“Tequila is the answer!”

Fiesta-fans, tequila lovers and sals-a-holics: it’s that time of the year again! September is the Patriotic Month of the year in Mexico, because of Independence Day on September 15th. Of course this the perfect excuse to host a Salsa party at home.  We’ve told you all about how to set up a Taco-party or Taquiza in a previous post. But now it’s time to expand your mixology skills beyond making a Margarita-on-the-rocks. As you can guess, the main ingredient of these cocktails is Mexico’s favorite drink……. Tequila!!!

Tequilazo

This is probably the most famous way to drink tequila. Be careful though, because having more two might get you in some kind of trouble.

como-se-toma-el-tequilaIngredients:

  • 1 shot Tequila
  • Lime, cut in 4 pieces
  • salt

Preparation:

Take 1/4 of the lime and hold it with your thumb and index finger. In the space of the hand where both previously mentioned join, put the salt. With the other hand hold the shot of tequila. To drink: lick the salt, shoot the tequila and bite the lime. Finally have somebody shake your head! Olé!!!

Salty Chihuahua

SaltyChihuahuaThis is the perfect cocktail for those looking for a low-calorie option. It’s a variation to the well-known Paloma cocktail that contains grape-fruit soda.

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot tequila
  • 1/2 shot orange liqueur
  • 3 shots grapefruit juice
  • salt
  • grapefruit slice

 

Preparation:

Prepare your old-fashion glass by dipping into a plate with lime juice and then onto a plate with salt. Fill glass half full with ice cubes. Then add the tequila, orange liqueur and grapefruit juice and stir. Serve with a slice of grapefruit.

 

Tequila Sunset

tequila_sunriseThis is the sister of another famous tequila cocktail. It’s a refreshing drink for tropical summer nights or a celebration. However be aware that its sweet flavor might trick you and make sure to pace yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz white tequila
  • 3 oz dark rum
  • 6 oz orange juice
  • splash of grenadine
  • orange slice

Preparation:

Fill a tall glass with ice and add the tequila and orange juice. Slowly pour in a splash of grenadine. To finish add the rum with a spoon, so it floats on top of the drink. Decorate your glass with a slice of orange or your favorite fruit.

 

Cucaracha

This is a drink to be careful with for two reasons. It has tequila and coffee liqueur, which gives it heat. The preparation makes it perfect for those who like extreme experiences.

Cucaracha cocktailIngredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz coffee liqueur

Preparation:

In a 4 oz glass add the coffee liqueur. Then pour SLOWLY the tequila to create layers and avoid mixing. Get matches, a brave volunteer and let the fun begin. Put a straw all the way to the bottom and finish it before it burns.

 

 

 

 

Submarine

submarinoThis is another traditional drink with tequila. It’s lots of fun to prepare, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. The combination of tequila and beer might be too much for those who are not used to it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot tequila
  • 1 Mexican beer

Take the shot glass with tequila. Hold the beer mug upside down and put the shot glass inside. Slowly turn around to not spill any tequila. Now gently serve a cold beer on top, so the tequila mixes poco-a-poco with the beer. Salud, dinero y mucho mucho amor!

 

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LELA -“And this little Piggy made us smile all the way home”

LELASeems like our lives are always running at such pace that we forget how and where we fit in the big picture. Between the television and radio we count our blessings as all the news floating around  is continually stapling us to negative swirls of political and moral judgment. 
Cozumel humane societyAt Salsa and Salsa we count our blessings everyday as we see the faces of everyone on vacation anticipating having a good time. We know where you come from and how your lives are difficult and challenging. We know that the little time we share with you is and could maybe be the only hardy laughter you have all week.
We understand the pace you live, juggling families and pay checks and the unexpected cost of misfortune. And we can see in your presence how important our job really is when we start the shows.

 

DSC08652Like you, we have an important job to do in the 3 hours we spend together and creating joy and laughter is an essential part of our show. Since we make it look easy, the truth is, the demand on keeping up the energy of 100 passengers at the same time can be daunting, especially when we add the those free-flowing margaritas to the mix.

But we have a secret and now at the end of 2014, I am going to divulge the Salsa secret for the first time.

Salsa Lela

Enter Miss Lela:

You know who she is and have seen her at our shows and this mighty ceramic pig has now just about stepped over 60k in donations for a different charity every month. ( www.lelathepig.com)

The secret to our show and the enthusiasm we have in our presentation day after day is that we are part of something much more important in this world, its unabashed kindness. This is the excitement when Lela gives back. We have learned that the true joy to a happy fulfilled life is to give. When we see your smiley faces donating and posing for pictures, even kissing Lela’s nose, we realize that the truth is not in what we get everyday but in what we give and giving of ourselves is what Lela stands for in her joyous way.

Back2BackAll of the Dancing Chefs are continually determined to make this world a better place and to create beauty in the hearts of people where at times hope and humanity are lost.
Next time you have a chance to make a difference, just do it. Don’t think to hard about why and who and how people end up standing next to roadways or begging at stores. Think about how 50 cents or even a dollar can restore faith in someone who is down on their luck. Next time you leave all that food on your plate in a restaurant, don’t be embarrassed to ask for a to go bag. You will see and find someone,when you least expect it,to give it to. There are people waiting for your help ,whether you see them or not they exist on this planet and if everyone just took a few moments and gave just a little we would see more smiles and more open hearts.

Teach your children by example, take them with you to the goodwill bin or to the food bank or soup kitchen. Our children are the future and can make all the difference just like Lela has for thousands of people around the world. Make 2015 the year you do one thing every month for someone else without anyone knowing.

lela christmasFrom all the Dancing Chefs we want to thank you for your heartfelt donations. We want you to know that every place you have touched has inspired someone, whether it was an orphanage or individual: you have made a difference. So if you are still reading this then we want to wrap our arms around you for 15 seconds and give you a big hug of thanks. You inspire us to give so much!

 

 

Happy New Year and Happy Giving !
The Dancing Chefs from Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel and Mazatlan 
Leonique, Maaike, Stephanie, Chris, Suzanne, Joy, Karla, Laura, Daphne, Linda, Jenny, Cherine, Heidi, Melissa, Leonie……..
OLE!

From the mountains to the sea: the journey of Dancing Chef Haley

dancing chef HaleyI have always thought of life as an adventure, so when I decided I wanted to do something outside of what most 19 year old college students do, everyone that knows me was not surprised. This summer I decided I wanted to do something different, so I moved to the island of Cozumel Mexico and become a Dancing Chef for the famous Salsa and Salsa tour (aka best summer job ever).

I was born in the mountainous state of Colorado. I get my adventurous side from my family, because when I was in 2nd grade, seeking adventure, my family decided to move to the sunny island of Cozumel, Mexico. I attended a bilingual school, so I am fluent in both English and Spanish. I lived in various parts of Mexico for 10 years including Cancun & Mazatlán. Growing up in a different culture gave me an exclusive view on life and I am always eager to meet people from all over the world and hear their unique stories. I recently moved back to the United States for college. I am currently double majoring in Restaurant, Food, Beverage Management and International Hotel & Tourism Management.

dancing chef haley with guestWhen I joined the Salsa & Salsa team this summer in Cozumel as a dancing chef, I didn’t know what to expect. I had done my research on the show and the company before moving down to the island for 3 months, and from what I could tell, everyone who had ever attended the Salsa & Salsa show had loved it so I was excited. This job was not only a fun summer job where I could live the island life in paradise, but also a learning experience. Customer service is a huge part of the hospitality industry and working for Salsa and Salsa, I got the hands on experience that cannot be taught at school.

My first day meeting my fellow coworkers, I realized I was walking into a family. From day one, they made me feel like I belonged. How many people can say that after their first day in a new job, in a different country and speaking a foreign language?! I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I realized working as a dancing chef that you need to treat every day as a new experience because you never know who will walk through your door.

Working for Salsa & Salsa this summer not only taught me the important things in the hospitality industry, such as: working on my personal skills with clients, learning how to do inventory, helping out in the kitchen and seeing what it actually takes to run Salsa& Salsa on a business standpoint, but also fun things like:

  1. I can’t Salsa dance to save my life, but I will have a blast trying and making up new moves of my own with my awesome dance partners.
  2. People can get very creative and involve a lot of “Styling”, as us dancing chefs like to call it when it comes to salsa dancing
  3. You truly can change anyone’s day with a smile (and maybe a couple margaritas 😉 )
  4. Tomatillos are actually from the goose berry family
  5. I will never go back to the old red roma tomato, white onion guacamole ever again

dancing chef haley with group photoThis summer has definitely been an amazing experience not only as being a stepping stone in my career and future, but learning a lot about myself as well. You never know what might happen, and even though you might be given the same show day in and day out, every day and every person walking through our gate is different, and I love the diversity. “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey

Con mucho mucho amor,

Dancing Chef at heart, Haley Saul.

Mexican Margaritas from the Dancing Chefs

dancing chef stephanie Margaritas are a very typical drink from Mexico and that of course is because its base is TEQUILA!!!!  As you probably know,  you can make margaritas of any flavor, but the key to a delicious margarita is to use fresh ingredients and high quality alcohol.

As a true Dancing Chef, I love to experiment with new flavors that the bartenders, or “cantineros” as we like to call them, come up with. There are some very strange margarita flavors, like: Avocado, Cucumber-Jalapeño and Banana-Peanut Butter. These flavors are really popular among people that LOVE those vegetables or the particular sweetness of peanut butter.

The most popular margaritas are: Lime, Strawberry, Pineapple, Mango and Tamarind. You are probably wondering what tamarind is. Well, not only is it my favorite flavor of margarita, but it is also a very common pod-like fruit which is used extensively around the world.

tamarindo

In Mexico, it is used in sauces or sold in various snack forms: candied, in sweet soft clusters, or dried and salted. It is also prepared as a fresh beverage called Agua de Tamarindo, or as a cocktail Margarita de Tamarindo. Often in Mexico tamarind is plucked off the tree and eaten raw.

Tamarind has a sour flavor that goes perfect with either chili or sugar. Make sure that on your next trip to Mexico you try tamarind in the different ways it is prepared.

HOME MADE TAMARIND SYRUP

15 fresh tamarinds

1/3 cup of sugar

3 cups of water

Peel the tamarind pods and put them in a small pot with 3 cups of water. Let them boil for about 15 minutes and add the sugar. Mix it up and let it cool down. When it’s room temperature, get ready to squeeze! Wash your hands thoroughly and get them in the pot, squeezing the tamarind so the seeds pop out and remove them. Pour the seedless mix into a blender and blend until is smooth.  You just finished your home-made tamarind syrup!!! This can often be used for Tamarind water or a Tamarind Margarita.

Tamarind syrup

TAMARIND MARGARITA

1 cup of home-made tamarind syrup

4 oz of tequila

4 oz of orange liqueur

2 limes

2 cups of ice

Chili powder or Salt to rim the glasses

Here we are going to make Tamarind Margaritas. Pour 1 cup of your home-made tamarind syrup,  4 oz of tequila, and 4 oz of orange liqueur in the blender , and squeeze in the juice of two limes. Add 2 cups of ice and blend! Your margarita is ready to pour into your glass, but make sure you rim your glass with lime and then with chili powder  (you can subtitute salt for chili powder). Once the glass is ready, pour in the margarita. You can garnish with a slice of lime or jicama if you’d like.

Now you only need to raise your glass and toast in Salsa and Salsa style: Salud, Dinero y mucho mucho Amor!!!

Margarita tamarindo

5 de Mayo – Fun and Facts

I’ll bet you $5 bucks 5 De Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day!”
Hands down 5 de Mayo is my favorite holiday to celebrate in the USA! Why? Well, because it is a fun excuse to run around in a sombrero, drink delicious mexican imported beers and eat yummy guacamole and pico de gallo!

Once the date gets closer to the 5th of May or “5 de Mayo,” across the USA you will begin to hear about the “5 de Mayo” specials, the “5 de Mayo” celebrations and house parties beginning to form for the special holiday in the weeks ahead. All the grocery stores you walk into have the tortilla chips, salsa dips, mexican imported beer and margarita mix all ready on the store’s biggest displays. They arrange all the fun food items, beverage items and paraphernalia in a way that you could almost buy it as packaged deal. Any Mexican Restaurant you pass are generally decorated over the top, full of specials and “5 de Mayo” happy hours and loud music to attract any “5 de Mayo” fan.

The most shocking thing that I have found that some Americans confuse the “5 de Mayo” holiday for “Mexican Independence Day” or even worse “Mexican New Year.” I am lucky to have dual citizenship. This means I am both American and Mexican. So I try to keep up with history on both sides of the border. I love to make joking bets with friends while they sip on their Coronas and truly believe that we are celebrating “Mexican Independence Day.”

The 5th of May is not nearly celebrated in Mexico as in the USA. 5 de Mayo marks a day in the year 1862, when the Mexican Army won a battle in Puebla, Mexico against the French Army. General Ignacio de Zaragoza fortified the Cerro de Guadalupe against the French invaders, and on May 5th 1862, his 2000 men defeated a frontal attack by 6000, many handicapped by diarrhea. This rare Mexican military is the excuse for annual celebrations and hundreds of streets named 5 de Mayo. Few seem to remember that the following year the reinforced French took Puebla and occupied the city until 1867.  Touché! Nowadays on 5th of May, all Mexican men that registered for military service have to swear their loyalty to the national flag and the institutions that they represent. This year it will be 150 years since the Battle of Puebla and the city Puebla will host a unique festival with a re-enactment of the battle.

And for those of you who wonder: Mexican Independence Day is actually on September 16th.


5 de Mayo has become a holiday where Americans celebrate Mexican culture and just have fun. You can almost compare it to St. Patricks Day in the USA, which we claim we are celebrating the Irish. Like most holidays in the USA, it is a great excuse to gather with friends and family and have fun.

Happy 5 de Mayo !!!!

– Dancing Chef Melissa

Tequila: what’s in a name

The first thing that comes to mind when hearing the word ‘Tequila’ is Mexico’s national spirit. But not everybody knows that Tequila is actually a town. It’s about 50km northwest of Guadalajara in the highlands of Mexico. Tequila is surrounded by an ocean of blue agave, the gorgeous succulent from which tequila is distilled. The Cuervo family settled here in 1758 to grow agave and distill mezcal. In 1795 José Cuervo introduced the first bottle of what we now know as tequila. Tourists come to tour distilleries (yes, samples are given) and troll the cobbled backstreets looking for good deals on, what else, tequila.

 

The tequila industry is quite young. Spanish conquistadores first cultivated the blue -agave plant (Agave tequilana weber) as early as the mid-1550’s in the state of Jalisco. But tequila, which is only produced in Jalisco, didn’t become popular until after the Mexican Revolution in 1910 when José Cuervo introduced the first bottle to the public.

 

It all starts in the agave fields. Plants are cultivated for 8 to 12 years then the jimadores come calling. These tough field hands expertly strip away the spiny foliage until they’ve found its heart, called a piña. The largest weigh up to 150kg, are hauled from the fields by donkeys, shipped to the distillery by truck and fed into the brick or clay ovens where they cook for up to 3 days. Afterwards the softened pulp is shredded and juiced and the liquid is pumped into fermentation vats where it is usually mixed with yeast. In order to bear the 100% agave label, premium tequilas can legally add nothing else. Lesser tequilas, however, add sugar and sometimes flavouring and/or coloring agents. By law the mixture can contain no less than 51% agave if it is to be called tequila.

 

There are four varieties of tequila. White or silver (blanco or plata) tequila is not aged, no colors or flavours are added (though sugar may be) – it has a distinct agave flavour and is best sipped as an aperitif or mixed in a margarita. The similar gold variety (oro) also is not aged, but color and flavours, usually caramel, are added. Do yourself a favour and avoid the gold.

 

Aged tequila, a fairly recent phenomenon, can be used in a mixer, but it’s best sipped neat. Tequila reposado, (rested) has been aged from 2 to 11 months in oak barrels and tends to taste sharp and peppery. Tequila añejo (aged) is aged at least one year in oak barrels. It’s sweet and smooth and works best as an after-dinner drink paired with chocolate.

 

In Mexico you can buy a decent bottle of tequila for 150 Mexican pesos, though for something special you’ll need to spent over 300 Mexican pesos. Treat the good stuff like a bottle of single malt and before you sip it, sniff it a few times to prepare your palate for the heat and it won’t taste so harsh.

 

And don’t be looking for a ‘special’ worm (gusano) in each bottle. These are placed in bottles of mezcal (an agave spirit similar to tequila but distilled outside of Jalisco state) as a marketing ploy – and even if you slurp the critter, you won’t get any higher. Blue agave’s psychoactive properties will leave you feeling lifted regardless.

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