For years, Barcelona Tapas has been a creatively successful culinary and social scene on a quiet cobblestone backstreet in the tropical, seaside, destination of Puerto Vallarta. The vertical profile of the sun-bleached white building is distinctive with its open spaces – dining rooms on each ascending level.

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It is a extremely popular, hip and happening, dining venue which has recently had a spectacular face-lift that brings the structure and open-aired/interior environment up to par with the culinary delights.

Upon arrival, the familiar, welcoming doorway opens to softly lit aggregate stairs that sweep up each tier of the towering edifice.

A massive Cantera stone fountain babbles gently amidst tropical plantings and an iron grill-work is indirectly illuminated for a dramatic effect. An expansive patio all with honed stone tile floors begins the layers of available spaces.

Next an intimate open-aired dining area with an adjacent chef’s table and luminous, full-wall wine cooler beckons with an inviting aura. The intense red drama of a bullfight is rendered in a large painting on the rear wall – a suiting backdrop to the Spanish theme.

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Continuing the ascension, the delightful glossy black ironwork railing follows along and up the open-to-the-sky aggregate staircase turning past the last landing.  Ahead, the beautiful,  warm glow of the new dimensional ceiling treatment accented with wood and indirect lighting draws the eye upward.

Upon arrival on this rooftop dining platform, what was always an exciting view of the city lights, both in the foreground and circling the bay miles around to the north,  now expresses the new architectural features and finishes dazzling the eye.

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Effective lighting, recessed ceiling details, a new clear glass railing, and modern ceiling fans dangling like detached white nosecone propellers present a whole new, fresh, modern look. The drama and effectiveness of the lighting paired with the wonderful surround sound, coming from eight Bose wall-mounted speakers and 2 sub-woofers recessed into the ceiling, result in an atmosphere and music that are seductive and sensational.

But wait – there’s more!!! Yes, an additional rooftop dining patio is revealed upon discovering the hidden staircase at the far end of the bar. New furniture and a billowing fabric-draped portico are soon to arrive!

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This new space not only increases the seating capacity, but offers yet another  panoramic view and trendy design-themed open venue – expanding the options even more!

The project is Chef/Owner Bill Carballo’s passion.

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He has been at it for years creating deliciously original and traditional Spanish tapas (here his exquisie presentations have been half eaten in the rush to enjoy)

from the immaculate exhibition kitchen at the start of the long bar, with a fine-tuned staff eager to assist and cater to your every need.

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This enchanting transformation has attracted new discriminating, trend-setting clients and welcomed the return of  loyal fans to experience this exciting new and stylish interpretation of Barcelona Tapas.

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The doormen Luis and his affable sidekick are there to greet and assist!

Thank you gentlemen and Buenos Noches until next time!!!!

Oh the Faces! Spanish Market

November 27, 2016

The sky was grey and the air had a decidedly seasonal still-cool yesterday which called for a cozy indoor activity – offered this weekend in the handsome Hotel Albuquerque, host of the Winter Spanish Market. Yes, the decades old traditional Spanish Market held in Santa Fe outside around the Plaza, on warm summer days in July, has begun a new tradition in Albuquerque in the opposite season indoors. http://www.visitalbuquerque.org/abq365/events/detail/28th-Annual-Winter-Spanish-Market/31793/

The collection of world class artists’ booths beneath the enormous hand-tooled tin chandeliers suspended from the spacious ballroom sparkled with festive illumination and colorful creations.

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A variety of Mariachi bands played to the crowds as the curious and collectors wove in and out of the rows of talented exhibitors.

Fine tin-work, dyed and cut straw assemblies, weavings and jewelry presented an incredible variety of work. Fine crafted furniture and spectacular wall pieces were displayed by master carvers. It was a collection of world-class art and fine craft.

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Crazy interpretations of his beloved traditional retablos are Charlie Carillos commically contemporary interpretations of vintage cars with saints at the wheel. Humor that is received with mixed reviews. But his talent is undisputed. Here he entertains at his booth with his colorful delivery.

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By startling contrast, the rich warm colors and traditional reverence that Catherine Robles-Shaw displays in her incredible carvings and painting techniques, wonderful detail and soulfully expressive faces. Her rich hues are Old World in their sensitivity to tone on tone and dark earthen colors outlined and enhanced with ribbons of gold.

Daughter, Roxanne Shaw-Galindo, a respected santero in her own right has continued to carve her own niche in this exclusive world of bultos, retablos and other manner of fine carving and painting.

The mystic powders carefully sought and gathered from ancient land forms and mineral-rich geology diluted with water and even the precious red of the rare cochineal all contribute to the luminous, translucent colors that read so differently from other media.

And further contrast is Frank  L. Garcia with his primary colors of electric blue, yellow and  red shining off of his wood surfaces. Uplifting and extracting smiles from all who pass his booth.

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Oh the faces!! Each santero has his or her own style.  Like fingerprints, the santeros each have cultivated a unique “look” to their work and expressions of their subjects.  The eyes say so much. Mournful, cheerful, pensive or stony stares, the characters are exclusively their own. Despite the similarities bound by tradition, each artist presents a specifically unique style which conveys incredible personality. These signature expressions, as individual as fingerprints, represent so distinctly each  inimitable artist. Despite the similarities bound by tradition, the methods and materials, each shine with startling individuality!

Here santero Ruben Gallegos poses with Mary Anne Green an avid collector and fond owner of several of Gallegos’ work.

Lee Valdez hunches over his soon-to-be cross carefully carving the rope detail around the edges. Light pencil lines define the decoration that he follows with remarkable precision – and look – he is sporting two pair of glasses stacked atop one another – which he says works just fine.

Behind him displayed on the wall are several other crosses in all manner of carving and decorative woodwork. One piece in particular is a yellow pine cross that is riddled with dark cinnamon colored worm holes – splattered actually – creating a spectacularly natural design. And further marks of nature that Lee captures are a knot hole and adjacent burled wood that he places dead center in the intersection of the cross. The four end pieces are carved from a piece of butternut wood providing the perfect natural contrast to the yellow pine yet complimenting the dark flecks of the worm holes. Quite a find, in this amazing piece of wood he spied in a hardware store, and remarkable sensitivity to isolate and assemble the various pieces to create the whole.

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A striking woman caught my eye. Her thick curly black hair and handsome silver cross strung on a multi-strand necklace of turquoise made a big statement amidst all of the art and drama. Meet Vanessa Baca.

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As we visited briefly I learned that she is a fellow blogger and I am sure it was fate that we met as her foodinbooks.com is a wealth of observations centered around great books and fabulous food within described. She writes with great depth of description and observation AND she breaks it down and teaches you how to prepare that about what you have just read!

Sean Wells painting as we watched, represents her art in her own striking appearance. Dark hair whipped and twisted with a stylish flair and topped with screaming orange flowers.

Wells’ images are equally colorful, happy and festive. If not her fine retablos, You might recognize her Fanciful Day of the Dead wine bottles and famous, collectible Lottery Scratchers! Find her on Etsy!

It was an inspiring day of extraordinary art in a genre that is so historically and regionally rooted with original methods and patient execution paired with the artistic imaginative people who practice and study this fine work. Thanks so much Mary Ann for a rare treat!

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Today YOU can go see this final day of  the 28th Annual Spanish Market 2016! Get over there!

 

Resourcefulness in the Field

November 19, 2016

A bird in the hand or resourcefulness pays off – this is just a quick bit of designer humor for your Saturday morning. As I flew on an early bird flight to Phoenix for a couple of projects last week, I was sitting on the flight taking stock of what I wanted to accomplish, what was on the agenda and all the tools of the trade and accouterments and finish materials that I was taking with me. After feeling well prepared, I settled into the always enjoyable Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine.

Arriving in Phoenix was a climate change right off the bat as the outside air seeped into the jetway with a warm, welcoming temperature in the high 70s at that already early hour. As an aside just to continue the story, we had been alerted from the flight deck that there was a delay in the concourse and that we would be held at the gate until the disturbance was cleared. Sure enough, upon deplaning and entering the gate area, hundreds of people were jammed together facing to the right in anticipation of learning what was happening and hoping to soon be released. So I took my place among the hoards of travelers and occasionally stood on my tip-toes to see the TSA barrier of agents keeping us at bay.

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After nearly an hour we were herded to the adjacent gate and led single file out onto a mobile ramp staircase down to the tarmac and into buses which wheeled us to the D concourse where we could get to baggage claim and ground transportation. Half of the travelers making connecting flights were still held risking connections and trying patience.

Nobody was offering an explanation and when asked the response was merely that there was a security breach. Until one young SWA agent whispered to me that there was a suspicious package and that security was waiting for the dogs to investigate and until they arrived the package could not be touched. So that answered that.

Excitement over, I retrieved my bag full of engineered stone and laminate samples, paint fan decks and fabrics. Grateful that an earlier mishap at security required that I check my would-be carry-on rolling bag (which weighed a ton and would not have been fun to stow overhead) when I had forgotten about a lovely little jar of local Heidi’s Chile Raspberry jam that I was taking to my client as a hostess gift. Stopped and searched by TSA the agent kindly offered that I check my bag to save the jam – she escorted me out so that I could retrace my steps back down to the main level and check my bag.

At the SWA ticket counter I hoisted the bag onto the scales and began telling the agent about my return from TSA with my contraband and I began unzipping the bag. Clumsily juggling my purse and holding the jar of jam it flew from my hands dropping with a crash onto the brick floor and rolled away as she and I stood saucer-eyed with horror. Miracle of miracles it did not break – even crack- how that was possible, falling from that height onto a brick floor, we will never know. But it appeared after having been discovered and confiscated at security and surviving a fall from about 24 inches above a brick floor that it was destined to get to Phoenix.

As the time unfolded, we found ourselves in a meeting with the architect to do a plan review and some minor revisions prior to beginning construction. The place was demolished and debris was all about.

We found a table and spread the plans. As we began discussing the details, I realized  that with all my preparation that I had forgotten the roll of flimsy. I never travel without flimsy – trace – the roll of translucent paper that is the quick-study tool for sketching over plans. Dang.  So there we were and all of a sudden Felicia looks over a few feet away and spies a blue cardboard box covered with drywall dust. There sitting on a planter ledge in the elevator lobby of the third floor was a forgotten box of toilet seat liners!!!! Yes, how funny – she offered “won’t this work?” And we tore out a few sheets and began our work tracing options over the plans. Brian, the architect, will surly enjoy seeing himself here in today’s blog hard at work over his paper toilet seat cover!!!

We look forward to a fabulous interior for Dr. Farhan Taghizadeh’s new Arizona Facial Plastics office scheduled for completion in January!!!

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As we explored the hidden pockets at the Renwick Gallery (see last week’s blog) where upcoming exhibits were concealed by various obstructions and drapes, we made some interesting discoveries. We peeked behind a barrier where another exhibit was in the process of being installed. There we spied a variety of objet d’art and standing amidst, in the center of the disarray,  was what appeared to be a draped Grandfather’s Clock. My cousin who had previewed the show informed us that it was in fact the drape that is the art – it is not a drape – not fabric – but an exquisitely crafted art piece  of its own accord. P1150073 The ladders and other tools of the installation unintentionally supported the amazing trompe l’oiel effect. It was not a piece under cover at all – but the cover formed to suggest that there was a statuesque clock beneath it WAS the art!

At the opposite end of the staircase that we ascended is a rotund space dedicated to the history of the Renwick. 20160618_114404_resized Here we found the story. It is a story of passion for the arts, dedication to preserving and presenting, offering to the public these rare opportunities and during its life it has been confiscated and re-purposed for wartimes, protected by Jackie Kennedy and preserved under the official order of Lyndon Johnson that it be returned to its original purpose to be “Dedicated to Art” as a the unique exhibit space it was designed to be. 20160618_114310_resized

Read along the wall and you will learn about Powers’ Greek Slave 20160618_114122_resized and look up and you will be dazzled by a permanently exhibited Chihuly chandelier dangling with droplets of green glass that looks like it was dispensed from a frozen yogurt machine – soft and spiral, layers of iridescent and luminous forms.

The exterior is also fascinating to examine up close. It has whimsical and interesting details of relief and components, modern wave patterns all topped off by an unfortunately “tacky” sign beneath the upper pediment of the entry facade. P1150085 Oh well…

Please make the Renwick a must see when next in DC.

WONDER at the Renwick

June 19, 2016

At 4 years old my teeny cousin, Katherine whom I nicknamed Katie-belle, took my hand as we ventured forth with great discovery stepping down into the carport of our beach house. With commiserating whispers, like the two adventurers that we were that night, we exchanged queries about where we were headed and what we might find and she said ” I Wonder…”

“So what?” you might say. What’s such a big deal about that? Well the concept of wondering, being able to ponder with amazement at what might result, was astonishing to me coming from the mouth of such a young child.

When we returned upstairs to join the group, I was eager to share my amazement about her simple phrase, “I wonder.” I exclaimed  “She wonders!” Repeating it incredulously about 5 times!

Today she is a dedicated grown-up pursuing exciting adventures in education as she navigates the University system and teaches students with a creative approach that captivates and engages beyond their expectations.

What is wonder? What is wonderful? Yesterday I visited the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. . The current exhibit is called WONDER. P1150084It truly is a wonderment for all ages. This architecturally magnificent building designed in 1859 by James Renwick, in the then chic Parisian Second Empire Style, is the elegant backdrop for a most progressive and creative collection of present day modern artists’ works. Diverse examples, of spectacular displays using simple materials,  brought to life in forms unexpected – of grand proportion and thrilling magnitude. Although my learned and previewer cousin had introduced me to the exhibit in advance, it captivated and engaged beyond my expectations.

This grand yet intimate edifice welcomes and encourages close observation of both itself and its contents. The spectacular main staircase, centered upon entry, presents a brilliant coral red carpet installed with a curvy,  serpentine migration up to the second level. Ooh – if copying is cool and emulating is the greatest form of compliment – I will be looking for an opportunity to specify a similarly whimsical installation. P1150052

Glittering overhead, spanning the entire length of the staircase, is a rectangular chandelier of mirror-like stainless steel punctuated with little LED lights blinking in random patterns. P1150066 The glitz and bling make such a striking, formal, contemporary statement in this expansive volume that it startles with joyful contrast. The artist, Leo Villareal of whom I had heard in advance, was originally from Albuquerque – where we now call home. A remote desert origination transplanted into the fast pace of the urban centers of the east coast resulting in this shiny experimentation with light, form and wonderfully reflective surfaces. Villareal melds basic high-tech coding to use his own algorithm of the binary system 1s and 0s communicating to the lights when to turn off and turn on – yet sequences that are never exactly repeated .P1150064 It’s not just your linear code of characters that is read on a screen –  here it is an artistic experience shared by all who look up in this gallery’s exciting exhibit.

Straight ahead, through the massive opening to the next exhibit hall, was the wispy fishnet-like rainbow of woven warm-colored fiber representing both  wonder and danger. Artist Janet Echelman’s inspiration is from a map of the energy released across the Pacific Ocean during the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.  A natural disaster so devastating that it shifted the earth on its axis and cost us a fraction of a second in time. Surreal? Sci-fi? No, it really happened.  Beauty and grace depicting a horrific event. P1150063 Large scaffolding at the end of the room suggests the manual installation that was required to suspend this wondrous drape catching light and glowing with golden aura. P1150068

The lower level still had wonders to explore starting with the magical woven willow saplings – creations of artist Patrick Dougherty. He has wound these great lengths of supple branches to form Hobbit – like holes of imaginary forest habitats. P1150056 We were at once drawn into these cozy nurturing cubbies of what appeared to be nature – not forms created by man. Nature. Organic and raw, elegant and graceful winding toward the far reaches of the very high ceilings. Like a sculptor who says that the stone dictates what it wants to be and how he carves it – Dougherty knows that the long willow branches have a true will and bend their own way challenging him to work with them toward that goal of partnership with nature. The beauty is in the end result.  People of all ages wandered in and out, peeking through window-like openings pretending to be exploring an enchanted forest of wonder.

Next – stacked index cards- really? P1150061 Have you ever experienced Tent Rocks?  8-24-12 Placitas lunch, Tent Rocks Heather, Tricia, Zeke 044Have you ever looked upward and around and through the magnificent forms created by nature eroding the earth’s strata revealing layers of color and creating spires of rocky towers? It is a magic land just south of Cochiti in a very unexpected pocket of nature’s magnificence in our Land of Enchantment. And the spires that artist Tara Donovan created with stacks of index cards – an overwhelming accumulation of millions of index cards suggest grey spires replicating nature’s wonders in the canyons among the spires of the Tent Rocks. P1150062 It’s as though a photographer captured this natural formation in black and white.  Donovan’s interpretations are tones of grey as a result of the stacked white index cards with slivers of shadow sucking away light in between each of them. Clustered and staggering in height, the “Untitled” towers are inviting to walk amidst and pass between, winding around them like a  tourist or explorer or perhaps inhabitant in ages past and present as they have stood for ages.

Snap out of it and see what is glowing like a fine fiber sail in the sunset in the next room. Stretching upward and crossing midway are thousands of incredibly fine threads woven from small hooks on the base. P1150059How could a human working only by hand – without computer generated machines digitally fabricating such perfection create this finished piece that we are studying with such wonder? How can this fine tedious seemingly impossible count of thousands of threads be executed with such grandeur and grace by one mere mortal? gabriel-dawe-plexusa1-wonder-renwick-gallery-washington-designboom-03 The artist Gabriel Dawe transcends our ability to comprehend the exactness of his beautiful accomplishment with extraordinary patience, precision and creative foresight to imagine the end result and bring it to fruition.  It is a wondrous, luminous sculpture of rainbow colored threads inspired by the skies of his native Mexico and current home in East Texas. The fine weavings also inspired by his Mexican heritage are interpreted, stretched and exaggerated here reflecting the light and spectrum of color from its base to ceiling. P1150060

We missed a couple of early installations of WONDER but were thrilled by today’s adventure. We had many opportunities to wonder…wonder how the artists conceive of their fantastic ideas and actually build their dreams to share with the world. We wondered what it takes to spark that creativity and passion that requires commitment and demands such unfailing determination. We wondered about those who collect these talents and curate these exhibits for the joy of so many. We wondered about the practical side of marketing these concepts to support the artists and this amazing  accommodation started so many years ago by a true visionary William W. Corcoran.

My next blog will trace the history of this wonderful architectural treasure, the Renwick, and share more of the day’s discoveries that you might visit and experience as you tour my birthplace – our Nation’s Capital.

 

 

 

How can I say that I am too busy to write this week? As Saturday approaches,  I realize that I have not stopped long enough to focus on any one thing, of the many that are bombarding me from all angles, about which I might formulate a theme for my story. I have to apologize, for once again, missing my Saturday deadline and hope that this was worth the wait!

Oh, to be so entertained by an onslaught of inspirational design elements as I have seen in the past few days only. And yet not only design – there was more. So I would like to start with an insert about Saturday as I (instead of writing my blog) took one last kayak cruise of the year.

A few people had gathered at the edge of the sand, pointing and remarking that they thought they had seen a whale. I looked in that direction and noticed that a few boats had gathered – often a sign that whales are spotted. I quickly pushed off in my single kayak through the gentle surf out onto the beautiful Banderas Bay and experienced for the first time whales from that most intimate vantage point. Up close and personal, it was thrilling to say the least. The beach was crowded with onlookers oohing and ahhing as they blew mists of water into the air and rose up from and back down, under the bay’s glistening surface. I paddled out and maintained a safe distance, but close enough to hear and feel the graceful power. Hump-backed and for which they are aptly named, the dark, sleek black bodies of the mother and calf were magnificent as they broke the surface and greeted the encircling boats full of eager spectators wanting to catch the show. And a show it was as the mama rolled onto her side and raised her unbelievably long, towering fin to slap the water sending spray high into the air. She slapped again and everyone thought that once was a rush and two was a treat and three and then four and I lost count at 30 times she slapped the water as though to say – “You want a show? I’ll give you a show!” She must have known that it was too dangerous to breach at that point, for a grand finale, as the close proximity of boats could have had deadly results. And I was right on the water with them. Unforgettable. The pity is that I was without camera and have only the memory of this life affirming event . An event that was awesome and outrageous and yet brought a surreal, serene sense of calm, peace and palpable, tingling joy. Friends on the beach greeted me upon my return in awe of what they had witnessed and welcoming me warmly, with enthusiasm, over my good fortune to have been out there for such an amazing display.

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This photo taken a week earlier – a bit choppier seas, with Tricia in the single and I with Victoria in the double, sets the scene of the Bay surrounded by the Sierra Madre range.

Now, having shared that incredible experience, I have decided to focus on one of the many design inspirations that I have encountered this week, but I hope you will visit our PATRICIAN DESIGN facebook page to see the collage of colorful art and texture that I have compiled to represent the many images that I have seen and offer to further stimulate your imagination.

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My focus at this seaside gallery of  delights today, as we  bring to a close a magical month,  is a collection of precious little figures made from synthetic foam, wood and steel. These humble little animations represent three shared events, a group hug, the “wave” at a stadium event and a gathering for solemn prayer lead by a figure of distinction – the one in the red scarf.

 

The spirit of collective participation is conveyed. The spirit of humble expression is conveyed. They present a sense of simplicity of some of life’s joyful moments. These simple figures are happy and content. They are intriguing and relaxing to study from many angles.

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Form and movement, color and  texture the Spirits of Joy by Federico Leon de la Vega are a wonderful representation of life’s simplest and most basic moments of sharing joy. To see art in such a distillation, such a unpretentious media, execution of mechanics and form is true pleasure. It is not overwhelming or startling, it is not outrageous or provoking – it is moving and modest.

I hope that they bring a sense of joy to the start of your week and create an indelible memory to which you can return in your quiet thoughts to bring you peace and joy.

 

To experience this glorious morning, on the open patio of a tiny commercial kitchen, in an otherwise residential neighborhood paralleling the river Cuale, in the very foodie coastal city of  Puerto Vallarta, is a treat beyond measure—but I will try to share. I will attempt to take you to this special place full of unselfconscious art and function.

The cobblestone streets are dusty and send fine particulates of powder into the atmosphere causing a fairy-dust-like twinkle in the bright morning light. We bump along in a taxi turning and curving along the circuitous route that surely would lead most to believe what they say—that “this place is so hard to find, it has to be good!!!”

The front is shut and  obviously closed for  business. The taxi driver brings this to our attention, “is closed” he says simply— assuming that he will be continuing along the bumpy calle along the rio back to the bustling scene of the awakening city and return us to our point of earlier departure. PA15821103517

“No,” we tell him “we’re taking a cooking class” “leciones en la cocina” we attempt to convey and with that he beams a broad smile and says “really?” and stops the cab along the wrong side against the opposing traffic on the little street in front of the café.

We notice Lola peeking through the door at us as she unlatches the locks motioning us through and welcoming us as we enter the quiet little checkerboard floored dining room. 20140125_204143At night this place buzzes with animated conversations and is alive with color and funky memorabilia, art and posters, collages of collectibles all on brilliantly painted walls creating an eclectic artistic interior of fun and festivity. But on this morning, the room is dormant save the three other guests waiting to participate in the morning’s class.

After brief introductions we are escorted through a doorway to a narrow concrete staircase. PVR 2011 after girls 1 050 Red Cabbage stairsDaylight streams from above and we ascend past more brilliantly painted walls to a second floor open to the sky onto a patio rimmed with potted herbs and flowering plants. P1120475 To the right we realize that the rest of the space is undercover, yet always exposed to the elements from that one open east-facing orientation.

Inasmuch as I love cooking and eating and all things related to culinary pleasures, this is not the focus of this story, but rather, it is to describe this artfully inspired space and all the raw style and primitive grace we encounter in this wonderfully entertaining class of good and indigenous fresh foods and their fabulous flavors.

The space is charming and intimate and spotless. The colors are screaming from every direction including  a whimsical pink door surround seen over the wall of the patio. P1120522 The surrounding area is quite run-down and depressed, yet this jewel of a creative kitchen space shines boldly amidst the  impoverished surrounds. P1120524

The sky is perfect blue and sharply contrasts against the wavy pink paints dividing between pale and happy bubble gum of the stucco wall. A functioning drain-pipe of clean white PVC bisects the wall beneath which is a profusely blooming rose-colored azalea in a clay pot. P1120523

Panning into the covered portion of the space, the radiant coral color wall wraps to the back and transitions with gracefully wavy detail to a paint remarkably resembling the sky blue—of the actual sky—that we encountered out front which slams into a dazzling yellow-gold wall half painted and half tiled with the same luminous yellow color. And I have only described the backdrop!

 

Against these boldly painted and tiled walls are layers of other things that add even more dimension and interest to the kitchen. Blue and white tableware, glazed clay vessels, and a mysteriously faded poster of Frida Kahlo. More of the sky-like blue is hanging in the form of various sized and shaped enamel cooking pots on the coral wall.

 

The crisp white aprons of the two chefs pop against the background of multi-colors branded with the embroidered red and black logo of Frida with a red cabbage balanced atop her head. P1120487

It seems from the murmurs coming from the eager students that this enchanting environment represents the promise of a flavorful feast of color and texture. The food matches the interior. The stuffing for the dark rich green roasted poblano peppers is a colorful collection of shredded carrots, red cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts creating a seemingly woven fabric of colors and texture. P1120491

 

The finished product, Chiles en Nogada, represents the Mexican flag of red green and white. Plated here on red glass for an artful presentation. P1120518

Myriad handmade condiment dishes and traditional serving pieces contribute to the collection of color we are experiencing in this spectacular sensory bombardment. And I mean that in a really good way. The intensity of the colors and layering, the structure and accessories right down to the food and its presentation results in an artistic expression that goes way beyond the sterile experience often connected with the laboratory of a commercial cooking experience.

 

So we say—why be status quo when you can be individually fabulous, cooking and creating in an unconventional environment that reflects the animation and joy of the flavors that comprise the artful meals?! Thank you Lola for imagining and realizing the Red Cabbage and bringing so many artful, entertaining years and delicious meals to the community of fortunate residents and happy visitors—happy that they were able to find the place!P1120530