Saturday, October 9, 2010

la Barra de Potosi

 I don't think my photos do justice to the beauty of la Barra de Potosi.  It is definitely a place I want to return to and see more the beauty it has to hold.  I have heard the food is great and want to find that out first hand as well :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

La Mesa de Bravo on a guided tour with William Mertz

Going to the waterfalls at La Mesa de Bravo with Wil Mertz as our guide was a wonderful experience.  We drove up from Zihua into the mountains for about an hour and a half, then we travelled up a dirt road to get to La Mesa de Bravo.  Upon arriving we hiked up to the big waterfalls, then travelled down to lower ones.  We saw beautiful butterflies, an awesome little frog, and even a baby turtle.  Lunch was served in a wonderful covered area where we could sit by on of the falls and watch the water run by.  With it being the rainy season there was a lot of water in the river, and it rained near the end of our time there.  Lunch was served by the owner of La Mesa de Bravo and was fantastic.  Robyn and I both agree they were by far the best tortillas we have had so far.  The corn was grown right there, and the chicken we had was also fresh and tasty, raised there on the farm, fed corn, and free of any growth hormones.  I can't wait to see the new restaraunt when it is complete.  Visiting the falls would be a trip worth while for anyone who wants to see more of Mexico.  It was one of the highlights of our trip.  On the way home we even had to stop for a tarantula to cross the road :-)

Animal Humane Society of Zihuatanejo

She is the sweetest little girl

While in Zihuatanejo Robyn and I both wanted to do something meaningful so we chose to volunteer at the Animal Humane Society here.  The people we met at the humane society are all friendly, and we have felt welcomed every day.  But by far our favorite part is being able to spend time with the animals that we walk each day.  Because we aren't in any hurry we generally each take one dog out at a time, and try to make their time out the best it can be.  Sometime we play in the water, and other times sit in the shade and cuddle.  There was even a pelican in recovering from a wounded wing due to a fish hook.

Isn't he cute!

Second cooking class with Monica - Stuffed Chiles!!!

I forgot my camera for the second cooking class with Monica at Patio Mexica, and thank you to Joseph and Mary from the class who sent me the photos they took.  Robyn wasn't feeling good the day of the class, so I went alone, but it was fine because I was paired up with another student named Cathy.

We started by getting the meat filling ready and roasting the poblano and jalapeno chiles.  We made 5 types of stuffed chiles.  First, we stuffed a jalapeno with tuna, onion, tomatoe, and mayo.  We also made chile relenos, which are poblano stuffed with cheese, and fried with an egg coating on it.  The chile relleno was served with tomato sauce with some chipotle added and a drizzle of creme fresh (oh my god good!).  Then we made chile en nogada by stuffing the poblano chile with the meat mixture and finishing it with a flavored creme fresh, and pomegranate seeds on top.  It represents the three colours of the Mexican flag, and was also very good.  Finally, we stuffed ancho chiles with the meat mixture and another with cheese, and both version were very tasty.  We severed them on tomato sauce and creme fresh.
chili relleno
chili en nogada
mmm mmm good!
I literally ate every bit of the chiles I made, and left wishing I could eat like that every day.  We finished the class with a nice cup of Monica's coffee.  Anyone looking for a wonderful culinary experience would enjoy this class.  Monica was so sweet that she sent a chile en nogada home for Robyn so she didn't miss out.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cooking Class at Patio Mexica with Monica

Robyn hard at work lol
Wednesday morning we had our first cooking class with Monica at Patio Mexica.  We sat down for a few minutes and chatted before heading to the market, then we were off.  At the market we first tasted cheeses, there was a softer fresh cheese, one similar to ricotta, and then an aged cheese.  I enjoyed the soft and aged the most.  After that we tasted some cookies, and then some different fruits.  After we tasted some sweet bread that was baked in the mountain area, and after that we tried a bun stuffed with pork and vegetables.  For drinks we tried a "chill-latte" (probably spelled totally wrong) which was chocolate with cinnamon, but no dairy, and then we had iced hibiscus tea, and both were really good.  From the market we went to the chili store to look and different types of chilies, and then we tasted the different types of mole paste.  Robyn found them a bit hot, but I liked them.

Then we headed back to Patio Mexica for the cooking portion of the class.  Robyn made a tomatoe salsa in a mortar, and I made salsa verde.  I didn't realize how much work it would be to make salsa in a mortar with a pestal.  After we finished the salsas Monica made us some bean soup.  It had bacon, chorizo, onion, garlic, tomatoes, beans, a bit of chicken stock, and was finished with a fresh herb.  After she finished the soup we attempted to make fresh torillas.  Monica had soaked corn for us to grind, and then gave us each a ball of the ground corn to make a tortilla.  Robyn's was thick, but still round when it was cooked.  Mine on the other hand was very bad, and in no way resembled a tortilla after it was cooked.  Monica said that the ground corn had a bit too much water in it, so I am going to use that as my excuse.  Then we were able to make a torilla with pre-made dough and a that is my idea of torilla making.  Some how I even screwed up the roundness of that tortilla when I set it on the grill.

After all of the food was prepared we sat down for a bowl of soup with torillas and salsa.  Monica put a chuck of fresh cheese in each bowl, which was really good.  We finished the class with a cup of coffee and cookies from the market.  The coffee there is amazing!  We both really enjoyed the class, and Monica is a truely lovely person.

The first few days...

The first few days in Zihuataenjo were pretty quiet.  Saturday night we had fajitas at La Rana Rene.  We spent some time getting supplies at the Commercial Mexicana on Sunday, and then went swimming in the ocean for a few hours.  In the evening we wandered around el Centro and enjoyed the sights and sounds with many locals gathered in the area.  Monday we spent some time shopping in the Artisan Market in el Centro, and then spent a few hours swimming on Playa la Madera again.  Tuesday we went into el Centro for breakfast at Margarita's.  After that we went to Playa la Ropa and throughly enjoyed the beach and water for a few hours.  After that we had take out from Pollo Feliz (Happy Chicken), which was very good.  The heat does wear us out during the day, but the rain showers in the afternoon or evening give a bit of welcome relief.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

We arrived!

Its August 7 and we have arrived in Zihua!  The flights were great, but Robyn and I were both happy to finally arrive this afternoon.  We shared a cab with Melissa and Ken from Chicago that we met on the plane, and I feel a bit bad for the newbie taxi driver we had.  I proved that it pays for me to be super prepared and look at google street view to see where our hotel sits, because I had to help direct him to our place.  It is definitely VERY warm here and it feels wonderful to sit in the shade and and enjoy the breeze off of the ocean.  In full family style we manage to lock ourselves out of our apartment within a couple of hours being in the Bungalows la Madera.  The owner, Mark, was gracious enough to get us back into our room.  This did entail calling the maid and having her come down to deliver the extra key.  Thank goodness for nice people!  Tonight will be pretty quiet as we are both very tired from being up since 3:30 am and only having a couple hours of sleep prior to that.  Tomorrow is a new day for adventures :-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A People's Guide to Mexico

The People's Guide to Mexico (Peoples Guide to Mexico)  I have been reading A People' Guide to Mexico on and off for a couple of weeks now and I have to say I love this book.  The book is filled with an array of personal stories that are realistic and sometimes humorous, with others making you think 'thank god that wasn't me'.  The authors give you a sense that you are not the only one in the world who goes through situations that 'end up' being laughable.  The book also give you a realistic view of what it would be like to travel through Mexico under various circumstances.  Although it may not be overly useful in all Mexican travel situations, such as staying at an all-inclusive resort, I believe that it is well worth a read even if it is purely for entertainment value.  I think my favorite part of reading this book is how it feel like I am getting an insiders view into what Mexico is really like, not just what is seen in resort towns.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

After spending a week in Ixtapa in April 2010, including a day trip to Zihuatanejo, I was hooked on Mexico. Only two days after arriving home Robyn asked if we could take another trip down and spend more time in the area. Both Robyn and I felt like we missed seeing the cultural aspects of the area when we stayed at the all-inclusive Park Royal. Although the Park Royal was lovely, and there are definite perks to staying at the all-inclusive, we decided to stay at a privately owned Inn in Zihua. After much searching I found La Madera Bungalows just above Playa La Madera. We are staying in a 2 bedroom Suite in the new building, which even includes a kitchenette. The bungalows are within a short walk to the downtown area, and there are restaurants all around. We have also booked cooking classes with Monica at Patio Mexica on August 11 and 14, which is about a block away. Finally, we are planning on volunteering at the Zihuatanejo Humane Society while down there...and yes, I was told not to bring any dogs home :-)

I am very excited to be taking this trip! Yes,I think my daily countdown might be driving everyone nuts :-) It is my plan to make daily entries while down there so everyone else can share a little piece of the amazing time we are having :-)