Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My Mom's 90th Birthday Weekend

This weekend, the 29th, my Mom, Lorraine turned 90. I made an invitation with the cover having the above photo of her as little girl on it.  She looked great then and looks great now!  Every Friday afternoon a bunch of special ladies that live in the same apartment building that my parents live in meet in the party room.  Someone is always bring something to eat.
A few weeks ago I hung the invitation in a decorated envelope on all the ladies front door.  The invitation said to save the date and that I was going to host this last Friday's ladies 
get-together and requested they show up a little early so we could all surprise Lorraine! (Of course I had to make an envelope for Lorraine so she could see what I had done.)
I arrived early so I could decorate the table, get the Cava open and the hors d'oeuvres ready.  My good friend Suzy heard what I was up to earlier in the week and said, "I want to crash Lorraine's party!"  Of course I said "YES", but she had to bring an hors d'oeuvre. 

I served Shrimp Cakes with a Mayo Sriracha Sauce and Suzy made her yummy Mushroom Croustades.  By the way, I am back to working on my appetizer cookbook and this Shrimp Cake recipe will be in the book. 
When my mom entered the party room and saw all of us sitting around the decorated table, she said she almost fainted from surprise.
Katie and Bianca and
Betty and Maddie.  Just some of the ladies in the group.
The celebration continued on Sunday, her actual birthday, where we went to Suzy's backyard barbecue at noon.  It was a beautiful day and Suzy and Fred put out a fabulous spread.
On to Capital Grill in downtown Denver on Larimer Square that evening for dinner.  
She looks magnificent at 90! 
Capital Grill is one of my favorite places to dine.  The table was decorated little mylar balloons and along with a birthday card for Lorraine.  The service was outstanding (thank you Sarah) and we received a few special perks.  Complimentary champagne and a little amuse bouche to start with and then at the end of our meal, this delicious dessert plate with the decedent flourless chocolate cake on the left and a scrumptious creamy cheesecake on the right.

It was a gorgeous evening and a beautiful ending to the birthday weekend.  Lorraine received numerous phone calls, birthday wishes on my Facebook page, cards, flowers and some great gifts.  Thank you everyone for making my Mom's 90th birthday a special one! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Magic of the Maya World - An opportunity to visit a forgotten corner of the world few people will ever see!

Early this past spring I explored and researched a glorious green pocket of old, old Mexico in the southern state of Chiapas.  I experienced its ancient monuments and temples, visited with its warm and friendly people and saw firsthand the incredible work these artisans create.  And I decided I must share this travel opportunity with a small, select group of friends.  
The Magic of the Maya World journey is set for February 24 - March 3, 2017.   You'll be gone 8 days which includes travel.  Below are just some of the highlights of our trip!
We'll spend two nights in San Cristobal de Las Casa which was founded in 1528 and is full of historic churches and museums.  There is a large artisan market by the Santo Domingo church

Chiapas is known for its textiles; huipiles, rebozas, blankets, purses, table runners...  You will find the creative pottery from Amantenangl del Valle.  The area is renown for its amber.
Calle de Guadalupe in the historic center of San Cristobal de Las Casas is a pedestrian street lined with quaint restaurants, galleries and shops.
While in San Cristobal de Las Casas, we will be staying at the Hotel Diego de Marariegos, just one block from Calle de Guadalupe.
The first morning we will visit one of Chiapa's most impressive natural wonders when we  take a boat trip up the Grijalva River where it winds through the Canon de Sumidero whose limestone walls reach a kilometer high in some places.  A haven for all kinds of birds and Spider monkeys.
A side trip from San Cristobal de Las Casas will take us to the colorful Sunday market in the Highland's village of Zinacantan.
Each Chiapas highland village has their own unique attire, either woven or embroidered.  The embroidered shawls worn by the women of Zinacantan were just exquisite.  (See my post dated February 26, 2016 for more photos and information about Zinacantan).
On the way to Palenque, we will make a stop in Tonina, an impressive hillside Maya ruin, the beautiful 30-meter Misol-Ha waterfall and the picturesque Agua Azul that was described by a  Chiapan poet, Elva Macias, as "a peacock dragging its watery tail."
The Palenque ruins are the crown jewel of the archaeological sites not only in Chiapas but in the entire Maya empire.   
There is a sense of sophistication about Palenque.  The site also boasts a fabulous musuem.
Two nights will be spent at the Chan-Kah Resort.  Set in a manicured jungle setting, you will have your own casita while enjoying the huge main pool and the open-air restaurant with a wonderful view.
Part of the fun getting to the ruins of Yaxchilan is the smooth, the 45-minute boat ride down the Usumacinta River which divides Mexico and Guatemala.  The scenery is magnificent and you may spot a Howler monkey up in a riverside tree.
Yaxchilan, an ancient city overlooking the Osumacinta River, has a magical feel to it.  The setting was just enchanting, as were the ruins.
Bonampak is a modest archeological sight in comparison to the others, but it has some of the best Maya murals ever discovered.   The brightly colored frescoes are amazing.  One shows a fierce jungle battle scene where another shows the crowning of a boy king.

I could go on and on about the wonderful adventures in this unique part of Mexico.  Soon I will have a detailed itinerary along with pricing.  Please let me know if I may add your name to our small group for this unique adventure.