Te Amo, Mexico City

We lived in Mexico City for two and a half years, from 2007-2010, and we’ve been away that long, too. Missing many things, mostly of the edible sort, and friends, we finally returned this weekend.

As Brendan said, it was a strange trip, full of vague familiarities and long-forgotten moments that only being here could dredge up. We walked all over our old neighborhood, La Condesa, and nearby Roma, reliving memories like passing the weary semi-street dog who hangs out in front of a ceramics store on the way to our favorite mercado. He’s still there, but now he sports a sweater:

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And the Mercado Medellin was chock full of fun memories, like the times we enjoyed freshly squeezed juices before shopping for produce:

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We also stocked up on powdered moles and our favorite bulk snacks (dried mango slices in chile powder and fava beans in chile powder), sending me on a flashback of our nights playing dominoes with friends.

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After wandering through the mercado, we sat outside in the perfect weather and ordered micheladas and tequilas. The smell alone of limes and tequila floods my mind with tropical music, cactus growing on mountains, and swinging wooden doors.

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Brendan got a 20-peso ($1.60) shoeshine from one of the roaming shoeshiners. Since he worked in an office, where shoeshiners were always available, B knew how to ask for a “bola” – a new term for me.

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On our last full day, we ate tacos, then ate some more tacos (we literally had two lunches – first Mexico City style tacos and then Yucatecan style!) and tried to walk it off by doing a huge loop around Condesa, admiring the wild mix of architecture.

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Next time we visit, I hope we haven’t let as much time pass by, as Mexico feels as home to me as anywhere else, just with better tacos.

Tucked-Away NY Gem: Kim’s Korean Farm Resort

Not far from our cabin is Kim’s Farm Resort, owned by the friendly and affable Mr. and Mrs. Kim. Their business caters to ethnic Koreans who live in the New York City area, drawing them mostly on weekends for picnicking, fishing in their stocked trout pond, target shooting, and learning about traditional Korean farming.

We first met the Kims not long after we moved in, when Mr. Kim dropped off two giant daikon radishes while our friend John was visiting.

Giant diakon radishes (the ones with the green stalks, not the ones wearing hats.)

Earlier this year, we learned they had a part-time restaurant at their farmhouse, so we made a reservation, and enjoyed an incredible, very traditional Korean meal — and brought John along, too. (If you look at their web site, you’ll see they have photos of eels, boars and chicken. We were only served chicken, though I really want to try freshwater eel.)

We got our reservation time messed up and showed up too early. We walked around the property to kill time. Yes, pretty!

Our meal started with homemade rice wine. Slightly cloudy, and with a distinctive rice flavor, but similar to white wine. The Kims also are brewing sweet ginseng whiskey, which wasn’t quite ready yet to sample. The glass says “Pride of New York,” likely related to an agricultural progam for local farmers/growers/brewers.

This rice porridge was served piping hot, and stayed warm throughout our meal.

For just three of us, we were served nearly two whole chickens: One mild version, served with sweet ginseng root, and one spicy (this one), served with tomatoes, potatoes and a few other veggies.

John, surrounded by food. You can see the mild chicken dish and three types of salads. (Sidenote: My favorite photo of John is this one of him hesitantly staring down a Bulgarian shashlik.)

As part of recent visit, we also got to meet this shy new mother dog, a member of the rare Punsang breed. Legend has it that Punsangs were traditionally bred to FIGHT TIGERS in North Korea. I didn’t take a photo of her six adorable puppies, writhing nearby in their doghouse, because why irritate a mother that can take down a Siberian tiger?

New Additions to the Cabin

We won this watercolor of the nearby Basha Kill wetlands at an auction supporting the Basha Kill Area Association, of which we are members. (kill means stream in Dutch)

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And this little cabinet and one of the jugs we bought at the High Falls flea market. It’s a great town! So fun!

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Flowers That Fly and All But Sing

The title of this blog post is a line I stole from poet Robert Frost, who probably saw many of the same butterfly species as I do now, while at his home in New Hampshire. His first published poem was about a butterfly.

This is a black swallowtail, spotted at the Basha Kill wetlands.

An eastern tiger swallowtail, also at the Basha Kill.

A black swallowtail enjoying the rose of sharon in out front yard.

You can see this black swallowtail had slightly broken wings, but managed to move around OK.

OK, yes, I posted in this in a previous post, but this monarch on a button bush is too pretty not to include here.