Postcard from Mexico City: Crazy about dogs

A decade or so ago, most dogs one would see in Mexico were barking rooftop guard dogs or skulking strays. In Mexico City, as in the United States, dogs have moved from that earlier working role to assume positions as cherished members of the household.

Crosswalks don’t feature adults holding children by the hand but show man walking his best friend. People appear to select their dining destinations by seeking the most pet-friendly patios.

Pet pampering is prevalent. As is school. Dog walkers and trainers fill the sidewalks of Parque Mexico in the Condesa neighborhood with their charges. Their canine pupils are required to abide by a strict honor code. Leashes lie on the ground as the dogs fail to break rank by leaping up to chase after even the sassiest of dogs parading by.

The lofty position of dogs actually is rooted deeply in Mexico’s past. The primary proof of this is the xoloitzcuintli, the ancient breed of dog known as Mexican hairless and often referred to as xolos. Clay figures of them were found in ancient tombs of Mayans, Toltecs and Aztecs where they were placed to fulfill their sacred duties of navigating their masters through the threats posed in the treacherous underworld. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were fond of xolos, and the grounds of the former hacienda of Dolores Olmedo still serve as a breeding preserve for numerous prized xolos who seem eager to socialize with a statue of one.

We think one would have to get to know a xolo well to fall in love with one….

Divorciados Even on a 500-Peso Note

¡Ay, Frida! 

While I split you and Diego in two on the Fritos and the broken-hearted egg, at least I left you on the same side of the paper.  Even enchiladas divorciadas share the same plate.  

But the Mexican government now has you and Diego residing on flip sides of the paper.  Your old friend Trotsky would be quite shocked to see you both there, sternly staring back from opposite sides of Banco de Mexico’s 500-peso note.

Perhaps, through careful origami folds, you can be discreetly reunited in the pockets and wallets of millions throughout the country.

If Julian can hang in the powder room, then I am proud to do so

Okay, friends, before you start dismissing my prints as “potty art”….

A number of years ago, we were gifted two small sketches by noted San Antonio painter Julian Onderdonk, 1882-1922.  We live in a loft, but these little sketches need to be viewed close up in an intimate setting.  That’s why they hang in the powder room where they are seen as frequently as our art of more humble pedigree, as most guests wind up in that room at some point.

Two series of my prints occupy two entire rooms in Zinc Champagne. Spirits. Wine. at 207 North Presa Street.  The Blue Book Series is found in what is now known as the Bawdy Blue Room, while the Frida y Diego Series resides in La Galería de Frida. 

Alright, I admit it.  The “two entire rooms” are hardly traditional, soaring gallery spaces.  They are multipurpose facilities.  You can enter them to view the art privately, with the added convenience of relieving yourself and washing your hands. 

Zinc is owned by the “Boudro Boys,” Richard Higbie and Randy Mathews.  The restaurant business takes nerves of steel, and Randy’s therapy lies in metalwork.  While I am sure he would like to exhibit his sculpture in the prestigious Bawdy Blue Room or La Galería de Frida, his artwork is simply too large in scale.  His pieces are forced out into the courtyard.

While you probably are ready to zip over to Zinc immediately to see my prints, there are additional reasons to go.  Click here to view Zinc’s menu, and the following is from an earlier post exploring some of San Antonio’s food offerings:   

The name immediately lets you know the beverage side of the menu is well-stocked; yet the bartenders do not complain about making something off-menu – such as what I have christened a “tequito,” a mojito with tequila instead of rum.  Zinc is open during the week for lunch, but seems to be trying to keep that secret.  Pears, goat cheese and pecans perk up a small Zinc salad, and the portobello patty melt with spinach, nopalitos and cheese is hearty fare.  The sweet potato fries arriving on the same plate keep me from exploring the menu much farther, despite the high praise friends lavish on the Texas salmon salad with pearl couscous.

So drink at Zinc until you think about that artwork conveniently hung by the bathroom sink.