Monday, September 29, 2008

Bird's-eye View of Downtown Mexico City

We've been atop a few huge towers that overlook impressive skylines-- including Seattle's Space Needle and San Antonio's Tower of the Americas--but by far the coolest we've been to is the Torre Latinoamericana in Mexico City.

It's history, views from almost 600 feet, and interesting museum make it a must-see in the city.

Photobucketa Wikipedia photo
Sure, the Torre now sits in the middle of the bustling megalopolis. But way back in the day the site was Moctezuma's zoo filled with beautiful gardens and exotic animals. When the Spanish arrived, they turned it into a convent and church. The convent was demolished in modern times, but the San Francisco church still sits behind the huge Torre.

photos by jeremy
The Palacio de Bellas Artes from the 42nd floor of the Torre.
Check out the intricate details on top of these domes. It's a shame no one gets to appreciate this artwork from ground level.
View of the heart of Mexico City, the Zocalo.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Homenaje a Julieta, Mami y Los Tigres del Norte

It was the summer of 2003, and I had just graduated from college. My eyes were set on my new destination for the next three months--St. Petersburg, Flordia, where I was to learn everything about journalism as a fellow with the Poynter Institute. I sold most of my junky college belongings, stashed the rest at my parent's and then-boyfriend Jeremy's house and packed the rest in my reliable Toyota Corolla (which my mom still drives.)

The plan was to cover hundreds of miles from Austin to Florida on a road trip. But my mom, worried that her youngest daughter would make the trek alone, decided I wasn't going unless she was in the car with me. So the two of us left Texas to begin our roadtrip adventure. While mom worried about safety and all the other things moms worry about, my biggest concern was music. What would we listen to that we would both enjoy? It was afterall, a looong trip.

I popped in a CD by Tijuana-born singer Julieta Venegas and the song "La Jaula de Oro" began playing. Before that trip, I really hadn't paid much attention to the lyrics but liked the music. My mom recognized the modern song, which she said was actually a remake of an old hit by the famous NorteƱo band Tigres del Norte. She was right. The classic lyrics and the new beat made "La Jaula de Oro" our road trip anthem.

We saw Julieta Venegas in concert last night in Mexico City's awesome Auditorio Nacional. Although she did not play this song, it made me think back to that one tune which I had not heard in a long time. "La Jaula de Oro" is by far my all-time favorite Julieta Venegas song-- maybe it's the meaningful lyrics that highlight the struggles of immigrants like my parents who sacrificed everything to follow the American Dream or maybe it's just that it always reminds me of taking that cross-country journey with my mother. Either way, after a great concert, I had to listen to that song once again. And I want to share it with all of you...

Just press the play button:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fiestas Patrias

It's been a Flores-Schwartz tradition to head down to our neighborhood plaza for 16 de septiembre festivities. We were joined by some of our friends this time for food, drinks and silly Independence Day hats.




Thursday, September 11, 2008

Aztec Mystery Continues

As promised, here's more news from the Island of Mexcaltitan. This is the island city that some historians believe is behind the founding of Mexico.

To check out my photo slideshow, click on the title link above.

To check out Jeremy's story, copy and paste this link:

Photobucket Image Hosting
These white herons or "garzas" can be found all over the island. It is believed that the Aztecs came from a place full of these creatures.

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Bridges like this one connect people's houses to the mainland.

Photobucket Image Hosting

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ode to Street Food

I'm loving straight-talking chef Anthony Bourdain's memoir "Kitchen Confidential." Inspired by his love of all things meat, here's a video clip from his street food tour of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, my hometown's sister city across the border.

If you attended my wedding, then you passed through or even spent the night in this culinary heaven.

Here are some fab quotes from his book:

"No one understands and appreciates he American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than a non-American. The Ecuadorian, Mexican, Dominican and Salvadorian cooks I've worked with over the years make most CIA [Culinary Institute of America] educated white boys look like clumsy, sniveling little punks."

"Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald's? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat...? You only go around once."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gone Country

SEGUIN, Texas--No smog. No traffic. No worries. At my Tia Rosa and Tio Ruben's ranch-style life in rural Texas, it's all about family and home cooking.

These Boston city boys discovered they were a little bit country after all.

My Tio Ruben prefers the tranquility of his almost five acres of land to the city life any day.