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
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
Did my much needed walk home from work today. Walking I saw a vendor selling fresh shrimp. I walked past a building that you can go to the dentist, the heart doctor and the gynocologist and pediatric doctor all in one place. Check out the hours for The French Quarter…..life ends after football season!!!! The last picture is the best ice cream in town at Michoacan!!! The yummiest coconut ice cream ever! I had never even eaten coconut ice cream before moving to Cozumel.
We are having fun in Cozumel dancing the salsa and making the best salsas ever!!
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.
Ah, the island life,palm trees swaying in the warm breezes. Gentle waves washing ashore over coral covered reefs. The quiet! Laying under palapa covered huts ,shaded from the sun while thinking of nothing other than the waiters return with our cool drinks.
Stop the press! Not so fast lazy one,open those weary travelers eyes, what about 700 taxis lined up in a procession along the waters edge waiting for one ride from 30 thousand anxious passengers crowded around the nearest Sr. Frogs. Riding down escalators to find hundreds of vendors prepared to make the deal of the day. So what amigo!
Welcome to Cozumel,Mexico my new favorite spot on earth or should I say in the sea?
Its easy to find the bliss here, only minutes in any direction and a few steps into a turquoise colored sea, the quiet under water is compelling. I took my snorkel and headed out around the rocks. I happen to know that all fish hang out around the rocks. Most divers will tell you its because of all the food, but my conversation with a baby squid was other wise.
They hide there,they know we are coming. And that we do! in droves and boats with tanks, fins and all kinds of funny looking equipment.
What a strange site we divers must be.
I remember once on the island of St.John,also in the Caribbean, we took a ride to a national park where the novice snorkelers could read signs planted underwater. We saw large brain coral and read about it while swimming to the next sign. At times it was hard to read with all the flapping fins of fellow snorkelers around us stirring up the sand. But once you venture out away from the crowds, the beauty of the underworld brings about a peacefulness unlike any other.
Cozumel offers that peace to those able to grasp the moment. The manta rays peeking out from under the sand, the stag horn coral and abundance of brightly colored,spotted and odd shaped fish, make for some of the best diving in the world. Yes ,now this is island bliss!
Now for the island Blast!
Whether your sitting with your feet dug in the sand or salsa dancing, your going to have a blast either way.
Its true there are hundreds of taxis and thousands of cruise ship passengers coming down 3 enormous piers. But one hardly notices them as the music and beauty on the island hide this intrusion.
Along with the hundreds of taxis there were also hundreds of poinsettias lining the streets. The main boulevard is so clean and painted a crisp white with built in benches that stretch for miles along the ocean front. The main square is loaded with ornaments and the holiday spirit in Cozumel is found in the islanders themselves rather than in the bottom of a margarita glass.
Wow what a place, what a wonderful adventure to see what paradise actually looks like. Both above and under the water.
Cozumel has everything for everybody.
The tour companies, impressive restaurants, the shops are modern and well appointed. You might think for a moment that you’re walking on Rodeo Blvd or 5th Ave. Every designer on the planet has a presence there and the stores are packed with eager shoppers, buying up the most modern Rolex watches to carved coconut heads.
The restaurants we tried like Kinta, offer distinct European flavors while a few steps away you can feast on yummy tacos in the street. Starbucks and Planet Hollywood,Mayan ruins and rare birds all welcome the island travelers.
What a pleasure to see a place that has everything and what a blast people have when they visit. We sure did.
Now I understand why our Salsa and Salsa Tour at the Hotel Cozumel Resort is going to be the highlight of a visit to Cozumel for anyone arriving in paradise. The food and dancing,the underwater experience,don’t forget about the largest pool on the island.
This is the bliss and blast all in one, the makings of lifelong memories..
Happy Holidays or should I saw Holidaze?
The Dancing Chef
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!
We always encourage guests of Salsa and Salsa to send us their fun pictures from the tour. I’ve been collecting them for quite some time, so rather than have them sitting in a folder in my computer, I thought “I should share these fun pics!”
So here they are! I think it’ll be fun to post these every so often and share the fun times with you all.
I am a total photo junkie!! I love taking photos, I love receiving photos and I love looking back at them from time to time…brings back some fond memories. Just the other day, I was looking at some old school photos…who still has theirs?!!
Thanks to social networks such as WordPress and Facebook, I’m able to stay in touch with some school friends, work friends and just people I have befriended over the years.
Be sure to keep sending those pictures! Our newsletter always has a contest, with the photo contest being a rotating visitor. This month was a photo contest and we received a whopping 50 photos for past guests! Make sure you have signed up to our newsletter to find out who the winners were 😉 The winners will also be posted on the website’s photo gallery.
August has been very eventful for us. More on that next week, but needless to say, we announced our expansion to Cozumel this month and everything has been go go go! It’s all very exciting, and we can’t wait to bring you more news regarding our move to the popular Mayan Riviera!