Posted on November 3, 2015
I still remember visiting the family graveyard as a child on November 2nd to clean up graves and leave fresh flowers for the ones already gone. Celebrating the dead ones was for me something sweet but very sober and with no major preparations.
In Mexico, it is a different story. It is believed that at midnight on October 31st the gates of heaven open to let the “Angelitos” (young deceased ones) reunite with their families for 24 hours, while on November 2nd it is the turn for the adults. It is a joyful, and sometimes also grieving time, where the dead ones are believed to come back to visit their worldly relatives for a short time. There is nothing scary or macabre about the celebrations, there is also no “Trick or Treating” involved or pumpkin carving.
Now that we live so close to Tijuana, Alex & I decided to visit the city for the day and see how they keep the tradition alive. Despite people telling us how much bigger the celebrations are in the South people seemed to be going all out with their offerings and displays.
The fist thing we did was to stop at the Mercado Hidalgo where every year they do a huge altar to commemorate departed members of the market. They also invite non members to bring the names of their loved ones that they’d like to see included.
Sugar sculls, marigolds, candles, toys, candies and all kinds of different food and drink are included in the altars as offerings so that the dead ones can have them after their long trek back home.
Marigolds are the flowers used on altars and are also seen decorating graves, it is believed that their strong scent and bright color help guide the spirits while they make their way back home.
The merchants in the markets sell all kinds of skulls, Catrinas & even piñatas. Being so close to the border you can also see all kinds pumpkin and vampire themed candies and piñatas.
And even some political ones…
A random portrait of Alex just because…
We also visited the Food garden to grab something to eat. There we found “Papel Picado” hanging from roof, friendly human sized Catrinas, and a little colorful altar with offerings.
To end the day we visited the cemetery where there were people cleaning graves, thousands of marigolds, some altars, mariachis and families picnicking. I let my camera rest and took only the picture below as I didn’t want to intrude on such private and moving reunions.
Posted on September 22, 2015
My favorite yerba mate blend had been sitting in a hotel lobby in Hollywood for almost a week. The drive to go get it from Laguna Beach was three hours round trip. To justify the drive, I invited Nathalie to join me and made a day out of it. By 10:30 our yerba mate mission was accomplished so we proceeded to drive to Silverlake to explore a new neighborhood.
I forgot my SD card so we ended up sharing Nathalie’s camera, so the pictures below are a true collaboration!
Nathalie is part german part french, she lived in so many countries and continents that listing them would take me to long. Due to her multiple nationalities she holds many traditions and currywurst sausage eating is one of them. Currywurst is a sausage covered in ketchup and curry. When she saw this little german shop on Silverlake stopping for a taste was a must. I tend to never eat sausages but when with a german eat like a german, right?
Coming from Orange County where everything blends together in a beige palette, it was refreshing to see street art everywhere and all kinds of speciality stores each of them with a unique style.
After walking and eating for a couple of hours in Silverlake we drove to Echo Park to visit a Uruguayan friend who I have’t seen in years. He is an amazing artist that works with dying formats. He was having friends over and we joined the party. To my surprise all of the guests were Uruguayans. In classic Uruguayan style turns out we were all related in some way or another: a college professor, a friend of friend, and even a distant relative.
With a camera full with pictures, yerba mate in hand, new friends and memories we returned to our dear suburbia. Only in LA can you live such a cross cultural experience in so little time…from Germany, to Uruguay and back to the US in a couple of hours.
Posted on September 10, 2015
I wanted to share this simple recipe on how to do it. They are delicious to eat and fun to make.
Please note: I’m not the kind of cook that controls every ingredient measure, I usually change proportions till I find my sweet spot. You wont find here exact proportions or quantities, this will vary depending on how many people you want to serve and how thick or runny you like your bowl. I encourage you to let go and experiment! …with a little guidance.
* Frozen fruits. I used: mangos, strawberries, pineapple and banana.
* Vegetables. I used: spinach and beet.
* Coconut milk or whichever kind of milk you use.
* FOOD PROCESSOR. A blender can work fine too, but you’ll find yourself stopping it and pushing down the mix as the thickness is hard for the blender blade.
* Sesame seeds
* Blue berries
* Goji berries
* LOTS OF LOVE and KITCHEN ENJOYMENT
You can buy the frozen fruits ready to use or freeze them yourself. Just chop, chop and freeze. Make sure you freeze some bananas. I still haven come across frozen bananas so I always freeze them myself. They give a great creamy consistency and sweet flavor to the mix.
I personally love adding green leaf vegetables. For this one I also added beet. beets can add some extra crunchiness. If you rather have it soft make sure you steam it, and let it cool, before adding it to the mix.
Now onto the MAKING: toss the frozen fruits, the milk (whichever you have) and the vegetables onto the food processor. Don’t put too much liquid because you’ll get a more runny consistency and the idea is to make it thick. I usually fill up 1/4 of the processor with the milk. Also, try to have more frozen fruits than veggies. Here I added only half of a beet and a hand full of spinach. Blend it all and serve it in a bowl.
To TOP IT all add some chopped bananas, blue berries, goji berries, almonds and sesame seeds (or whatever you have available on this department) . Some other things I like to add are: shredded coconut, peaches, strawberries, chia seeds or dried fruits. If you are ok with sugar: granola and some honey are great things to add.
This frozen fruit bowl make a great nutritious breakfast too.
Get creative: mix, match, blend!