September 27, 2010

LoLo's Back in Town

LoLoLorena was gone all summer helping Evaristo run his mother's business at a beach side community in Veracruz. Saturday night's dinner was proof she didn't lose her touch.
First there were cocktails or wine brought in to be uncorked. Then a little lentil ceviche with mint instead of cilantro and a fusion gazpacho made with cantaloupe and apples, seasoned with basil.
Next there was a Thai salad with enough browned ground beef to pass as a full meal, but there also was an alternate. What? Mussels! But I focused on my choice!
At this point, I put down the camera. The baby lobster was on its way. Absolutely perfect in every way and split lengthwise, served with a shrimp Hollandaise sauce. Well, I lingered and didn't let any tentacle rest until I had consumed every gram of juice and flesh. Another choice was fillet Mignon of pork with a mustard and green pepper corn sauce or a fish dish in the same shrimp Hollandaise.
The desert plate was anchored with a small servings of Belgian chocolate mousse and chocolate ice cream and varied fresh fruit with a caramelized glaze drizzled about.
I had hoped a friend would join me. But she called LoLo's dinner pricey. I respectfully disagree. At $30 ($40 for the lobster) while there may not be enough food for a doggie bag for breakfast or Fido, the human leaves feeling very satisfied for the experience and eager to come back for another gourmet dining adventure. Reservations for her dinners (at the moment limited to dates when she can assemble a seating) can be secured by email via LoLoLorena (at) She is working now on a menu and pricing for her carry out deli, offering for the first time Mexican specialties affordable to Mexicans.

September 25, 2010

Jorge "George" and just plain Jorge

Meet Jorge, a WiFi access installer, from CablesMas. I thought I'd be have Jorge "George" come to the house, but just plain Jorge came. Why? Because I speak Spanish and it seems George. whoo speaks more English, goes to the real gringo jobs. He was great! Walked around the whole compound with my laptop checking the signal strength and concluded he did good work. Well, I could use an extra router, which CableMas does not sell. And they wonder why some gringos call it CableMenas!

September 22, 2010

He was a reprobate

I sat next to Don Bean my first seven years at The Plain Dealer. As I recall, his favorite word was reprobate. Here is his obituary, in his own words.
Rest in peace, buddy. And because of this, possibly your best writing, you have made possible for me A BEACH DAY. I'm going to beat the bushes for more stuff.

September 21, 2010

Something old, something new

Starting with a 99 peso breakfast plate we shared, Gail and I frittered the day away Sunday at Villa Vera Yacht Club. The breakfast plate was abundant. We got juice, fruit salad, yogurt, toast, coffee and chilaquiles. It seemed endless. The waiter was so kind to double plate everything, so we didn't have to life a finger to share.
Afterward, we spent the next six hours in the pool exercising with our noodles. Virtually alone. The kids under the giant almond tree with their parents for breakfast did not stay.
Around 5:20, we left, intended to go to Seso Loco's. They would not open for another hour, according to the man setting up. What to do?
I suggested we try the new Chuuk Bay, a place I'd learned about from Steve Broin during my mini-vaction at Casa Sirena a few weeks back.
My mango mash, or was it mango tango? was yummy. The restaurant, on the laguna leading to Villa Vera, is adjacent to Gym Tonic, the gymnasium with trainers. The boating set has already discovered it on their gas ups into the laguna. Lookie - those fishing poles are sporting the bar's lights!
I had cesar salad with shrimp, Gail arrachera fajitas. The owner, Ventura, the former maitre'd of Brisas Grill, came by and asked how everything was. I suggested there was a tad too much salad dressing and he said he'd already concluded it should be served on the side.
This place isn't going to hurt any business, well, possibly Veradera de Oscar because of it's location. But it's real goal is to be a special events place. There was a kid's inflatable splash slide on the property, all sand covered. The yachting set was wandering around and kibitzing. Their crew was being waited on by boat waiters.
But it's goal is to be a party and special events center. There are several palapas with curtains scattered on the property. Jerry Magana, founder of Hotel Francis Arlene, was in one of them with family.

The tik n chik fire on the property may or not be a problem in windier times. But wow, you should have seen those platters of fish going to the boats!

September 20, 2010

Naval Club Ball

Friday night's dinner-dance at the Naval Club on Isla Mujeres was promoted as a Bicentenario Ball, but the only true ball gown was worn by the belle of the ball, who enjoyed many dance partners.

The invitation said only to wear typical dress for the 200th celebration of independence from Spain. There were many interpretations, from the officers who wore jeans to commemorate cowboys to this lady at my table.
She wasn't typical. Dehlia Canales, the dentist's wife on the left, and other ladies from the monthly breakfasts, wore simple traditional colors or simply white. And unlike many other balls, ticketing and seating was quite mixed. Seven women and two men at our table.

The food was red, white and green, the three national colors. The first course had taquitos or flautas dressed in tomato salsa, cream and guacamole traditional colors.
The second course was a delicious chicken and leek soup with fresh avocado.
The third course was chilies Nogado. An interested interpretation of a national dish developed in the Santa Monican Monastery of Puebla. It is a poblano chili, stuffed with fruits and nuts, covered with a sweet almond gravy and garnished not in the traditional cilantro, but parsley, and pomegranate berries. It was so sweet, it was no one's favorite.
Desert was Chijuahua cheese, red white and green. I tasted a bit of the white and opted not to go for artificial coloring.
We were entertained by a band and a solo soprano concert during the meal. Afterward, we danced. I didn't get a good picture of Ricardo and Mary Ann Burns Gaitan, but Enrique and Maria del Mar Lima were close-by and photogenic.
And a the end, Dr. Antonio and Christina Salas cut up the floor.
Our exceptional waitstaff were sailors from the Armada. A big tip of the hat to you!

September 16, 2010

Tropical dog

Here's Punta, falling out of the rack mid-morning doggy time. After school-start hours. As the days have gotten wetter and then muggier, she has be extraordinarily lazy. Except for her boot camp outings with Sergio. So, she feels like she should be entitled to sleep in. She ignores my predawn correspondence and internet tasks. Then, when I start to make food or coffee for myself, she is actually ready to get up.
Well, not quite ready. But if properly motivated, she will move slowly until she is ready to roll.

September 14, 2010

A Belarussian love story

Zhenya Mantsevich and Verasen By are a unique couple from Belarus. He is a disc jockey and guitar player; she a TV journalist, violinist and acrobat. Together, they make sweet music and are part of a bigger group hitchhiking the Western Hemisphere with a stool to perform on.
Well, that's what their act is called in Belarus. With a Little stool. C Taburetochkoi. They talked about that in an interview via Skype that was broadcast in Minsk via the portal of Belarus. From the top of Zina's Guest House.
They married in April and headed out on an extended honeymoon. First on their hitchhiking adventure was a four month stop in New York City and Brighton Beach, where they worked.
Verasen was a host in Russian restaurants, also acting as a waiter when needed. And he worked in construction up to 14 hours a day.
Zhenya took her violin to Manhattan and played on the streets for tips.
They hung out with other performers from Minsk and performed with them, too. They did all of that so they would have enough money for a year of traveling. But traveling frugally. They are members of Couch Surfing.
And that is how they came to me. With backpacks and sleeping mats. I offered then a down feather-bed and Memory Foam as well. Each morning, we had tea and music. Music that Punta dog became quite accustomed to. Zhenya cooked from my pantry and shopped to supplement it for their largely vegetarian diet. The food was my favorite kind: nutrient dense!
They went to Playa Norte daily and played like children. Then, nights they'd be back at their Netbook, logging and blogging and Skyping the world. We'd trade Russian slang, mine older from my father and then the Refuseniks I tutored in English in the '70s, before they were born. They giving me the Russification-of-Facebook lexicon. And spoiling Punta dog something fierce. Verasen especially. I would say something about him over-indulging her and he'd say, "So now am I supposed to beat her? Dogs exist to be spoiled. They are our best friend. Haven't you heard?"
It was quite a fitting ending to their stay Sunday morning, while Punta was acting concerned about their departing behavior, that Verasen picked up the guitar and Zhenya a percussion toy, and feted Punta with one more Belorussian folk song.
Then they quickly made an alteration to his heavy Belarussian folk shirt, tied up their backpacks and headed out. Doh svedaniya, doh vsleduyschiu vstrechu! Goodbye, until we meet again.

September 12, 2010

Devastation left by Hurricane Earl

My thanks to Peggy Dreger from the People's Republic of Massachusetts for forwarding me this breaking news photo.
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September 11, 2010

My personal anniversary

A year ago today, we were playing with Lora, doggie dog, when she ran outside and ate poisoned meat the municipality put out on my neighbor's steps. I blogged. So did Delfino. There have been no more random poisonings. Perhaps, she did not die in vain.
There is now a gate completing my fence and the current house dog is trained to do her business in a sand patch in the garden. About a month later, a neighbor stopped to express condolences. Her Doberman was dead inside her fenced yard when she came home. Fences are not enough, we know. Pray it does not happen again.

September 8, 2010

Live! From Minsk @ Isla Mujeres

First, they played like children in the water. More on Zhenya and Verasen later. I'm off to the Independence breakfast at the Navy Officers Wive's Club.

September 3, 2010

My sainted electrician

Ricardo Sosa is some kind of saint. An electrician with a lot of knowledge, he just won't quit until it's right.
Installing a ceiling fan in the main house the other day, he called it quits on the remote control ceiling fan. The remote control relay box, installed into the ceiling, would not process commands. It is the only way to turn the new model fans on and off.
So he took the pieces parts and boxed them up while trying to call Home Depot Cancun. The phone number on their factura, taxpayer receipt, is not a working number. I suggested he look on the cash register ticket and there was a 01-800 number. Someone in Mexico City confirmed they would take it back if it was not a clearance item. The Hunter Douglas fan was not.
So I took him to Jimbo's yesterday and the two of them went to Cancun to buy fixtures for Jimbo's place and came back with a new one for me.
Carmen is here for personal laundry today and we are still awaiting the return of Ricardo. But being a saint requires a lot of side tasks, so it's not a problem. He is worth his considerable weight in gold!

September 1, 2010

Beach girl

September 1 always made me sad when I was growing up at Lake Mohawk in Malvern, Oh. It was the benchmark day that signaled the end of summer, the impending end of lifeguard paychecks and summer's easy parties.
I've left my childish things. And now, in retirement, I have moved my beach soul to an island roughly the size of the lake. It is as if one place is real and the other is the image pm the Polaroid backing torn away.
As the leaves in Ohio turn colors and fall away, in the Caribbean, we lose leaves to heat stress and wait for the storms that will cool our heat stroked souls. In Ohio, we would buy plastic bags to freeze the last of summer's crops. Here, the Zip Locks are for sealing vital papers and small electronics from the inundations of rainy season with or without hurricanes.
As Hurricane Earl approaches landfall elsewhere, we can only wonder if we have done enough to prepare for the season ahead. There's no looking back as there was in Ohio, when I was but a girl.