Sunday, 27 July 2014


México Lindo y Querido!
While I was living in Mexico City in 2010/2011, I had another blog, but it was only really for my Facebook-less mum and dad and a few close friends - (One of my favourite posts). Day-to-day, more unusual or interesting things would happen to us in Mexico. Often, I would be in a situation and think 'Never, ever would this happen in Canada! Only in Mexico!'
I was having a nostalgic moment last week and wanted to do a Mexico Post. I don't live there anymore, but here are the things I miss. 

Xalapa - We lived in Xalapa between 2008/2009. Although Xalapa isn't the most beautiful city, it has a lot of character and it's a very cozy/foggy city. I 'studied' Spanish here with my friends from university, and I have a lot of memories of this time (good and bad). 

This is the E.E.E. (Escuela para Estudiantes Extranjeros) or, School for Foreign Students. It looks a bit like a jail, but this is where we attempted to try and learn Spanish!

At La Forja - The best Argentinian restaurant. Big slabs of meat and cheap red wine - a student favourite. Even the owner seemed drunk most of the time! José and I look young and chubby. 

  Nothing beats a good night out in Mexico. I feel bad, but Vancouver nightlife is no comparison. I think it's the music and it's cheap! You can have a really good night for less than half the price of what it would cost here. 

 Small traditional towns close by. 

Día de los Muertos. This holiday in early November was always my favourite and we used to go to a little town called Naolinco.

I love being at Jose's house in Coatepec.

When Andrew came to Xalapa. 

I was so excited when mum, dad and Antony came to Xalapa in 2009. I like this family picture. 

Introducing them to tacos!

Callejón Gonzalez Aparicio is the place to go for cozy drinks. Although it has changed a bit over the years and the cobbled streets have been replaced with slabs, it feels so different than anything you can find at home. 

This picture makes me laugh. Other people who have lived in Mexico will probably get this. As we all know, Mexican food is good... really good, but we can't quite handle this type of spicy, cheesy, carby food without some intestinal problems. Papaya is a life saver. 

Cheap fruit!

Mexico City - Jose had to move to Mexico City for his job, and I joined him in August 2010. I stayed in Mexico City for about eight months. For me, eight months was quite enough! I had a total love/hate relationship with Mexico City. I'm sure most people do. I loved the history, the buildings, La Condesa, La Roma, the restaurants and the shopping. I hated the pollution, the traffic and the busyness... and well, that's it really!

The Zocalo (main square) is fascinating. This history of this part absolutely amazes me. I always think back to the time of the Aztecs, the city on water and then the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500's... and yet here we are drinking a beer in 2014. It does get really busy here and areas around can be quite dangerous, but just be careful that's all. 

Parts of the Aztec ruins have been dug up. No biggie. 

The cathedral is actually sinking due to the unstable ground beneath it. You can feel quite dizzy walking around here. 

One of the main streets through Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma, becomes a pedestrian zone on Sundays. You can walk, ride bikes or join in Zumba classes. The palace at the end of the street is called Chapultapec Castle.  It is currently a National History Museum, but it was the residence of Maximilian I, the monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. Some European that basically came strolling into México and tried to claim himself 'king'. A lot of the building around this area have a very European feel. 

There are a few things I miss here. 1) Our hair in Mexico City. There must be something in the water that makes your hair so soft. I miss good hair days! 2) Frida Kahlo's house in Coyoacan. I'm a bit Frida obsessed; I loved being there and trying to imagine her and Diego just having a normal day in the garden. 

Our little apartment. 

Weekends. So much to explore. 

I don't like to see animals in cages, but the zoo is a nice place to visit. Especially the big fat hippos. 

In general, people dress up a lot more in Mexico City. Even if you are going to see a movie, people like to look nice. I was always doing my hair and makeup and now it feels like I hardly ever do (maybe that's more of an age thing!)

Music festivals and eating crappy food and not feeling guilty or gaining weight... but generally not feeling very healthy at the end of the day. 

Danica in Mexico City! 

Seeing Shakira in concert. Best convert ever. I cried at the end because I couldn't believe it was all over. 

 My first Mexican wedding (not mine). It was at a beautiful church in San Angel. The party after was so much fun. A lot of tequila-themed games - i.e 'Who can drink the most amount of tequila for the most amount of time'... I only made it to 7 seconds... If I remember correctly, the winner was a woman who got to 17 seconds... that's Mexican tolerance for you!

Veracruz - My favourite place, and the first place I ever went to. I distinctly remember in 2007, arriving to the bus station, the bus doors opening and being hit in the face by the humidity. During the summer this place is hot and sweaty! It was 5am in the morning, people were still out on the streets, eating food and hanging out on the Boulevard. I could hear music everywhere and I was in such latin culture shock. Veracruz will always be special and it is so sad to see how the drug cartels have caused so many problems here, but I still love coming here. 

There are so many other things I want to include, but I think this is enough for now. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Blacktail Florist.

José took me on a date on Friday, which I had been looking forward to all week. I had no idea where we were going, but I had to be at Waterfront Station at 6.40 - wearing something cute. I put my velcro rollers in and pulled out my most flowery dress! Of course, I arrived at Waterfront first and had to wait for José, which really took me back to our days of dating eight years ago ;-)
We started off with americanos and macaroons at Coffee Bar. It's so nice to just sit and chat sometimes, and eat dessert before your dinner!

He took me to the restaurant, which is a fairly new place on Water street in Gastown called The Blacktail Florist. Inside, it is very white and there are lots of very botanical-looking bunches of flowers. We had a little table at the back with really pretty views out onto the street. We could hear Gasey Jack chiming in the background and as the sun went down, the pretty fairy lights in the trees were sparking outside. 

The menu is quite small, but focuses on culture and produce of the Pacific north-west. All of the portions are on the smaller side; however, the presentation and taste is very interesting. It's one of those places that's not just for stuffing your face, but more of a 'food experience'. Saying that though, the taste of everything was very nice and we had a really great meal. The prices are pretty reasonable for a downtown restaurant; although we ordered quite a lot and had four drinks between us so we didn't really benefit from the 'reasonable' bit!

For appetizer, we shared a couple of things: 
Salmon belly (Really blurry picture! I hadn't planned to blog and so I just had my iphone)
Mushroom caps
BC Nugget potatoes

For main course, we shared:
Ling cod
Braised lamb shoulder in a cabbage roll

As a side salad:
Salad of spring vegetables - This salad has to be mixed at the table. It has mushroom soil in it, which was a bit alarming at first but the server explained it is basically just dehydrated mushroom. Mixed in with the sauce, this salad is so delicious. 

For dessert:
Chocolate Goat Milk Rice Pudding, apricots, cinnamon, chocolate parfait, smoked salt, and honeycomb. - This is kind of a fancy-pants Crunchie bar - a bit salty, bit sweet and a bit of a peppery heat too... so good. Anything with honey and I'm sold!

To drink:
Two glasses of Rose, Le Vieux Pin, Voïla Rosé 2012, Oliver, British Columbia to be exact! Jose also bought me a beautiful flowery hand cream as a little present. 

I look a bit hippo-ish in this picture but an interesting idea on Jose's part. 

On the way home, we were feeling a bit young and free and went to two bars (such rebels). First, we went to The Ascot, which seemed to be really popular a year ago, but it was almost empty and although we had a nice drink, we didn't feel like staying. Really cozy, old-fashioned British themed decor. 

This was called the Queen's Fist. A gin and tonic with a sprig of rosemary. Got it up my nose a few times. 

We walked into Yaletown and thought we would try a Mexican place called El Azteca. The have a lot of tequilas to choose from, but also Mezcal and other drinks. We didn't eat, but the menu looked really authentically 'Mexican' so we want to go back and try the food another time. 
We had a lovely night and then went home, snuggled into bed and fell into a blissful tequila-induced sleep.  

¡Pa' arriba, pa' abajo, pa' centre, pa' dentro!