Tuesday, January 24, 2012


This past Sunday, we spent the afternoon with our friends, Adriana, Antonio, Chef Gerardo, Mel and Nena.  Adriana and Antonio are the owners of Cafe Firenze and Chef Gerardo is...well...you guessed it...the chef at Cafe Firenze.  Mel and Nena are friends from Michigan that are spending the month of January here in San Miguel de Allende.

The menu for the day was traditional Mexican food.  We started the afternoon with a little wine while Sam showed off her new painting for our bedroom.  That will have to be another blog story.

Antonio decided it was time to make some margaritas.  Sam had her new glasses ready.  She walked into town on Friday and purchased them.  Well, back to the margaritas.  Antonio mixed, sweet and sour mix, freshly squeezed lime juice (squeezed by Bob), passion fruit, Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila, the same tequila infused with orange and lemon peels, Cointreau, mineral water, and lots of ice.  Shake, shake, shake and there you have it a very delicious margarita!

We served Mexican Shrimp Cocktails with the margaritas.  They were a perfect match!

Now on with more wine and more conversation.  Chef Gerardo and Bob worked the grill making arrachara, grouper, and nopales while Antonio was putting the finishing touches on the tongue for tongue tacos.  Yes you read that correctly...tongue tacos.

Adriana made fresh pico de gallo and Antonio made fresh guacamole.  It was a feast to enjoy with great friends.

Of course in Mexico, one must have a shot of tequila to aid digestion.

For dessert, we had a wonderful flan.

A good time was had by all.  Here is a link if you want to see more pictures:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Today was a very busy day.  It was our first day of teaching English at Los Ricos de Abajo.  Sam is the lead teacher for the 5th and 6th graders.  She has 19 students in the class.  Sam also has other teachers assisting her.  For the past few months, Sam has been putting together her lesson plans. 

When we arrived at the school, the students were eager to see everyone.  It is a lot of work and it takes a lot of energy.  However, the students give back to us so much more.

After teaching the 5th and 6th graders, Sam is also a co-tutor for four 7th grade students.  By the end of the day, the students and the volunteer teachers are tired.
Here is the link to see photos that were taken today:  https://picasaweb.google.com/113657035663785110260/2012LosRicosFirstDayOfTeaching?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCLiBk6C6kNOUeQ&feat=directlink

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


On Sunday we spent a wonderful afternoon with our good friends, Juan Carlos and Rebeca.  They made plans to take us on a surprise adventure for the day.  We had no idea where we were going.  Juan Carlos had a cooler filled with beer and white wine and a backpack filled with red wine.  We drove about 40 minutes from San Miguel de Allende into the countryside.  When we arrived, we drove up to this amazing hacienda...Las Trancas.  The hacienda is over 450 years old and it currently owned by an American couple from North Carolina.

When we went to the front door, Rebeca rang this huge bell.  One of the staff opened the door, smiled and greeted Rebeca by name.  She welcomed us to the hacienda and asked us to take a seat on the back patio.  A few minutes later, we were brought refreshing margaritas and homemade totopos and guacamole.

After about 30 minutes of chatting and relaxing, we were given a personal tour of the entire hacienda.  We were able to see all 11 suites (we were not allowed to take any pictures in the suites), the kitchen area, comedor that seats 22 people at one long table, the SPA that gives one hour massages for less than $25, the gym, the outdoor pool and hot tub, the horse stables, vegetable garden, etc.  Oh, did I mention that we were the only guests at the hacienda?  It was our very own private hacienda for the day.  For more information, check out their website:  www.HaciendaLasTrancas.com

Once the tour was over, we each had a beer on another patio and enjoyed the magnificent vista.  A short time later, the dinner bell rang.  It was time to eat.  We could have eaten on any one of the three patios or in the comedor.  Rebeca and Juan Carlos selected the comedor.  The staff had set the table for the four of us.  For starters, we had mushroom and nopal soup, followed by a garden salad with apples drizzled with jamaica dressing.  The main course:  chiles rellenos, one was a poblano pepper stuffed with meat and the other was an ancho chile en escabeche with plantanos and cheese.  The side dishes were arroz rojo con jitomates y cebollas asados and papas fritas francesa and auga de pina.  And yes, fresh homemade tortillas and salsa verde.  For dessert we had helado de mango fresco.  Oh, did I mention that we could bring in our own beer and wine?  So of course we had plenty of wine to accompany our meal thanks to Juan Carlos and Rebeca.

After comeda, we retired to another outdoor patio where one could relax in a hammock.  Yes, we were kings and queens for the day.  We did meet the real king of the hacienda...OJ...as in orange juice.  He is a cat and a well fed cat at that.

What a great day with great friends!!  Check out the photos we took at: https://picasaweb.google.com/113657035663785110260/HACIENDALASTRANCAS?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCO_WgJyfkM3xjQE&feat=directlink

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Last night for New Year's Eve, we made reservations for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Cafe Firenze. Antonio and Chef Gerardo put together a fantasic 6 course menu. The staff was busy all day long making preparations for this big night. They had about 65 reservations. Antonio ordered a white tent that he put in front of the restaurant so he would have extra seating. It was a good thing Antonio had the tent because it rained for about over an hour. We actually had a thunderstorm including lightning. No one really cared because we really needed the rain. Table cloths, white napkins and wine glasses adorned the tables. Everything looked wonderful. Here are a few photos from last evening: https://picasaweb.google.com/113657035663785110260/NewYearSEve12312011AtCafeFirenze?authkey=Gv1sRgCNnNs6DT4oebfA# Here is what was on the menu: 1st Amuse Bouche: Foie Gras Mousse on Brioche toast and Vin Santo wine reduction 2nd Choice of: Black truffle risotto Lobster ravioli, vanilla bean beurre blanc Kobe beef bruschetta 3rd Choice of: New England style clam chowder, or Organic beet carpaccio with toasted garlic goat cheese aioli 4rd Intermezzo Tangerine smoothie 5th Choice of: Roasted Black Grouper, pumpkin risotto Duck Breast, wild rice, raspberry and hibiscus flower demi glace Lamb Chops, pomegranate glaze Wild boar and porcini mushroom ragout, homemade Pappardelle pasta 6th Choice of: Baby banana bread pudding Tiramisu, Don Julio tequila cream sauce We finished our dinner around 8:45 p.m. The next seating was at 9:00 p.m.; however, those guests arrived early and the restaurant was packed. We want to thank Antonio, Chef, and the staff for a very enjoyable evening. Our "hats off to you" and we hope you have a wonderful 2012. After dinner, we took a casual stroll home. Got to bed early, reminisced about 2011 (we certainly had a lot that happened in 2011) and just enjoyed being together. We totally missed ringing in the new year and the fireworks. Well, there is always next year. From our home to your home...Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Today Bob was very busy working for his client. We had breakfast/lunch after 1:00 p.m. We had split pea and ham soup that was in the freezer along with a slice of pumpkin roll. Bob worked all afternoon. We started to watch the news and we taped the last half. Sam changed the sugar water for the hummingbirds and we decided to have a glass or two of wine in the living room. It was nice just to sit and chat about whatever we wanted to talk about. It was about 7:45 p.m. and decided we better decide on what to do for dinner. There wasn't much in the house so we decided to go out and try a new local neighborhood place. It is on the corner of Potranca and Ancha. They have a great BBQ grill. The restaurant is in their garage. It is a very clean restaurant. We each had a hamburger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, avacado, onion, bacon, and ham...it was yummy...along with an order of fries, which were wonderful. We each had a beer. Oh yes, then Bob wanted to try the arrachara taco...of course Sam had to have one as well. We will definitely go back and try the other items on the menu. We will have to go back and find out the name of the restaurant. Oh, I forgot...this was all for $135 pesos...or about $10.


Yesterday was one of the best days I've had in San Miguel de Allende. Bob and I were invited to play golf at Club de Golf Malanquin. This was the first time we have played in Mexico. I haven't played in over 15 months and for Bob it has been a few years. Our friends picked us up and took us to the club. It is only a couple of miles from our home. We were also meeting another couple at the course. When we pulled into the parking lot and opened our trunk, a swarm of guys came over to our vehicle. At this course, everyone must have a caddy and they were ready. Bob and our friend went into the club house to register. We were very fortunate to be able to use some "free" passes. At Malanquin, they do not accept tee times, it is on a first come first serve basis. We didn't have to wait too long before we played. Since there were six of us, the ladies played together and the men followed behind. I walked the course with my caddy. This was a first for me. It is a long course (5373 yards for the ladies), 6400 feet altitude, haven't played in over 15 months, 80F and sunny(no humidity)...what was I thinking? I loved it!! I really enjoyed myself and my caddy, Markerio. He was very helpful. After two holes, he knew exactly what club I needed. It was amazing because I didn't even know what club I should be using. I think I had my best round in ages. The first nine I shot a 51 and the second nine a 56. I have to admit that the last two holes were challenging because I was getting tired. For all of my Michigan friends...yes, I did have a snowman...just for you guys!! And, I had one par, a couple of long putts, and one chip in with my mano-wedge...gotta love that club. I am definitely looking forward to playing again. And for Bob, he also walked with his caddy and had a great day. He didn't keep score but enjoyed the fellowship and beautiful surroundings. After golf, we stopped into the club house for a drink. Sam asks, "What kind of wine do you have?" The waitress responds, "None." "OK, how about a gin and tonic with double lime?" "Ummm, we don't have any gin." "OK, how about a Margarita?" "Yes, of course!" So a Margarita it was...and it was good. When we got home we were both hungry since we didn't have lunch. So, we changed our clothes and we were off to see Juan Carlos at Baile Cafe. When we walked in we got a very warm welcome and they wondered where we had been since they hadn't seen us in about 10 days. We had a nice dinner and was home at a reasonable hour, went to bed and read our books. It indeed was a wonderful day in San Miguel. We love it here.

Monday, December 19, 2011


It is hard to believe that it is already December 19th. Where has the time gone? Every day is full of activities or full of something! Each day Bob comments about the weather and can't believe it is December. Sunshine makes a big difference in how we feel. We have been spending a lot of time with friends. We enjoy entertaining and cooking so we have had a few dinner parties. It takes time to plan the menu, make the grocery lists, and find the ingredients. The most challenging part is actually shopping for and finding all of the ingredients. We try and buy as much as possible from the local small tiendas. Our last resort is going to the big supermarket, Mega. Mega is a great store; however, we like to give our business to the smaller business owners. This coming week, we have two more gatherings at our home. We will be hosting two other couples for Christmas dinner. We are looking forward to that event. Speaking of Christmas. We didn't bring any of our Christmas decorations with us in the move. We really don't have a lot of storage in our new home especially for all of the stuff we had. So this year, we purchased 14 poinsettias and have them around the house. The last several days, we have had them outside. They enjoy getting some sun...who doesn't! The plants look so much better being outside. When they are inside and get limited light and they lose their leaves. We just hope we can keep them looking great until Christmas. Next year we'll have to consider getting some other decorations. We have been doing some shopping at consignment shops. Consignment shops are very popular here. We purchased two Persian rugs and a painting. The rugs are for our dining room and master bedroom. About 10 days ago we attended a wine and food festival. We were sipping some wine and this lady comes up to us and says, "I know you". We looked at her and looked at each other and said, "We don't think so". She said, "Yes I do. You are from Minnesota, spent a month in Oaxaca, you love ducks, and you live in San Miguel". We were shocked she knew so much about us. We are not from Minnesota but Michigan. She told us she follows our blog. She isn't listed as a "follower". Perhaps if she is reading this, she will become one. She is from Ireland. Since that evening, we have seen her twice around town. What a small world! We have been out to our school, Los Ricos de Abajo. We have been buying school supplies, putting together computer desks, and measuring for curtains. Shopping for material was an experience. Thank goodness for our friend, Carolyn. She sews and was a life saver. We purchased the material and all of the miscellaneous stuff (needles, pins, thread, etc.) and delivered them to the school. One of the mothers in the village will be making the curtains. We will begin teaching English the middle of January. Bob continues to do work for his one and only client which has taken a lot of his time. He needed to work yesterday, so I baked for 6 hours. I made two different types of cookies and five pumpkin rolls. It is definitely different cooking in a new oven and remembering to check measurements. Such as, a recipe calls for 8 oz. of cream cheese. I went to the store and purchased packages of Philadelphia cream cheese. It looked like an 8 oz. package; however, it was only 190 grams...and I needed 225 grams. Good thing I realized this before it was too late. The same thing with a stick of butter. Always room to learn new things. Now who is going to eat all of these sweets? We won't fit into our swim suits when we go to the beach in February. Today, our local wine store was having a sale on Santa Carolina wine. We were able to purchase Santa Carolina Reserva for less than $5 a bottle. So we had to buy 4 cases. What does one do when you get a 33% discount? Afterwards we went to a restaurant, El Buen Cafe. We have never been there and thought we would try it. The restaurant is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and they are celebrating their 20th anniversary this week. Because we have a VIP Card, we got a 30% discount (this week only). We each had a bowl of soup...Bob had onion soup and Sam had cream of spinach. Our main plate was two slices of pork tenderloin on top of a bed of wild rice and topped with a pineapple-chipotle chutney and a salad. We both had ice tea and dessert (Bob had apple pie and Sam had tres leches). Everything was wonderful and for the low, low price (including a 15% tip) of $170 pesos or less than $13. What a great day!! Several of our friends who winter here will be arriving in January. So we know we will be busy getting together with them. Merry Christmas to all of our friends.