Mexican food – La Villa Bonita Mexican Culinary Vacations http://lavillabonita.com Mexican Culinary Vacation Packages in Tepoztlan, Sayulita, and Puebla, Mexico with Chef Ana Garcia Wed, 27 Sep 2017 16:41:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 My FAVORITE Celebration in Mexico: Feria del Huipil y Cafe http://lavillabonita.com/huipilpart1/ Tue, 16 May 2017 20:28:44 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/?p=2495

Let me introduce you to one of MY FAVORITE CELEBRATIONS IN MEXICO!  This festival is called the Huipil and Coffee Festival in Cuetzalan, Puebla.  We are witnessing this festival with a special week September 28 – October 5, 2017.  It is a combination of cooking in Tepoztlan and visiting the Historic City of Puebla as well as experiencing one of the most authentic and beautiful Mexican festivals in Cuetzalan.  The full itinerary can be found here.

So what is a “huipil?”  A huipil is a traditional blouse that is made by the indigenous women in Puebla.  The festival of the huipil takes place to select a huipil queen for the region.  One young woman is selected from each of 11 towns around Cuetzalan.   She is then judged by village elders on the quality of her blouse, her traditional attire and her ability to talk about her village along with its history as well as preserving traditions in both Spanish and Nahuatl (the Aztec dialect).  This is an incredibly engrossing ceremony that takes place in the town square in front of the cathedral.

Prior to the Huipil coronation ceremony, there is a full day of the “voladores” or flyers who climb an incredibly tall tree that has been placed in the town square and slide down ropes upside-down until they reach the bottom.  A flute player dances on top of the log while the flyers come down and then he or she joins the other at the bottom.  Each village has their own style and you cannot take your eyes off of them.  I have seen this day now three times and I am mesmerized!

Later in the day come the procession of dancers from each part of town.  These extravagantly costumed dancers each have their own personality or character and they come one-by-one into the town square while the voladores continue with their descent.  Each group of dancers accompanies an elaborate wax sculpture that is to be delivered to the cathedral.  As well, in previous years we have been graciously invited by the “mayordomo” or local sponsor of the event to visit his or her house in town where the dancers come to pay their respects before proceeding to the cathedral.

There is a ton of things that we do during the Huipil week like visiting Puebla – the talavera pottery plant, the centro historico for the walking-eating tour, the incredible International Baroque Museum.  We also visit our friend in Libres, Puebla to have a wine and cheese party at his very beautiful little establishment.   I have more to share about this week so more entries will be coming!  We still have space for this year’s event in September and we would love to have you join us!

 

Have a question?  Want to book space? Want to chat? Fill out the form below:



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Recipe for Sopa de Lima or Lima Soup: Cozumel http://lavillabonita.com/sopadelima/ Thu, 21 Mar 2013 17:12:37 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/?p=1147 Day one #chefanaincozumel sopa de lima - lima soup with bell peppers, chicken and tortilla strips #lavillabonita

On occasion we will leave our comfortable confines at La Villa Bonita and cook in different environments or different parts of Mexico to add to my repertior and give guests a new and different experience.  This year we had cooking sessions on the island of Cozumel.  While big tourism has changed the cuisine offered in hotels, there is a local cuisine that is still delicious and good.  It needs to be elevated and learned.  I was amazed at the amount of Italian cuisine restaurants in both Cozumel and Playa del Carmen.  Such food is great but there is a wonderful local cuisine that is not being appreciated.  When we travel, we always try to elevate the local cuisine so that it is visible and accessible.  When we come back to Tepoztlán we integrate these elements into our repertoire for our culinary packages.

We had a great time with our guests in Cozumel, getting to know or fish providers and the wonderful variety of seafood available in the region and discovering these great local dishes.

This particular dish, sopa de lima,  is very popular in the southeast section of Mexico.  It calls for Limas which are a specific type of lime.  We have them in Tepoztlán in our back yard and they are a different type of lime.  If you do not have them substitute Key Limes and they will work fine but the Lima has a distinct flavor.

Sopa de lima (Lima Soup) 6 servings

1 chicken breast with skin and bone

10 oz. chicken feet or wings or backs

2 garlic cloves, pealed

½ medium white onion

1 clove

1 cilantro sprig

1 epazote sprig (if possible)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 quarts or 12 cups of water

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ cup red onion, finely chopped

½ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cups tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

6 Limas or Key Limes or 3 Persian limes, thinly sliced

4 corn tortillas cut into strips and dried for 2 to 3 hours or over night

1 cup of canola oil

1 avocado (optional)

Broth

My preferred method of making broth is with a pressure cooker but if you don’t have one you may use a regular stock pot.  Place chicken into the pressure cooker or the stock pot and add garlic cloves, the clove inserted into the onion (so they are not floating around in the pot), cilantro, epazote, dried oregano, water and salt.  Place pot over a high heat and allow for broth to come to a simmer.  Reduce the heat.  Take off the foam that will form with a spoon and repeat this procedure until the broth doesn’t produce any more foam.

If you are using the pressure cooker place the top of the pressure cooker and cook for another 45 minutes on medium high.  If you are using a regular stock pot, cook for 1hr and 30 minutes on medium high.  When chicken broth is ready take the chicken breast out. Allow it to cool enough to shred.

Soup

In your soup pot place the olive oil and red onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until transparent.  Then add the green pepper and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth with slices of lime.  Save a few fresh slices for serving.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes and take the lime slices out.

Corn strips

In a sauté pan add the canola oil on high heat.  When it is hot add the corn strips and then fry until golden.  Take out and place on paper towels to drain.

In a soup bowl place the shredded chicken, tortilla strips and a slice of avocado and a fresh slice of lime.  Ladle some of the chicken broth and enjoy.

If you would like to print out this recipes click here for the PDF version.

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As Safe as Kokomo? http://lavillabonita.com/as-safe-as-kokomo/ Tue, 29 May 2012 19:39:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/as-safe-as-kokomo/ Quick Quiz:

Which town has the lowest murder rate?
A. Omaha, Nebraska
B. Toledo, Ohio
C. Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico
D. Kokomo, Indiana

Okay.  Trick question.  There are two right answers: Tepoztlán is tied with Kokomo for the lowest rate over Omaha and Toledo.  What?  It can’t be. Is crime out of control in Omaha and Toledo? Will Anderson Cooper be hitting the “mean streets” of Kokomo in a helmet and flack jacket for his next piece on “60 Minutes?”  Should the state department issue a warning about travel to America’s heartland?  Of course not.  They are all safe places . . . . and so is Tepoztlán.  They are not only great towns but idyllic communities in which to live, visit or just be.
So, you may have wondered where I have been with my lack of blog updates.  What have my legion of marketing minions been doing with their spare time (bad Robb! bad Robb!)?  Thankfully, we have been receiving a steady flow of guests and with my three kids (four, if you count the big one), I just haven’t had the time to keep up on the social media.  I am sure many of you know the feeling – you know you should be doing it but real conversations and real people get in the way.  I guess I have got to make the time in this day-and-age for the “face,” the “tweet,” the “pin,” the “blogidty-blog” and the “i-don’t-know-what.”  If my children would just surrender my iPhone every now and then, I might be able to do more. But I promise I will be more communicative from now on.  Really. 
I have wanted to do this post for a while.  We have had a great flow of reservations this year primarily due to studious foodies who do their homework about Tepoztlán and the quality of the experience at La Villa Bonita. We have been very busy. We still get the occasional call asking about security – which is ABSOLUTELY FINE.  We are happy to explain what a wonderful place this is.  The problem is that there is no reference or perspective to give you over the phone that would accurately portray an authentic and secure place like Tepoztlán.  So, we wanted to be able to offer a quick answer that would get right to the point.  With Robb doing his research, we can now respond, “as safe as Kokomo.”   
Everyone who lives here knows that Tepoztlán is a wonderful place.  The community is very tightly knit, the town maintains its traditions, great farmer’s market, vibrant artistic community, wonderful children’s orchestra, even a little league baseball team.  Life goes on here as it has for generations.  Robb, wanted the actual hard data to show with numbers how safe Tepoztlán is so he decided to start with the local tourism board.  The person in charge of tourism in Tepoztlán then petitioned the state for the official information who passed it along to Robb.  This is the first time this information has been shared.  Since this is a small town sometimes people don´t think about what it represents outside of the town.  The first reaction from the local functionaries was “We all know how it is here.  Is this a surprise?”  However, it is much easier to explain how nice a place this is with real data and comparisons than with anecdotes. 
Tepoztlán, as a town and county, has a lower homicide rate than pretty much every major city in the US.  Actually for 2011, there was not one murder inside of the town of Tepoztlán and only three in the entire county which has a population of over over 45,000.  
Okay.  Lets take a step back and understand how this works.  Very special thanks to my Robb for putting this together, because this is not my forté.  I cook — I don’t crunch numbers.  The actual town of Tepoztlán has a population of about 29,000 people and Tepoztlán is the county seat for Tepoztlán county (or “municipio” in Spanish) which includes other towns such as San Juan Tlacotenco, Santiago Tepetatla, Santo Domingo Ocotitlán, San Andres de la Cal, Santa Catarina, Ixcatepéc, Amatlán.  The total population of Tepoztlán county is about 45,000 people almost exactly the same as our friends in Kokomo.   
The murder rate is the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughter calculated per 100,000 residents.  Obviously the actual town of Tepoztlán has a rate of 0 for 2011.  The only incident that took place in the town of Tepoztlán in 2011 was the tragic death of a worker in the market who was hit by a drunk driver early on a Sunday morning.  For international statistical purposes that is not considered a murder even though in Mexico it is.  If you make the calculation for the county of Tepoztlán, you reach a number of 6.6 – same as Kokomo.  Lets take a look at some sample city rates for 2010 (we had to use these 2010 numbers because the FBI’s official stats for 2011 aren’t released yet, which surprised me):
New Orleans 49.1
St. Louis 40.5
Baltimore 34.8
Newark, NJ 32.1
Washington, DC 21.9
Kansas City, MO 21.1
Buffalo, NY 20.7
Cincinnati 20.5
Cleveland 19.0
Atlanta 17.3
Omaha, NE 7.3
Toledo, OH 7.3
Some smaller communities that are the size of Tepoztlán county:
Hot Springs, AR 17.5
Manchester, CT 14.0
Lancaster, PA 9.1
Hattiesburg, MS 7.5
Great Falls, MT 6.7
Kokomo, IN 6.6
I have never visited Kokomo, but I am sure they are a great people in a beautiful town.  After visiting their their site http://www.visitkokomo.org it looks like a fabulous place that I would love to visit. The pictures portray an idyllic small town America that time forgot.  Kokomo was named “Community of the Year” by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce as well the first car was created in Kokomo in 1894 by Ellwood Haynes.  They even have a Kokomo mobile app for Iphone!  Very impressive.  
Apart from the statistics, there are some similarities between the two towns: Tepoztlán is a very attractive town that time forgot with a flow of tourism, local eateries, great shopping, an artistic community, a vibrant farmer’s market, and a population that treasures its history, customs and traditions just like Kokomo (okay, we don’t have a mobile app but you don’t have a pyramid, eh).  I think fate (or Robb) has brought our two cities together and I am going to actively propose a sister city connection.  Two historic, artistic, fun, and safe places coming together.  What do you think, Kokomo?
My next post coming soon will discuss why Tepoztlán is such a authentic, safe and great place to visit.
Peace, love, and good food!

Chef Ana

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Spice up your Superbowl TV Tour of California Feb. 4-6 http://lavillabonita.com/spice-up-your-superbowl-tv-tour-of-california-feb-4-6-3/ http://lavillabonita.com/spice-up-your-superbowl-tv-tour-of-california-feb-4-6-3/#comments Thu, 21 Jan 2010 21:01:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/spice-up-your-superbowl-tv-tour-of-california-feb-4-6-3/
I have to admit.  I enjoy the live television appearances.  They are fun and unpredictable.  The backstage is always busy with stars, production staff, and on-air people running around.  The first time I appeared on KTLA, there was a big breaking news story (a shooting in a synagogue) that took control of the show with live reports from the scene.  I was up and down all morning getting ready for a teaser for the segment.  The LA mayor made a late press conference that caused my segment to be bumped.  I thought Robb was going to die.  Poor guy, he collectively takes on all our stress.  We had a plane to catch at 1 so we filmed a segment as if I were in the studio the following day.   After such a crazy morning, it is hard to snap to attention after 4 hours but within the first few seconds I caught my second wind.  Live TV is fun.
KTLA asked me to come back to do a segment on the Posadas which we did in December.  This time I knew what to expect and came prepared.  The environment in the studio is hectic but informal at the same time.  As I was setting up my display, a guy with sunglasses and a leather jacket asked me what I was doing.  I have to admit in that moment I had no idea who he was but we exchanged pleasantries and I proceeded answer his questions about the Posadas and La Villa Bonita.  I was told later by Robb that this was Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon who was promoting his new Christmas album.  They were backstage warming up with their guitars.  I have to admit, I can be a little clueless about US pop references but my husband serenaded me with his a capella version of “I Can’t Stop This Feelin’ Anymore” and I figured it out.  Just then a swarm of people came in on their way to the studio and in the middle was James Cameron.  Yes, Robb had to tell me who this was as well, but that is what makes him such a good partner, trip planner, executive assistant, sleazy agent, and “chief bottle washer” (American sayings are such fun! Really, bottle washing?) .  James Cameron gave his interview and left with his herd of suited people with clipboards.  Robb tried to pitch him on the idea that the “Ana Garcia” avatar would have been a great addition (this part is not true).  If have to admit, the craziness of this environment is fun.
This time around we are doing a real California tour with Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.  Everyone does somewhat Mexican-inspired super bowl dishes so I thought it would be a good idea to offer a segment on authentic Mexican dishes for your Superbowl party.  With a wide array of IMUSA products, I will make a fabulous Guacamole Chinelo with fruit, home made totopos, a black bean, chipotle and chorizo dip, golden taquitos filled with potato and parsley, micheladas with Modelo Especial, and a drunken salsa.  Click for all the Spice up your Superbowl Recipes.
If you are not in one of these cities, you can still watch the show online either with a live feed as is the case with the San Francisco show at 3 PST on there website or you can watch a pre-recorded stream from the same site.  Here is the schedule for the appearances:
  1. February 4th, KTLA’s Morning News at 9. Two Hall-Of-Fame Football Players are supposed to help me here during the segment.  Robb will once again have to give me context as to who they are and I am not even sure that will help.  It has not been confirmed yet if they will be donning those “stretchy pants” that football players like so much.
  2. February 5th, ABC7 The View from the Bay in San Francisco (3:00 pm PST).  This show is going to be a lot of fun because it has a live audience.  The show is hosted by Spencer Christian of “Good Morning America” fame and Janelle Wang.  Thanks to Betsy Cordes for the introduction here!  Wish I could stay longer in San Francisco because I love the food scene there but we are off to San Diego right after the show.  By the way, if you want to be a part of the live audience you can do so by calling (415)-954-7733.
  3. February 6th, KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego (9:00 am PST).  Sorry Chargers fans.  We were hoping that they would have advanced farther.  Better luck next year.  I will still try to give you a tasty super bowl party with these dishes.
So, I hope you watch the segments or better yet if you can be in the audience for the View from the Bay that would be great.  You can heckle me . . . Okay.  No, don’t heckle me.
Peace, Love and Good Food
Ana Garcia
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Mexico Meets Colombia: Guajillo Chicken Stew http://lavillabonita.com/mexico-meets-colombia-guajillo-chicken-stew-2/ http://lavillabonita.com/mexico-meets-colombia-guajillo-chicken-stew-2/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2009 14:04:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/mexico-meets-colombia-guajillo-chicken-stew-2/
Okay, todays recipe may make no sense unless I give a little context. I am close to signing an agreement with a major cookware manufacturer in the US market. We met with them last week and saw their current products which have primarily focused on the carribean hispanic market in the US. The gave me a sample of their products to take home and use in relation to the type of cooking that I do. One of these pots is called a caldero.

The caldero is a traditional Colombian pot close to a dutch oven that is great for rice dishes and stews. A sancocho, which is one of the national dishes of Colombia, can be made in this type of dish. It is made of thick cast aluminium but it is very light. This dish in Mexico we would call a budinera and use for something totally different — a budin or custard in English.

So, I took on of the big calderos and decided to create a new recipe for our family lunch – Guajillo Chicken Stew. I have to admit it turned out great. I love stews even in the summer. It is great comfort food as I grew up with lots of rustic stews that we would have for a simple lunch. So, LETS PLAY WITH OUR FOOD!

Click for the recipe in PDF (Adobe) format. Ana’s Guajillo Chicken Stew.

Peace, love and good food,

Chef Ana

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