Gabriela Cámara is opening Cala in San Francisco


Photo by Mark Mahaney for WSJ Magazine

Photo by Mark Mahaney for WSJ Magazine

Gabriela Cámara, the restaurateur behind one of my favorite restaurants in Mexico City, Contramar is opening her first U.S. restaurant, Cala, in San Francisco this week. Lucky Sanfranciscans.

Gabriela had some help from her campañeras, the legendary Diana Kennedy who traveled from Michoacán to spend time with the cooks of Cala. This article written in the Wall Street Journal by Gaby Ulla is spot on. Please support Gabriela and the wonderful taste of Mexico that she will be bringing to the U.S. I have no doubt that we will be reading a lot about this restaurant in the future.

An opportunity to cook with Diana Kennedy; Diana has turned Quinta Kennedy, her home in Michoacán, into an educational center/foundation. She is offering the first of her boot camps, The Building Blocks of Mexican Food January 18-25, 2015. Many of you have asked repeatedly when the next trip to Diana’s would be taking place, so now is your opportunity to sign up and study the basics of Mexican cuisine with Diana. The trip will start and end in Mexico City. For more details go to her website.

The Diana Kennedy Center (Fundación Quinta Diana) is a culinary research center and foundation based at the property of Diana Kennedy in Michoacán, Mexico. The center will offer intensive Mexican cooking courses with Diana, serve as a research center with access to Diana’s personal library and archives of notes, and fund organic edible gardens in local schools

Mexico City Culinary Trip – Chefs’ Trip

For many years, I have been organizing culinary trips for chefs and other culinary professionals throughout the many culinarily and culturally diverse regions of Mexico, including Chiapas, Tlaxcala, Baja California Norte, Tabasco, Yucatán, Guanajuato and Veracruz.

Now for the first time, Mexico City will be our destination from September 22 to 29, 2013. The week will be crammed with classes, demonstrations, and discussions with Rick Bayless and Ricardo Munoz.

Chef Ricardo Munoz

Chef Ricardo Muñoz

Rick is the chef/owner of Frontera Grill, Topolabampo, and XOCO in Chicago, and Tortas Frontera at O’Hare Airport, and Ricardo is chef/owner of four Azul y Cafe Oro restaurants in Mexico City. Both have written numerous Mexican cookbooks.

In addition, we have asked some of the local chefs who are making waves with their innovative renditions of classic Mexican dishes, such as Jorge Vallejo of Quintonil, Jair Telléz at Mero Tero, Pedro Abascal from Düke’s, and, hopefully, Enrique Olivera of Pujol to demonstrate the preparation of some of their dishes. We also will be eating at their restaurants as well at other more traditional establishments.

Pujol, Enrique Olivera

Chef Enrique Olivera

Chef Enrique Olivera’s flagship Pujol restaurant is number 36 on San Pellegrino’s 2012 list of the World’s Fifty Best Restaurants.

The Red Tree House
Condesa, Mexico City

Our lodging will be at the intimate bed and breakfast the Red Tree House in Condesa, a great neighborhood and quite close to one of my now favorite markets, the Mercado Medellin. Space is limited on this culinary trip, so if interested in participating, let us know as soon as possible. The trip costs $4,200, excluding airfare and includes two meals/day, hotel and all fees associated with the trip. $400 deposit is required.

Mexico City, Days Six and Seven

Today we had our class with Ricardo followed by a wonderful comida at Düke, as you will see by the beautiful pictures of our meal taken by Doug Martinides in this third installment by his wife, Kathy, of our video trip log. This is Chef Pedro Abscal’s first restaurant and one we think is going to do very well based on his offerings. Try the vodka, cranberry and rose petal cocktail, it is fabulous! There are a couple of great bookstores next door, too.

Here’s a short video of Chef Pedro talking about his restaurant.

That night a few of us brave souls went to Taqueria Calida for just a little more before bedtime. The next day we went to the historical Castillo de Chapultepec with its breathtaking views of the city, exquisite artworks and stained glass windows. It is a real treasure. From there, we walked to the Museo Nacional de Antropología admiring Jorge Marín’s sculptures on the way. What a fantastic public art installation by the City that we so appreciated seeing. The Museo tour with our guide, Jacinta was an overview of what is “the best” of this expansive museum.

Later, we had comida at Chef Jair Téllez’s MeroTero where we sat at one long table and had an excellent meal. And to end our journey, we had cena at Chef Jorge Vallejo’s Quintonil in Polanco. It was a spectacular finish to a wonderful week in Mexico City.

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 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

Ricardo Muñoz Zurita on His New Dictionary and the Richness of Mexican Gastronomy


Photo: Mesamerica

In the following interview by Gabe Ulla of, Ricardo talks about the dictionary project, his career, and the new generation of Mexican cooks.

Ricardo Muñoz Zurita has dedicated his life to Mexican food. He’s one of the country’s most well-regarded chefs, with several restaurants in Mexico City, but he hopes to be remembered for the eleven books he’s authored (so far) on topics ranging from chilis to salsas to colors in his country’s cooking. His greatest work is perhaps the Diccionario Enciclopédico de la Gastronomía Mexicana, a text that aims to codify every ingredient and technique in the vast gastronomic canon of Mexico. The most recent edition, edited by Larousse, represents the culmination of twenty-two years of work. Not to mention Muñoz Zurita took on the project in 80s, at a time when nothing like it existed, and Mexico’s culinary scene was in a sad state of affairs. The Larousse edition has just been released in Mexico and is currently being translated to English by the University of Texas at Austin.

To read the full interview go here.