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December, 2010:

Mezcalerias vs. Home Depot on a Friday night…

I hope to do a more reflective “my time in Mexico & how things are different here, etc. etc.” post in the near future. But for the moment, I wanted to share a snippet that really sums it up for me personally:

Average Friday Night in Mexico City:

  • get online
  • find address for hip new mezcalería/taquería/trendy bar/tasty restaurant in Condesa/Roma dripping with hipsters
  • gather together with MBA/Embassy/blogger/other random friends
  • head out for fun night
  • think to self, “This is great; I can’t believe we get to live here for two years.”

My Friday Night Tonight in Arlington, Virginia:

  • get online
  • find hours of operation for Home Depot
  • gather together my documentation for the lamp/faucet/towel rack/toilet paper holder I special ordered
  • head to Home Depot
  • think to self, “This is great, I can’t believe Home Depot is open until 10PM on a Friday.”


I’m not necessarily saying our lives are duller here, but let’s just say that finding this toilet on the street in DC was pretty much the wackiest photo opp I’ve had in the last month.

A toilet on the sidewalk probably wouldn't even merit a second glance in DF. :)

But I do have hope! I had my first street tacos last week from District Taco‘s cart set up in our Ballston neighborhood; they were solid, with tasty salsa verde. We discovered a restaurant/bar that sells mezcal (albeit for $14 a shot). I went to a craft show & found blugrn design, who sells paper products with lucha libre imagery (two of my favorite things). I’ve been practicing my Spanish with the guys from Bolivia who’ve been helping us with some home improvements. We haven’t moved back into our townhouse yet, but once we do, I think we’ll organize a belated posada to get our social lives moving again. And of course, my job hunt continues (any hot DC-area leads are welcome!). :)

So we’re making progress. Next on our list? Checking out whether the Washington Post food critic is a reputable source for advice on authentic Mexican tacos

Please make me some jello, Mexico-style

Nestled among the names of a few restaurants & esoteric museums on my “Things I Didn’t Get to Do While I Was in Mexico City” inventory, one activity regarding jello sits there on my list of regrets. Jello wrestling, you ask optimistically? No, my friends. It is actually a cooking class that I had my eye on, entitled “Gelatinas Individuales 3D” (a.k.a 3D Individual Gelatins). The, uh, jello school I found is called Gelart Floral with instructor Lourdes Reyes Rosas; check out her course offerings here.

See, you can almost FEEL the jello-driven excitement pulsating through the air!!

I was never quite able to convince myself that I should pay $1550 pesos (~$123 USD) for a class about jello when growing up in the Midwest, one is already instilled with such a treasure trove of knowledge about how to suspend bits of fruit and/or veg in terrifying jello salads. But the thing is, these are different. If you reside in Mexico, perhaps you’ve already seen them being sold at a street stand or carried around the Zocalo in those multi-leveled glass dessert housings? They are small, individual-sized (maybe 4″ in diameter?), half-sphere jello molds that appear to have a flower trapped inside of them. A THREE DIMENSIONAL flower trapped inside of them. How did it get there? How are its petals formed with such precision? Does it taste any good? These are all open questions for me. Don’t make yourself suffer in ignorance, as I have been doing for the last month. 😉

Just a sampling of the many 3D floral offerings that you could soon master... (photo courtesy Lourdes' website)

The reason I highlight these jello art forms to you today– I am still on Lourdes’ mailing list that announces her monthly schedule of jello training in addition to other dessert lessons, like how to make the traditional Rosca de Reyes that is made each January with a plastic baby Jesus baked inside of it. (Come on, surely THAT piques your curiosity enough to book a flight to Mexico right now!!) Anyway, another Gelatinas Individuales 3D class is coming up this month!! Monday December 13th, folks, in Colonia Navarte, Mexico DF.  Sure, it’s during the workday from 11-3, but tell me that you’re not the least bit intrigued…?  Yes or no: these would be the most novel thing you’ve ever seen at a dinner party? I say yes!

Surely these taste as good as they look...?? (Photo courtesy http://bit.ly/dYXt37)

Basically, I am counting on one of my Mexico City friends to go take this class, and then come visit me in Arlington, VA and teach me how to make these gems. What’s in it for you, you might ask? Well, besides the obvious benefit of becoming the Most Talented Jello Artist in your family/circle of friends, I feel like this is probably also good clown training. Don’t these feel like something a clown might hand out at a birthday party? A trendy, fashionable clown? So you can also consider this career retraining– arm yourself today with the skills to compete in the economy of tomorrow!! (Assuming it is an economy dependent on highly-skilled clowns.)

To get more info about the class, drop Lourdes an email at lourdes@gelartfloral.com. Please do not hesitate to get in touch once you are a certified Gelatinologist, and I look forward to learning all that you know. The world thanks you in advance for spreading the magic of Mexican jello molds across borders.

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