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Cooking and Coding

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

I would like to call Natalia a friend, but, so far, we are just acquaintances. I met her at the Fabrica Art Walk a couple of years ago; time flies when you're having a pandemic. She was handing out fliers for an upcoming mezcal tasting. I don't know about you, but, as much as I like reading books, in our digital age paper sometimes strikes me as so medieval. I told her I had the most popular website in town, a much better way to get the word out, and gave her my card.

Natalia got in touch and came over for lunch one day with her two children. I make a great carrot, beet, cucumber, ginger juice. I also sell advertising. Prepandemic my pitch was "I can put your banner ad on the screens of people in or interested in San Miguel de Allende 14,000 times a week, and all they have to do to get more information is click." Still, I am quick to point out to potential advertisers that readers respond much better to an article than they do to an ad; "You can't buy advertising like it."

Natalia, who's heart is in her cooking, wrote up an article about her culinary business, recreating her partner's great-grandmother's pies . A little shy at first, with editorial advice from me, she injected more of her person into her later drafts. I tell my authors that being in a small town, our readers have an expectation of getting to know us.

Then Covid happened. A year passed. The other day I heard from Natalia, inviting me out to lunch. I admit that I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to food, rigid is another word for it. Going out to eat is not high on my list. But the place she suggested was just down the block and, as I said, I would like to be her friend.

The reason Natalia requested for us to eat there, at Ofrenda, is because it is her new restaurant. It's right on the corner where the car wash used to be. A new concept, the kitchen is housed in a wagon that is loaded at the end of each day with everything portable (chairs, etc.) and lock up. Guests eat outdoors, sheltered under the pirul (large trees). Her chef, Jorge Nieves, is from Mexico City, but has picked up flavors and techniques from all over Mexico. They have some open space behind the eatery, which will soon use for events. With food worth going out of your way for and a low overhead, Ofrenda is destined for success.

More or less a vegetarian, I had the mixed mushroom medley, seasoned wonderfully, served with avocado, sesame seeds and garbanzos. I also had a delightful green salad.

There, over lunch I was hoping to catch up with Natalia, who having grown up in New York City, has perfect English. But the man sharing our table kept up his previous conversation with Natalia in Spanish. My Spanish is pretty good one on one, but when someone is talking to someone else, rapidly and idiomatically, I don't even try to understand.

Still, if you can't beat them... So, in between bites I asked him how long he has been in town and what he is doing here. Three weeks and he's marketing his app that stores your signature and applies it to online documents in a manner that is in conformance with the law.

Sensing common ground, I described my frustration with new software programmers trying to find their way around our already established computer code. He smiled and explained that programmers don't charge much to make your app, because they plan on making their money updating your app. They design it so that only they can easily understand the arcane complexities of the code.

Impressed, I kept up my complaint and was further enlightened, "I've never met a software programmer who didn't breakdown. They work real hard and then they disappear, they have to take a break." Sitting there letting this sink in, watching the chef preforming his magic inside the wagon, it struck me that chefing and programming require a similar degree of concentration.

A party of four comes into the restaurant; each person orders a different dinner; each dinner involves a complex recipe; each meal needs to be ready at the same time. The chef is responsible for seven such tables. Code, especially the code we are using for our very ambitious project, is monstrously complex. To avoid burning out chefs and programmers need regular down time.


Carol Lopes
***

I suppose that I do, too. I would put my Lokkal project in the same category with chefs and programmers; it's ambitious and complex. A revolutionary new way to communicate, a digital town square, a local social network, Lokkal makes it easy to find what you are looking for, or to discover new things, locally, because, when it comes to publicity, paper is just so medieval.

Lokkal is the chef in the kitchen, the programmer doing the hard work behind the scenes, so that what is served up on the front end, to the table or in the search results, exceeds your expectations.

******

Ofrenda

Ofrenda's mission is to uphold ancestral culinary wisdom through the use of seeds, maguey, corn, and cacao, and to use food as medicine for the body and spirit.

Ofrenda means offering or tribute. Ofrendas are left in sacred places, on special occasions or for special reasons. They are a way to manifest gratitude to the spirits in a material form.

Stirling Dickinson 9, corner with Potrero
Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm
415-178-2515

On Saturday evening Ofrenda will be hosting an equinox celebration to welcome the long-awaited spring, featuring a 4-course dinner, cacao ceremony, mezcal, outdoor fire... This event is sure to be an extraordinary experience.

Menu:
Tostadas with huitlacoche cream and flowers
Passion fruit ceviche
Pork belly mixiote
Tres leches cake with chocolate ice cream

Pay to Natalia Ospina
Banamex CLABE
002180904028096971

***

Te extendemos la invitación a nuestra ceremonia de bienvenida a la primavera, nuestra celebración del Equinoccio, poniendo Ofrenda, compartiendo los alimentos, reconectando con el fuego.

Cena de 4 Tiempos
Brindis de Mezcal
Ceremonia de Cacao
In Cuicatl in Xochitl

Menu:
Tostadas de crema de huitlacoche y flores
Ceviche de maracuyá
Mixiote de pork belly
Pastel de tres leches enmezcalado con helado de cacao

A nombre de Natalia Ospina
Banamex CLABE
002180904028096971

**************

Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

events @ sanmiguelevents.com

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