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We have a peso mentality

Reading a blog post from somewhere else, husband commented that fifty dollars a piece for dinner seemed an astronomical amount of money. Fifty dollars is around $650 mxn. On Easter, Husband, La Maestra, her husband and I went to the Sonora’s Meat and  between us ate a  total of a kilo of steak (250 grams each of 3 different cuts two of us had prime rib), two servings of great guacamole, chistorra, frijoles charros and drinks for less than that, not including the tip. My point being that fifty dollars per person sounds like a lot of money to us now, regardless of whether the meal is worth it or not. We’ve achieved a disconnect with NOB prices, I look at prices in the grocery store and compare them to what I’ve paid in the past or how much something costs in the mercado not to how much Safeway charges. One of my friends recently came back from a trip ...

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Searching, searching…

Wow, it just occurred to me that I have been blogging for more than a year. My first post was on October 22, 2007 and here it is almost November! I started tracking traffic on November 2nd so I don’t really have a year of statistics but I have had24,311 visits to my blog since then, 8,157 absolute unique visitors and 66.52% are returning visitors! Yeah, that means a good amount of people who wander upon this blog come back for another visit. Now I realize that I have a large family, but even my family isn’t that big.One thing that is funny, at least to me, is that a large amount of people find my blog because they are searching for information on Albrook Mall in Panama. Isn’t the internet odd? The most common search is for information on Mérida but I did like the one that was searching for “what do toucans do all day?”. Then there was ...

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Carimañolas (stuffed yucca fritters)

This a dish we ate in Panamà which I couldn’t remember the name of. This recipe is also from Cocina Panameña. I changed the recipe a little for clarity (the filling instructions used to be in the middle of the fritter instuctions) but the original was translated into English from Spanish so some of the wording is still awkward. Please read the notes before you make this for the first time. 3 pounds yucca 3 teaspoons* oil (aceite) 1 tablespoon salt (sal) oil for deep frying Peel yucca, cut into pieces and cook in water until slightly soft. Do not over cook. Grind while warm and knead with oil and salt until the batter is soft but firm. Form balls with the yucca, flatten it, add one tablespoon of the filling and close it, giving it an elongated form (cylinder shape). Heat the oil and fry the fritters until brown. Remove from oil and drain excess oil by placing them ...

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Hojaldres, Panamanian Fried Bread

From Cocina Panameña edited and distributed exclusively by Distribuidora Lewis, S.A. 2 1-2 cups flour ( harina)2/3 cup milk (leche)1/3 cup vegetable oil (aceite vegital)1 teaspoon salt (sal)1 tablespoon sugar (azucar)1 teaspoon baking powder (polvo de hornear) Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Combine the milk and oil and with a fork mix well into the dry mix. Knead for 5 minutes until the dough is elastic. Cover and let sit for an hour. Cut in to pieces (2″ – 3″) and stretch them with you hands and then fry in hot oil until brown. Sprinkle sugar on top and serve hot. This recipe is in Spanish and English in the cookbook, the English translation leaves a bit to be desired. The hojaldres that I was served were about the thickness of pita bread and the same general shape but about half the size. I am assuming that you test the hot oil by dropping a small ...

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plants,plants,plants!!! and their names!

While we were in Panamà, we stayed in a hotel with overlooked the heart of David, Parque Cervantes. What I found especially endearing is that some enterprising nursery put signs on most of the plants with their scientific name and common names. All these plants grow here in the Yucatan too! So finally, I have the names for some of the plants in my own garden! This is called Jazmin flor chico (small flowered jasmine) the sign said that it’s latin name is Jasminum sambac, but Jasminum sambac doesn’t look like that, I think it’s Jasminum multiflorum or star jasmine,. What do you think? I was excited to see this plant in the park, just before I left on our trip I had bought one at the Merida English Library ongoing plant sale. Now I know that it’s latin name is Ophiopogon jaburon “varigata”, the Spanish common name is Opiopgon, the English name is White Lilyturf, and maybe I’ll get ...

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Photos from Panama, Albrook Mall

Albrook Mall was built at a cost of twenty two million dollars and covers 460,000 square meters, which, if I did the math correctly is over 37 acres of shopping! The food court has over 35 restaurants. And more importantly it has a full size carousel! In case you get lost, you can have your family arrange to meet you in the giraffe hall. Or if you are feeling more like Fay Wray, in the gorrilla hall. I didn’t take any photos of the whales, zebras or rhinos or any of the other animals and birds designating the other halls. I did get this photo of the carousel and the food court, there is also a mini train that runs under the second floor, I don’t remember if there was a train that you could ride in like there is at Gran Plaza Mall in Merida. Both Husband and I were charmed by these child size tables in the food ...

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Back to cooking at home!

I missed our kitchen. Three weeks of eating out every day is too much. Panamà is into meat. I love tostones, or patacones as they are called in Panamà but I do like a little more variety in my veggies. After being gone from home for such a long period of time I didn’t think I would find anything at all in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. Amazingly enough there were 2 apples and a head of napa cabbage still in good shape rolling around in the almost empty compartment. Husband walked across the street and bought a few other staples and I managed to make lunch without going to the supermarket. The Mayo Clinic Williams Sonoma Cookbook, has a recipe that combines cabbage, onion, carrot and apples with some dried cranberries to make a tasty dish called Carraway Cabbage and Cranberries. Try to say that 3 times fast. I also made a vegetarian chilli and some fry bread ...

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Back in David

We’re back in David, Boquete, while beautiful was a bit windy and hence too chilly for our tastes. I had to put on long sleeves and use my shawl. Inspite of the breeze, I took tons of photos, some a little out of focus as my subject matter danced in the wind. Boquete is shoulder to shoulder photo opportunities from the gardens to the colourful Caribean style buildings.The little cafe where we broke our fasts this morning was so lovely. I forgot to write down the name but I think it is Cafe de Encuentro (the meeting place Cafe), what makes it so enchanting are the gardens and fountains. It looks like it was a family’s house converted to a restaurant and real estate office. The RE offfice is located in what probably was the living room and the driveway leads to the covered patio, which may have originally been a carport. As we ate our french toast and drank ...

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Onward to Boquete

Today we are leaving David and going to Boquete, we managed to miss the Flower and Coffee Fair, it ended yesterday, but the flowers will still be in bloom. The bus to Boquete leaves every half hour, but we decided to get a room there anyway.I was shopping in an almacen, a word which I grew up associating with five and dimes like Woolworth’s, but here seems to mean department store also. Amazing the prices started at under a $1.00! Mostly these clothes are from China, very lightweight, but that is what you want in these climates. No wonder people don´t sew here! In México, Chinese goods are subject to an exorbitant 500% duty, so while those goods are still inexpensive in México, they are no way as astonishingly cheap as in Panamá.Yesterday, we had our worst meal since we have been in Panamá, it was a “Chinese” restaurant, but dingy, the only thing Chinese about the place seemed to ...

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More from David

Yesterday, after I made my last post, we ran into Eric (the guy who gave us a ride from Santiago), he was with his friend Tillo (short for Eligio), we chatted awhile and they gave us a ride to the Chirriqui Mall. If you see the print ads and hear the radio ads, you get the impression of a modern, bustling mall. Unfortunately, for the investors, the mall is dead, just a few stores, a food court where there were empty stalls, only two were open, and a movie theatre.They offer a free shuttle bus from the hotels to the mall, we found where the bus was parked, but no sign of the driver, nor a sign with the bus schedule.When a city bus drove up, we asked the driver if he passed by Cervantes Park, he explained that while he did, his route was a very circuitous one, and we´d do better taking another bus. We decided that riding ...

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