochinita Pibil, a shredded pork dish that had been cooked in a banana leave and seasoned with orange juice, achiote paste, cumin and garlic.  Very flavorful.
My Mom had the chicken salad which was a very generous serving with its tender pieces of chicken, tasty cherry tomatoes and slices of avocado and red onion.

I had my favorite, Arrachera, a thick strip of meat from the flank (skirt).  A flavorful cut of meat, especially when it is grilled.  The grilled onions taste like there were just picked that morning along with the grilled small cactus pads (nopalitos) from the prickly pear.  Not the  upper right hand corner of the photo, a margarita or two is a given.  And they are very, very good.
My dad had the good ole staple of Mexican cuisine of the area, Sopa de Tortillas (tortilla soup).  I delicious, light tomato/chicken broth with a little heat to it with queso fresco (a Mexican cheese similar to feta), chilies, fried strips of tortillas and chunks of avocado (check my blog out on Monday, I will share with you my recipe).

Wonderful ambiance, great service and an excellent menu with a variety of appetizers, soups, salads and entrees.  My brother, Carter, loved the Enchilades Verdes (chicken enchiladas in a green tomatilla sauce) along with a cold bottle of Negro Modelo (a dark Mexican beer).  You can not go wrong with having lunch or dinner here.  

By the way, this is one of the restaurants that I take my groups to for one of their meals.
Buen provecho!

La Posadita
Cuna de Allende 13
San Miguel de Allende

Monday, April 16, 2012

Love the posters around San Miguel

You usually can find out what is going on in town by some of the colorful posters that are hanging around town.  This one is for the procession to the Parroquia (San Miguel's parish church) on Good Friday.
The Estudiatinas are the center of attraction on this poster.  Estudiantinas is a group of professional musicians and singers dressed in traditional clothing that wander around the jardin (the main plaza) playing for the crowds that gather around them.  Many times they will have a burro with a wicker basket on ist back that holds some wine that the Estudiantinas serve to the crowd.  Should you be part of the excitement, don't forget to to tip them for the libation!
The market usually has many posters advertising musical groups.

Then there are the posters for the bullfight.  Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza fights the bull from his beautiful white stallion.
I love the old fashion look of this poster especially when the bull seems to be winning at the moment.    There is always something exciting happening around town.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Semana Santa in San Miguel is so colorful!

Semana Santa, Holy Week, in San Miguel de Allende is such a colorful time to be in town.  Brilliant hand made streamers were stretched across the street on Independencia for the arrival of Nuestra Senor de la Columna (the beaten and bloodied statue of Christ). 
 The statue of Christ is accompanied by a large procession from the chapel in Atontonilco to San Miguel's San Juan de Dios.  This early morning procession is celebrated with fireworks, rockets, and decorations and flowers in purple and white.
 Across town, Alfredo is showing off his adorable paper mache Easter egg at his store, Camino Silvestre.
On March 30th, Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Sorrows) was observed.  Many private homes, some Churches and numerous fountains around town create beautiful altars recalling the sorrow of the Virgin Mary for the death of her son.
The Ledesma Hernandez family altar (above) is one of the most antique and traditional altars in town.  The Sorrowful Virgin and Crucified Christ are over 200 years old.
 Dyed sawdust is used to decorate the floor leading up to the figures.
 The Dobarganes family has a human size figure of the Virgin.  The patio floor was decorated with purple and white flowers, dyed sawdust and yellow grasses that eventually turn green.
It would not be Easter without Bunny ears.  These two little girls were playing in the fountain in front of the San Francisco Church.
I have barely touched on the color and festivities over Semana Santa.  It truly is a spectacular time to be in town.  Happy Easter!

Monday, April 2, 2012

La Bomba

The Barceloneta area on the south side of Barcelona is full of interesting buildings, narrow streets, some amazing sculptures and little places to eat.
I found this door with the potted red flowers quite quaint.
Typical of many of the Art Noveau buildings in Barcelona, this facade really dresses up the building.
But the little gem of a place in the Barceloneta area in La Cova Fumada (The Smokey Cove).   There is no sign on the building, just the number 56 and usually a group of people milling around outside the restaurant waiting to get their spot at the tiny bar or a seat at one of the few marble tables inside. 
We both had a cold mini bottle of Estrella Damm and their signature dish, LaBomba. A Bomba is a potato croquette with traces of crispy mincemeat and herbs served with a creamy aiolli sauce and a spicy tomato sauce.  La Bomba dates back to the 1930's during the civil war.  The Barceloneta area was home to fisherman and a haven for bomb (bomba) makers.  La Bomba is the food version of a bomb with its fiery sauce.
As you can see, it is a tiny bar.  Love the aged wood cooler doors with the old handles and hinges.
It is a great place for deep fried cod fritters, grilled fish, fried artichokes... Full of locals and in the summer, full of people from the beach.  No wonder, the fish is so fresh and excellent.  Prices are pretty good too!

La Cova Fumada
Carrer del Baluard 56