Tag Archives: food

Tienguis

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Tienguis

One of the things I really enjoy is strolling through the tienguis on my street on Thursdays. Basically this is like a street flea market. It has a real mixture of both new and used items. And of course there is food.

I’ll start with food. This week there were three different areas where food was being cooked. Two of the areas had the usual tacos and tortas. The third one appeared quite popular. I have no idea what it was but it was some deep fried unhealthy looking I’m not sure what. As wonderful as the aroma of meat and onions is, I don’t eat at the tienguis.

But I do pick up my weekly supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition to the usual broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, onions and potatoes, I was excited to find mushrooms. Fruit this week was watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and apples. And I must admit I buy other fruits and vegetables whose names I don’t know in Spanish or English but I do know how to prepare them.

Now for the non-food items. This is where I really get to practice my Spanish vocabulary. There are always several people selling used tools, cell phones and all types of other technology. One guy had a Dell laptop. He told me it didn’t work but if I went to the plaza de technoligia, he was sure someone there could fix it. A tienguis isn’t where I’d go computer shopping but apparently some people do. I’ll have to check back this week and see if he actually sold it.

Lots of jewelry and toys, new and old. And interesting people to talk to who are selling these items. Of course these items in the used category are often interspersed with tools and books, all laid out on a blanket.

Perfumes, creams and lotions. New and used here too. Housewares including BetterWare. Toiletries and cosmetics. Paper goods. Candy. Furniture. Incense. Wallets. Purses.

And then there are the clothes and shoes. Racks of new and used. Great places to practice asking for sizes and colors. Amazing how a new blouse goes from 150 pesos down to 95 with a teensie bit of negotiation. The sellers expect you to bargain and they’re disappointed if you don’t.

The tienguis is like going to garage sales, except you don’t have to drive around and fight for parking spaces. You just stroll leisurely down the street. Much more convenient.

Sunday Sunday

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Sunday Sunday

Now that I’m back in Mexico, every day feels like a Sunday. There are no scheduled classes to teach and no regular activities to attend. The only routine in my life is how I start my day. With Christian Gospel music in the background, I check emails and texts and play Candy Crush. Yes, I’m still hooked on that game after ten plus years. And of course I’m sipping coffee throughout all this.

Sundays in Washington. Church and brunch with friends and hanging out together in the afternoon. Yard sales, frozen yogurt, shopping, perogies……………….I’ve left that all behind until next spring. I haven’t found a Christian church that I like near where I live. So I do two things. The first is that I tune in to Sage Hills Church in Wenatchee online on Sunday mornings. The second thing I do is go to a Catholic church close by for mass. No, I’m not Catholic. But I figure God hears me no matter where I am. Of course I get rather strange looks from other attendees because I don’t kneel or go up for communion.

Now for the other six Sundays of the week. Routine is totally out the window other than the morning one mentioned above. I didn’t have my first cup of coffee until 12:30 pm on Friday. That’s what happens when you stay up all night writing. One minute it’s 11 pm at night and then suddenly it’s 4:45 am the next day. Yesterday was a little better. I actually was on my second cup of coffee by 12:30.

I’m trying to get back in the groove of immersing myself completely in Spanish again. This results in some interesting conversations with some of the locals. Next door to me, this elderly couple are always sitting outside with all kinds of clothes hanging from their front fence. The other day the lady was trying to convince me that I needed to add to my wardrobe with some of the stuff they sell. She opened the door to their home and I saw a front room that rivals the stock at Macy’s……packed with clothes. Of course, everything is very used and polyester and definitely not what I’d ever even consider wearing. So far no one has successfully talked me into buying a dress and my neighbor sure isn’t going to either.

My neighbor on the other side makes potato chips, the really greasy ones that taste so amazing. I first discovered those when I was up in the Copper Canyon on El Chepe. The guy himself is really nice and great to talk to, but I’m really going to have to watch myself with those chips. I’ve decided one bag a month is probably more than enough. Of course one a month is only the goal.

I was looking for a bottle of antibacterial gel to keep in my room. I have the small purse ones I buy at Bath and Body works in the USA. And I’m not interested in the industrial size that can be found everywhere here. That was one entertaining conversation with the lady in the farmicia. She was super impressed with my Warm Vanilla Sugar small ones. It took three visits, but she finally came up with just the size I wanted for my room. She has connections with other vendors.

There’s a new chicken place nearby. Chicken is a huge of my diet as I seldom eat red meat. Rotisserie chicken is one of my favorites so I was delighted to discover that I now have one close to where I live. I struck up a conversation with the owners. One of them gave me a card and explained to me that they will sign the card after every purchase. When the card is full, (I think it’s four), the next one is free. That will definitely be an easy one for me.

I also checked out a breakfast place this week as I was craving a bolillo. So many fillings to choose from! I told the guy that I’m not into spicy anymore and he let me try samples to make sure the heat wasn’t too high. Naturally he asked me where I was from. And naturally I answered Washington State. Canada wasn’t even close to being on the radar.

That’s my Sunday. Hope yours is a good one.

What Plan Are We On Now?

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What Plan Are We On Now?

Change. Change. Change. Adapt. Adapt. Adapt. When you go from Plan A to Z and need another…..then just keep on going.

I left downtown on Thursday and am now out in the burbs in St. Vital with my friend Rita. Until Tuesday Iwhen we head out to the lake again. Another new plan.

I’m determined to tough it out here in the Peg until I can get that photo taken for my driver’s license. In all likelihood I will hightail it back to Washington and I won’t get out west to Calgary or Kelowna. I’m homesick! I don’t care if it’s 111 degrees and threat of wildfires. I want to go home.

Of course there’s lots here to do to stay amused. Rita has had some shopping to do and it’s been fun checking out Jysk and Giant Tiger as well as Canadian grocery stores and Walmart. But I’ll save my shopping for when I’m back in the USA.

I finally got to VJ’s for a gut bomb the other day. This stand is home to the best chili burgers and fries in the province. And they actually have plastic tablecloths on the picnic tables, a slight change that’s easy to deal with.

A friend from Regina called me yesterday. We met at the YMCA about fifteen years ago in water aerobics classes. She moved away from Winnipeg around the same time I did. Kim is hoping to come to Mexico this winter and we are hoping to get together for the first time in way too many years. Another new plan.

And yet another plan. I need to get back to my son’s to deal with one more bin full of slides. My dad took slides, not photos. And I am gladly passing them on to my brother. Hopefully he will do something with them. They’ve been stagnating way too long in a Rubbermaid bin.

I won’t be posting again until next Sunday. I’m not sure if I’ll have Wi-Fi out at the lake.

By next weekend I’ll have another plan. Stay tuned.

Quarries and Salad

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Quarries and Salad

I’m really excited about my new laptop. After sending an album to the cloud rather than creating a folder, I’m finally getting a hang of this. Of course I have over 3000 photos on my Seagate that now have to be organized into folders. But I think I need to stay home to do that.

I’ve been staying out in Westwood this week. Donna’s husband Loris has been pampering me with gourmet meals and homemade wine from grapes, not a kit.

On Monday Donna and I went out to her cousin’s place in Stony Mountain. We spent a relaxing afternoon in their pool. Then it was off to go and explore the quarries.

Yesterday we had a delightful lunch at Sorrentos. Whenever I come back to Winnipeg, a Sorrentos Salad is a must. And it’s still located in the same strip mall in Charleswood as it was back in the seventies.

But a downer was that I’m feeling like I’m being held hostage by MPIC. I need to renew my driver’s license and it’s time for a new photo. But it has to be done within 45 days from expiration, and I don’t want to stay here another two weeks. However I found a great agent who will go to bat for me if I can hang in there for at least another week. So I may get to travel out west in Canada yet.

Moving day tomorrow so today I need to pack. I’m actually looking forward to getting out of the downtown area. I can’t believe how run down and full of panhandlers it’s become.

Oh oh! More rain in the forecast. We had an amazingly loud thunder boomer Monday night with lots of rain. We need to send some of it to California where they’re battling wildfires.

Happy Humpday!

Kreplach or Perogies

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Kreplach or Perogies

I can’t believe that it’s Sunday again already. I just wrote a Sunday blog post a few minutes ago. But wait. That was last week’s. And it was a week ago.

Tomorrow is my birthday and it’s one of those where you leave one decade behind and enter a new one. People often refer to them as milestone birthdays. But I call every birthday a milestone.

The weather here in Washington has been a lot cooler than usual as well as being rainy and windy. Well, it does beat snow and my friends back in Mexico tell me they’re roasting in the heat.

Yesterday was interesting. The clouds allowed some sunshine to peak through so Christina and I headed for the community wide yard sale in Cashmere. Our biggest find was an oak armoire with lovely shelves and drawers and not even a hint of particle board. $5 well spent.

Back at home in the afternoon the rain finally poured down. I decided to spend my time doing research for one of my characters in my WIP. What’s App was the medium I used to chat with a friend in Mexico, a doctor from Calgary originally from England where she received her medical training. The topics wavered between bipolar 1 and atrial fibrillation. Heavy stuff.

Now where was I going with this post? Oh yes! Kreplach or perogies. I guess it really doesn’t matter what you call them. They are delicious.

I grew up with a Jewish background and they were kreplach. My Bobba had Russian roots and I can still envision her in the kitchen making them from scratch. I did it that way exactly once. Much easier to buy them frozen from Naleway or to head down to the nearest Ukrainian church where the ladies there offer homemade ones for sale on Friday afternoons. I also recall driving out to restaurants in rural communities where the Mennonite version was available.

But I’m far away from Manitoba now and here in Washington I’ve introduced several people to the frozen perogies I’ve found at Safeway or Albertsons. This afternoon I’ll be frying up some onions and getting out the sour cream. And ketchup. You heard me right. That’s a new twist for me. My friend Clairesse is coming over and she is one of the rare Washingtonians I know who enjoys perogies. She grew up on Camino Island and ate them with ketchup.

So there you have it. Call them what you like. Kreplach or perogies. Happy Sunday!

Here And There

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Here And There

I’m sitting here sipping salted caramel tea as I write this. A nice change from the chamomile I drink in Aguascalientes. In the background The Rifleman fills the TV screen. I loved that show as a child and I still do. Not on any of the channels I watch in Mexico.

I enjoy my life where I’ve turned back into a snowbird. When I first arrived in Culiacan I met expats who had decided to revert back to the snowbird life. I didn’t understand it back then, but after living full time in Mexico for almost six years, I made that decision as well.

That was back in 2016 when I retired from teaching ESL. That was also when I discovered Washington state. My planned two week vacation turned into four months when the first snowfall finally chased me back to Mazatlan.

As I was eating a sourdough English muffin with marble cheese for breakfast, I found myself missing gorditas. Yes, that happens. The only Mexican food I eat up here is at Agave Azul in Cashmere. But marble cheese does not exist in Mexico.

I had lunch at Gustav’s with friends the other day. One of my rare red meat fixes. Although the burger was far superior, I found myself missing the country music at Country Break in Aguascalientes.

The mountains here in Washington never cease to amaze me. I see them out my bedroom window. I see them when I go out for walks. The view is magnificent on the drive from East Wenatchee along Highway 2 into Leavenworth.

The NCW Libraries features an abundance of programs and activities in addition to books and movies. I signed up for two of them this month that are offered on Zoom.

The museum in Wenatchee is another of my favorite places. The Martin Luther King Jr. Multicultural Fest is one of the featured events. There is also an art show going on with displays of art from local schools. I will have to check out what programs they are offering this month.

Yesterday Christina and I went out to garage sales and had a blast. We found lots of treasures. Brought back memories of another lifetime in Canada.

Here’s to a new month!

Checking In

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Checking In

I’ve been back in Mexico for just over 24 hours and it’s been a whirlwind of activity.

On Sunday I’ll post about my travel experience but for the time being I’d like to say that I have arrived safely and am settling back in to life in Aguascalientes.

Thank you Telcel for allowing me to keep my phone number although I’ve been away for a year. What’s App is up and running again.

The ATM was a bit of a challenge as it’s been reformatted. But that’s okay. I’m getting quite used to change.

Las Flores, my neighborhood. It’s so nice to be back. I went for a walk this morning in search of breakfast and enjoyed a delicious bolillo filled with shredded pork, frijoles, egg, cheese and potatoes. 25 pesos or $1.25 US.

I spent a good part of the day unpacking. And I even got together a bag of laundry that I will take to the lavenderia tomorrow.

For dinner I got takeout from one of my favorite local places. I have missed their enchiladas rojas served with a side of potatoes, carrots and beans. The cuenta was 48 pesos or $2.40 US.

Tomorrow I plan to hit Waldo’s (Mexico’s version of Dollar Tree) and then pick up a few groceries at the tienda nearby.

A big thank you to Raul, hotel owner extraordinaire, who has been chauffeuring me around since I got back. His translating skills were especially helpful at Telcel. It’s hard enough conversing with fast-speaking Mexicans, but the mask sure muffles the speech.

Yes, I’m back in maskland. Antibacterial gel before entering a store, temperature taken and sanitizing mats. Very different from Washington state.

June 17 Memories

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June 17 Memories

Aguascalientes has now changed from red to orange on the virus map. Trudeau is keeping the Canadian border closed. Leavenworth seems farther away now.

But I’d rather be where I am today than where I was seven years ago on this date.

Seven years ago today I was having surgery at Concordia Hospital in Winnipeg, my second knee replacement.

Another memory. Eight years ago today I was also in Winnipeg. It was the day before my first knee replacement.

Today I just returned from a short walk to the Cocina. My fridge is now full of fresh vegetable and fruit salads, chicken and pasta.

Today is June 17 and I am living in Aguascalientes in the midst of a pandemic, creating more memories.

Today in Aguascalientes

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Today in Aguascalientes

It’s hot out there. The 90s have arrived. Days like this I miss the ocean in Mazatlan.

Thursday morning there is an outdoor market in my neighborhood.

Restaurants are closed. Take out and delivery only.

Bars are closed here although my friend told me they’re still open in Leavenworth, Washington. Go figure.

Schools are closed. I haven’t heard anything about the indoor malls yet.

A friend in Zacatecas told me this morning that she couldn’t find chicken or eggs. So far we have no shortages here in Ags.

Corner tiendas are open. Note in my pics that these are not completely enclosed. Lots of fresh air gets in and social distancing is easy as there are seldom more than 2 or 3 people in them at the same time.

My saving grace are my daily coloring sessions in the park. The flowers are beginning to bloom again.

I really miss all the time I used to spend walking in and out of shops and engaging in conversation. It was a great way to socialize as well as practice my Spanish. Now most of my socializing is over the internet or on the phone.

A silver lining to every cloud……more time for writing!

Food Glorious Food

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Food Glorious Food

I seldom write about food. I have mentioned traditional foods associated with holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Years ago I wrote posts about the cooking classes I took in Mazatlan. I may have also referred to the odd restaurant here and there.

Food in Mexico varies in nature from place to place. A torta is very different in Guadalajara from a torta in Mazatlan. My vote for the best tamales still goes to Culiacán. Gorditas in San Luis Potosí are not as tasty as the ones in Aguascalientes. So far Mazatlan is winning when it comes to sopa de tortilla. Hands down the best pizza is in Tlaquepaque.

I will begin by writing about the Cocinas Economicas I frequent here in Las Flores. These are basically places where you buy prepared foods. There is always a variety of cooked food available and the menu changes daily. One that I go to has tables and you can eat there. I did that often last year when I didn’t have a fridge or microwave. 55 pesos buys you soup, a main course, two sides, salad, a generous portion of agua fresca and of course, tortillas. This translates to US $2.91.

Yesterday I picked up chicken milanesa (3 large portions), chicken stew, beef stew, California style mixed veggies, salad, spaghetti, 3 chili rillenos and vegetable soup. Yes, that will easily feed me for the week. Total cost 265 pesos or US $14.04.

All ingredients are fresh. There is not a can or a frozen product used in the preparation of these foods.

Needless to say I do eat out as well. Because I am allergic to fish and seafood, I am unable to give you an idea of the cost.

A cheeseburger with fries and a soda averages 85 pesos or US $4.50. A large pizza averages 110 pesos or US $5.83. A quesadilla averages 25 pesos or US $1.32. I could go on and on but you get the picture. It is inexpensive to eat out.

I must admit that in the morning I prefer to have yogurt and granola for breakfast. But I do go out occasionally for gorditas.

Chicken rosticerias are high on my list as well. I picked up a whole roasted chicken for 70 pesos the other day or US $3.70. In the grocery section Walmart sells a half of a roasted chicken with salad for 35 pesos or US $1.85.

A friend who owned a cafe last year also cooks for me often. A delicious home-cooked meal is delivered to my door for 60 pesos or US $ 3.19.

Food prices vary from place to place as well. When I lived in Mazatlan I found the cost of food to be almost double, but it is a big tourist area. When I lived in Guadalajara the cost was about the same as here. In San Luis Potosí It was lower.

Wherever I have lived the fruit and vegetables have been fresher and cheaper than in Canada or the USA. What better way than to start your day off with a half litre of fresh squeezed orange juice for 20 pesos or just over US $1?

Many restaurants deliver and there is also the option of Uber Eats. But I have yet to use these services.

Now if only I could find some moussaka here in Aguascalientes….