Popularity Contest Results

new year's 1912

Above, 1912 New Year’s card from Chapter Seventeen of An Ostrich-Plumed Hat

You have been judging my posts, as always, for the past six months, picking and choosing whatever piques your interest. For several years, the focus here has been on travel, relying on extensive use of photographs. Well, 2020 certainly cut short this blogger’s boulevardier ways, so, instead, I have “gifted” you with my novel about the sensational 19teens’ tale of the doomed relationship of Hedda Burgemeister and Otto Koehler. More than thirty chapters of An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and, Yes, She Shot Him Dead are now posted on this site.

an ostrich-plumed hat

The good news is that more of you have clicked on the Introduction and Chapter One than any other post since July. The flip side is less flattering; there was a steep drop off in readership by Chapter Two. Numerous chapters ranked in the top dozen of this biannual roundup, but, for the sake of variety and not to encourage skipping around in the book the way I read Moby Dick in high school – every fifth chapter (Did I miss much?), I am omitting them from the list. Am hoping for some more feedback from you, my beta readers, as this release continues.

Beyond that, you seem to still appreciate my efforts at populating Brackenridge Park with ghosts, railing about whatever in the world is happening to Alamo Plaza and spinning tales from vagabond times. And perhaps you are looking for miracles ahead in 2021.

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Postcard from Merida, Mexico: Sampling more traditional dishes of the Yucatan

Above, Mural by Jacobo Roa at El Catrin 47

Sopa de limon loaded with a mountain of shredded chicken; slow-cooked suckling pig flavored with sour orange, chiles and achiote – cochinita pibil; and panuchos, fried tortillas filled with black beans and topped with shredded turkey, are among the well-known traditional dishes commonly found throughout Merida. Most places offer multiple salsas. Even if you are from Texas, you need to respect them before ladling them onto your food. They range from mild to fiery habanero hot.

The stands at the markets and the stalls that pop up on the Plaza Grande on Sundays definitely are the bargain propositions for sampling these. Delivery is fast and efficient, and the food is made the way natives like it. Chefs always rave about the authenticity at the family-run El Manjar Blanco, particularly the cochinita pibil, which we found flavorful.

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Postcard from Merida, Mexico: A trio of restaurants for dining well

Above: Micaela Mar y Lena crudo de atun

Grilled seafood is the specialty at Cocina de Mar y Lena, a contemporary restaurant that seems a magnet for an upscale crowd of fashionable Mexicans arriving by the Uber-full, at least they were pre-COVID. The grilled shrimp and octopus were wonderful, and the refreshing raw tuna (above) just melted in your mouth.

Chef Sara Maria Arnaud Gomez combines the flavors of Oaxaca with those of the Yucatan at Apoala on the prime people-watching park of Santa Lucia. From ceviche and fried zucchini blossoms to dessert, everything was beautifully plated. Loved their mezcal mule cocktails with a smoky charred chunk of caramelized honeycomb riding atop the rim.

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