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Every year it is my goal to visit one place I’ve never been. This year it was Mexico City. I’ll start by saying that Mexico is a very poor country. It has beautiful areas for sure, and amazing art, food, and history, but the life of a tourist in Mexico and the life of an actual Mexican is markedly different I believe. The good life is relatively cheap for a visitor, but not necessarily for the people who call Mexico home. This was my impression. Whenever I went somewhere upscale, it was mostly English that I heard. Moi does not go on vacation to rough it, so I want to say that I don’t think I had a proper Mexican experience by any means… but I did have a good one.

Lots of things in Mexico City are very inexpensive compared to the states. For one, Uber is SUUUUUUPER cheap. From the airport to my hotel it cost about $5! The same was true of almost every other ride I took. I didn’t have to worry about public transportation, because at those prices, getting around Mexico City was very hassle free and inexpensive.

Also cheap: Churros. I think out of the 5 days I was in Mexico City, I went to Chuerria El Moro three times. As far as sweet things go, that was my favorite thing I ate. I ordered mine “con canelle“ (with cinnamon). The portion is muy grande. What can I tell you dears? I need the super size portion to match my increasingly fat ass. It’s all about balance. I went to the one closest to my hotel, which is the original, dating back to 1935. Supposedly they are open 24 hours. I tested this, as any intrepid traveller would. Moi tried to get her fix around 6 one morning before hunting for street art, but the doors were locked. Piggy snout pressed against the cold glass, I was forced to return a couple hours later … but return I did. Kind of like a crack addict. Did you know studies show that sugar is more addictive than cocaine? I shit you not.

My hotel was completely fabulous. I stayed in the Historic District at a place called Downtown. It’s a lovely boutique hotel with several restaurants and fancy gift shops centered around a gorgeous open courtyard. My room was minimal with double height ceilings and old world features that went back to the 17th century from when it was originally known as the Palace of the Miravalle. I can’t recommend Downtown enough. The location was great, the rooms and the hotel are stunning, and the free breakfast … like I said, I’m looking very meaty at the moment.

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Frida Kahlo Museum: This was the main reason I wanted to come to Mexico (aside from churros). I wanted to see where my favorite human lived, painted, loved, and died. It was the highlight of my adventure. I loved walking through the same gardens that Frida was photographed in time and time again, but it’s more than that. There is something so intimate about walking through her home, seeing the studio she painted in, the bed that she lay in (it had a mirror affixed to the top so that she could paint self portraits), and her final resting place: an urn in her bedroom. The Casa Azul is a beautiful, colorful, yet elegant home in a lovely region of the city known as Coyocan. Being in her home, imagining her moving through it, entertaining in her dining room, and playing with her animals in her garden… it was just so special to me. I can see why she loved Mexico so much. If I lived at Casa Azul I’d be hard pressed to leave it too. It’s clear why she found New York so dreary coming from a place like this (although she obviously had not had the clafoutis at Le Coucou). There were some beautiful art works of hers on display too, some of which I have not seen before. The experience of being where Frida walked, of touching the structures that she may have touched, it was kind of magical for me.

Later I would go to the Mexican Museum of Modern art just to see what I consider one of her most poignant works: The Two Fridas. Standing right in front of it, I felt so much emotion, I almost cried. That work says so much to me. It’s the Frida who is her true soul’s self (holding a locket of her husband Diego) trying to comfort her second self, the wife, as her heart hemorrhages. Every woman who has ever loved a man, I think, even if she couldn’t put the words to paper, would look at that painting and totally get it. It’s amazing how I’ve seen so many photos of it, yet standing in front of the real thing was such a different experience. It had the power to move me like no photograph could.

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Ballet Folklorico: In the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes, every Wednesday and Saturday there is a wonderful performance by the Ballet Folklorico. It typifies what you imagine when you think of Mexico: lots of color, fun, and tons of good energy.  Watching the traditional singing and dancing will definitely make you smile. If you are visiting Mexico City, especially if this is your first time, you must go. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but it was pretty freaking spectacular!

But you guys know the main reason I travel. It’s really all about the food for me. I didn’t ONLY eat churros. No, one only needs to see the way my jeans are bursting at the seams to figure that one out. There was much eating going on. MUCH.

Of all my foodie excursions, I was most excited about dining at Pujol after seeing it on NetFlix’s Chef’s Table. I just HAD to go. Even a month in advance, however, I could not get a table. There were no reservations available online, but after writing them an email, they kindly made room for little piggy Caroline. This was my first experience with a tasting menu. It was wonderful to enjoy so many little bits of deliciousness, and so many layers upon layers of coordinating flavors. It was quite a production, almost theatrical, and surprisingly lengthy, but I enjoyed every bit. This was undoubtedly the biggest extravagance of my trip. I think it cost about $160 USD, but as Pujol is considered one of the highest ranking restaurants in the world,  I feel I got a bargain — well, that’s how I justify it anyway. Let’s just face it, I don’t do dollar menus. Life is too short. Next thing you know I’ll be eating Chef Boyardee out of can — quelle horreur!!

By the way, I want to mention that I was not the only woman eating alone here. I spied at least two other female solo diners. I thought this was so cool. Nod to my sistahs who aren’t afraid to get their chow on all by themselves (I absolutely hate how women eating alone in fine restaurants is so stigmatized! Dismember the patriarchy dollies, one taco at a time!!!).

The highlights of my meal included the “street corn”  –presented in a smoke filled pumpkin– which actually had crushed ants on it (!), and the 1,874 day old Madre mole sauce. If you want to know more about the extravaganza, because it’s honestly quite fascinating and complex, check out Season 2 Episode 4 of Chef’s Table. Otherwise, here are some pictures:

Contramar was another fabulous restaurant I visited. This trendy and upscale seafood restaurant is the place to go for a  fishy feast. I had their house special, Pescado Contramar, which is basically grilled snapper with red and green sauces. It was so spectacularly fresh! This was followed a fabulous fig tart. But the thing I loved most were the tuna tostadas. They may have been my favorite thing I ate while in Mexico.

Another thing I’d totally recommend is the street food tour given by Club Tengo Hombre. Street food is very popular in Mexico City, but as a tourist only familiar with our American verision of Mexican food, I’d walk past the stalls and have no idea what I was looking at. It was actually quite intimidating. It was wonderful going with someone who took us to the best of the best, guiding us through the labyrinth. We made lots of stops which included two markets. My favorite morsel was our last stop at Taqueria Los Cocuyos where I tried a tongue taco. Simply awesome!

Well, I now have my first Latin American stamp in my passport, and I’m looking forward to more. Mexico was a wonderful adventure. I want to end this by mentioning that before going I had people warn me I’d get sick from the food/ water (no such thing happened).  I was also warned that Mexico City is dangerous (I experienced nothing of the sort). If you have any of those fears, put them aside. The only thing I can remember is some guy telling me that our president was an asshole. “Yeah, I’m sorry, I know,” I replied. He asked me for money. I gave him some change. We are lucky they don’t build a wall to keep US out.

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Yes it’s been a long time since I wrote, sometimes I’m too busy living life to write about it (sometimes). For the most part life has been pretty good. Here are some of the things that have put a smile on my face since my last post:

My visit with Crazy Kat. About a month ago the lovely CK came to visit me from Portland. I had the best time. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you miss a person until they are around. CK is the best! She is one of my life’s greatest blessings, and a true friend. She is nothing short of a sister to me. I had the most wonderful time with her, chatting, going for walks around Miami, eating good food, and dipping our feet at the pool at the beautiful Biltmore Hotel. I also finally got to meet Blue Eyes. They guy is absolutely lovely.  I love seeing those two together. Despite their trials, the love they have between them is so obvious — it makes me feel inspired. Anyways, it was a wonderful few days. I hope I can convince them both to come visit more often, and I definitely need to get my fat ass over to Oregon.

Below are a few snaps from our time together:

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Crazy Kat and I spent hours, dipping out feet in this glorious pool. We chatted about everything and nothing.
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Where Vizcaya overlooks Biscayne Bay.
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My first afternoon tea since leaving the UK, inside the beautiful lobby of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
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The world’s most incredible key lime pie at The Dutch, inside the W Hotel in South Beach, Miami.

Lobstah sushi: Okay,  so I never thought I’d ever like sushi. I never hated it, but I just could never get into it, and then Tito introduced me to the deliciousness known as lobster sushi. Now the stuff haunts my foodie fantasies. The one he got me was topped with spicy mayonnaise. Mmmm… spicy mayo. Someone at Chanel needs to invent Spicy Mayo No 5 so I can douse it all over me and attract me a man. Who, I ask, would be able to resist me then? I would be freaking unstoppable. They would be stopping on their tracks like a deer in headlights, confounded by my mysterious allure.

My ex. So I am no longer going to refer to my ex as Dr ManWhore anymore, because I don’t see him in that light these days. All is forgiven. Truly. Yeah he did some really bad stuff, but I’m so over it. I think I’m just going to call him Doctor P from this point forward. Recently I got upset over something, and the way that Doctor P patiently listened to me and gave me kind advice meant the world to me. I know he has my back, and genuinely wants my happiness. Who would have guessed that someone who hurt me so badly could be so dramatically redeemed? I love our friendship. I think we are so much better friends than we were husband and wife. Divorce has no winners, but in some strange sort of way I do feel like I won, because I got to keep what meant the most to me from our 18 year romance: a true friend.

Scarface: My favorite TV series ever was The Sopranos. So how I never saw Scarface is a bit of a mystery. I saw it yesterday for the first time. Freaking epic. That is going to go in my top 3 for best movies of all time. It makes me want to be all gangsta and shit. That Tony Montana was a badass mutha fuka. If he was alive I think I’d invite him to afternoon tea. We would drink lapsang souchong from bone china served with delicate cookies powdered in sugar and crack. At that point I  seduce him in a most unladylike fashion, him AND his super hot friend Manny. Manny was some absolutely smokin’ piece of man candy. Caroline gots the hunger for Cuban sandwich right about now *licks lips.* Oh dear, was that vulgar?

This is going to be my theme song for the next few weeks.

Tito. So who is this Tito guy I mentioned? He may not be Tony Montana, but Tito is kinda a badass mutha fuka too.  I don’t have secrets from you guys, but all will be revealed in time. I met him on Match. This thing started off slow, erupted into a bit of a bonfire, and then experienced quite a hiccup which made me feel somewhat unsettled, so I don’t want to say too much just yet. Maybe we will just end up being friends, but lawd, I am greedy. I want more. What I will reveal at the moment is that Tito is completely lovely. He is smart, kind, and I am attracted to him. We spend hours a day texting and talking. I adore his company. We share secrets and common interests (though our personalities are very different), and we have had a couple fun little adventures thus far. I definitely have feelings for him. Definitely. I think it’s mutual (most of the time), but that hiccup left me with some doubts. Well, one thing I do know is that the Universe has my back, so no matter what happens, I need to trust that life is unfolding in a way which will allow my greatest good. I need to be patient, to be still, to trust… and douse myself liberally in spicy mayo so that Tito is helpless to my charms.

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In all honesty my Washington DC trip didn’t get off to the greatest start. I misread my flight time, and my hotel reservation got completely messed up — they overbooked and put me in a place that I really didn’t like at all — a place that reminded me of an old age home. I was not amused, not even a teeny.  This unfortunate error had a very fortunate result, however. After my little hissy fit on their customer service line, Hotels.com put me up at the Fairmont Hotel in Georgetown. I have always wanted to stay at a Fairmont hotel, but these days it is not in my price range. It’s basically a $500 a night hotel that I got to stay at at my original hotel’s rate (which is about a third of the cost). Can I just tell you, the Fairmont is gooooood. Totally plush, big rooms, amazing shower, awesome toiletries — I loved the Le Labo 31 rose scented goodies. (As an aside, don’t you think fab toiletries make traveling so much more fun?!?! It should be absolutely de rigueur.) I didn’t get to my room till 2am, and I was cranky, but I was cranky in a very luxurious bathrobe and I have to say, I did smell pretty awesome. I slathered that rosey goodness all over my disgruntled self, and it did work a bit of magic. In the morning, it felt so nice to wake up in that gorgeous bed. I felt like a queen. I did good. 

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As I was staying in Georgetown, I spent that first day exploring the area. Georgetown is basically a really sweet place for shopping.  Very picturesque. There are lots of cute little stores, darling homes, and food treats. Imagine my surprise to even come across a Dean & Deluca there. I didn’t really buy anything. I just enjoyed strolling around, putting an occasional souvenir in my belly, and photographing some pretty blooms. After the previous night I wasn’t really in the mood for anything else. Moi was tired.

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I think it could be fun living in one of these, don’t you?

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Baklava donut… eat one.

Now I should probably mention that I abhor politics and am not very interested in American history. I certainly didn’t visit D.C. to see that geriatric Cheeto who has become our president *quelle horreur*! So why did I chose to go? Well, it is our nation’s capitol, but more than that, there are actually two reasons: Cherry Blossom Festival and the Smithsonian. I did see many beautiful and robust cherry blossom trees, but I gather that they are usually much more abundant than they were this year. There was a big cold snap that killed off a lot of the blooms. This didn’t really dampen anything for me though. I wouldn’t have known that though if I was not told. I also had no previous experiences to  compare it to.  As an added bonus, I also got to see fireworks display marking the end of the season. That was fun. I do adore fireworks.

Yeah, I was there for the cherry blossoms and to see some art. There was an exhibit I really wanted to go to: Yoyoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors. I am totally fascinated by her and her work. I witnessed one of her pieces in Arizona and I was kind of blown away. Unfortunately, I was not able to score tickets. It is not that it was expensive, it was free actually. It’s just that it was sort of a lottery. If you couldn’t get online tickets (which I couldn’t) you had to wait on a line. I got there a half hour before the exhibit opened and the line was batshit. I asked the woman at the front how long she had been there. Her reply? 5 AM! WTF?!? You would think it was the second coming of Jesus. No, sorry. That’s just dumb.

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It may not look like much, but standing in one of those rooms is an amazing experience. The rooms feel like they have no end and no beginning, and the lights give it a very ethereal quality. I know the exhibition is going somewhere else after DC, perhaps I will make a trip. Kusama’s infinity rooms are so unique and otherworldly.

I did however, get to see her Pumpkin sculpture which was sitting outside the museum. Not as impressive, but still kind of cool in it’s own right.

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Another cool sculpture I found was a Robert India piece. I seem to be collecting photos of these wherever I go. I have two from NY, one from AZ,  and one from New Orleans. I know somewhere there is one in Miami. Got to add that one to my collection.

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I saw loads of art, not to mention Julia Child’s kitchen! The best thing I saw, however was this piece by Wayne Thiebaud, one of my favorite artists, featuring one of my very favorite subjects: cake. When I got my first computer, many years ago, this was the wallpaper. Seeing it in person was very special for me. How delicious it was to see it in it’s full sized glory with it’s deeply rich texture.

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A closer look. Are you feeling this or what?

Speaking of delicious, let’s talk food, shall we? I ate at a couple of really nice places while in D.C., but I won’t bore you with all the details. There was one standout, and it was truly one of the most savory delicious things I ever put in my mouth. That, my dears, was the positively succulent, melt-in-the-mouth lamb ribs at a place called Tail Up Goat. Oh. My. God. Total and complete mouthgasm. I am not sure how to describe this for you. The meat was meltingly tender and savory, but it is also accompanied by touches of sweet fig and the brightness of yogurt and grilled lemon. Want to go to DC? Go for this:

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My honest impression of DC. I liked it, and I’m glad I went, but now that I’ve been there, it’s out of my system, and I don’t feel that I’ll have the urge to revisit.  When it was time to go, I was ready to go. The place just doesn’t have the siren’s call for me in the way that New York or New Orleans does. For me it was more of a “been there, done that” sort of a place. If you go, I highly recommend going when I did, towards the end of Cherry Blossom Festival. The weather was perfection and the blooms were out. I saw great art, I stayed at a fabulous hotel. But best of all, I ate those lamb ribs. I recommend you do the same.

Okay, so so far unemployment hasn’t been that bad. In fact, its been kind of awesome. There I was on a Friday, lying on the marble steps of the hammam at The Standard Spa / Hotel in Miami Beach.  It was ever so warm. Tranquil music played almost imperceptibly in the background. I felt happy. Truly happy. A thought occurred to me, “Hey, I could be at work right now!” The loan contracts, the phosphorescent lighting… *shudder.* It occurred to me how lovely it would be to send a little selfie of myself luxuriating in my retro styled swimsuit to my boss B … alas, I did not have her number (we weren’t besties, go figure). I could see the picture and the caption in my mind’s eye, it would be me with a big toothpaste commercial worthy smile, and underneath it would say, “Miami Bitch.” Oh dear, I do think the diva inside me got out of her cage.

After coming back from NYC (posts to follow), I was feeling a little worse for wear. I had a bad cold. My skin was almost “burnt” from the freezing cold weather, and I just wasn’t feeling to good about myself after eating about 25% of the city’s food supply. Birdy decided he would take me to the Standard for a day of relaxation — he is so awesome, please God, if I have ever done a good deed in my life, let me keep him.

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I tried the steam room for the first time in my life. Except for the fact that it turned my lovingly straightened hair into an afro, I think I fell just the teensiest bit in love. I positively adored the almost (but not) oppressive wet heat. It did wonders for my chapped skin, not to mention that it felt amazing. We sat by the pool. We rested in a hammock together. We ate a giant late lunch which consisted of mini burgers, chicken wings, burrata, and guacamole — somehow I always find the least healthy options (even at the spa), what can I say? It’s a gift. The whole time we were in our bathrobes. It was freaking awesome.

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We slept over in one of the rooms. Did we go all the way? I’m going to leave you guessing on that one. All I will say is that I’m not sure if Birdy has the kind of deep feelings for me that I wish he did. I am just pinching myself, telling myself to stop worrying and just enjoy the moment. I am always overthinking these things. I need to learn to stop that.

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Breakfast on the water. Life is good.
Speaking of enjoying the moment, I did something that would make Dr ManWhore die on the spot. I went on a motorcycle! I hate motorcycles. Well, I thought I did. That was until I did the unthinkable. Birdy put on my helmet, I got behind him, and at first I was terrified… and then a few minutes passed and it went from scary to awesome. We drove through Wynwood, and gosh, being there behind him… I’m not sure how to describe it except to say it was good, very good indeed.

Yeah, this unemployment thing isn’t so bad.