Day of the Dead, San Miguel

November 2nd, 2009

For most Americans, Day of the Dead is an unknown holiday; however, in Mexico it is celebrated with much festivity. This pre-Hispanic tradition, blended with Catholicism, takes place on November 2nd. Families join together to honor and remember the dead by building elaborate altars in their homes. Pictures, as well as the personal items and favorite foods of their dearly departed, are placed on the altars. This is done to entice them into returning for the day.

Day of the Dead Alter

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El Buen Café’s new home

July 2nd, 2009

Sunlight fills the patio; filtered through bougainvillea, palm trees, banana leaves and jasmine vines. Everywhere you look the light is different, softer near the muted, paint-peeled apricot walls, harsher on the ancient grey stones. A soft breeze dances around a guava tree, full of sweet yellow fruit, swaying its long, green limbs ever so gently from side to side. Key limes weigh down the branches of a short, stout tree at the entrance of the old, colonial house. A house, which dates back to 1600 and is the new residence of El Buen Café (Jesús 36), just down the street from its original location.

Entrance to El Buen Cafe

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Day of the Crazies, San Miguel

June 7th, 2009

Dia de los Locos or Day of the Crazies celebrates the beginning of summer. It’s one of San Miguel’s most festive occasions, which takes place every year on the first Sunday of June after San Antonio de Padua. It’s basically a large costume party in which the entire town participates.
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The Perfect Meal

November 21st, 2008

A perfect meal has just as much to do with the company as it does with the food.

Recently I had guests from Slovenia, a quintet of classical musicians, to be exact. All well-traveled gourmands, this sophisticated group of charming men were well acquainted with fine food. They came to San Miguel with an open mind and empty stomachs (and also fear of Montezuma’s revenge…it seems it’s in all the guidebooks).

After playing a small, intimate concert at the Casa de Sierra Nevada, we—the five musicians, four girlfriends, and myself, sat down to an incredible gastronomic experience. On a cold fall night we were ushered into a cozy private terra-cotta hued dining room with a large, wooden round table in the center backed against a blazing fire. The group allowed me to order for them, so I did something I’ve always dreamt of—ordering one of everything on the menu. I surprised the waiter, and even myself, with my request. There was a new chef at the Sierra Nevada that evening, a young man by the name of Gonzolo Martinez, who had just come back to his native town by way of Dallas and New Orleans. I was anxious to see what he could do. We were not disappointed. The multi-course meal kept coming: Grilled Vegetable Terraine, Huitlacoche Risotto, Grilled Mezcal marinated Oaxacan Quail, Chicken with Shrimp Mousse and Caramelized Apple Pudding, all accompanied by endless bottles of wine.

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