Monday, September 24, 2012
a weekend in the country
Well, a Sunday afternoon in the country, if not a full weekend.
My week-delayed dinner at the casa de Don y Doña Cuevas came together on Sunday afternoon. Last Tuesday, I was simply too sick to eat anything. And to waste one of the don’s dinners in that fashion would have been a double felony.
My Sunday started with what I thought was a great discovery.
The state of Michoacán is home to sanctuaries for the migratory monarch butterfly. In fact, the state took enough pride in that fact that a line of monarchs (the butterfly, not the Bourbons) graced the state’s old license plates.
From what I have read, the return migration of the butterflies should begin in October or so. That is why I was a bit surprised to find what I thought was a monarch warming itself on the cobblestones of the driveway.
It seemed a little early. But it could have been one of those impolite northerners who show up for parties on Canadian time.
When I finally got on the internet (and after checking the plates on several parked cars), it appears to be a different species. But it certainly fooled me.
What did not fool me was Don Cuevas’s dinner. I have read his blogs (My Mexican Kitchen; Surviving La Vida Buena) enough to know that he has a well-developed palate. His reviews of restaurants are always well-reasoned. Even when I disagree with his conclusions.
And his cooking is every bit as good. We enjoyed a dinner of roasted red pepper and tomato soup, carbonnades, noodles, and spinach. Along with a Waldorf-like romaine and watercress salad.
You can read about the details on the don's blog.
The conversation is always fascinating. And Sunday afternoon was no exception. The three of us have shared enough experiences and know enough people in common that we never ran out of topics.
One of the joys of Mexico is impromptu guests. We had barely finished dinner, when two additional friends showed up. They shared our dessert and added a new layer of conversation. Transatlantic cruises being a recurring theme.
While driving out to the don’s house through the Cézanne-inspired countryside, I noticed that the fall wildflowers have made a stunning entrance. Especially, pink wildflowers.
It turns out they are cosmos. An extremely common staple in American borders.
I am always amazed that a flower, whose blossoms are not very large and whose stems are extremely leggy, can create such a vivid color when clumped together.
There is probably a moral there somewhere. But I will leave it for some Tony Robbins wannabe to tease it out.
The afternoon did cause me to start thinking about where I should be spending my time in Mexico. I know how I spend my time is far more important than where I spend it. But the where is still important.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the mild summer weather in the highlands. And I have had a taste of both urban and suburban life in San Miguel de Allende and Morelia -- as well as the bucolic life in each of my three stops.
For the moment, I will mull the experiences against keeping Melaque as my base of operations for further travel in Mexico. Knowing full well there is no perfect place. Just lots of pleasant places.
If I lived next door to Don Cuevas, I know where I would be eating most of my meals. (Don’t tell him I said that.)