One Day in Ensenada

In January 2012, we visited Ensenada for the first time. We were only there for a day as a cruise port stop, but we had a jam-packed day full of exploration, food and walking and we’re definitely interested in going back. It’s located about an hour South of Tijuana. I’ve been revisiting my travel notes and photos lately to make a list of things I’d like to do on a return visit. Here are a few glimpses into our day there.

Bahía Todos Los Santos, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico… 

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Wordless Wednesday: Papel picado in San Miguel de Allende

During Semana Santa in 2012, we took a road trip from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende with José’s parents. I stumbled across a folder of photos from the trip recently and realized I’ve never written about it here. While I take some time to piece together some of my photos and journals from the trip, I wanted to share this photo. I can’t recall the name of this cafe, but San Miguel de Allende has a number of intriguing doorways that just make you want to peek inside. I can remember with such clarity how delighted I was to discover this little restaurant’s colorful and intricate papel picado hanging from the ceiling.

papel_picado_san_miguel_de_allende_TOSOTT

 

  • Have you been to San Miguel de Allende? Tell me something about your visit in the comments below! Haven’t been there yet but dying to go? Let me know what you’re interested in doing there while visiting.

Wordless Wednesday: Tengo alas pa’ volar

In December 2012 during a visit to Mexico City for the holidays, I had a chance to once again visit La Casa Azul, the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, which is now the Museo Frida Kahlo. I visited specifically to see a new exhibit called “Las apariencias engañan: los vestidos de Frida Kahlo” (which runs through January 31, 2014 and is a must-see exhibit for any serious Frida fan).

In the museum, there are several displays of Frida Kahlo’s personal journals, filled with artwork between the pages of her thoughts. There’s a famous quote of Frida’s from one of her personal journals which reads: “Pies para qué los quiero si tengo alas pa’ volar.”

It means: “Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly.” As I flew over Ciudad Universitaria in early January on my way back home to Chicago, I snapped this photo of one of my favorite views of the city and added the words.

Frida Kahlo quote "Pies para qué los quiero si tengo alas pa' volar"

  • Do you have a favorite Frida Kahlo quote? Share it with me in the comments below!

¡Felices fiestas patrias!

Felices fiestas patrias to all our friends celebrating Mexican Independence Day in Mexico and beyond!

About a year ago, I did a photo essay and wrote about exploring Mexico for a photography magazine based in Singapore. It occurred to me that I’d never shared it here so I thought it was fitting to do so today. It includes photos I’ve taken on travels to Mexico City, Teotihuacán, Cancún and Aguascalientes.

Here’s an excerpt:

Mexico is my home away from home. Every corner I turn, every meal I eat and every new place I explore is a source of inspiration to me. And I never go anywhere without a camera so I can be sure to capture every experience I come across, see and feel. From the moment the plane approaches the runway and I can see the vibrant colours of the homes below to the lush, jungle-like vegetation I’ve admired in places such as Cancun and Huatulco, Mexico always takes my breath away and has me fumbling for my camera before I even touch the ground.
I’ve laid down in dirt, sand, and on a world-famous soccer field to get a shot. I’ve climbed high above the 1968 Olympic stadium and to the top of Aztec pyramids toting my cameras for an eagle’s eye view, and into the ocean, carrying my camera high above my head until the tide receded enough to safely photograph marine life. But usually the biggest thrill comes from the simplest of things: family and friends.
As we celebrate Mexican Independence Day this year in our home, we hope you’re doing the same with friends and family wherever you may be. We’ll be celebrating by eating plenty of Mexican antojitos. And of course, we’ll be watching El Grito tonight and probably tweeting about it too. If you’d like to watch El Grito from past years, click on the El Grito tag at the bottom of this post.

VIVA MÉXICO!

Lunch at El Cardenal in Mexico City

Whenever we visit Mexico City, I always hope to visit El Cardenal—a restaurant with a focus on classic Mexican cuisine.

On one of my first visits to Mexico City, I ate lunch with my future suegros at the Alameda location in the Hilton downtown (although at the time, it was a Sheraton). It was there that I was introduced to chongos zamoranos, a traditional dessert made of milk, sugar, cinnamon, and rennet, used to curdle the milk. Since then, we’ve always gone to another location in the Centro Histórico (Palma #23, between Cinco de Mayo and Francisco I. Madero; opened in 1984) that has a stunning French-Porfirian facade and stained-glass windows bearing the restaurant’s namesake bird, the cardinal.

Aside from dessert, my favorite thing on the menu there is an appetizer—a molcajete filled with queso fresco, avocado, salsa verde and cilantro that’s served with warm tortillas. So simple, yet the dish is so satisfying and representative of El Cardenal.

José has been visiting his parents this week and ate lunch at El Cardenal a few days ago. He sent these photos to share here on The Other Side of The Tortilla. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Queso fresco with flor de calabaza and jalapeño, wrapped in a banana leaf

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Lunch at El Cardenal in Mexico City

  • Have you ever been to El Cardenal? What is your favorite dish on the menu?