Monthly Archives: March 2012

Latcho & Andrea, The Blonde Gypsies at La Playa in San Pancho





















I’ve heard of couples meeting while driving down the street and exchanging telephone numbers through the glass windows. Another story was that of two people being prepped for operations. Friends of ours met after a crime had occurred at her residence and he was one of the officers assigned to the case. Of course there are the, “How Stella got her groove back” story of people meeting on vacation.

So how many couples do you know when asked, “So, where did the 2 of you meet?”. Answer with the fact that in 1982 when they met as performers in a traveling Wild West show. Well our friends Latcho and Andrea can. Let’s take it one step further and point out that Latcho’s act was that of a fire eating medicine man, and Andrea was an Indian dancer. The Wild West show’s run didn’t last but they went on to joined Circus Atlas, where Latcho became Sabu the Living Volcano, and Andrea, Indra the snake dancer. Now come on beat that story, I dare you.

After life with the Gipsy Clan of Circus Atlas, Latcho continued as a composer and guitarist, and Andrea and Andrea as a Flamenco dancer but she also began playing rhythm guitar. They toured throughout Europe and Egypt where they won awards for best folkloric music group.

In 1996, they moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They still perform throughout Europe and the United States as well as Mexico which is where we met them a number of years ago. There used to be this funky pizza place here in San Pancho called Gallo’s.

Latcho and Andrea used to play at Gallo’s every Sunday evening. Now, San Pancho isn’t exactly a hub of nightlife and entertainment and back then the options could be easily counted on one hand.

Luckily for us we REALLY enjoy listening to the 2 of them so it gave us a weekly night of local entertainment.

This year for the first time Latcho and Andrea played at the San Pancho Music Fest, a 3 day event the last weekend in February. Local, national as well as international musicians come to play. These 2 put on a great show.

Sundays are “beach day” for Linc and I. We grab the camera and our Rummikube game and head on down just to relax. At  5:00 there’s a Cuban Salsa band that comes to play, excellent!!! An now, every Tuesday, Latcho and Andrea play at the same venue, La Playa. Brother, did I just call it a  “venue”. It’s actually the newest of our 3 beach restaurants here but it boasts great food, drinks and the cleanest bathrooms on the beach (you have no idea how high this point rates).

Red Pepper Hummus, Olive Tapenade and Parmesan Breadsticks.


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 3/4 cups cooked (or canned) garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  •  3/4 cup roasted red peppers (deseeded1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

In a food processor, combine garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Add in the  roasted peppers and basil and process until the peppers and basil are finely chopped. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chilling the hummus for a while will intensify the flavor.

Rosemary and Parmesan Cheese Breadsticks
 1 cup warm water
4 tablespoons butter (divided 3 & 1)
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups unbleached bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.
 In a mixer with a paddle combine water, 3 Tbs of the softened butter and yeast. Proof for a couple of minutes. Miix flour, salt, sugar,rosemary,  italian seasoning and garlic in a separate bowl . With the mixer set on low gradually add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Turn out on to lightly floured board and knead for 7 minutes.
 Cover and let rise for 60 minutes in a clean and oiled bowl turning the dough once to oil entire ball. Using a floured breadboard divide dough in half and then each half into 12 pieces and roll each piece into 10″ rope. Place 2″ apart on greased baking sheet. Cover and let the ropes rise a second time for approximately 30 minutes.
 Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with the remaining tablespoon of butter  and top with parmesan.
    Olive Tapenade
   1 cup pitted olives
   4 anchovy fillets
   1 TBS drained capers
   1 garlic clove
   1/4 cup olive oil
   Put the first four ingredients into a food processor and process.
   Slowly dribble the olive oil in and pulse while doing so.
   Garnish and serve.

San Miguel de Allende, The Quinta Loreto Hotel and La Posadita Restaurant.

Quinta Loreto, Comfortables Rooms


So, The Quinta Loreto is our favorite go-to for over night stays in San Miguel. Now we’ve stayed at some places here that are a bit more refined and a bit more polished around the edges some even had traits that we sought to duplicate when we built Casita Cielo Azul, our home in San Pancho. But here The Quinta is right in downtown San Miguel so close and convenient to anything and everything. It offers a number of different accommodations all the way up to 3 bedroom long-term stay houses. We opt for the little units that are more motel style with sitting areas out in front of the rooms facing the garden area. This   aspect is VERY important to especially me. I tend to wake up a few hours before Linc, put on a pot of coffee (remember we travel with a coffee pot) then retreat out and read or catch up on emails. Now San Miguel tends to be quite a bit cooler in the mornings than at Casita Cielo Azul so I always pack a pair of socks and a jacket but despite the cool morning air I love sitting outdoors.


To get to The Quinta you actually have to drive through part of the Artisan Market which snakes it’s way in a narrow corridor many blocks long. Unlike the market in Tonala which is only there 2 days a week, this one is open 7 days a week but also offers all of the offerings ranging from crafts to fresh produce and food stuffs.


La Posadita: Signage.


Up a narrow staircase then up another narrow stairway you get to the rooftop restaurant, to La Posadita where the view is a killer. Most of the food served here is from local organic ranches.  Let me say, this restaurant has vaulted to the top of our “Restaurants to eat at in San Miguel de Allende”. Now on to the important stuff. I consider myself to be somewhat of a Chile Rellenos snob. I may have mentioned before that together Linc and I are searching for the best roasted chicken in Mexico but separately he for milanesa and  chilaquiles while I for huevos rancheros and chile rellenos. I have to say that this was THE BEST chile rellenos that I have ever eaten in a restaurant. Now if my word isn’t good enough let me underscore this statement  by saying that  my mother makes THE BEST chile rellenos and even she agreed with me. Linc had an awesome mole that had a rich flavor that was complimented really well by them adding toasted sesame seeds to the top of the dish just before serving. There were 6 of us and everyone besides my mother and I had something different and everyone loved their meals.

Tonala Sunday market.

So, it takes us 3 1/2 hours to get from San Pancho to Guadalajara. Well, more specifically to the east side of Guadalajara to an area called Tonala.



Every Thursday and Sunday there is a huge street market covering many of the main streets. Vendors selling hand blown glass, ceramics, pottery and paper mache crafts. Nuts, candies, baked goods, tequila and loads of taquerias that prove Pavlov’s Theory block after block with the wafting scent of grilled onions and meats, quesadillas, empanadas, excuse me while I wipe my chin. Handmade furniture of wood, leather & iron.


Then let’s not forget Linc’s favorite thing to buy here in Tonala, cd’s. Now I apologize here and now to all musicians who are fighting the pirating of music but we only buy from this one vendor of boot-leg music, I swear!!!!!! It’s just that not even I can argue with my husband about paying barley more than $4 for the 3 cd’s he bought this time that contain, 100, 140 & 176 tracks each of a specific genre of music, no lie! A couple of years ago it was a female jazz that I am not exaggerating when I say we fire it up in the morning and turn it off to go to sleep. The quality and selection is fabulous. The only down-side is that they have the songs grouped alphabetically so you might have to listen to 5 different renditions of a certain song but as it’s world music it’s in a variety of languages soooooo each sounds a little like an entirely different song (well kinda). This year we hit pay-dirt with 2 classical and a Cuban collection.

The word “Tonala” comes from the Nahuatl and means “place from which the sun emerges”. The area was originally known as “The Queens Hill”. Now this may have something to do with the fact that when the Spanish arrived in the year 1530 Tonallán (as it was referred to) was ruled by a woman named Cihualpilli Tzapotzinco.

Next stop, San Miguel de Allende and picking Linc’s suegra (mother in-law) up at the Leon airport.


San Pancho Music Festival

Horns could be heard throughout town, guitars, keyboards, English, Spanish with a bit of Drama tossed in. Each evening the last Friday, Saturday and Sunday in February we would pack up our beach chairs, grab a bottle of vino and head to the plaza. The San Pancho music Festival had started and we would add our chairs to end of a line of a already attentive concert goers. While I  set us up Linc  would wander on over to buy a couple of plates with warm tacos, quesadillas and chile rellenos, yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

So clearly the chances of any of you knowing any of these names is remote at best but I thought I would post the schedule so ya’ll could see the  diversity of the line-up. At Casita Azul Folk Art in Evanston we used to cell cd’s by Jeff Oster and Latch & Andrea “The Blond Gypsies”.


Friday 2/24

5pm – Nuiwarika (Grupo de Danza – Folklore Dancing)

6pm – Olivia de La Cruz (folk, contemporary, soulful ballads)

7pmFrida’s Eyebrow (blues, folksy ballads)

8pm – No Walls (progressive jazz)

9pm – Steve O’Connor (jazz, guitar)

10pm – Jeff Oster (smooth jazz, trumpet & flugelhorn)


   Saturday 2/25

    5pm – Jeff Oster and Chas Eller

    6pm Werther Ellerbrock (jazz, pop, guitar)

    7pmThe Coolerators (rock-n-roll, pop, ballads)

    8pm – Banderas Bay Jazz Allstars (smooth jazz)

    9pm – Jam Session

  •     Jeff Oster, trumpet
  •     Chas Eller, keyboards
  •     Bryan Savage, alto sax
  •     Steve Goldberg, flugelhorn
  •     Werther Ellerbrock, guitar
  •     Dov Schiller, percussion
  • Tom Lillienthal, bass
  • Lazaro Poey, drums
  • others to be announced

Sunday 2/26

     5:30pm – Los Compas (Musica nortena)

     6pm – Awacero (trova Mexicana)

     7pm – Sons of the Beach feat. Jodi Moran (swing jazz, blues)

     8pm Latcho and Andrea (gypsy flamenco)

     9pmTatewari (flamenco, fusion)

      9:45pm – Jazz Tubo w/ Beto and Carlos Gonzalez (jazz)

     10:30pm – Atrakadero (Mexican banda)



The weather here had been cloudy and overcast for most of the last couple weeks but the sun broke through to shine down for the music fest. The streets were actually bustling and in San Pancho that’s a rarity. Some of the bands came from other pueblos nearby so their fans made the trek to watch and support them.

…………………….. time for a road-trip to San Miguel de Allende where we’ll be meeting up with Jill’s mother.

Hasta Pronto