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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolution

Hecho/visto was born out of the prevalent crisis that is unemployment. Yet incidentally (gracias a Dios), shortly after I began this blog, I got hired at a splendid production company. I am undoubtedly grateful for having a job now, especially since I recognize the luxury of getting compensated for work you enjoy. However, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss late nights of gluing mini-collages together, working on my own writing or drawing in my pattern book, things I haven't had made the time to practice.

Looking back at the last month, the thing that was mostly hecho on here was a lot of food! Not that I, or my stomach, regret having visto'd it, but recent photos revealed a shifting balance in my free time. These discoveries are a lot easier when your life flashes before you in blog form :) And so for 2010, I will try harder to rev up my artistic output, even if in small doses. I am hoping that declaring this resolution to a blog post, and having it look me straight in the face in point 11 Courier font, I am more likely to stick to it!


Nothing Says Welcome Home

... like buñuelos and atolé!

My Tia Martha, Queen of Buñuelo making, and her sister, my mother, are to thank for these crispy delights and this thick, chocolate goodness. One bite of these treats catapults me back to wintery times of the past.

And I won't hold my rainy reception against you, LA... I ain't mad atcha.
It is nice to see the sun poking out now. I didn't bring my bathing suit for nothing.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Before the Macarena...

There was the Tuca Tuca!

I've been watching this video more than I should recently... There's work to be done!
In other Italian singing and dancing news, I can't wait to see Nine :)

Happy Holidays from Montreal

Over the past year, I have definitely acquired a checklist when visiting Montreal:

A stop at Fairmount Bagels- I trudged over in oversized Sorels yesterday and received a fresh bagel straight out of the oven. This mission will be made again tomorrow morning, so that I can bring fresh bagels home, Dept. of Homeland Security permitting.
A latte from Cafe Olympico, AKA Open Da Night, although I stopped at the rival Club Social coffee stop on this trip. It only made me pledge further allegiance to Cafe Olympico...
And lastly, a visit to my favorite little general store, Gourmet Laurier. I have blogged about this place in the past. It's a real gem that offers all kinds of unique French soaps (I got my mother the same brand soap I got last time, Les Mille et Un Bains, but in jasmine), gourmet goods and sweets, like those beautiful chocolates and lavender nougat below. I was so happy to stop and restock this time around.

Stuff like this must be passé to the locals, but Calissons de Provence and Chocolat Dolfin are not the easiest things to come by in Brooklyn!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Falconer Statue

I wonder what this statue and its surrounding landscape looks like post-snowfall... I saw it a couple of weeks ago during a failed attempt to cut through Central Park. I tried to be slick, getting from the West Side to the East Side on foot faster and with a bit of scenery. Maybe I shouldn't have been looking at the statues and foliage because I strolled a big U and ended up right back on the West Side. The Falconer Statue was dedicated to the park on May 31, 1875, and sculpted by George Blackall Simonds. It is a replica commissioned by a wealthy New York merchant, George Kemp, who fell in love with the original which Simonds made for Trieste, Italy, the same year.

Well, I've fallen in love with it also and am commissioning myself to post it on my blog.

Comfort Food + Snow: Day 2

This cauliflower soup was the perfect way to end a day of sloshing around in the snow, to and from work. I used the leftover cauliflower from a veggie tray I made for a holiday party the night before, as well as shallots, fennel, chicken brother, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper. There were purple and golden florets that made for a pretty speckled palette once it the soup was pureed in the end (which you can't really see in the pic below because I like my soup with cheese, lots and lots of cheese).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Comfort Food + Snow: Day 1

When I left the house yesterday, the street looked like this:

I returned home to about 8 inches of snow on the ground and a transformed street:

And what was the key to staying happy in the snow? My midday trip to City Bakery where I indulged in this luxuriously rich hot chocolate topped with a marshmallow (one cup is enough to share with a partner), a delicious whole wheat croissant, macaroni and cheese and spicy cilantro chicken (one breaded and one marinated).
Note: If the macaroni and cheese looks like it's almost ready to be replaced with a hotter more golden one, it's worth the wait! I, on the other hand, was too impatient, and regretted it once I saw the perfect, crispy topped one come out.

And How Do You Spend Your Friday Nights?

A cup of chamomile tea, a good book.. and a sharp knife?

This book was on its way to the garbage, but being the scrap-rat that I am, I decided to put it to good use. Also because of my scrap-rattiness, there are many little knick knacks floating around my desk, so I made a box out of the middle pages to contain some of them. This book box mechanism usually makes a cameo in made for TV murder mysteries, living in ornate studies, concealing a weapon or holding the key to a secret door. You can also find them in my favorite mid-80's song's equally mysterious music video (performed by Spanish hit machine Miguel Bosé):

For now, mine is holding a paltry iPod and butterfly pin- I'm living life on the edge, aren't I? But later, I will fill it (and other pretty books) with more of my priceless possessions.

Now I just have to make another book box for this junk:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Goodreads and Good Reads

I am almost crossing the finish line in the race that is Tropic of Cancer (just when it started to get good) and Volume 2 of In Search of Lost Time, Within a Budding Grove (aptly named because I can never find the time to finish reading the series). Finally! I also began reading I Escaped From Auschwitz today at work.

I've found Goodreads is an excellent tool to discover new literature and to organize my reading list. It's also a great way to spy on what your friends are reading so you can swap books with them.

Afterthought: Just realized the high girl-lounging-on-bed bookcover ratio.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Notebook of Patterns Part Deux: The Return of the Patterns

Partly inspired by MOMA's current Bauhaus exhibit...

While starting it, as you can see up there, I thought this pattern could also look nice disconnected or with white or beige instead of the pink. An itty bitty simulation if you allow me:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Craque Attack

At a friend's going away party, one candy stood out among all of the sweets offered. Instantaneously, we were all addicted to craque (and also realized that "candy sticks" brand candy tastes like cardboard puzzle). It was snuck into my hand at the bar and I quickly tried it. The result was a crunchy peanut butter-chocolate-powdered sugar sensation. Craque is also available in other flavors such as chocolate and strawberry, and there seems to be a variety of clever, festive packaging situations. I didn't catch the name of the young lady who makes it, nor her company, but you can order the powdery candy at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Arroz Con Leche (Con Coco, Canela y Fresa)

After reading the Mexico City series and picking up on my food-poisoning/traveler's sickness references, it shouldn't be shocking to learn that we've been eating a lot of rice post-mini vacation. An entire 2 cups of white rice was prepared first thing Tuesday night for dinner, and taking a small serving from it, we had a lot of white rice left over. And so I made this little concoction, a spin on my mother's arroz con leche. She normally makes it with cinnamon sticks, milk, rice and sugar. I mixed in shredded coconut and powdered cinnamon because I didn't have sticks, and some strawberries which made the milk taste like Nestle Strawberry milk! That's kind of "gross kid" of me... but all in all, it was quite delicious.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mexico City: Dia Tres

Day three was by far the most laborious, yet also rewarding, day of the weekend.

No these aren't terrible photo taking skills...
This church, where St. Juan Diego's tilma with the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe (or Virgin Mary) was once housed, is in fact sinking because the Mexica, as many of us know, built Mexico City (or Tenochtitlan as it was first called) on a lake. To become more familiar with this story, and really the history of the churches below, you can check out the story of Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady.

We checked out all of the commotion at the plaza, filled with a vibrant sense of community as people from different towns far and wide all gathered to perform local dances and traditions. Sidebar, we went on a Sunday, so you can imagine.

We set forth toward the new, more modern church which currently houses La Virgen de Guadalupe;
it was designed by the same architect that designed El Museo de Antropologia.

It was moving to see so many people bringing portraits of La Virgen Maria from home, as a tribute to her.

Our group of seven was separated as we made our way behind the altar to get a glimpse of the image.
We were moving so slowly, as a herd, only to get whisked away by those rolling floors (escalator-like with no ascension) the church strategically placed so that visitors wouldn't linger in front of the the Virgin.

It was also touching to hear this group perform after visiting the church inside. They had solemn looks on their faces, and constantly emphasized that their performance was for La Virgen, which garnered applause and joy from their audience.

Let's hear it for the Precious Moments inspired Virgin Mary.
That made me chuckle.
We were going to buy a Virgin Mary engraved in fake leather,
but couldn't decide whether to hang it next to our mezuzah or the hamsa, so we passed.

And, thus, the souvenir shop concluded our visit to the Basilica.
We set forth toward Teotihuacan, and other (unbeknownst) surprises.
En route, we passed through miles of a town that foreigners would easily assimilate to a slum.
Sturdy housing, but with minimal water.
It was painful to drive through some stretches, but the clutter that filled the hills all around and before us was impossible to ignore.

Our tour guide didn't let us eat back around the Basilica, instead we waited until we were closer to the pyramids at Teotihuacan. This is about the time where we can start zooming in on the suspects that led Queridis to be sick in bed, and gave me a mild food poisoning later on that night.
Below left: michelada Right: ant eggs and guacamole.

We made a surprise stop at a joyeria that had agave plant tutorials, and I thiiiink they made tequila there, too.
Here's a tearjerker of an image for my father, if I ever saw one:

Our guide, Jesus, hilariously explained the multi-purpose functions of the agave plant. Slicing leaves deftly, he demonstrated how the plant provided the first paper for the Mexica, by rubbing a part of the plant he produced a foam he claimed was one of the first shampoos, he pointed out its antiseptic properties, and most impressively, he cut the plant at an angle that produced both a sharp needle-like point with an adjoining fibrous thread that one could successfully sew with (these points are also speculated to have punctured early piercings).
He explained how the heart is cut out and how the nectar percolates neverendingly, and
we all tried some of it which basically tasted like sugar-water.

The guide showed us their workshop where they heat and process silver to make jewelry and sculptures out of obsidian, as well as different types of this rock- the most beloved being obsidian gold.
Personally, I prefer the more opalescent one.

Our brief tour was concluded with a more interactive demonstration on how to properly have a shot of tequila.
Evidently, sprinkling salt on your hand, sucking a lime and taking the shot was the method popularized by Hollywood in the 1950's, or what Jesus called "the gringo way."
The proper way is to sprinkle salt on lime, suck that mixture and retain the juice, then take the shot, mixing everything together in your mouth.
Either way, everyone's stomach was hurting sooner or later.

The site of Teotihuacan lasted approximately from 200 BC to 700 AD.
Around its hey, far-reaching regions like Veracuz and Guatemala recognized it as an empire.
(They've found seashells at the site, which implies that Teotihuacan had been in contact with more coastal peoples)

Our crew set forth to conquer the grand Pyramid of the Sun...
But first, we had to conquer the long line (our conquest was actually only 10 minutes).

After climbing the 270 + steps up, we were rewarded with fantastic views. We even touched the center of the pyramid, indicated by a small metal marker, with all of the people in the photo below. Touching the center is said to give an energizing feeling and good luck. The other pyramid shown here is the Pyramid of the Moon seen from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun.

We walked down the Avenue of the Dead afterwards toward the Pyramid of the Moon before we unianimously decided to call it a day.

A bottle of tequila and three and a half cases of Montezuma's Revenge (I recuperated after 5 hours, believe it or not), everyone's back home with plenty of fun-filled memories over the course of three (long) days.
Adios, Mexico!

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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