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Una botanita para tu Holiday Party

17 Dec

It’s the season of parties and posadas and get togethers that sometimes require a BYOB (Bring Your Own Botana) or a potluck.

So in the spirit of sharing and caring, let me present to you one of my Mamá’s greatest hits, the Mexican Cilantro Mousse (or “mousse de cilantro) which I recently made for the first time.

This is a recipe my Mom got from an aunt in Mexico DF, when we lived there a few years ago, and she’s been making it on a whim for parties ever since. It’s very easy to make, inexpensive and yet makes a nice impression. Es un little touch medio “fresa” así como para un little party petite comité en las Lomas de Tecamachalco but totally Mexican curious. No es nada light, asi que les advierto que es un little guilty pleasure.

CilantroMousseMex

El mousse de cilantro is a nice little dish to serve at your party. But you have been warned: it’s addictive!

Mousse de Cilantro (for 6 people)

Ingredients:

1 cup of mayonaise (I used Hellmans, it’s hard to find, but any mayo will do)

2 cups washed and dry cilantro leaves

1/2 onion (white)

2 chiles serranos

1 teaspoon consomé de pollo 

1 sobresito Knox gelatin

1/2 cup of hot water

How to: Dissolve gelatin in the hot water and add with all ingredients in the blender until well blended. I did it in the vitamix for about 40 seconds on variable 7. (The consistency will be almost like a light green smoothie.) Pour into a small mold and refrigerate until it gels, hasta que cuaje, about 90 minutes. Once it’s ready and depending on how you want to serve, flip the dish while running a bit of hot water para que se despegue. You can serve it with bread or crackers. Enjoy!

Netflix, what the hell?

20 Sep

Did you hear about the recent changes to Netflix? Not only have they doubled the subscription rate “just because we feel like it,” they are now separating into 2 companies: Quickster, which will handle DVDs, and Netflix will continue to stream online. You’ll go to 2 different websites to select movies and you’ll get 2 separate bills on your credit card. (Bad move, people!)

People are mad! I’m mad!  I’m seriously considering dropping my subscription and just going to the movie theaters more often. (Oh wait, eso me sale más caro.)

Screen shot from the LA Times. By the way, I hate the name Quickster.

Evidently, the senior management team at Netflix never heard of the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” because not only are they breaking their company apart, they’re practically plunging down their stock value and alienating us.

This consumer discontent is already making the rounds in the news. See the link from the LA Times published today and tell me, would any sane business person really think this was a smart business move? It doesn’t make sense to mess with your loyal customers.

Read it here: “Once high flying Netflix is now stumbling.” (LAT, Sept. 20. 2011)

Maybe Netflix empezó a descuidar a su consumer base ever since they announced they were expanding into Latin America and other parts of the world. I know my friends and family in México were so excited. Of course they wouldn’t be receiving DVDs through the mail y con el cartero (el correo parece que se quedo en el siglo pasado en algunos lugares) but they’re all down for getting the service online. Hmm, maybe I should alert them to think twice before subscribing. It’s hard to recommend them after this fiasco.

Pero si no es Netflix, ahora con quien nos vamos? Se acabaron los video rental places. Maybe now the local Blockbuster store wishes they had stuck around just a bit longer, right?

T’is the Season (but avoiding the impulse to buy buy buy!)

21 Nov

It’s already Thanksgiving week and a shift in the energy is felt around town. Andamos todos alborotados getting ready for the holidays. Don’t you feel Christmas came a lot sooner this year? Time feels as if it’s moving faster. Maybe the general perception has to do with the retailers speeding up the holiday season. Some stores even had decorations up as early as October. Last week, mid- November,  the collection of never ending cheesy holiday songs came on one of the local radio stations, playing for the next 6 weeks. UGH. Give me a break! (Yes, you can call me a Scrooge.)

I had a relative that started buying her Christmas presents in the summer or whenever there was a sale. She was a very practical woman, mi Tia Eva, and always had a gift for everybody while maintaining a healthy bank account. I wish I were that organized and savvy, but I’m more of an impulse buyer. Victima del consumismo, let me tell ya. Not a good trait when you’re trying to save money or just stay afloat in this weird economy. This year the efforts to get us to the mall/stores have been especially agressive, with sales all over the place, even way before black Friday. That’s all you hear, “Oh they moved black Friday up this year, so we can get a head’s up on our shopping.” I think it’s working because this is the busiest I’ve seen the stores in a few years. But I’ve been good so far and have stuck to a budget. Let’s see if my consumer habits continue. I usually lose my grip around late December and then it’s a free for all.

My building is all lit up and ready for Xmas. Photo November 15, 2010 by CB/me.

 

 

 

So Bad, It’s Good.

7 Sep

Had a craving for junk food today. But I behaved! Had I given in, I would have gone to this place. I heard this song yesterday morning on Morning Becomes Ecclectic (KCRW.com) and can’t get it out of my head.

“I’m at the Pizza Hut. I’m at the Taco Bell. I’m at the combination PizzaHut&TacoBell.”

Could go there just about now and have me some combination PizzaHut&TacoBell.

That’s the only line in this silly, silly song. But right now, seriously craving the 99 cents tacos supreme. Y no se hagan! You know you like them too.

Here’s the song on youtube.

The 99C Store goes organic! “Nopaltillas” anyone?

1 Aug

I’ve been raving about the 99Cents store for a while now. Some of you read my little “Ode to the 99Cents store” (click to read again) back in April 2009 when I was unemployed. Even though I am happily working again, I still shop there and I still love it.

Imagine my joy when these little gems showed up in the tortilla section. They are delicious and organic Nopal Tortillas, made in good ol’ Sylmar, California. They’re 50 calories each. Ingredients: Stone white corn kernels, 100% organic nopal, water, lime and vegetable extract. Están riquísimas! And I don’t feel that guilty about eating them. Además, disque tienen 12% dietary fiber, which is good enough for me.

I just hope they are healthier than regular tortillas because I'm replacing them already.

All natural Organic Nopal, que mas quieren?

Ni quiero decirles que ya las probamos y nos hicimos unas quesadillas con Gouda cheese…. ok so not exactly diet food, pero estuverieron perfectas para ver Mad Men tonight.

Hurray for the 99 cents store! Don’t you think? And if you want to contact Nopaltillas directly, you can call them at ” 1-877- MI NOPAL”. Love the hotline!

Riding the “Sushi-Torta” Express, Metro Gold Line

15 Nov
metrogoldline map

Finally Open!

No hay fecha que no se llegue ni plazo que no se cumpla, the saying goes, and after a five year, 898 million dollar investment, ¿que creen? Hoy fue el grand opening del Metro Gold Line Extension, que llega all the way to East L.A., desde Pasadena with stops in downtown and Little Tokyo. It was something to celebrate, especially after hearing all about it since the summer. I had a free afternoon on Sunday and curiosity to spare, so I embarked on an East LA trip, armed with my restaurant by the metro-foodie map courtesy of the L.A. Times (which had great coverage….and I must tip my hat to them because the term Sushi-Torta Express is used on one of their  articles online.)

Little did I know, everyone and their kids also had similar plans for a Sunday evening. Que voy llegando a Union Station…. Omaigod! Cuanta gente! The Metro Gold Line was packed with angelenos happy to finally ride the extension into the barrio, and happier to know there were free rides all day. There was a line about 60 minutes long, down the hallways of Union Station, then up the stairs through the tracks. It was almost as packed as any station in Mexico City, with the difference that you did not fear getting mugged. (Sorry D.F.)

First you stood in line down the hallway, then up the stairs to board the train.

First you stood in line, then went up the stairs to board the metro.

When you got to the tracks, it felt as if you were going to a party, well actually you were because at the Mariachi Plaza Station (yes, that’s one of the names) había kermesse y mariachis tocando en vivo, para hacerle honor al nombre. There were festivities all along the extension line, hasta llegar a Atlantic Boulevard, where people had to exit and make a line again to get back.

metrogoldline more crowds

Más líneas, pero la gente estaba de muy buen humor.

Next time I have more free time, I’ll do the full excursion. I love eating sushi in Little Tokyo and Serenata de Garibaldi at First Street is one of my favorite places for Mexican food, and both are along the Gold Line, with many more places to choose from.

My favorite name along the route is “Maravilla”…isn’t that a nice name? Reminds me of a movie I like called “Next Stop Wonderland” that has a subway plot…pero me desvio del tema como siempre. If anybody wants to come along, let me know, a ver si nos vamos organizando un foodie tour.

Here are the links to the articles form the L.A. Times:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gold-line13-2009nov13,0,3095130.story

http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-goldline11b-2009nov11,0,4084038.story

A LACMA afternoon

13 Jul
LACMA has a nice open space for art and conversation.

LACMA has a nice open space for art and conversation.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is an impressive complex that provides something for everybody. I had some free time this weekend and stopped by spur of the moment. Needless to say, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this impromptu visit. The weather was nice, there were families and art lovers galore and the ambience was perfect.

First off, if you visit after 5pm, you can bypass the admission fee and give a donation, if you wish. This is good to know if you are on a budget. Although we all know how much we need to support the arts. But sometimes we also need all the help we can get and this is an option for budget friendly art lovers….(a veces cada centavito cuenta.)

LACMA is also undergoing an expansion and it is coming along nicely. You’ll see new additions like the west building architecture features in red. And not just any red, this red color means business. I particularly like the floating stairways and beam columns. And you must, must ride the elevator to the parking structure. Very futuristic.

Currently there are 2 exhibitions worth noting, Pompeii and The Roman Villa in the main building and Bright Young Things, 12 Korean Artists in the west area. There’s also a weird, colorful and plastic open exhibit perfect for kids to play in. It’s all tall columns of colorful kitchen gadgets lined up towards the sky… and you can walk around them, through them, etc. I never knew tupperware could be art. I’ll have to take my grandmother. She just can’t live without plastic containers and I’m sure she’d get a kick out of it.

LACMA does not allow photography inside the exhibit but got some of the outdoors. And here’s the link to the website for more info.

http://lacma.org/home.html

New uses for tupperware and kitchen utensils...hanging from the ceiling.

New uses for tupperware and kitchen utensils...hanging from the ceiling.

The kids visiting LACMA loved it!

The kids visiting LACMA loved it!

Yes, I ask myself this. What do you think?

Yes, I ask myself this. What do you think?

Love the new stairwells and red beams at LACMA.

Love the new stairwells and red beams at LACMA.

Part of the "Your Bright Future. 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea." They don't allow photography inside the exhibit, but managed to get this shot.

Part of the "Your Bright Future. 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea." They don't allow photography inside the exhibit, but managed to get this shot.

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