Archive for May, 2014

¡Delicioso! 5 Mexican-Inspired Dishes that Kids Love

Posted on May 23rd, 2014 by Dusty Fox in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Mexico’s cuisine is one of the most kid-friendly options around. Even if your kids are picky, you may be surprised to see them embrace Mexican food. It’s not difficult to find the basic ingredients for the most popular Mexican dishes in your average grocery store, making it easy to incorporate them into your regular dinner routine. And if your children are studying Spanish, eating Mexican cuisine is a great way to help them learn new words and understand more about a Spanish-speaking culture throughout its food. Alternatively, if your family is preparing for a vacation to Mexico, sampling the cuisine is a fun way to get everyone even more excited about the upcoming trip! Here are some simple and delicious Mexican-inspired dishes you’ll want to try with your family.

1. Quesadillas

When it comes to kid-friendly foods, quesadillas are a guaranteed hit. Though the U.S. version we’re used to seeing in chain restaurants is far from the traditional Mexican version, the general idea is this: flour tortillas are stuffed with lots of cheese and other ingredients then grilled. Kids love that quesadillas are meant to be picked up and eaten with their hands–no utensils needed! Parents can take the idea of a quesadilla and modify it in an infinite number of ways. Try blending shredded cheddar with spinach and chicken, or black beans with red pepper and American cheese. With a gooey, cheesy center and a crispy, toasted outside, you can’t go wrong with a homemade quesadilla.

2. Tacos

Tacos have earned somewhat of a following in recent years with everyone from food truck cooks to chefs at upscale establishments getting in on the trend. But don’t worry too much about how to prepare the perfect taco–instead, just have some fun. Tacos are great for kids because they can get involved in the preparation. Let your kids help you set up a filling station that has bowls full of pinto beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, chives, diced olives, and lots more. Invite your kids to be part of the prep and planning process and they’ll be more excited about eating what they’ve helped create.

photo credit: Ashwini Biradar

Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Ashwini Biradar

3. Tamales

Variations of this traditional dish can be found throughout Latin American, and few meals are prepared with as much love and effort as a batch of homemade tamales. In essence, a tamale is corn meal, broth, and a variety of ingredients packed inside corn husks, then steamed. Fortunately, you can customize tamales based on what your kids like. If they don’t like the usual shredded pork, olives, chiles, cumin and other fillings, try something a bit more basic. Make sure you get help from friends or senior family members as making tamales is most enjoyable when you’re doing it in a group.

4. Smothered Potatoes

Take inspiration from the basics found in many traditional Mexican dishes to come up with your own “Mexican-inspired” dish, like smothered potatoes. Pan fry diced potatoes and let your kids have fun covering them in the staples of Mexican cuisine–beans, cheese, shredded meat, cabbage, and maybe even a dash of hot sauce on top!

photo credit: Juan Mejuto

Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Juan Mejuto

5. Churros

Don’t forget dessert when it comes time to make a Mexican meal! Churros are fried dough, somewhat similar to an American-style donut. Buy a boxed mix at a Mexican grocery store or look up a recipe online if you’d rather make your own from scratch. This is one traditional Mexican food your kids are sure to enjoy!

Remember that we’re always just a quick email away if you decide you’d like to learn Spanish so you can explore Mexican culture even more and maybe even plan a visit. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about Spanish classes and private language instruction. Have fun trying all these Mexican dishes and good luck getting your kids excited about another country’s cuisine!

4 Places to Visit in Bogota, Colombia that are Off the Beaten Path

Posted on May 9th, 2014 by Dusty Fox in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Photo credit: Creative Commons, Mariordo

Photo credit: Creative Commons, Mariordo

 As anyone who’s been there knows firsthand, there’s no shortage of things to do while vacationing in Bogota, Colombia. Whether you prefer to spend your time outdoors, exploring a bustling city, or indoors, learning about its impressive history, a traveler could easily spend months getting to know this vibrant city. But some of us are looking for attractions that are a little less crowded. After you’ve visited the Museo de Oro and rode the cable car at Mount Montserrate, why not get venture off the beaten bath and pay a visit to these equally entertaining spots?

Photo credit: Creative Commons, Pedro Felipe

Photo credit: Creative Commons, Pedro Felipe

1. Parque Jaime Duque

With everything from a replica of the Taj Mahal to an arcade, this park is likely to be described as quirky, interesting, and unexpected. It has a wide variety of things to see and experience and makes a great destination for families with young children in tow. Located in Tocancipa, just about half an hour outside Bogota, it is considered by many to be one of Colombia’s hidden tourist treasures. The eclectic property is home to a zoo, exhibits on the 7 wonders of the world, giant dinosaurs, informative displays about Colombia, and lots more. Between the variety of exhibit topics and low entry fees, this larger-than-life park is fun and affordable for everyone.

2. Usaquen Street Market

Forget the mass-produced souvenirs that were made in some country far away and treat yourself to a visit to the Usaquen Street Market to buy some truly local handmade goods. This massive market comes alive each Sunday and has rightfully earned a reputation as one of Colombia’s most exciting all-in-one eating and shopping destinations. You’ll even get to watch some of the artists in action as you peruse the kiosks and stands, sampling corn, patacones, and other street food staples as you go. There are lots of great restaurants and bars in this upbeat colonial neighborhood, making it all too easy to spend the whole day in Usaquen.

3. La Chorrera Waterfall

Leave the city behind for a day and fit in a challenging workout by visiting La Chorrera, Colombia’s tallest waterfall. Travelers can book a tour or make the journey out to the trailhead for themselves, depending on how adventurous they are feeling. Though the hike takes just about an hour and half each way, the trail is steep and you may not be able to resist the urge to take a swim to cool off at the foot of the waterfall. There is beautiful scenery along the way–both on the roads out of Bogota and on the trail itself.


Photo credit: Creative Commons, masanalv

Photo credit: Creative Commons, masanalv


4. Suesca Rock Climbing Zone

Located about two hours outside Bogota, the Suesca rock climbing zone is a natural series of cliffs that runs alongside train tracks. With more than a hundred charted climbing routes, there are options for the most novice or advanced climbers. It is located right outside a large town by the same name, where visitors can find a traditional meal or rent a bike to explore more of the area. Not many tourists make this trek, so Suesca is a great place to meet locals while spending some time in the Great Outdoors. Make sure you brush up on your Spanish before venturing out to this area so you’ll be able to strike up a conversation with some fellow climbers!

Remember to contact us before your trip to Bogota and we’ll help make sure you’ve mastered the basics of the language.