Sunday, December 19, 2010


Go tell it on the mountain, or a slow-moving truck, mandarin oranges are here!

Monday, December 13, 2010

kimchi pancakes

Flour, egg, milk, kimchi. The chili from the kimchi dyes the batter a brilliant orange. Our friend Susana, who is Korean, often brings them to potlucks and serves them with soy sauce. Lately we've been eating them with crema and cilantro, but a honey-soy sauce syrup is good too.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010


About a year ago, a political-protest tent city popped up at the foot of one of my favorite buildings. It came in response to the federal government "dissolving" the electricity union called Luz y Fuerza.

Among the banners and posters was this three-headed rat sculpture made of paper mache. I'm pretty sure the guy in the middle is supposed to represent the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón.

Eight months later.

Present day. The rat sculpture and shit pile were replaced with real-life rats! SI SE PUEDE! SI SE PUEDE!


condiment culture

Monday, December 6, 2010

Xilitla: incidents of misalignment

Art Review:
Usually, the main reason to go see art around here is to get free drinks and then go to the after-party. Tequila and mezcal companies actually sponsor art events. So, I was a bit disappointed when there wasn't any booze left at the El Eco museum's latest opening. I went inside the main gallery space with no prior knowledge of the artists, no buzz, and no expectations.

The dark room was carpeted and there were rows of unique living-room chairs facing a free-standing, monolithic screen. The projected movie was shot on 35mm film with a vertical 9:16 aspect ratio.

The 24-minute piece portrays a rhythmic, non-narrative portrait of the surrealistic castle called Las Pozas in the jungle near San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The nonsensical temples and sculptures were conceived and built by British poet Edward James from 1949 until his death in 1984.

The film's continuing visual motif is a mirror passing through the frame carried by the castle's gardeners. This simple intervention allows us to see two points of view simultaneously. The effect is confusing but appropriate for this puzzling, surreal site.

I walked out of the museum wanting to know more about this mysterious castle, more about the filmmakers, and more about how this piece came to exist. Simply put, I was flattened. The film is able to document Las Pozas in a way that captures its spirit and spontaneity. And the installation of the piece activates the architecture of El Eco, putting these two buildings in conversation. Too many synapses!

Xilitla: incidents of misalignment was the result of a collaboration between artists Melanie Smith and Rafael Ortega. Now on view at El Eco.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mystery Box

I found this disposable camera a few weeks ago on the center-divide of a highway. I walked past it at first and then stopped in my tracks to consider the possibilities. What if it contained evidence for a crime? What if it had something I really wouldn't want to see? And what type of image would that be? Will it give me bad luck? I had to know, so I scooped it into a plastic bag and brought it home. The camera sat in the studio for a while, and when the time felt right, I took it to the photo-lab. I thought it best to develop only the negatives and not make prints. I have a reputation to protect at LMI Foto!

I was pleasantly bored with the results. (Someone would probably have the same reaction looking at one of my rolls of film.) There were pictures of TVs, toilets, rooftops, and cake. My hypothesis is that Dalia was given this camera for her fifth birthday. No bad luck so far.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Crackers are incredibly easy to make. All you need is flour and water. This one is made from a multigrain flour mixture of blue corn, amaranth, barley, and wheat. Mixing it with my hands, I added enough water for it to come together in a ball. I also added sea salt, sesame seeds, chopped blue corn kernels, and a touch of olive oil. I rolled it out as thin as possible with a wine bottle on ungreased tinfoil (a makeshift baking pan). One large sheet of cracker took about twenty minutes in a 350 degree oven. They were toasty, crisp, and fresh tasting -- perfect supports for a hijiki-avocado salad.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

100 years

Over the weekend, Mexico celebrated the centennial of its 1910 Revolution. The federal government spared no expense putting on a multimedia light and dance show in the Zócalo called Yo México. The hour and half long spectacle combined video/light projection, pyrotechnics, music, dance, narration, and fireworks to illustrate the history of Mexico City. The historical narrative took more of a "dancing through the decades" than a "people's history of Mexico" approach; in other words, they glossed over some of the country's more troubling moments. That aside, it was quite possibly the most virtuosic display of video projection I've ever seen, and some of the historical events depicted actually happened in the same physical space of the Zócalo. Pure, eye-popping entertainment. I went to see it four times.

All of the surrounding buildings served as projection surfaces.

This was cool. They projected an exact image of the Palacio Nacional onto the Palacio Nacional and then animated the building (flat) to look like it was breaking apart and pushing forward to form a step-pyramid.

Fireballs during a pre-Hispanic dance sequence. They really warmed the place up.

The Spanish conquest of the Aztec capitol Tenochtitlan was particularly moving because it happened right where we were standing. The Templo Mayor pyramid, pictured above, still exists. The ruins are just to the left of this building.

Christianity arrives. Check out how they highlight the architectural details of the cathedral in the background.

The show continues on through time to present day, and the projections get more and more psychedelic. In one part, the cathedral looks like it's breathing -gently expanding and contracting. And for the 1985 earthquake, all of the buildings appear to be cracking and crumbling. I could go on forever about this, and I want to! I've never seen anything like it. Here's a YouTube video to give you an idea.


Sunday, November 21, 2010


It's back. I've been waiting all year for this heart-warming holiday treat. Ponche is code for hot punch with tropical fruits. You can buy it from street vendors just about anywhere this time of year, but I decided to try and make it myself.

Ingredients generally include guava, apple, tejocote (orange things), tamarind, sugar cane, a piloncillo (block of brown sugar), and cinnamon stick.

Boil in water for a long time.

Serve hot with chunks of fruit and a piece of sugar cane. (Maybe add some rum?) To me, the flavors are much more complex and satisfying than apple cider. Really good.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Día de Muertos en Michoacán

Our friends invited us on an excursion last week to Lake Pátzcuaro, in the state of Michoacán, where the tradition of Day of the Dead holds strong. The lush landscape and fresh air alone made the trip worthwhile. We visited a pre-Colombian archaeological site in the town of Tzintzuntzan, and just down the hill, we caught a glimpse of the local cemetery. It was hard to miss.

For me, walking through this place was one of those rare experiences of heightened senses and emotion. The air was still, plumes of incense drifted past, sun shafts warmed the skin, and there was an overwhelming density of visual information.

Fresh fruit and bread hang from the ofrendas.

Each grave is a person. It seems like an obvious thing to say, but I'd never really considered it before. Seeing these public displays of love for each individual in the cemetery definitely gave me a new perspective.

(The pyramids we went to are in the background.)


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Salsa de Soya

Eggplant in a sauce made from miso, soy sauce, ginger, and toasted cumin seeds. The yams were cut into long spears and roasted in the oven until well-caramelized before being dressed with threads of chile mora and soy sauce. I sauteed the chard and its stems and topped everything with some garlic chips and toasted sesame seeds. Brown rice is on the side.

This could be the start of many Japanese influenced meals. I just completed my first week working in the kitchen of a Japanese restaurant!



Thursday, November 4, 2010