Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Puerco Pibil So Good You Might Just Die For It.

So last week I had a dream about Puerco Pibil. Yes, I know, one of these things is not like the other. That whole "omg, don't I look, like, so effing hot in my rainbow colored LuluLemon yoga pants and drinking my gluten-free sugar-free (fun-free) totally organic freshly squeezed green juice omg I hafta, like, totally IG this and send it to my BFF because its the best thing since baby unicorns and fat-free froyo #blessed" thing is just not my bag, baby. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against trying to eat clean and be healthy - but I hate how people act like lemmings and jump into a diet or "lifestyle" trend just because it is touted by a few popular girls as the new black. Sure, I drink green smoothies on occasion and work out - its just not obsessive. You know what is sexy? A girl eating a nice piece of bloody meat. Yes, like, literally, BLOODY. A girl who can eat a nice steak is fucking sexy...and unfortunately, a dying breed. So, anyways, I made Puerco Pibil. Cochinita Pibil. Whatever you want to call it, it is damn delicious. I don't know about you, but if I had my way, every man on the planet would learn how to prepare Puerco Pibil. In fact, it should be a prerequisite before marriage. This is one of those recipes that will become an instant classic from the first time you take it out of your oven. Do you want to know what heaven smells like? Prepare this and then get back to me. This is that good. Even if you don't consider yourself a great cook, try this. Effort is minimal and the payoff is well worth it! Perfect date night dish in my opinion...I mean, is there anything more beautiful? 

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a thing for Robert Rodriguez. But really, can you blame me? The guy behind El and Cherry Darling? I mean, come on, El is the coolest character of all time...and Rodriguez is pretty fucking cool himself. And I just discovered the coolest thing about him - the man can cook. If that isn't a turn on, I don't know what is. In his own words:

"Not knowing how to cook is like 
not knowing how to fuck..." 
- Robert Rodriguez

I'll just leave this right here...

Puerco Pibil (Cochinita Pibil)
 by Robert Rodriguez

  • 5 pounds pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons annato seeds (achiote)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 2 habanero peppers, cleaned and diced
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 lemons (I used limes)
  • 1 shot of tequila
  • banana leaves (optional)

Preparation Instructions
Grind the annato seeds, cumin seeds, whole peppercorns, whole cloves, and whole allspice in a mortar and pestle, molcajete y tejolote, spice grinder or coffee grinder.
Blend the cleaned and chopped habanero peppers with the orange juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.
Mix the dry spices with the liquid.
Add the juice of 5 lemons and a nice splash of tequila.
Place the cubed pork butt in a large zip lock bag and add the marinade. Soak 4-6 hours, in refrigerator, turning several times.
Line (8x13) baking pan with banana leaves. Pour in pork along with the marinade. Cover with Banana leaves and seal the pan with foil. Bake in a 325 F degree oven for 4 hours.

Serve at your own risk (preferably with pickled red onion and a ton of good tequila)

Comrade Von Pussycat

Honeymooning In The Riviera Maya: Playa Del Carmen!

First impressions: 
We flew into Cancun International (CUN), naturally, as it was the closest airport to Playa del Carmen. The Bear and I really try to avoid tourist traps (although sometimes they are justified), which is why we completely avoided the big name hotels in Cancun and decided to stay in Playa del Carmen instead in hopes of seeing more of the local culture. My favorite thing about Cancun International? The cocktail bar outside! August in the Yucatan is HOT and HUMID (goodbye pincurls!), and hits you smack in the face as soon as you exit the airport. Which is why I greatly appreciate the fact that you can order an ice cold beer or Coco Loco as soon as you get off of the plane! 
Obligatory tropical fruit mixed booze upon arrival - I ordered a cantaloupe agua fresca because I was so thirsty!

Obligatory chips and guacamole/salsa!
Sunset in Playa del Carmen

 Hotel Kinbe: 
There were so many quaint little boutique hotels to choose from in Playa del Carmen, and Hotel Kinbe was no exception. I forgot to take pictures of the hotel, but you should check out the link and see for yourself. They have a gorgeous indoor/outdoor pool in the lobby, which was perfect for a midnight dip after way too many tequila shots and countless mojitos! We booked a room that had a beach view and private rooftop terrace - it was gorgeous! I really loved the shower (is that weird?) because it had a natural stone floor and a window that opened overlooking the street below. It was also conveniently located in the center of town, about 50 meters away from the beach. 
Our private terrace at Hotel Kinbe!
I love all of the colorful buildings! There was also a coconut stand across the street :)

Downtown Playa del Carmen
A beautiful church in downtown Playa del Carmen

  The cuisine of the Yucatan:
I have to say that the restaurant options in Playa del Carmen severely disappointed me. I really expected more regional cuisine and less nacho stands (not even traditional Mexican cuisine!) and pizza joints (there were soooo many!). One of my pet peeves is when servers automatically assume that because you are a "gringo/a" you don't like/can't handle hot and spicy. I live for spicy, tangy, sour, tart, bitter, salty, etc. My palate gets bored very easily (mostly because its been very spoiled!). Nearly every restaurant we went to, I had to specifically request the "not for gringo" dishes - much to the amusement of my servers! One of the more memorable dining experiences was when we went to "Yaxche" - a high end restaurant specializing in traditional Maya cuisine. Naturally, when one visits the Yucatan, one must try the famous Cochinita Pibil (Yucatan style slow roasted pork that is marinated in citrus juice and bright red annato paste, then baked in a banana leaf). I definitely had a "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" moment ;)
Cochinita Pibil here we come! I forgot to take a picture of it, damn...too busy living life I guess :P

Beautiful presentation at restaurant "Las Delicias"
Chips and guacamole were everywhere...not that I have a problem with that. See that bright green sauce on the left? BEST THING EVER! Guess what? I discovered the secret formula...more to come!

Besides bottomless margaritas, fresh seafood Ceviche was my favorite way to beat the tropical heat! The balance of freshly squeezed lime, crisp cilantro, sweet red onions, and beautiful array of seafood is just perfect.
Beauty and the late August humidity:
If you decide to visit the Yucatan Peninsula in the peak of summer, let me just prepare you for a little of what to expect. This was my first time experiencing a tropical heat, which is so much different than Mediterranean summers. Unless you are sitting by the beach/pool all day in your swimwear, be prepared to be damp all day. Wear the lightest of fabrics, and know that at some point of the day you will be all wet from sweat (especially if you are out sightseeing). Needless to say, pincurls do not fare well in this kind of humidity (at least mine didn't, even with setting lotion)! Again, be prepared and practice your updo skills and bring a ton of cute hair accessories (Carmen Miranda style fruit clips, floral hair clips, and spin pins (best invention ever!). Waterproof eyeliner and mascara (if you are planning on wearing makeup) is an absolute necessity! Longwearing lip colors are also a wise investment - Limecrime's Velvetine in Suedeberry (a bright orange based red) was a definite go-to throughout my trip! 

Wearing Limecrime Velvetine in Suedeberry

What I packed:
I had a lot of fun shopping for this trip! Brightly colored peasant skirts, high waist bikinis in citron stripes and leopard prints, tight black peasant tops, ankle tie espadrilles, 1940's playsuits, and lots of fun accessories like those lemon yellow lucite hoop earrings pictured above. Remember to pack comfortable walking shoes...espadrille wedges are always my go to sightseeing shoes because they are easy to walk in, absorb shock,  and also happen to be very stylish. Espadrilles never go out of style!
A tropical inspired wardrobe: 1950's tangerine colored lace peasant skirt and 1940's citron striped high waist bikini.
DIY tip: for extra support, sew a supportive nude bra into your swimsuit top. If you are a DD or larger, you know how frustrating shopping for supportive swimwear is! Necessity is the mother of invention...
Muy caliente!
Achiote hues and the most adorable rope tie belt!
1940's playsuit in creamy banana plaid with Bakelite buttons!

All in all, although a bit too touristy for my taste, Playa del Carmen was a pretty little town and best of all it was relatively close to a lot of archaeological sites that I was dying to see, including (but not limited to): Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Coba. It was also closely located to Valladolid (a Spanish colonial town), Xcaret 
(the best eco-archaeological park in Cancun and Riviera Maya), and of course, the Cancun International (CUN) airport. I am still not sure if I would return to Playa del Carmen, not because I didn't enjoy it, but because I realized that I am not the type of person who likes to lounge on the beach for the entire length of my vacation. Thankfully there were enough tours based out of Playa del Carmen, or I would have gotten bored very quickly! I will write individual posts for both Tulum and Chichen Itza later on :)

Comrade Von Pussycat

Friday, June 5, 2015

Besame Noir Red, Gourmandises & My Life Of Crime

A good red wine, meat in tube form, and beautiful lipstick. Life is about savoring the little pleasures. I hate the term "guilty pleasure". Why the fuck should I ever feel guilty about eating anything? I can tell you right now, I am not one to go to for diet advice - actually, I've never been on a diet in my life. I don't believe in it, its against my philosophy.

 "Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. 
She is probably lousy in bed"
 - Federico Fellini

I would add to this. Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably a lousy friend. I trust people who eat well. I admire a woman who can consume an entire baguette, a wedge of triple cream brie, and a whole bottle of red wine (no wine spritzers, please...I know, I'm such a snob) in one sitting and not feel like she has committed a cardinal sin. I admire a woman who just doesn't give a fuck about what the latest diet trends are and still eats bacon even though it is the anti-christ of the health world. I'll be completely honest...if you are an obsessive calorie counter, can't go anywhere without ordering a skinny girl margarita, and basically live at the gym...we will probably not get along very well.
Maria Callas obviously knew how to choose her friends!
Anyways, I digress. Being the gourmand that I am, I couldn't resist smuggling in a few foodie goodies back into the country on our way back from Macedonia, and thankfully, my precious undocumented meat in tube form made it across the border and lasted a whole two weeks...savored to its very last spicy, fatty bite. I have a weakness for smoked and cured meats. Kulen (a traditionally Croatian cured meat in tube form) has always been my favorite as it contains a rich smoked paprika and a unique mixture of earthy spices from the Balkan region. It is also one of the toppings on my favorite pizza "Il Diavolo", which I always order at restaurant Cosa Nostra when I visit my adopted hometown Ohrid.
Hello, beautiful :)
Also, we discovered another amaaaaaaaazing Californian wine this weekend...Carnivor's Cabernet Sauvignon is deep, dark, and delicious!
And this spicy Habanero Cheese from Sonoma Jack is another new favorite! Anyone who knows me knows that I could live on cheese alone...
Last but not least, my new favorite lipstick! Besame Noir Red! Anything wine colored and vintage inspired is right up my alley...and it makes me feel like a modern day flapper ;) All I need is a garter flask and freshly bobbed hair...

Comrade Von Pussycat

Modern Muse: Rossy de Palma

Rossy de Palma (born Rosa Elena García Echave; 16 September 1964) is a Spanish actress.
Described by many as a Picasso come-to-life, de Palma broke the rules of beauty in 1988 when she starred in Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and became a model and muse for designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, and Sybilla. Her status as an iconic fashion character was further cemented with her role in Robert Altman’s 1994 satirical fashion film Prêt-à-Porter. Today, she is a theater actress, charity spokesperson for the Ghanian Charity OrphanAid Africa, and the face of luxury ad campaigns.
Born in Palma de Mallorca, she was originally a singer and dancer for the band Peor Imposible before being discovered by filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar at a café in Madrid in 1986. He cast her in roles based on her unique, Picassoesque appearance. She is best known for her roles in Almodóvar films like La ley del deseo (Law of Desire), Kika, Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) and La flor de mi secreto (The Flower of My Secret).
She acts in France and does modeling. She appeared in Robert Altman's Prêt-à-Porter as Pilar. In 2007, she released a perfume line under her name through the French cosmetics company Etat Libre d'Orange. In 2009, she posed nude in an information campaign on breast cancer for the magazine Marie-Claire. She currently lives in France with her two sons.
She was selected to be on the jury for the main competition section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Much like Federico Fellini, I have always been fascinated and inspired by faces. Increasingly I feel that society is directing us to become more homogenized through the way we dress and how we decide to express our beauty. I personally see absolutely no redeeming value in spending $200 for sloppy looking jeans and designer t-shirts, spending hours a month keeping up my faux tan (because how dare you think your natural skin color is socially acceptable!), and spending hours and countless $$$ on makeup that gives you that "no make-up" look. It baffles the mind. Because of my dark features and naturally pale skin, when I slick on a deep merlot or blood red lipstick, people automatically assume that it took me an hour to get ready in the morning. I've had people comment on how high maintenance I must be because I wear saturated colors. Honestly, I spend less than twenty minutes a day on my makeup, and I rarely ever go shopping for makeup. In fact, I despise shopping, it drains me. I choose saturated colors because 1) my dark features demand contrast, and 2) I don't see the redeeming qualities of spending valuable time and $$$ on contouring my face (one of the most ridiculous things to do in daily life, in my opinion), bronzing and highlighting, painting on my eyebrows (because, you know, your natural eyebrows aren't socially acceptable either), applying false eyelashes, and using lip colors that look "my lips but better". Its all so pointless. If I take the time out of my day to apply makeup, it might as well be something noticeable!
 Unlike so many blogs these days, this one will not be dedicated to how to be more Parisian, how to perfect contouring your face, or how to perfect that effortlessly unkempt look that is de rigueur. This blog is primarily written for my pleasure, but it is also dedicated to women who love glamour and who are looking for something a little different.The content here will never be neat and sterile, in fact, it may be ugly sometimes. I am not afraid of ugly, because in ugliness there is truth.
Back to Rossy de Palma. I love that she is described as "Picasso come-to-life" - is there any greater achievement than appearing as a living, breathing work of art? Perfect symmetry is often extremely boring. It deeply bothers me that in the society that we live in, if you don't get your teeth fixed, if you feel perfectly adequate with your small breasts, or if you leave the house without a full face of makeup that you are considered "brave". To be an original like Rossy de Palma - isn't that the epitome of beauty?

Comrade Von Pussycat

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Woman Only Fellini Could Love

Vulgar. To be vulgar is to belong to the masses.  To be vulgar is to be common. To be vulgar is to act or appear indecent and indelicate. To be vulgar is to lack sophistication and good taste. Saraghina is all of these things and more. Tawdry, kitschy, garish, gaudy, flamboyant, risque, salacious, smutty. Saraghina, one of the most important characters in Federico Fellini's masterpiece "8 1/2", is every single one, and then some. There is an unexpected, child-like vulnerability you see from her later in the film, however, and it reveals a woman who did not choose, but was forced into the oldest profession. Unlike so many these days, it wasn't for the money or the material possessions. It wasn't for notoriety or fame. I feel nothing for shrewd or greedy business women. Saraghina is a relic of the traditions of the old world; although she is shunned, she is a vital character in a society where visits to mistresses and whores were as commonplace as drinking an espresso in the morning. The whore, throughout history, has lived on the fringe of society - it is no mistake that Saraghina is exiled to the outskirts of her town. Saraghina belongs to everyone, and yet she belongs to no one.

In Saraghina I see an alternate life that my soul already somewhat inhabits. As a girlchild of twelve, had I stayed in the that little town in Eastern Europe, I most likely would have succumbed to the bitter fate of a faded nymphet. Indeed, even as a nymphet at that tender age, the brusque push into the oldest profession from the neighborhood boys seemed encouraged and inevitable. In fact, after the initial shock (struggle) of being initiated into this strange new world, observing the exchange of services became as routine as brushing ones teeth or tying ones shoes. There would never be verbal negotiations, but unspoken agreements. Sometimes it would be for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Other times it would be for a few dollars. Many times, however, it would be in exchange for keeping secrets. Secrets that could ruin a family, dishonor your father and brothers, and certainly secrets that could tarnish a reputation (and in many cases, prevent proposals of marriage in the future) in the small town we lived in. It may seem difficult to believe, but places still exist where the rules of the old world still very much apply. Sadly, for the characters in the story of my childhood, a happy ending has remained elusive.

There is no beautiful ending to this story, but that doesn't make the characters involved less beautiful. On the contrary, to flourish within the cruel grasp of adversity is the truest definition of beauty that I know.

Beautiful stories are rarely ones that are neat and sterile. I believe that the same can be said of truly beautiful people. Truly beautiful people often times have some of the darkest souls, but certainly not in a sinister way. I am speaking of the dark corners inhabited by whispered childhood secrets, the tender insecurities of youth, and the heart-breaking fears of the inevitable decay that we all face. Some are more poetic, graceful, than others. Tragically, some of the most beautiful stories will never have a chance to be told.

Comrade Von Pussycat