WARM WINTER MARGARITA

With the holidays on our doorstep, I wanted to share with you a cocktail that’s a fantastic and easy-to-make drink that’ll be sure to please your guests.

A few weeks ago, I attended a Ladies’ Night In party in Chicago with Chef Marcela Valladolid, cookbook author and hostess of the Food Network’s “Mexican Made Easy.” We sipped and sampled numerous Sauza Tequila drinks and had a fantastic time tasting dishes from Marcela’s cookbook, Fresh Mexico.

One of the drinks Marcela showed us how to make was this warm winter margarita, reminiscent of a hot toddy – only way more Mexican! It was an instant hit with the crowd and the perfect way to end the evening.

I admit, I’ve got a hoarding problem when it comes to recording TV shows on my DVR. Right now, I probably have half a dozen episodes each of Marcela’s English-language show, “Mexican Made Easy” on the Food Network, and her Spanish-language show on Discovery en Español, “Relatos con Sabor.” I usually like to watch them once for pleasure and a second time to jot down notes with the recipes if it’s something I don’t already know how to make. José is always asking me if it’s safe to delete them or if I still have to watch my second run. I love Chef Marcela because her mission is a lot like mine: to teach people about authentic Mexican food.

It was so much fun to hang out with her for an intimate evening of cooking tips and getting to taste some of her recipes!

Click on the collage below to see the entire album of photos from the party:

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Mexico City: my visit to Casa Azul

the corner of calle Londres & Allende in Coyoacán

At 247 calle Londres, where Londres meets Allende in a colorful old part of Mexico City called Coyoacán, lies the Casa Azul – the place where Frida Kahlo once lived and that is now a museum in her honor. I imagine that the blue walls both inside and out have probably been repainted several times over to maintain the vibrant shade of cobalt blue that I’ve never quite seen replicated outside of Mexico City, but I still had this eerie feeling when I stepped inside like I was stepping back in time. It’s a feeling I often get when visiting Mexico City – and in some strange way, it’s one of the reasons it feels like home to me. I had to suppress the urge to touch the paint, as if I might be lucky enough that a little bit would rub off and I could take a little piece of that cobalt blue home to Chicago with me.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve actually traveled to Mexico City by now, but the one thing I haven’t lost track of is how many historical and cultural places I still haven’t yet visited. Until a few weeks ago, Frida’s Casa Azul was one of them. I’d passed by it before, both walking and driving, on my way to the mercado in Coyoacán. Someday, I’ll visit every last one on my list. But this day was dedicated to Frida.

view of Frida’s bedroom, studio and library from the garden

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