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?

México en tus sentidos

While I’m away this weekend traveling in Mexico, here’s a cool tourism video that I wanted to share. One of our cousins from Mexico shared it with me on Facebook this past week and I’ve got to say, it’s definitely worth watching the whole eight minutes. If it doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, put a tear in your eye, have you glued to the screen, make you want to visit Mexico ahora …you might not have a soul. Just kidding. But really, if nothing in this video moves you or gets you excited, you probably don’t love Mexico very much or don’t know enough about it to know what you’re missing! :P

Happy virtual travels! We’ll be back to the grind on Monday.

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  • Leave a comment to let me know: What’s your favorite part? I love the voladores de Papantla (at about the 4-minute mark) and the Ángel de la Independencia (around the 5-minute mark).

10 things to love about Mexico City’s Museo Dolores Olmedo

The tiles on the wall at the Museo Dolores Olmedo read: “By the example of my mother, professor Maria Patiño Suarez, widow of Olmedo, who always told me: ‘Share all you have with those around you.’ I leave this house with all my collections of art, the product of my life’s work, so the people of Mexico can enjoy it.” —Dolores Olmedo Patiño

Last year on a visit to Mexico City during the holidays, I spent a special day with friends exploring a few places I had never been before. Thanks to the abundance of cultural activities the city has to offer, there’s always something new to discover. I was thrilled to hear that the Museo Dolores Olmedo was on the itinerary they planned since I’m a big Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera fan.

Dolores Olmedo Patiño, also known to many as Doña Lola, was an aggressive collector and patron of the arts and is still revered today as one of the biggest individual benefactors and promoters of Mexican art and culture. At age 17, she met Diego Rivera by chance in an elevator at the Ministry of Public Education when he was still working on the murals there (that can still be seen today), and he ended up asking her to model for him. According to the museum, she modeled in nearly 30 nude sketches and then was the subject of other later paintings by Rivera. After separating from her husband, British journalist Howard Phillips (whom she married in 1935), the well-to-do single Olmedo made a career as a partner in a construction materials firm in the late 1940s. In the mid-1950s, she reconnected with Rivera and eventually became his benefactor, caretaker and eventually, executor of his estate and that of Frida Kahlo.

In the early 1960s Olmedo acquired Hacienda La Noria, a 16th-century Spanish colonial hacienda located in Xochimilco (a neighborhood in the south of Mexico City). At the time she acquired the property, it was a shell of its original state and so she set out on a mission to restore and preserve the hacienda. In the late 1980s, Olmedo announced plans to convert her hacienda into a museum, which opened in September 1994. Olmedo passed away in 2002 but her legacy still lives on in this charming museum she left behind for all to admire just as intended.

Here are my top ten reasons to visit the Museo Dolores Olmedo
the next time you’re in Mexico City… 

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