Category Archives: Mexico 2015

Top Chef in San Miguel

The popular television show, Top Chef, filmed their last three episodes of this season in San Miguel.  If you are not familiar with the show, shown on Bravo, it is a cooking competition between talented young chefs.  Every week one of the chefs is eliminated in the competition.  In  episodes 13, they were down to 4 chefs, episode 14 had 3 chefs, and the last episode with 2 chefs determined the final winner who recieved $125,000.00.  You can stream these episodes at:  http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef
Or
Episode 13  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK49jqJQRhs
Episode 14   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBcQa_ze_VE
Episode 15  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpGz50ujJ8g

(Note: I took most of these images off the internet.)

In Episode 13, the first cooking contest is held in the plaza in front of the Parroquia.  IMG_5500

 

Below is Mei.  She ultimately won the title of “Top Chef.”Untitled-3

 

Then the next cook-off was held on a plaza of the Instituto Allende, several blocks from the centro.
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These are the four finalists: L – R: Gregory, Melissa, Mei, and DougUntitled-2

 

Each of the four chefs were paired with a San Miguel Artist and the challenge was to prepare a dish inspired by the artists’ work.  Here are the results:

Gregory was paired with artist, Artemio Sepulvida.
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Mei was paired with Bea Aaronson.
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Melissa was paired with Leonardo Diaz.
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Doug was paired with Merry Calderoni.  Doug won the competition!
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There are lots of ways that food and art can interact.  And here is a print that I exhibited at the Newport RI Art Museum last year with the Boston Printmakers in an exhibit titled, Palate to Plate.  It is titled, Caprese Salad.

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This Weekend in the Jardin

Both Valentine’s Day and Carnaval were celebrated on Saturday and Sunday in the center of San Miguel this weekend, drawing lots of tourists from surrounding regions of Mexico.  The Jardin was packed with people and hearts, flowers, and mariachis were in abundance for the lovers while the kids celebrated Carnaval by smashing eggshells filled with confetti on each other’s heads.

(Notice people wearing jackets – it’s been cold this week.)

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And lots of vendors were selling bright, colorful toys and souvenirs.
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A
nd everywhere, people were taking “selfies.”
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Out and About in San Miguel

There are a lot more visitors in San Miguel this year and some restaurants, galleries, and shops have closed while others have opened.  Other than that, what I encounter walking the streets  is very familiar.

Here is the Parroquia, one of the churches in the center to town and the one that is photographed the most.  It is made of pink stone and was designed by a local fellow who was inspired by a postcard of a French Gothic cathedral.  His version is not authentic structurally (no flying buttresses, etc) but does capture the essence of the Gothic style in its soaring heights and the appearance of weightlessness.

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Here is a view of the back of the Parroquia from a distance.

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This is one of the main streets in the center of town showing the heights to the north.  Homes on the hill have spectacular views, but walking up that hill is a real effort, especially in an altitude of 6500 feet above sea level!

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This shows a cluster of modernized homes.  Bougainvillea flourishes here and blooms in a wide array of colors.

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This is a common site – a veggie and flower vendor on a street corner.  Around the corner is a taco stand.

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Laurel trees are commonly planted in town and city parks in Mexico.  The are regularly pruned using hand clippers.

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Buildings have spouts that spew water from rooftops when it rains.  The also spew during good weather when someone is hosing down the rooftop deck.  This happens without any regard to pedestrians walking below!

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This is my new favorite restaurant for lunch.  It is a tiny place that offers one daily plate.  Today I had a very flavorful mushroom soup, a plablano pepper filled with chicken topped by a chunky salsa verde served with rice.  The meal included a fruit water – all for 65 pesos, or $4.32!

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Impressive Mexican Woodcuts

For many years Oaxaca, MX, has had a very active printmaking community with many print studios, both individual studios as well as collectives. These studios have been encouraged by world famous Oaxacan artists Rufino Tamayo, Rodolfo Morales, and Francisco Toledo, and woodcut artist and teacher, Shinzaburo Takeda.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting an exhibition of woodcut prints and paintings by Irving Herrera, a young, talented artist who is heading a new generation of printmakers in Oaxaca. The exhibit is being held in the Belles Artes in San Miguel.

Herrear’s prints are large, measuring 40 x 40 inches and are bold and captivating. They depict women’s portraits adorned with massive headdresses of sheep heads and horns which make a reference to the slaughter houses in Herrera’s home community outside of Oaxaca.

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I am now settled into my apartment in San Miguel de Allende for two months, and one of the first things I did was visit Juarez Park, a green oasis, several acres in size, located a couple of blocks from the center of town.  It has meandering paths, fountains, bridges, a basketball court, wrought iron benches, a playground, and a picnic area that is enjoyed everyday by both locals and visitors. Many functions take place on the basketball court, such as zumba and tai chi on weekend mornings and concerts and dancing in the evenings. Elsewhere in the park on weekends artists set up displays to sell their work. Daily, the park is used by walkers, joggers, dog walkers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the lushness of the beautiful landscaping.  The park is very popular.

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The park is also the setting for Candelaria, a celebration that takes place 40 days after Christmas when priests bless candles.  February 2 is also when people begin renewing their gardens.  The celebration takes place for one week when  vendors set up their garden materials in the park.  Numerous pathways are filled with an extensive array of trees, shrubs, flowers, pots, and gardening supplies.  It is the equivalent to our spring garden shows in the US. And it is a joy to meander through taking in all the colors, textures and scents.

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO ALL MY FRIENDS IN NEW ENGLAND as a reminder that spring will eventually come! Hang in there.

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I’m visiting my friends, Diane and Rob, in Ft. Myers before traveling on to Mexico tomorrow. While Rhode Island has been experiencing a blizzard and very low temps, the weather here has been sunny and warm.  How lucky am I!

Diane is a very talented artist who has worked in jewelry and painting, but now is concentrating on ceramics. She sells her wonderful fishes and Sea Spirits in a gallery on Captiva Island.  Here she is arranging her display.

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Here are a couple of her paintings.

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IMG_5385This is Rob. During his retirement he has become an extraordinary gardener and baker.  His baked specialities include calzone, biscotti, and wine biscuits along with other delectable goodies.  Did I mention that he is Italian?

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