Wordless Wednesday: Tortillería El Milagro Mural in Pilsen

Pilsen Tortillería El Milagro mural in ChicagoFor many years while living in Chicago, I bought my tortillas each Saturday morning from Tortilleria El Milagro on South Blue Island Avenue in Pilsen. It was also the only place where I would ever buy ensalada de nopales, for which I’d have to wake up extra early because they always ran out quickly. On the back side of the building is this beautiful mural I often stopped to admire when picking up my tortillas. The neighborhood, located on the Lower West Side, is one of the city’s two Mexican enclaves, and is one of the things I most miss about living in Chicago. My weekly trips to the market, tortilleria and panaderia were like briefly stepping out of Chicago and into Mexico for a few hours at a time.

You can read more about the history of Chicago’s Mexican neighborhoods and the murals of Pilsen here.

  • Does your city have something special that transports you to Mexico?

Wordless Wednesday: Jacaranda trees

I don’t have a green thumb by any means—in fact, I’ve been known to accidentally kill hibiscus bushes so many summers in a row that I gave up on having them anymore—but I really love nature and plant life. Especially in Mexico, there are lots of plants that I’ve grown to love that I wasn’t exposed to while growing up in the Midwest. The Reserva Ecológica del Pedregal de San Ángel at UNAM is one of my most-cherished nature spots in Mexico City because of all the wildflowers, wild nopales and cactus fruits known as tunas. As you might recall, bugambilias are one of my favorite plants in Mexico (I’ve shared photos of them in Cuernavaca, Huatulco and other cities).

Another of my favorites is the jacaranda tree, pictured here, which has beautiful bluish-purple hued blooms. They bloom in the spring in Mexico City, so I love going to visit during Semana Santa to see them. My suegro sent me this photo several weeks ago, taken on the UNAM campus, because he knows how much I love to see the trees full of flowers.

A jacaranda tree in Mexico City

 

In Los Angeles, thanks to the climate, bugambilias are abundant here, and jacarandas too. In fact, the jacarandas have been blooming for several weeks in my neighborhood. Aren’t they beautiful?

  • What kind of plants do you love in Mexico? 

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: Tacos al pastor in Kauai

We were visiting the Hawaiian island of Kauai last week for my sister’s wedding and look what we found: A taco truck with tacos al pastor! They had a proper trompo and everything. We didn’t get a chance to stop and eat there because we either were too early, too late or just passing through Kapa’a on our way to Lihue or Poipu to eat somewhere else. They were always busy when we passed by during business hours, so I figure they must be pretty good. I took it as a sign that we need to go back to visit again!

hawaii-tacos-al-pastor-truck-TOSOTTWe were fascinated with the availability of taco joints on the island and the amount of Mexicans we met. We even found a lady selling authentic Mexican tamales on the side of the road one day.

  • Have you eaten the tacos from this place? How were they? If you haven’t eaten there, tell me where you’ve encountered unexpected tacos while traveling in the comments below!

 

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!
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