Jalisco, land of cowboys and tequila

Jalisco Culinary Explorer’s Trip with Rick Bayless and Ricardo Muñoz as your guides

This trip is full.

After more than 10 years, we again are planning a trip Feb. 15-22, 2014 to the brash state of Jalisco, best known for its mariachis and tequila, the spirit of Mexico. The music and drink seem inseparable here, but also there is a distinct gutsy regional cuisine, characterized by dishes such as birriacarne en surugo, and my favorite, the messy but super flavorful, tortas ahogado.


Ana Elena Martinez and Ricardo Muñoz

We will stay both in the sprawling capital, Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico, and in a small town in the highlands. This Los Altos region is a treasure trove of fine tequila distilleries surrounded by fields of blue agave.


Agave plant
Photo by Ignacio Urquiza

As always, we will have a packed schedule including classes with Chef Rick Bayless.

Rick Bayless

Chef Rick Bayless

To get everyone in the spirit of Jalisco, on our first full day we will attend the Ballet Folklorico with dances that symbolize the culture and importance of ranch life, and then join with the locals to watch the Sunday charreado, a very elaborate version of a rodeo. On other days we will wander through the relatively unknown archeological site of Los Guachimontes with its circular pyramids, view the dramatic Orozco  murals in the vast Institute of Cultural Cabanas, and browse and shop in the artisan towns of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá. Every major form of arts and crafts can be found in these two places, especially the beautiful local pottery, and I once brought home a 4 foot tin rooster for my husband!

During the coming days, we will tour a variety of distilleries, learning about the harvesting of the agave, the cooking, grinding, filtering, and distilling process and then sampling the end result.


The heart or pina
Photo by Ignacio Urquiza

While we do not have all the scheduling details for this trip worked out, I did want to alert everyone so that those who are interested can send in a $400 deposit to hold a space. Our trips always fill early, and we already have people signed up.

This trip will start and end in Guadalajara. Trip cost of $3,650 include two meals per day, hotel costs and transportation while on the trip and any fees associated with visits to local sites. Transportation to and from Guadalajara is excluded from trip costs.

Please contact Culinary Adventures if you are interested in joining us

Culinary Explorer’s Trip, Mexico City Day One & Two

This wonderful video by Kathy Martinides captures day one of our culinary explorer’s trip in Mexico City with Rick Bayless and Ricardo Muñoz. From the first glimpse at the density of the city when landing at the airport, to the end of our first full day, Kathy gives you a visual synopsis of what the group experienced. We began in the Condesa neighborhood at The Red Tree House, voted the best B&B in Mexico City, hosted by Craig Hudson and Jorge Silva. After we met for cocktails to introduce ourselves, we were off to food stylist, Laura Cordera, and her husband, internationally known photographer, Ignacio Urquiza’s home where they offered a taste of Mexico City’s traditional foods and Nacho presented a powerpoint show of some of the foods that the group would see over the next few days. It was an exceptional night.

The next morning we went to the Medellin Mercado to do a little food scavenger hunt with a show ‘n tell afterward with Ricardo at The Red Tree House. Our comida was at the wonderful El Hidalguense restaurant for a little Hidalgo-style barbacoa and pulque and was voted as one of the highlights of the trip by many of our participants, as was a few hours later, a trip to the Ballet Folklorio at the neoclassical and art nouveau masterpiece Palace of Fine Arts, a center for opera, dance and theater. The art deco interior with the Diego Rivera murals are magnificent.

But wait, we aren’t done yet. This was followed by a “snack” at La Casa de Tono, a popular eatery opened 24 hours a day and so popular there are bouncers at the door that hold throngs of people back until there is room upstairs for them to sit.

You also can find The Red Tree House on Facebook.

Nacho wins for best photography, Gourmand Cookbook Award


With over five thousand entries, Nacho Urquiza won for his outstanding photography for the cookbook, Cocina Mexicana, Patrimonio de la Humanidad, (Larousse de Mexico) at the Feb. 22-24 Gourmand’s Cookbook Awards ceremony in Paris under the Pyramid of the Louvre Museum, in the Carrousel du Louvre. Nacho is pictured here with Tomás García, director general of Larousse Mexico. Anau de Haro coordinated the book with René López which celebrates 200 years of Mexican cuisine.

Nacho was also part of the team that won Best World Cuisine Jewish for Sefra Dayme, Cien Años de Cocina Judeo-Damasquina en México (Ambar Diseño).

Congratulations, Nacho!  You can see more of his work at Estudio Urquiza.


Nacho and Marilyn


Had to share this great photo of Nacho Urquiza and Marilyn taken by Nacho’s lovely bride, Laura Cordera, in Mexico City last month. –Kathie

Gourmand Cookbooks Finalists – Photographer Ignacio Urquiza


Congratulations to our friend, Nacho Urquiza for his outstanding photography for the cookbook, Cocina Mexicana, Patrimonio de la Humanidad, (Larousse de Mexico). Nacho was selected as one of the finalists in the Publisher’s Photography category for Gourmand’s COOKBOOKS FINALISTS 2013 which will be awarded this spring in Paris under the Pyramid of the Louvre Museum, in the Carrousel du Louvre, February 22-24, 2013. The book celebrates 200 years of Mexican cuisine.

Nacho is one of Mexico’s outstanding award winning photographers who provided photography for four Gourmand 20012 cookbook winners and in 2004 he won Gourmand’s best photography in a cookbook. You can see more of his work at Estudio Urquiza.

Mexican Cuisine’s African Roots

As a great deal of the historical information was cut from my new book due to lack of space, I was recently asked to include some of the background on Africa’s influence on the Mexican cuisine for the University of California Press blog and though I would share it and some of the photos taken by Nacho Urquiza of an African family on Oaxaca’s Costa Chica.

Antonieta Avila Salinas's Costa Chica Family

Antonieta Avila Salinas’s Costa Chica Family
Photo by Nacho Urquiza

African Influence on Mexican Cuisine
by Marilyn Tausend

I have been traveling throughout Mexico exploring the incredibly multi-cultured cuisine of its people for the last three decades. It was, though, only since researching the history of the African presence in Mexico for my newest cookbook, La Cocina Mexicana: Many Cultures, One Cuisine, did I realize that during the many years I’ve been coming to the tree-shrouded small village of La Antigua in Veracruz, that I had often stood right in front of Mexico’s first slave market, now the site of the local school. During the seventy-five years or so after Cortés moved his small contingent of Spanish troops and other followers south in 1525 from Quiahuiztlan to this safer harbor, thousands of Africans were put on the block to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. I since have visited many places in Veracruz where these slaves were relocated, some still retaining African names such as the nearby popular resort of Mocambo which means “sorrow” in the Congo dialect.[

Some African slaves also accompanied their Spanish owners during the exploration of New Spain with apparently the first African to set foot in these new lands being on Columbus’s second expedition. Twenty years later, the first black slaves in Mexico arrived with Hernan Cortés from the West Indies.

Read the rest of the article here.

Costa Chica Fishing by Nacho Urquiza

Costa Chica Fishing
Photo by Nacho Urquiza

Barbacoa de Pescado by Nacho Urquiza

Barbacoa de Pescado (recipe page 167-168)
Photo by Nacho Urquiza

Caldo de Tichnidas, Costa Chica

Antonieta making Caldo de Tichnidas
Photo by Nacho Urquiza

Rest. El Bajío Anniversary

Carmen Rest. El Bajío

Carmen Ramírez Degollado
Photo by Ignacio Urquiza

Our congratulations and admiration go to our good friend Carmen “Titita” Ramírez Degollado chef/owner of Rest. El Bajío and her staff as they celebrate their 40 year anniversary. Carmen now has nine locations in Mexico City: Azcapotzalco, Parque Delta, Polanco, Parque Lindavista, Reforma 222, Santa Fe, Tezontle, Acoxpa, and Insurgentes. Although the menus are almost the same, my favorite is the orignal El Bajío in the northern part of Mexico city, in Azcapotzalco where I ate my first meal there over 30 years ago with Diana Kennedy. Like our friend Diana, Carmen is a wonderful ambassador of Mexican cuisine.