When Mike Goes to Mexico

My pal Mike likes to taunt me with photos and videos of his business trips to Mexico, which are frequent. See, if you haven’t been paying attention to previous posts, his business is Mexico — mezcal, that is: Del Maguey, the best in the world.

Mike in Mexico

Mike in Mexico

His provocations are most often in the form of eyewitness video accounts of parades in Oaxaca, where there seems to always be a parade in progress, or photos of voluptuous window mannequins with whom he is certain I am a perfect romantic match. More

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Wild Agave

“We want to have you guys over when we get the place cleaned up a bit,” my pal Gordon had been telling me for five or six years, over the course of two different “places”.

The time had finally come. Gordon and spouse Lori, who had moved into their “new” house a year or so before, were far enough along in their renovations that they now felt comfortable hosting. But nothing ever being simple, we had been trying to schedule this particular dinner party for a matter of months.

The mezcals of Del Maguey

The mezcals of Del Maguey

The theme would loosely be “Mezcal & Mole” — or, at least, that was the subject line of the group texts bouncing around during the protracted planning phase. More

The Dead

“His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.” —James Joyce, “The Dead”

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As I’ve confessed to in the past, I like holidays — particularly other people’s holidays. Our neighbors to the south, Mexico, for example.

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Tlayuda

It was a Saturday afternoon, I had a bit of a cold. So I settled into my bed to watch cooking shows on PBS. One of my favorites is “Mexico One Plate at a Time,” with Rick Bayless spotlighting a different region of Mexican cooking each season. This season, he’s in Oaxaca, which is a part of Mexico I’ve never had the privilege to visit.

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I often get inspired to cook by things I see Rick talking about on his show — last season he was in Baja, and I found myself trying out air-dried machaca beef, shrimp tacos folded in fried cheese and even an avante garde foamy sea urchin ceviche. And now, lying in bed, I watched as  Rick, visiting a sustainable farm in the Oaxacan mountains, dug into something called a tlayuda. More

Cinco de Skinny Girls y Mayo

My friends and family (and probably quite a few of my blog readers) know that when it comes to food, I’m a theme-and-holiday geek. Oftentimes as a holiday approaches, various people will reach out to me. “So,” they’ll say, “What are you guys up to for St. Patrick’s Day?” They know full well what we’re up to, and are angling for an invitation.

The stuff Cinco de Mayo dreams are made of.

The stuff Cinco de Mayo dreams are made of.

One of my favorite “reason-to-cook-and-drink-ethnic” holidays is upon us — Cinco de Mayo. Much like St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a holiday that’s more popular with Yankees than it is back in the home country. It’s the day everyone is Mexican! Also like St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a convenient excuse for those who would drink in excess to head for their favorite watering hole. For us, Cinco de Mayo — again, like St. Patrick’s Day — is an opportunity to celebrate the food and drink of the holiday’s culture. If we drink too much, it’s not on purpose. More

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