Sunday, November 10, 2013

Aha! Moments

An Aha! moment is described as a sudden revelation that elicits joy from a new understanding. 
Since coming to San Miguel, I've had many.

From Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, Queretaro, Morelia, Patzcuaro, Puebla, Guadalajara,Tonola ,Tlaquepaque,Toluca and Mexico DF to the sleepy little town of Santa Rosa, there have been so many Aha! moments I quit counting.

On the Mexican Tourist Board’s list of 50 cities, I’m about to discover the other 20 I’ve not been to. There are certain to be lots of Aha! moments down the road.
There are so many beautiful places near San Miguel that I would have never seen if it were not for the Sunday Hiking Club. One Sunday you are doing the easy hike – if that’s what you call 16 river crossings both ways - and the next week it’s through remote villages.

You never know what to expect from one week to the next except Aha! moments.
From Mexican Independence Day to Day of the Dead, Mexico’s biggest holiday, Aha! fiestas are one thing that Mexico does exceptionally well. In fact, there are so many of them I have to reference my Catholic calendar.
 Michael Coon cooks Marcella:

Casa de Cocinas is part of my culinary routine every month. This month, in my opinion, Michael Coon did an Aha! tasting - one of his best - honoring Italian chef Marcella Hazan.
Stuffed Spaghetti Frittata with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Ham
Polenta with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms in a Balsamic Reduction
Fricasseed Chicken Abruzzi Style with Rosemary, Marsala, Cherry Tomatoes and Olives
Italian Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries
Expect The Unexpected:

What I love the most about San Miguel is that I can turn a corner or go down a street and I never know what I’m going to find. Expect the unexpected. Just when you think that you’ve seen everything, something new appears for yet another Aha! moment.
I’ve finally learned to appreciate all forms of art…a major Aha! for me who only saw it in photography.
The purity and playfulness of a Mexican child is amazing. I’m in awe of all the Aha! moments they have given me.

After 15 years, San Miguel brought me together with old friends. The moment was so powerful even we cannot explain why it happened and dismiss it to the magic of San Miguel.
I meet new people every day. Today I met the woman who teaches a course on Miracles. 
Little miracles and Aha! moments happen nearly every day.
Food Sources:
Unlike most small towns, San Miguel has a wide variety of direct food sources. This amazes me. 
From the Tuesday Market to the Organic Market to Mercado Ignacio Ramirez and all of the specialty stores, I’m spending and enjoying more time in my own kitchen.
It’s exciting to me that I have poinsettia plants growing in my garden.

Plants have taken on Aha! status here and I find myself wondering how many species of plants there are in Mexico.

The girl with the brown thumb has grown.
San Miguel:
There’s something almost divine about the light here, particularly in the late afternoon when all of the weddings and quinceaneras flow out of the cathedral and everything is aglow.

As a photographer, light is everything so Aha! moments happen daily.
Is there food more complex than Mexican? Food preparation for family and social events is considered to be an investment in order to maintain social relationships.

The more I learn the more I realize that there is so much more to discover.

Another Aha! moment.
Buen Apetito!

Consistently Good Food: Hansen's

At Calzada de la Aurora #12, I’ve been to Hansen six times in the past few weeks and honestly I love this restaurant. They are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and get here early if you want the specials because they sell out.

This restaurant is my first choice for consistently good food.

The under 100 peso Friday and Saturday special for a small steak (and it was good), French fries (and they were good) and a salad was a great buy. I was full and had no room for dessert. This is unquestionably one of the best pieces of beef I’ve had since I've been in San Miguel. On another day, I tried the burger and it was exceptional as well.

One of the best things on the menu is the Caprese salad. We sided 5 people with one salad two nights in a row.

The pork chops were good – two large ones on the plate – but slightly overcooked. This would be my only complaint.

The Tortilla Soup was billed as “The Best in Town”…and it was.

Delicious dessert. It was really rich ...just like great chocolate should be. In fact, I felt guilty after I ate it...also something good chocolate should do.

We had fun leisurely lunches and dinners on both the rooftop and inside. Don’t hurry and enjoy the experience. The Margaritas were 2 for 1 after 5 PM and at every meal the service was outstanding.

I’m planning to split both the Prime Rib and Osso Buco as I’ve heard both are superb. I also want to try the BBQ ribs which were sold out last Sunday. Oh and the chicken liver pate. 

Do you suppose I should stake out a chair for the next few weekends because my brother and brother-in-law will not let us go anyplace else.

Buen Apetito!

Margarita Mixology

Ten Ten Pie told me the trick to making a perfect Margarita is Tequila, Controy (Orange Liqueur) and lemon - equal parts of each.

Café Rama makes theirs with essentially the same ingredients except they use Madrilena Jarabe Natural instead of the Controy and a lime not a lemon. They mix two parts of tequila, one part Madrilena Jarabe Natural and lime juice. They also use a splash of OJ.

When making a Margarita for one, I squeeze three limes or in the case of Ten Ten's recipe, one lemon.

Also, my old standard which is sweeter is:

1 part tequila
1 part Triple Sec
1 part Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix
1/2 part Roses Lime Juice

Do not substitute the Roses Lime. That is the key ingredient.

Happy tasting and let me know when you’ve mastered them. I’ll be right over!

Buen Apetito!