Archive for the ‘Artsy Little Towns- ALTs’ Category

Sazon Market Tour & Cooking Class

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Sazon Cooking School- Chef Fernando Padilla

Well, as many of you know, part of my goal in San Miguel is not just to eat the food, but learn to create it. So today was my first cooking class.

My landlord is a chef in the Bay Area- Agustin Gaytan– and he actually helped found the Sazon school. The class I took  was a market tour and then bringing back our finds & watching chef make several recipes, and then eating them.

The regular chef was on vaca, so they tapped Chef Padilla, of Hotel Atotnilco el Viejo, a very upscale resort just out of town. Chef Padilla has training from the Culinary Institute (the other CIA, in NY), great patience, and (thank goodness) a sense of humor.

He led us thru the whole market, introducing us to all kinds of unfamiliar foods, waiting for me to take photos & buy coconut meat (yum!) and answering all kinds of bizarre questions (where can I buy agave nectar?) (more…)

Feliz Navidad

Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Baby Jesuses

Baby Jesuses

This week, everything is about Baby Jesus. I kept walking past stands of fancy baby clothes, but it took a while to realize that they were for the plaster Baby Jesus dolls. Evidently, each year, a family buys new clothes for their baby jesus & parades said baby around the house on Christmas Eve.

Baby Jesuses can range from the size of an actual newborn to about 4″ long. Very cool. It’s now about 3:30 PM, & has been very quiet.

I’ve been working on a tan & a bottle of Chilean red. Do not expect much sleep tonight, before a walking tour & brunch @ a fancy restaurant.

Feliz Navidad, y’all.

Christmas Eve Eve

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
Fish Tacos & Cerveza Michelada

Fish Tacos & Cerveza Michelada

So, on the day before Christmas Eve, things are getting pretty crazy in SMA. I hear there aren’t as many tourists from the US as usual, but their are plenty of Mexican tourists to make up for that.

One cab driver explained: Mexico is the fiesta capital of the world, and San Miguel is the fiesta capital of Mexico. So evidently, when one wants to party, this is the place to be.

What that means to me is that I’m not getting a whole lot of sleep, and there are very few unoccupied taxis, which I never would have believed even a week ago. The green & white taxis are ubiquitous. But right now, they’re mostly full.

So I walked (yes, walked!) to downtown, met amiga P & we walked to a fish taco place for lunch. It had been highly recommended & rightly so. The fish was fried in a batter that rivaled tempura, and it was served w/salsa fresca & some creamy green sauce, instead of cilantro/cabbage slaw.

I first tried cerveza michelada a few days ago in Guanajuato. Considering that I’m not really a beer drinker, there isn’t anything much better after working up a sweat walking all over town. It’s a beer, but served with a glass with about 2 oz of a sauce that contains: Worc sauce, tabasco, lime juice and in this case, soy sauce. Really, really good.

It’s fun to see all the families coming to town for the holiday. There are helado (ice cream) stands popping up all over, with flavors like Rose Petal, among others. And the guys with towers of balloons. You wouldn’t even believe the pinatas. (I saw one of a llama today, and may have to go back for it, even though it won’t fit in a suitcase.)

There are fruit & veggie stands all over with mountains of tangerines, oranges & boiled peanuts. In my little n’hood (San Rafael), the women hobble up the hill with huge sacks of produce, getting ready for what must be incredible meals, and every little tortilla factory is running at full capacity.  Other women, from the country, set up impromptu stands with moss & poinsettias on the sidewalks & sit there all day with their children.

Organics in San Miguel

Monday, December 21st, 2009
Via Organica Store & Cafe, San Miguel

Via Organica Store & Cafe, San Miguel

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”- Margaret Mead

Keeping in mind that San Miguel is referred to in Pt Townsend as “Pt Townsend, South,” it’s no great surprise that when I finally got to see the film Food, Inc ,  it was at the Biblioteca here. I saw it w/my yoga buddies Paul & Typhoo from Ottawa, and also (although I didn’t know until later) a retired Baptist minister & his wife, from AL. (This is the sort of Baptist minister who delivers learned talks to the Unitarian Universalists, so that’s a whole ‘nother story)

Anyway, my thoughts were AGAIN: “Preaching to the choir.” Yes, it’s a good film. And it covers a lot of the points we already know (Monsanto is Satan, right, right) and adds a few new ones (I did not know that Walmart is refusing to carry dairy w/rGBH. Which is a good thing- but I still won’t shop there.)

BUT… who is talking to the “Good Housekeeping” set? That’s what makes me crazy. Someone needs to make this information both accessible and acceptable to the average Joan in the US. Until then, we’re just talking to ourselves, and nothing much will change.

Yes, I agree w/the Margaret Mead quote. But someone needs to get the word out.

That said, there is an organic movement in San Miguel! Paul & Typhoo led Polly & me (all yoga norteamericanos) to Via Organica, a cafe/health food store in San Miguel. I believe it’s owned by these folks, the Via Organica farm, who are also sponsors of the Writers’ Conference that is bringing Barbara Kingsolver to town.

So, evidently, the small group of thoughtful people is gathering.

Oh, and more photos added.

I’m trying to do something new every day. Today I ate green chickpeas, steamed w/chile (kind of like edamames) and walked all the way from Centro to mi casita (It’s all downhill, sure, but it’s kind of like a steeplechase, as well.)