As most of you already know, Lela II was born in Cozumel back in December 2010. Her first mission was ambitious, but we wanted to come in with a bang! For the months of December, January and February, Lela collected donations for a Blood Bank on the island of Cozumel– her new hometown.
Guests from Mazatlan,Cozumel and our new location Los Cabos rallied together to raise a tremendous $3117USD for all three months!
Our goal was to get through all the red tape – opening a blood bank was a much more ambitious task than expected, and we did everything in our power to achieve this goal. After months of meetings, negotiations, arguments with government officials and more, our Blood Bank proposal was rejected by the state of Quintana Roo and we had to abandon the idea of opening a Blood Bank.
We pondered, and ummmed, and ahhhed and wondered what to do…then it hit us – let’s sit down with Red Cross Cozumel and see where Lela’s donation could be best put to work! So, after looking at their big picture, Salsa and Salsa, along with Lela, Lela II and Lela III (hehehe) decided your donations would have to SAVE LIVES!
As it would have done with the Blood Bank, your donations went towards the purchase to two necessary pieces of equipment for the volunteer work of the Red Cross in Cozumel. You’ll be proud to know your donation went towards an EKG machine and a defibrillator. Both machines will be used in the 5 ambulances which Red Cross has on the island. The defibrillator has already save a man’s life and both machines will help hundreds of people more!
The Red Cross in Mexico runs solely on donations, with no government support. When we approached the Director for Red Cross Cozumel, Mr Dagoberto, with our idea, he thanked us with a hug which I can only describe as being the warmest, most appreciative hug I have ever experienced in my life. The machines have arrived to Cozumel, and Red Cross wants to thank each and every one of you, thanks to your kind and generous help – you’ve done something that will truly make a difference to this island – and it is something that will last forever.
Thank you one and all – and we look forward to hearing from you.
Dancing Chef – Cozumel
Our Earth is hurting…earthquakes, tsunami’s, animals falling from the sky and icebergs melting.
Do you ever sit and wonder where it all went wrong? I often wonder who is to blame and I get angry knowing that it was generations before us that started the snowball effect that has led our planet to be in such a state. I too take blame for my generations lack of interest in saving our planet, but proudly say I am an avid recycler, I plant trees and fruit seeds whenever I can (wherever I can!) and I refuse to eat Shrimp or Fish that is not in season (so to discourage poaching).
I take comfort in knowing the little I do really DOES make a difference and if everyone did the same as I (or more) then our planet would not be hurting so much.
March and April has seen much devastation already, with the shocking images we’ve seen come out of Japan.
The earthquake, followed by a huge Tsunami, hit the countries north populations on March 11th. The hardest hit city was Sendai, with the city being literally swept away in just under a few hours. It’s hard to imagine what being there would feel like…I mean, what would be going through the people’s minds? I just can’t imagine it!! What horror!
Well, all we could do was watch it unfold on tv and pray…hoping that those who survived would be rescued and those who did not would be found to give their families peace of mind.
Lela sat patiently, as she also watched it all unfold and so April will be dedicated to Japan. 100% of the donations will go to Japan to help families who have been left homeless and children that have lost their parents. The death toll as of Wednesday has reached a horrific 12,468 with thousands still missing. We hope we can raise a record number for these victims and help them in same way, even if it is by giving them a little hope.
On a lighter note, we’re proud to say we raised a whooping $1722 New Zealand Dollars which went to the Red Cross in Christchurch, NZ to help those who most needed it after the earthquake they went through.
We’ll have some more updates on which group will be used for Japan. There are so many charities helping out there and we want to make sure we pick one that has little, if any, admin costs, so that help is really reached to those who need it.
In the wake of the devastating earthquake which rocked New Zealand’s second largest city, Christchurch is left with the painstaking task of rebuilding a city which was hit hard by the 6.3 earthquake on Tues, 22 Feb, 2011.
Images and video footage of the earthquake bring back memories of the Chilean earthquake, with people looking around, not knowing who to turn to or what to do.
Having lived in New Zealand for a total of three years, it pained me to see the distress this earthquake has caused. Less than six months prior, the same city suffered from another earthquake and the town was only just beginning to rebuild itself and its confidence.
I spent time further south in a city called Dunedin, a gorgeous city, filled with beautiful views, kind people and a port which invites anyone and everyone to visit the charming town. I had been there with my then boyfriend, a New Zealander who had moved to Melbourne for new opportunities. We met, fell in love and it was time to meet his family. When we decided to move to Dunedin, we had left everything behind to start a new life. I had already left home and had also moved to Sydney. My life of adventure was well on its way! Looking for work was easy, I had plenty of hospitality experience, so I joined the team at ‘The Reef Seafood Restaurant’ where I was the supervisor. I grew to love Dunedin. It’s people, it’s streets and even it’s weather (picture Seattle rain and its skies times 10!!).
Well, jump forward a good 13-14 years and that relationship did not work out, although we still stay in touch. I had taken several trips to Christchurch. I am a secret wine buff (oops, secret’s out!) so I enjoyed taking road trips to wineries in and around the Christchurch area. Many of you have probably even tried some of the wines!!
As you can see from the map, there are many wine regions in New Zealand and Christchurch is a popular one in Canterbury.
I still get online and look for photos and video of the earthquake, as I find it hard to believe that many of the places that I have been through are destroyed. Reports indicate that aftershocks are still disrupting many parts of the city, delaying the return of up to 1/3 of its residents.
LELA has chosen Christchurch as her cause for the month of March, and we will be donating 100% of her donations to the Red Cross in Christchurch, as we know they have feet on the ground over there. We’d like to thank all donors as this cause holds a special place in my heart.
For those who are lucky enough to ever get to New Zealand, you’ll get to enjoy the beauty of its people, its food, its cities and its wine, because anyone who goes to New Zealand and DOESN’T try a glass of Sauvignon Blanc should be locked up! 😉
I’d also like to send all our hopes and prayers to victims of the Japan earthquake. We are working towards making Lela in April for Japan, but as our planet cries out for help, we cross our fingers that no more earthquakes shake our world and leave others in need.
Sending our love,
Pamela and all the Dancing Chefs
We’re always finding new ways to make cooking fun. I recently found that taking pictures of my cooking creations has added a twist to my ordinary kitchen adventures. Over the weekend, it was raining and grey here in Cozumel (oh boohoo you say…I know – one day of rain versus your 3 months of snow just doesn’t seem fair does it!), so I decided I would make a nice warm soup, typical to this area. The chosen soup was AZTEC SOUP, or AZTECA SOUP, a very common soup served in Mexico. Similar to Tortilla Soup, the Aztec Soup uses the same ingredients, with the difference that tortilla is not blended into the soup, but rather, placed in the middle of the soup just before serving. I found myself this recipe about 4 years ago, when I first moved to Mazaltan, and ever since, have adapted it and made it my own.
You will need :
1 White Onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Poblano Chiles, chopped
5 cups of stock (I used Veggie coz hubby is Vegetarian, but you can use Chicken Stock to get a rich full flavoured soup!)
2 tbsp of sour cream
Handful of Cilantro, chopped
2 Flour Tortillas
1 Can of Diced Tomatoes, opened
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp sugar (to balance out the acidity from the tomatoes)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Oil for frying Tortillas (Vegetable oil is good)
1 tbsp of Olive Oil for frying vegetables
A Large Soup Pot Cutting Board, Sharp Knife, Spoon, Laddle, Tongs.
Then add the canned tomatoes. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. (commonly 1 tsp of each)
5.Fry well and add the stock. Bring to boil and then bring it to a minimum and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occassionally.
6.Allow soup to sit for 10 minutes.
7.In a frying pan, heat frying oil.
8.Cut your tortilla into strips, a finger in width. Add them to oil and take out with tongs once golden brown. Place fried tortilla strips on a paper napkin to absorb the oil.
9.Open up the avocado, de-seed, and cut into cubes.
10.Laddle the soup into a large bowl, add a dolop of soup cream, pile on the tortilla strips in the centre of the bowl, add the avocado and sprinkle some cilantro on top. Serve hot.
This is truly one of my favourite soups and I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do…especially in these cold snowy days you have ahead! OLE! Remember to put on some music, something that relaxes you, so that when you are cooking, you are relaxed, smiling and humming away (I cooked this soup with Bach and Beethoven! Made me feel like I was creating a masterpiece!)
Happy Cooking, Pamela
It’s always an honor to bring you the Lela totals every month. This month, Lela in Mazatlan chose Doctor’s Without Borders as their charity. With plenty of Christmas love, our guests collected a loving $474USD and the money was sent directly to DWB. Salsa and Salsa is always finding new causes and trying to give back to the community. We try to find something current in the news, where the help will really make a difference. So far, we have raised an amazing amount of donations from Lela…a whopping $4941USD!!!
2010 was such a fulfilling year for Lela.
She helped Haiti Victims by helping with medical supplies.
Lela donated to the Red Cross which went towards helping the families of the West Virginia Miners.
Chile received a donation to buy construction material to rebuild their school after the devastating earthquake.
Nashville Flood Victims got a helping hand through Hands on Nashville and Lela put smiles over there.
In June, Lela donated to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure campaign, helping millions of woman fight cancer and raise awareness. 2010 marked the 21st running of the series in D.C. The event raised over $4.5 million and it great to think we were a part of that!
Epilepsy was in the spotlight in July, through a charity named “Danny Did Organization“, an amazing group raising awareness and working on a cure for Epilepsy.
In Cozumel, Lela is on a mission to help start the process of getting a Blood Bank on the island. We’ve extended Lela’s cause in Cozumel for January and February to make more of an impact. For December, little Lela raised an amazing $625USD!!
Happy New Year to you all, and to another promising year for little Lela the Famous Donating Pig.
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.
A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2010. That’s about 9 full 747s.
In 2010, there were 40 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 109 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 30mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was December 12th with 53 views. The most popular post that day was How to make Rompope!!!!.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, salsaandsalsa.com, en.wordpress.com, mail.live.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for queso fundido, susan g komen, quesos fundidos, salsa and salsa mazatlan recipes, and salsa and salsa mazatlan.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
How to make Rompope!!!! December 2010
Lela collects $515 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation July 2010
Carnival Splendor! The Fun Ship Indeed! March 2010
A Molca-what? April 2010
The Salsa and Salsa Blog has arrived… March 2010
Wow! I can’t believe it’s taken me THIS long to write to you all about Cozumel!! Things have been a flurry of packing, unpacking, training, uniforms, new people, new friends, great new location, a new dancing chef partner and more!
I want to share all these moments with you all!
Since my departure from Mazatlan, I’ve gone through a whirlwind of changes in my life. From getting married in Vegas (more on that in a later post!), to packing up all my belongings in Mazatlan, to moving into a new place in Cozumel, to starting Salsa and Salsa in a brand new location…not bad for 4 weeks !
Cozumel is a magical place. I arrived late in the afternoon, after leaving Mazatlan at 5am (yep, that’s a 3am alarm clock!) with a stop-over in Mexico City and then Cancun. We caught a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport to our new home, a one bedroom apartment smack-bang in the centre of town, right on the ocean!
Dinner and a bottle of wine…ahhhhh…..Cozumel.
The following day was straight to it, meeting with Cruise people, hotel people and so much more! Our new dancing chef Judy was right there with me, and you’ll all get to meet her soon enough…she’ll also be writing here from time to time 😉
Training for the new Salsa Team was to begin the very next day, so I got right into OLE Mode, with Manuals, Questionaires and more. Training was a hoot! I want to share some pics with you from our training sessions. Our new Salsa Team are a fun, energetic and young team, that have proven to be quick learners and have all the enthusiasm we have looked for in our Dancing Chef culture.
I knew these guys were the “ones” when I rang that little bell for the first time and a roar of “OLE!” came from their smiling faces.
With training complete, we dared to invite hotel guests and friends to a “training show”, so our new team could practise and make perfect. A total success! I’m pleased to share with you the fact that we had nothing but good things said about the training show. Our guests left happy, yelling OLE and smiling and dancing down the stairs.
In the same week, Cozumel was filled with exciting events. Revolution Day (Nov 20th, 2010) surprised us with a glorious parade of young and old alike. We have a cute balcony overlooking the main street in Cozumel, so we happily sat there and watched the kids in their costumes. Here are a few pics of that day. So much color, so much music, and so much happiness – it’s all just so contagious, I love it!!
Iron Man Cozumel 2010 was also upon us here that week, so again, we spent time on the balcony cheering on men and woman who had already gone for the swim and bike portion of the race. The running was the last leg and their run was on the main street of town. I spent 1 hour on the computer and 1 hour on the balcony yelling words of encouragement “Keep on going!”, “Don’t give up!” and to the ladies “YOU GO GIRL!” (I got a few giggles from a few for that one!).
Thursday was our first official show, and we have seen a total of nearly 60 people in 3 days…not bad for a new tour 😉 We know that in a matter of a few weeks, word will spread and the popularity we are so blessed to have in Mazatlan, will quickly follow us here. We’re humbled by all the comments and words of encouragement we receive from guests and friends alike, thank you all.
This has been a challenge…a life changing, exciting and glorious challenge. But we’ve done it!
We’ll have Lela here too – for the first 3 months in Cozumel, Lela will be collecting donations to help build a Blood Bank here on the Island. There is no Blood Bank and locals are required to catch the ferry to Playa del Carmen, then bus it to Cancun…a trip and expense that most locals are unable to afford. With a Blood Bank here on the island, we can hopefully save some lives and make a difference to those who need a helping hand.
Keep an eye on those Lela pictures and reports…it’s going to be exciting to see what she will accomplish here!
Well, I think you are up to date now with Cozumel. We are waiting on Tripadvisor to list us in Cozumel to start our new challenge…we want to get to #1 in Cozumel too! Hehehe. 169 things to do in Cozumel…we may start at the bottom, but by-golly, we’ll get to the top, just you wait and see 😉
Head Chef Leonique made a cameo appearance this week at the Cozumel show…needless to say, we got a good injection of new energy there! Stay tuned for more fun Cozumel news!
Hope you all visit us in Cozumel soon!
With the change in the weather, we gear up for what we call Snowbird Season. All our northern amigos and amigas fly back to sunny Mazatlan, knowing the heat is now tolerable and the nights a little cooler.
Waiting for them is everything they love about Mazatlan…the people, the Pulmonias, the beaches, the sunsets, Pacifico Beer, the Flans, and of course, the Shrimp!
It’s amazing how the weather changes here. It goes from boiling hot, to unbearable humidity to perfect, all in one week! We’re glad to see the cooler weather upon us now. We look forward to lots of sun, a refreshing breeze, a few clouds to break up the rays, and nights which may require a thin cardigan….ah Mazatlan…why are all of you sitting there reading this??!!…jump on Tripadvisor or Expedia and book your tickets NOW! hahaha.
Our Local Show is up and running, so for those Snowbirds that have never had the chance to see the show, but have heard of it, now is the time to come visit. As of October 2010, Salsa and Salsa is open to the public every Monday (a non-cruise day), where we have all the fun, all the laugh and all the margaritas you can bare! Reservations are a must, so be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. We look forward to seeing all the Snowbirds back in Mazatlan, you have all been missed!
OLE – Dancing Chef Pamela
It finally happened! We reached 2000 viewers today!!
Truly blessed to have the support of all the Dancing Chefs and friends who have believed in what we do, how we do it and why we do it! We are quietly (who am I kidding?!) I’m sitting here going WOOHOO! hahaha – celebrating our 2000th click with a glass of bubbly and I raise my glass to you all. Salud, Dinero y Mucho Mucho Amor!
September has always been famous for being a quite season in Mazatlan. If you take a walk through the city streets, you’ll see restaurants shut down for the month, or hotels under renovation. The heat keeps locals indoors, sheltered from the burning (yet humid) weather that is the September Heat in Mazatlan.
Mexican Nationals have all returned back to their homes from “Summer Vacations” and Mazatlan goes under a slow, but steady facelift for the upcoming “Snowbird Season”, where all the Canadians and Americans fly south to escape the winter blues.
Our guests have felt the heat this season – jump onto our facebook page to see some fun photos of our Dancing Chefs making the most of the Mazatlan heat! Being a slow month, little Lela’s contribution this month was lower than any other month, but we were still pleasantly surprised at her strength. Even with only 8 shows, she managed to raise $195USD, all of which, has found its way to Survival International.
Next month’s cause has been chosen. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) will be Lela’s cause for the month of October. JDRF was started back in 1970 by a group of parents of children with type 1 diabetes. Their mission is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Since their inception they have funded $1.4 billion to research around the world. They are also the world’s leading charitable funders of diabetes research. If you have or know someone with diabetes, please post the link to this blog entry on your Facebook, Twitter or MySpace, and share the knowledge with others. The more donations we raise, the closer we get to finding a cure.
Until JDRF contacted us, I had never really known the seriousness of diabetes…you always hear of someone with diabetes, or read food labels and magazine articles, but it shocked me to see how many people suffer from the complications that come with having diabetes. I wanted to share with you some interesting facts regarding diabetes :
The Scope of Diabetes
• Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes (7.8 percent of the population):
• Diagnosed: 17.9 million
• Undiagnosed: 5.7 million
• As many as three million Americans may have type 1 diabetes.
• Diabetes currently affects 285 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 435 million by 2030.
• In the U.S., a new case of diabetes is diagnosed every 30 seconds; more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed each year.