IR Sci-fi/Fantasy

Alex and the Ironic Gentleman by Adrienne Kress

Right now I’m on the beach at Acapulco and I’ve just finished Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, so I thought I’d take a moment and post about it!

It takes a while to get going, which is probably my main complaint. And then once Alex’s adventure starts, there are quite a few detours. The style of the writing is almost fable-like, but the structure doesn’t match up with it.

But Alex is likable and there are lots of interesting characters that she meets along the way, so it’s a fun read with lots of adventures. Everything seemed to wrap up pretty quickly, so I’m hoping that there’ll be a sequel.

Just a warning: It’s a little violent at times (what did you expect, there are pirates?!) and there are consequences for some of the characters.

My rating: A-

That great Beetle fleet in the sky…and a sack of booties

Last night, we packed everyone into what is quite possibly the world’s biggest car – Ismael’s brother’s Suburban – and drove to Taxco, a town about halfway between Cholula and Acapulco. This morning, because we were in the world’s biggest car and Taxco has the world’s smallest, steepest, and windiest streets, we took a taxi into the zocalo.

But not just any taxi.

A Beetle taxi.

Because I have now seen Beetle heaven. When a Beetle stops running anywhere in the world, I am sure it must appear on the streets of Taxco ready to trundle up and down the tiny streets. Seriously. I know they’re used in Mexico City, too, but the sheer volume of them in Taxco is far superior.

Oh, and there’s a church and the town is famous for its silver (I saw a few rings that I liked, but I just bought a new kitchen, so only photos for me – see picture), but if you take one thing away from this post it is that old Beetles never die, they just go to Taxco.

Now we’re in Acapulco, relaxing in Karls’s friend’s family’s apartment, cooling off with a cerveza (see picture). We saw the fuerte de San Diego (see picture) this afternoon and tomorrow we’re off to the beach! In January!!

January Daring Bakers Challenge!

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I am not actually here posting this – I’m in sunny Mexico (at least I hope it’s sunny!), having left behind the arctic wonder that has become central Illinois. But before I left, I managed to get this challenge completed.

This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Baking Soda and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angelique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Let me start by saying that, apparently, cream horn molds do not actually exist in my vicinity. At all. I called/went to EVERY possible store that I thought would have them, including a professional kitchen supply shop. NO CREAM HORN MOLDS. So I just had to sort of very carefully and with lots of swearing attempt to roll them into a cone shape by hand.

NOT COOL.

Literally.

I wasn’t sure how thick to spread the batter and I think they ended up being kind of uneven. Also, I probably should have let the egg whites come to room temperature before I added them to the butter mixture because I think they made the butter seize back up again and ended up in clumps in the batter. ALSO, I let the second batch bake for less time than the first and they were too soft to hold their shape and then I overbaked the third batch and they ended up being too crispy to roll without cracking.

So I really only got two good ones (okay, to be honest, I ate some of the more misshapen ones and they tasted super-yummy – especially the lovely, crispy third batch) that would be in any sort of way picturesque. I filled them with Ina’s Lemon Mousse which, oh, my god, SO GOOD. But since I only ended up with two fillable cookies, I had an actual ton of mousse left over. Guess I’ll just have to eat it by itself – darn!

Click on the Daring Bakers logo above to see lots of other beautiful and tasty tuiles!

Drink my tea, it’s beautiful!

Claire and I are exhausted after a lot more walking around today and are currently watching Mexican television. Trashy Mexican television, to be specific, that we don’t understand, so we’re making up our own dialogue, hence this post’s title.

Today we went to Puebla, a larger town near Cholula, and took the hop-on, stay-on bus tour there. We learned a very sad story about how the two mountains nearby were formed:

A girl was in love with a brave warrior and when he left to go into battle, she promised to be true to him. Soon news came that he had been killed in battle and she died of a broken heart. Unfortunately the news wasn’t true. When he returned and saw that she was dead, he gathered her in his arms and they disappeared. Over night, two mountains appeared, one in the shape of a sleeping woman and one in the shape of a kneeling man, keeping watch over her.

I think it’s the warrior that’s the volcano which overlooks the area – it last erupted in 1999, but Karla says that it’s only the ash that reaches them, not the lava – it’s smoking at the moment as you can kind of see from the picture below (it looks like a cloud near the top, but it’s smoke).

After the tour, Claire and I went to two museums one of which was the Museo Amparo which was really nice and interesting, too, and then to a couple of churches.

Tomorrow evening we head off to Acapulco via Taxco!

A story!

Here is a picture of Karla, Claire, and me in front of the cathedral in Puebla from last night (much easier when someone else takes the picture).

Apparently, the same architect designed both this cathedral and the one in Mexico City at the same time. When they went to build them, though, the blueprints got mixed up and the cathedrals were built in the wrong cities. That’s why the door to this one is not on the side facing the zocalo – since it’s actually the cathedral that was supposed to be in Mexico City, it doesn’t quite fit into the space!