To skirt seriously cold weather on our way back home we headed to Death Valley California. I?m so glad we did, the high desert landscape is gorgeous, we soaked our bones in natural hot springs, and visited China Ranch, a thriving date farm in a remote backwater oasis. The highlight came at Death Valley Junction, a lost but not forgotten ghost town.
I recognized the white bleached buildings of the Amargosa Opera House from an
Emmy winning documentary Amargosa about Marta Beckett. Marta, a classically trained New York ballerina and her husband landed in this dusty desert outpost in 1967. For 50 years she singlehandedly restored an abandoned social hall into her beloved theatre and stage. Painstakingly she hand painted all the astonishing murals on the walls and ceilings. Renaissance style paintings of the audience she imagined would come to see her plays. She wrote and performed her own works on stage often to an empty house, she persevered. Her husband left her, she persevered. When no one came to see her performances, she persevered. After a bit of notoriety from the press and packed houses she persevered until her last performance at the age of 86 in 2012. Marta passed in 2017 a creative passionate spirit until the end.
We were lucky to catch a fabulous Native American concert by Steve Rushingwind and view the interior of this amazing landmark. ( woodstove and all ) Thank you Marta Becket your legacy lives on.
She pushes her cart slowly
I hear the tinkling bells.
Sweet oranges, peanuts and spindly herbs is all she has to sell.
I reach into my pocket for peso’s hiding there
carefully select my purchase as if it’s made of gold.
Abuela thanks me kindly and continues down the road.
*Abuela / Grandmother
Lynne Oxman Wiedemann
April 29 2018
ONE MORE STORY. We found Franks childhood home, a large Munich apartment complex, freshly painted the original mustard yellow. The buildings are carefully maintained with lovely gardens, benches, and a pretty fountain where little children were splashing around. Frank wandered off with his memories while Sig and I chatted on a bench. The apartments are on Dachau Strasse, where he recalls running over a nearby hill with other children to play by the abandoned railroad tracks. Were these tracks the ones used to transport the Jews to their death? We speak the unspeakable and our hearts hurt. Thankfully the Holocaust will never be forgotten here. Schools ensure the children learn the truth about the Hitler era and the crimes of his regime against its innocent citizens. Todays Germany is prosperous, blending the old traditions while embracing modern new environmental technology. There is plenty of work for those that want it and therein lies the problem. Germany has welcomed many immigrants, some from countries that hate Israel and all Jews. Bubbling beneath the surface these tensions are creating an atmosphere for hate crimes. How Germany deals with this will show the world they are serious when they say ” Nie Wieder” “Never Again”.
Monday, October 27th
In Mexico, they celebrate Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos, one of the country’s most ancient and deep-rooted customs. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray and remember those who have passed. Families prepare the very best foods loved ones enjoyed in life. Share this fun Mexican (Halloween) tradition as Chef Lynne directs students in preparing two traditional dishes: chicken in a rich pipian sauce made with nuts and seeds and a delicious version of red mole with dumplings. We will feast on these offerings and toast with Mexican hot chocolate and Dead Man’s bread, or pan de muerto. Some hands-on preparation.
Toasting the seeds for the pipian
lighted candles on a grave on an island near Patzcuaro, celebrating with Mexico's ancestors
Frank and I traveled to Mexico in late October of this year. We love to experience the colorful culture, kind people, and delicious cuisine of Mexico any time of the year, but this trip had a specific purpose: to experience the famous “Dia de los Muertos”, or ‘Day of the Dead” celebration in Patzcuaro, Mexico.
Lovely scene above lago de Patzcauro.
The colonial city of Patzcuaro, Mexico sits high up in the mountains of the central western highlands. Ancestral home to the Purecepa tribe, direct descendants of the ancient Tarasca’s who believed death was a continuation of life and the dead could return each year to visit their loved ones.
A marigold bedecked arbor in Tzin Tzun Tzan.
I think I love this town because I love saying the name, TsinTzunTzan (pronounced, zin zun zan) it’s named after the sound hummingbirds make as they flit around. The town was completely decorated with thousands of marigolds in celebration of day of the dead.
No generic costumes here!
Typical cobblestone streets in our barrio.
Dance of The Old Men performed during the celebration.
Thousands and thousands of bright orange marigolds decorate the pueblos around Patzcuaro.
families gather to pray and talk among the graves.
We are having a Tamalada at De Leons Mexican Foods! Join us for a fun evening in this hands-on class learning to make homemade savory pork and sweet pineapple tamales. We will learn to prepare a quick and easy cooked tomato salsa and corn soufflé tamales that are muy delicioso! The De Leons crew will show us how they whip up their own corn masa and their delicious fillings for the tamales.
Instructors: Lynne Wiedemann from CookWithUs.com & Myra and the De Leons Crew
Class fee: $45.00 includes dinner, agua frescas, chips and salsa. (beer available)
Where: DeLeons 102 E. Francis
Time & Dates: 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Tues. October 22nd
Sorry, CLASSES ARE FULL FOR THIS WEEK! Stay tuned for more cooking classes coming soon.
Join Mike and me for our fun and informative Hatch Chile Cooking Class. We will learn to make three of New Mexico’s favorite dishes: chile verde, green chile enchiladas, and stuff green chiles with picadillo.
Serving Frank’s delicious homemade artisan green chile bread, chips and salsa, and agua fresca. Beer available.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Date: August 27th or August 28th. Class times are at 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Reserve your space now!
WHEN: Tomorrow June 19th at 5:30 WHERE: De Leons Mexican Foods, 102 E. Francis Ave. Spokane.
To register, go to “classes & events” at top of page. Click pay here, submit info to PayPal. Mike Gonzalez and I look forward to seeing you there!
and learn more about Lynne Wiedemann from cookwithus.com and Mike Gonzales, Former ABC News anchor and founder of the Hispanic Food Network, teaming up again to bring you Mexican Cooking classes at DeLeon’s Grocery in Spokane, Washington.
To sign up at cookwithus.com click on classes and events at the top of page. click on pay here, which takes you to PayPal for easy payment.
Visit, learn, and Sign up!!!
Frank and Lynne enjoyed the best Carne Asada in Manuelas Rustic Cafe in Arazola, Mexico
Everyone always asks me what my favorite Mexican restaurant is. So, I’ve set out on a journey to report my opinion on the Mexican food scene and discover the hidden gems of N. Idaho. My first foray is to the two highly recommended food trucks on the 500 block of Best Ave. Now I know I said Mexican but first I just had to try the sandwiches from the Best Sandwich Shack as they tout the best cheese steaks outside of Philadelphia. Being a Philly girl and a former owner of Franklins Hoagies I couldn’t resist the test. I ordered the Philly cheese steak, minus the mayo, and rushed home to share it with my other half. He’s a tough critic. We both loved it. Piled high with thinly sliced tender beef, melted white American cheese, with grilled onions and sweet peppers, it fairly melts in the mouth. The sandwich is moist not greasy, deliciously cheesy, and the roll is perfect; not too bready but chewy with a soft crust. The other offerings are chicken, Italian sausage, and grilled cheese. I appreciate that two people (family members) man the truck and the cook never has to make change or touch money. (Yucky!) It’s clean and well run. Most of the sandwiches cost about $8.00, a bit spendy but they are big, filling, and you get your moneys worth. Call in orders welcome. 625-0629 Hours: 11am to 8pm
I rate the Best Sandwich Shack 5 stars ***** out of 5.
Now for Mexican food from the bright orange Taco Works truck. We ordered three steak tacos on crispy shells and one soft shell shredded beef taco. You can’t beat the price, $1.50 each and they come stuffed with everything; crisp lettuce, shredded cheese, and pico de gayo salsa with a welcome touch of fragrant cilantro and chopped onion. The veggies are fresh, the meat has a tasty charred flavor, and the corn tortilla is good. The shredded beef soft taco is served on two grilled corn tortillas, just like they do in Mexico. The meat is tender and moist made perfectly spicy with the addition of their hot tomatillo salsa ( ask for it if you like extra heat) All menu items can be ordered as combo plates with Mexican rice and re-fried beans sprinkled with queso cotijo cheese. If you love burrito’s try one of the wet ones slathered in either a red enchilada sauce or a rich mole’ sauce. Really good! I haven’t tried the tamales, chile rellenos or the breakfast burritos, but I’ll be back for more for sure.
Call in orders welcome. 208-704-2091
Hours: 8am to 7:30pm Monday- Saturday, Sunday till 4pm
I rate Taco Works 5 stars***** out of 5 (so far)
Best Sandwich Shack