Tagged Bachelorette party ideas

Jane Butel Cooking School offers Mexican and Southwestern Cooking Cuisine Courses

by Andrea Verdin

Have you ever gone into a fantastic Mexican cuisine or Southwestern style restaurant and thought to yourself, “I’d love to make this meal for myself every day”? Foodies who love to cook might rush into their home kitchens and immediately try to replicate the dish, perfecting the meal to their own preferences. If you are interested in a complete week or weekend of learning how to make delectable meals from a renowned expert, then you may want to head to Corrales, New Mexico to the Jane Butel cooking school, housed in the beautiful kitchen of renowned teacher Jane Butel.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas by Jane Butel are just one plate guests will learn to make, as well as enjoy.
Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas by Jane Butel are just one plate guests will learn to make, as well as enjoy.

In 1983, Butel began her first weeklong, full participation class in a leased Bed and Breakfast Inn in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Now, 32 successful years later, Butel is teaching these highly rated classes in her kitchen.

Each class is full hands-on participation and is preceded by a review of the history of the major ingredients as well as hints and tips for success with the recipes as well as “important to know” culinary techniques such as knife selection and use, sauce making, tips for baking, meat cookery and more.

Butel makes it clear that local ingredients are what inspire her cooking. There aren’t any inaccessible products used with this cooking school. The ingredients are all clearly explained by Butel, who prides herself on her clear, easy to follow instruction.

“I like to mix in a lot of fun with knife techniques, and learning which type of flour is appropriate for what recipes for cookies, cakes and bread,” said Butel.


Unlike some cooking demonstration courses, the Jane Butel cooking school offers full participation in her beautiful professional kitchen, so there’s no guesswork. Because of the casual atmosphere and environment offered by Butel, this is an ideal place to learn with your best friends, spouse on an anniversary, coworkers on a business retreat, or even your ladies whilst on a bachelorette getaway.

However, don’t think that you’ll be lounging about while food is prepared; you’ll be doing some intense and delicious meals. For example, on one weekend, guests can be prepared to make such items as corn tortillas, wheat tortillas, red chile beef enchiladas (rolled and Santa Fe style), green chile chicken enchiladas, baja shrimp tacos with nine day cole slaw, spicy fried chicken strips with creamy salsa verde, and sopaipillas.

This is definitely not a course for those trying to watch their waistlines, but definitely an exciting way to learn a completely new style and technique for cooking. However, this should not scare away anyone who has never cooked before, and has always wanted to learn the culinary art.

At the Jane Butel cooking school, it is not uncommon to have experts fly in to learn from Butel. She loves having both well versed chefs and home cooks in her home, but for her, there is little better than having a student discover the joy of cooking.

“I had a man come in and he didn’t even know how to use his knife because his wife had been the one to do all of the cooking at home,” explained Butel. “By the end of his trip, he was asking other people if he could help them with their chopping. He picked me up and told me it had been the best week of his life.I love seeing the light of new learning in my students.”

Chiles en Nogada
Chiles en Nogada

Upcoming weekend courses will be offered on May 15-17, 2015July 17-19, 2015September 18-20, 2015October 10-12, 2015, and November 14-16, 2015. A weeklong course will be offered August 16-21, 2015.

Class size is limited and early reservations are recommended. For more information on cost, recipes, menus and classes offered by the Jane Butel Cooking School, shoot her over an email, call 505.243.2622 or go to her website.

Hornblower San Francisco: See the sights and enjoy a meal all at the same time

Climb aboard a Hornblower San Francisco cruise.

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

I am the queen of multi-tasking and I love killing two birds with one stone, as the idiom goes. So when it comes to sightseeing in San Francisco, I try and squish all kinds of things in one packed time slot so I don’t miss a thing. I was recently invited to a brunch cruise aboard a Hornblower San Francisco dining cruise and I thought, perfect. See the touristy sights from afar and enjoy  a meal all at the same time.

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White Swan Garden Deck

Petite Auberge and White Swan Inn are Nob Hill’s best-kept secret

White Swan Fireplace Lobby
Have some wine or breakfast in the parlor at White Swan.

Written by Nadia Ibanez, Photos courtesy of Petite Auberge and White Swan Inn

It’s hard to be unique or inventive when it comes to hotels in San Francisco. They’ve seen it all: luxury skyscraper accommodations, quirky bed and breakfasts, hostels and everything else in between. But when I tell you that I’ve never seen anything quite like sister properties Petite Auberge and White Swan Inn, it means that they’re in a league of their own.

Petite Auberge Deluxe King
My cozy room at Petite Auberge. Take. Me. Back.

Located in Nob Hill, these sister boutique hotels offers an amazing way to unwind after a day in the city. Traveling to SF for business or pleasure can be a bit stressful because of the amount of people and all of the things on your itinerary. But both Petite Auberge and White Swan Inn offer amenities that will make you feel like spending the night in, resting by your room’s fireplace and enjoying all of the perks.

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Payne Mansion offers exquisite accommodations in a historic Victorian landmark

The Payne Mansion in all of its glory.

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos courtesy of The Payne Mansion

If you haven’t heard, I’ve moved to San Francisco for an amazing job opportunity. The City is one of my favorite places to visit because of the shopping, food, sightseeing and vast hotel options. My apartment in SF isn’t quite ready for me so I’ve been staying at a few different hotels to be closer to my office and to get a true feel of what it’s like to live and work in the city. The Payne Mansion, in Lower Pacific Heights, was my first stop and was truly a treat.

My suite’s TV room at Payne Mansion.

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New Orleans tours you need to check out

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

I pride myself in the ability to navigate my way through a new city and locate unique and under-the-radar restaurants, hotels, shopping and art. But if you’ve only got a few days in one of the cities that’s always been on your bucket list, sometimes it’s smart to do what the tourists do and go on a guided tour. I had the opportunity to spend a few days in New Orleans and when I wasn’t hunting down famous restaurants and landmarks, I tried my hardest to see what NOLA had to offer. While you can only see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all that the city has, these tours are a great starting point. Here are my suggestions for New Orleans tours that you need to check out.

City Sightseeing New Orleans Double Decker Buses

Hop on, hop off!

I see them all the time in metropolitan cities and tourist traps. Those double decker buses are everywhere these days and they’re definitely plentiful in NOLA. I highly suggest you climb aboard one of these buses on your first or second day so you can get a lay of the land. We spent an afternoon with City Sightseeing New Orleans, a super friendly and convenient red double decker bus that shows you some of the highlights of the city.

Get off at the St. Louis Cemetery shuttle stop and take a self-guided tour of this above-ground cemetery.
This cemetery is the final resting place of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.

What I love about the City Sightseeing buses is that there are a number of stops around town, including the Garden District, Magazine Street, Jackson Square and more. Buy a day pass (good for a full 24 hours) and locate one of the 18 stops. The entire tour takes about 90 minutes or so and you can hop on or off at any point during running hours. If you’re sans car and in town for a few days, the three-day pass is perfect if your hotel is within walking distance of one of the stops. Buses run every 30 minutes so it’s a great way to get around town if you want to spend more time at a specific destination.

Driving through the Garden District with City Sightseeing New Orleans.
See where the locals hang out when you take a tour of the city.

Howie was our guide for the afternoon and he knew the ins and outs of all of the neighborhoods we drove through. Locals are the guides on these tours and they’ll give you an inside scoop on where else you should go around town. The tour company also has free walking tours at three of their stops and you can even get extra specials and savings when you show your shuttle ticket at various locations in town. Check out the website for more info.

Get a peek behind the curtains at Mardi Gras World

Artists working on Mardi Gras 2015 floats.

Mardi Gras needs no introduction at all and if you’re intrigued by the process of float making, you’ll absolutely love getting a behind-the-scenes experience at Mardi Gras World. Blaine Kern Studios has been making Mardi Gras floats since the 1940s and you’ll see designers and artists at work all throughout the day and year up until the big day. Go on a guided tour, watch a short film about the history of Mardi Gras World and nibble on a slice of King Cake while you’re there.

Hold your next event at Mardi Gras World.

This space is also great for groups and large events so you’ll definitely want to check this place out while you’re in town. The amazing photos and photo ops are worth the ticket price alone. Make sure to add Mardi Gras World on your to-do list.

Just one of the floats the team is working on for Mardi Gras 2015.

The food, history, culture in New Orleans is something to enjoy and appreciate and these tour companies are just a couple of the several tours available. While Bourbon Street and the French Quarter are entirely walkable, you’ll definitely want to venture into the various districts and landmarks all throughout the area.