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Casa de las Flores

Casa de las Flores—Heaven on Earth in Mexico!

Sometimes when you are lucky, you find an incredible place and wonderful friends right near home, as we recently did.  If you don’t live in Guadalajara, then come visit.  And when you come, stay with Stan and Jose at the Casa de las Flores.

March 24, 2009

From our room at Casa de las Flores

From our room at Casa de las Flores

I don’t know how we missed it.  Omar went to grade school a block or two away.  We are looking at hotels and bed and breakfasts all the time for 365.  But until Stan wrote us a while back, we had never heard of Casa de las Flores.

Man, what we were missing.

I was just about to fly to New York when we got an email.  “We were looking for the cactus garden in Chapala, and found 365Mexico.  We have a bed and breakfast in Tlaquepaque.  Would you like to come for dessert and visit?”

Dessert and good conversation?  We went.

Which was very frustrating.  Not because we didn’t have a wonderful time or weren’t impressed with Casa de las Flores—we sure did and we certainly were.  We were frustrated because we hit it off so well with Stan and Jose and had so many interests in common, that it was hard postponing getting back together until after the New York trip.

We talked about travel.  We talked about living in Mexico.  We talked about food.  Stan has been an apprentice chef at Chez Panisse, Alice Water’s famous restaurant in Berkeley, so he sure knows good food.  We toured the rooms and the public spaces and fell in love with the Casa.  Stan and Jose have used every available nook to display the most incredible Mexican handicrafts.  And after dessert and a few glasses of wine and lots of conversation, we went to a small fonda across the street and started eating in earnest.  Mexicans eat dinner—or cena—late, and there are foods you generally eat only at that hour.  Most tacos are eaten at cena, just like menudo is almost always eaten for breakfast.

We sat at a table near where a woman was making tortillas and another was frying good things in a huge comal.

Stan ordered first.  Pozole with pig snouts, quesadillas, tacos de lengua, taquitos de pollo…  Omar and I looked at each other.  Obviously Stan was ordering for the table.  He was not.  We knew he was a man after our own hearts, then and there.  The waitress turned to Jose and took his order.  Omar tried the pozole, and I had three tacos, which I finished off quickly.

“Do you have tacos de sesos?”  Asked Stan.  “Of course!”  And a plate of brain tacos appeared on the table.  Stan looked at me and said “Here.  Their brain tacos are fabulous.”

Now, I’d never eaten brain, but I admit I was curious.  It certainly had to be in the right circumstances.  Some guy at a street taco stand shoving a white and wiggling mass at me would not be the right circumstance.  But here with friends in a clean and busy fonda—where the food was really excellent, by the way—I was ready to try brains.  They were chopped and fried with tomato, onions, and peppers—and were really good.  I’d eat them again any day.  The only weirdness was the consistency—something like scrambled eggs.

That’s the kind of people Stan and Jose are.  They enjoy sharing, showing people interesting things, and having new experiences.

We have since been back to the Casa de las Flores and have spent comfortable nights as guests.  Invariably there are interesting people to talk to, especially in the evenings when wine and dessert is served.  Omar and I recently met an expert on Mexican silver there, and talked into the night about identifying signatures and what makes a piece valuable.  A wonderful experience.

Casa de las Flores is in Tlaquepaque, one of the artistic and handicraft centers just to the east of Guadalajara.   It is one of the best shopping areas in Mexico, as is Tonala, the next town over.  From the Casa it is a quick and easy ride by bus or taxi to Guadalajara.

For more information write Stan and Jose at info@casadelasflores.com

Their website is at www.casadelasflores.com

Long distance telephone number (52) 33- 3659-3186

Long distance national number (01) 33- 3659-3186

To call locally 3659-3186

There is a laptop computer with high speed Internet available for guest’s use, as well as laundry and translation services.

Morning on the balcony outside out room at the Casa de las Flores.

Morning on the balcony outside out room at the Casa de las Flores.

Omar, content.

Omar, content.

The garden--an oasis right in the center of town.

The garden--an oasis right in the center of town.

Omar smells breakfast.

Omar smells breakfast.

Fresh fruit, yougurt with nuts, pineapple empanadas, coffee, and orange juice get the day started.  The next morning Stan made his special poached eggs on a bed of potatoes and creamed spinach, which was out of this world!

Fresh fruit, yougurt with nuts, pineapple empanadas, coffee, and orange juice get the day started. The next morning Stan made his special poached eggs on a bed of potatoes and creamed spinach, which was out of this world!

Miracles come out of this traditional Mexican kitchen.

Miracles come out of this traditional Mexican kitchen.

Mexican handicrafts are everywhere--both traditional...

Mexican handicrafts are everywhere--both traditional...

...and whimsical.

...and whimsical.

A rooster.

A rooster.

A smug devil.

A smug devil.

There are entire collections-of masks, of clay figures, paintings--even bugles!

There are entire collections-of masks, of clay figures, paintings--even bugles!

The main room has very high ceilings and an immense fireplace.

The main room has very high ceilings and an immense fireplace.

Even the furniture has style.

Even the furniture has style.

After a tough day of sightseeing, shopping, or napping, everyone gathers in the garden for wine, dessert,and conversation.

After a tough day of sightseeing, shopping, or napping, everyone gathers in the garden for wine, dessert,and conversation.

 Stan, our host, is in the light shirt.  The man with the hat is an expert on Mexican silver.

Stan, our host, is in the light shirt. The man with the hat is an expert on Mexican silver.

We are a mile up, and the night air can get chilly in January.  The hospitality soon warms us.

We are a mile up, and the night air can get chilly in January. The hospitality soon warms us.

Paper lanterns give a warm glow to the garden.

Paper lanterns give a warm glow to the garden.

About time for bed.

About time for bed.

Our good-size room has a cozy sitting area and a beautiful tiled door.

Our good-size room has a cozy sitting area and a beautiful tiled door.

As in our house, the sink is outside the bathroom door.

As in our house, the sink is outside the bathroom door.

All kinds of products are provided, including foam earplugs.  We found the area to be very quiet, so asked Stan about the plugs.  "Roosters" he said.  We are so used to their happy calls in the morning, we never noticed them.  They certainly weren't loud, at any rate.  But they think of everything here.

All kinds of products are provided, including foam earplugs. We found the area to be very quiet, so asked Stan about the plugs. "Roosters" he said. We are so used to their happy calls in the morning, we never noticed them. They certainly weren't loud, at any rate. But they think of everything here.

A very comfortable home away from home.

A very comfortable home away from home.

Door tiles.

Door tiles.

Poncho, the Casa mascot.

Poncho, the Casa mascot.

Angels show the way.

Angels show the way.

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A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.