Friday, November 20, 2009


Guadalajara, Guadalajara!!!
The last stop on our Mexican trip. Guadalajara is located in the western-central highlands of Mexico. It's main contributions to the Mexican lifestyle are: tequila, mariachis, wide-brimmed sombreros, rodeos, and the Mexican Hat Dance. Oh, and some of the best food ever!
We saw Ernesto's cousin Mario in San Diego this summer and he invited us to stay at his place. We had taken an overnight bus from Mazatlan and arrived at 7am. Mario was just getting home from going out that night! kids these days! ha! He's 24 and awesome. ...ah the college life! After napping a few hours we were ready to hit the city.
It was a Sunday so the center was packed with families. There were many statues and fountains that unfortunately I don't know the names of, street vendors selling clothes, handicrafts and food were lining the sidewalks. What a cool city!

The main market is called San Juan de Dios, and it is humongous! It is 3 stories high and covers two city blocks. While sniffing out some good food, I ran into this chivo (goat) promoting goat birria.

At this stand a man prepares the city's famous sandwich, torta ahogadas.
Although we are no strangers to taking city buses to get around, it was nice that Mario had a car. He really knows the city and seemed happy to show us some places. After seeing downtown, we visited Tlaquepaque, an up-scale artist community where abandon old mansions have been restored into contemporary design boutiques. Oh if I only had a house there! The decor was unbelievable. Walking from store to store was enjoyable with the charming streets and many restaurants.
You will find everything here: wood carvings, sculptures, wrought iron, furniture, ceramics, jewelry, leather goods, candles and textiles. I WILL come back when I have a house!
Inviting eateries were calling our names, and since we were craving seafood, we went where everyone goes for seafood in Tlaquepaque, to Mariscos Progreso. The ceviche tostadas were superb and the cerveza was so cold!
In the central plaza girls were doing a cultural dance on a stage. A pineapple dance?
We made it just before closing to the this park. (I can't remember the name) A canyon so green and vast I couldn't believe we were still in a city the size of Guadalajara.
Here is my personal graphic designer working diligently on my business cards. I can't thank him enough! Mario studied architecture and has great style! Maybe I can get help with a house next??
It was a project, let me tell you. Im not the most decisive person in the world and when presented with too many font and placement options, I break down and tell someone else to decide. Then I had to decide the paper. UGH! Here is Gonzalo, the guy who owns the printing business. We met him by chance in Mazatlan on the beach and I took his details so he could do my cards. ps. He really isn't cross eyed, he's just being funny.
When we were at the Green Mug Cafe, I saw a flyer that Lila Downs was doing a show in Guadalajara that week. If you have never heard of her, listen here as she performs She has the most amazing voice. Highs and lows that seem impossible for a women to reach. If you have seen the movie Frida, you will recognize her voice as she sung several of the songs.
I admire her not only for her precious voice, but for her amazing style. She is from Oaxaca Mexico, much spent much of her time in the US. Her mother is a Mixtec indian from San Miguel el Grande and her father from Colorado. I love how she celebrates her heritage with ethnic clothes and extravagant jewelry and always much color. In this concert she was wearing an arm band of feathers and I was so inspired by it. I think she [along with many other Mexicans artisans] has inspired me to be bold in using color. It is invigorating and it makes me happy.
The concert was at Teatro Diana, and ours seats were wonderful. Ernesto and I were both so happy with the performance. In awe, more like it. Money well spent.
In Guadalajara, they are famous for this delicious sandwich called torta ahogada, which means "drunken sandwich". There are many sandwich shops serving these. Mario took me to his favorite place called Tortas Toño. Ernesto was watching football, so when we picked him up, I told him he had to try one. Mario took us to his #2 favorite, a street side cart, and Ernesto ordered his own. He was equally in love with the torta.
Mario's apartment is in a beautiful area. Right outside his apartment is this cool fountain.
On a side note: This is what happens when you are 37 and try to party with 24 year olds. It was 3pm.
There is no shortage of great restaurants in Guadalajara. One night we went to dinner at La Tequila, an upscale place that Mario recommended to us.
Ernesto holds up a fanned out menu (the agave plant) which is only the of tequilas that the restaurant offers.
This picture was taken at the entrance which had all the bottles on display, and a mosaic chef chair. um bort bort bort
Before leaving Guadalajara, I wanted to check out the other hot spot for shopping for all things Mexican. Tonala is about 25 minutes from the center and you will find similar finds as in Tlaquepaque, but Tonala is more rustic, not quite as touristy, and this means that you will find better prices. Since this was the last trip on our Mexican tour, I wanted to buy everything my heart desired (that could fit in my checked luggage)...oh it desired so much.
Talavera pottery is one of my favorite things. The bright colors of paint on ceramic are oh so beautiful. If you aren't familiar with it check out some pictures here. Ernesto picked out some huge bowls that are perfect for soups and pozole.
There we artisans working out in the open at several stores and I really enjoyed watching these guys blowing glass, what an amazing craft.
There shop had tons of great glasses, pitchers, and great shot glasses, which Ernesto thought we really needed. They are really cute, and anytime Ernesto actually takes interest in shopping I think it's great and encourage it. I don't want to be the only one buying stuff.
Teacup chihuahua for sale...he really fits in a teacup.
Neto was on a hunt to bring home a Katrina. Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) was coming up and we saw them everywhere, this is the one we fell in love with, but it was a little to big for my luggage....only $70! It paper mache and of course I love the color!
This picture makes me laugh, because you can't get much more stereo typical than this!
This man was carrying this stack of birdies in cages like a backpack.
No market would be complete without a good plate of corn with lime, chile and salt!
The night before we left, Mario took us to the arches entering the city, I forget the name.
I like how this shot turned out with the blurring lights of cars whipping by.
We walked through a plaza and there were tons of locals just hanging out. There was music playing and couples were dancing,
Wh=e finished off our last night in Guadalajara by trying the tacos de cabeza (head tacos) at a little tacos stand in the plaza. The place was swarmed and Mario told us his tacos are known by the locals and last only a very short time before he sells out.
Head tacos and something sweet ...a proper meal! The churros guy was set up right next to the tacos and it was cool to watch him pipe in the dough and see how it cooks up into a delicious doughnut.
A special thanks to Ernesto's generous, stylish, smart, fun tour guide primo Mario! Im so glad we stayed with him and I got to know him better. He is such a great guy and I owe him for my logo design, which I am still loving! Gracias!
Finally, this wraps up my 10 part Viva Mexico series I hope you enjoyed it! Maybe you feel inspired to visit Mexico? You may have a friend to visit there soon.......hmmmmm, Im not saying anything, but there is always that chance!

Monday, November 09, 2009

La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha, Ya No Puedes Caminar

Do you remember that show Fear Factor? Ernesto and I always used to watch it. Monday nights. I always said I would participate, but I remember several shows where the contestants had to eat cockroaches. I always thought I would have to drop out at that point. La cucaracha is a disgusting bug. But una cucaracha for breakfast is the best!

I have no idea how the name came about, but a cucaracha is a stack of tortillas, ham, and cheese - topped with salsa. Ernesto's dad made these for me one time and I was hooked. I imagine serving this to our kids. (If we ever get around to it....)

Along the same lines as french toast you will need to dip the tortillas in a bowl of scrambled eggs.

Start with one tortilla. Set the dipped tortilla in a sprayed pan. Top with one slice of ham and put cheese on top. Repeat for a total of three tortillas. Flip over to toast the top layer and finish melting the cheese.


Top la cucaracha with salsa and enjoy!



36? OMG! I know, I know, you can't believe Im 36 either!! One more year of my that is something to relish, right?

The last 36 years have been wonderful. I feel lucky to have traveled the world as much as I have, that I met Ernesto 10 years ago in the Columbus airport, and that my friends and family are the best that a girl could ever ask for.

Yes, I have some grey hairs now, and I have noticed more wrinkles in my face, but the bright side of this is that I know they are from laughing so much throughout my life. Ernesto is so silly (like me) and my family is all about humor. We are always laughing at/with each other and if there is a sad moment I can count on them to make me smile....every. single. time.
I am really excited for the future as it's sure to bring more excitement and surprises my way!

Speaking of my awesome family, I had this idea that my brother and sister should come celebrate my birthday with me. Jenny flew in on Delta Thursday night and we got some serious girl time Friday with coffee talk, eating lunch at Taqueria del Sol and doing some thrifting. Can you tell that we are sisters? A few people told us they saw a resemblance??????My great birthday weekend got even better when my brother Brrrian drove to Atlanta from Asheville Friday night! I was so excited when he got there. Smita was cooking, Jenny was chatting and having a drink, Nester was showing off his mask. (which Brrrian loved!!)

Brrrian always brings his guitar, and so after dinner, and many drinks, the entertainment began. This picture alone makes me crack up: the masked man with the guitar....

Once he started singing [impromptu as he often does] we really were laughing. The cackles sometimes overpowering the music. (also the Rihanna interview was playing on tv)

I don't think I need to say anything else about Friday night. Too. Funny.

Brrrian woke up Saturday morning wanting to adopt a dog. We perused craigslist and saw so many cute dogs. That got us excited for him! We looked up Atlanta Humaine Society and it was actually just a few miles from my place. I can see how someone turns into a cat lady or maybe has too many dogs. If you go in here be prepared to feel some sadness. This is a great facility though, very clean and you can see the animals are well taken care of. They have a huge yard where the dogs get to go outside and run. Brrrian immediately fell in love with this little guy:

Brrrian paid the $50 adoption fee and they put a sign up in his kennel "ADOPTED" . We had to leave him there while we got some supplies. Here is the proud new father taking the first picture (of many). Im so excited for Brrian and also that this cute doggie has a home! Bruno is the name and I think it fits his Dutch Shepard looks!

Later that day we went to Smita's house. She wanted to make my birthday dinner. I had requested a pie instead of a birthday cake and Smita did not disappoint. She made the crust from scratch and I must say it was the best I have ever tasted. The recipe is from Tyler Florence and can be found on her blog .

Blackberries, raspberries and mango! Oh my!!
It was a great night. We were laughing so hard the whole night. I love mis hermanos!!

We must have been making a lot of noise. Smita's neighbor Wesley sent a text message to shut up. We told him to come over. It was obvious that he had already started partying, as you'll see on this video. Although it's sideways and quality is not the best, I guarantee a chuckle.

For more laughs we decided to head to Clermont Lounge.
The Clermont is a very seedy bar that is also an Atlanta landmark. Not everyone has been there, but they have probably heard of it. If you don't have a sense of humor, don't even think about stepping foot into this basement dive bar.
Yes, it is an "adult club" as the sign says above, but there is somethin' different. The women who dance there are older, fatter, and less rhythmic then would ever be allowed in a "normal" club. Like I said, a sense of humor is needed. Brrrian had actually been there before with Neto a few years ago, but it was Smita's first time and I thought it would be so funny to take Jenny and not tell her anything about it. When we walked in her face was like a deer in headlights. ha! I was laughing so hard. I let her take it in for a few minutes before asking what she thought. "Stunned, I am Stunned!" I knew she would like it! You do find yourself asking...where are we? Who does this? ha! Somewhere along the line, the Clermont turned a bit trendy, clearly for the trashiness that you won't find anywhere else. The clientele is a huge mix of young/old and blue/white collar.
You can only watch for so long. We were lured over to a small dance floor though and danced to a good mix of 80's that the DJ was spinning. On the way out we asked the parking attendant to snap a photo with the infamous fluorescent sign. Not surprising the lounge is in the basement of a disgusting motor hotel that rents by the hour!

We walked to Virginia Highlands and hung out at Hand in Hand for a while.
We look a bit "worn out" and that is because....we were. Come on! Im 36 now, I don't usually stay out that late anymore.

To wake us up, Nester decided we needed a full on breakfast. Where do you go for breakfast at 2am in Midtown? Another Atlanta landmark, the Majestic Diner.

Since Sunday was my actual birthday and it was 75 and sunny, I wanted to have a picnic at Piedmont Park.

Nester brought the party hats, Smita brought the blanket and we picked out some great picnic foods for munching.
Neto also brought my birthday present, beautifully wrapped in turquoise paper with a big bow. I was a tri-pod for my DSLR camera, a gift I had requested. Thanks mi amor!
Even better than the gift though, was the card he picked out for me. I really like gifts from the heart, and this card, I can tell, he thought was perfect for me.

{front and inside of card}

We needed the afternoon to relax after our fun filled weekend , and that we did. A special thanks to everyone who shared such a special weekend with me!
This was Bruno's first day out of the Humaine Society and boy did he get a treat in the park. There were dogs everywhere and he was so socialable with all of them. He's just a sweet dog.
He so lucky to have Brrrian. I am too!
This is my beautiful friday post being shared over at the Inspired Room


Related Posts with Thumbnails