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La Manzanilla Memo - December 24, 2016

Five New Houses

Unbelievable, but true!  This past Friday, at our primary school, the Grade 6 class feverishly worked to not only build, but decorate five Gingerbread Houses. (Got you!)

La Manzanilla Memo - December 3, 2016

La Manzanilla doesn’t need Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Buen Fin. We have the Tianguis! They’re back on our main plaza each Friday morning, and are definitely worth a walk through.

La Manzanilla Memo - November 19, 2016

It’s a mystery! Something is running midnight raids on my refrigerator. I say “something” because I figure a human would at least have the courtesy to shut the fridge door, what with the cost of electricity.  

pg27It looked like a raccoon job to me. Except I haven’t seen Rocky and Rory and their fuzzy little families since the tejon moved onto the property. Tessie Tejon could’ve pulled it off, or in this case open. She also would be tall enough to reach the top shelf. But, they’re supposed to be daytime critters.   

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Skittzy, the stray tom cat that wants to live here. There was a heap of cat crunchies still on the floor one morning.  The bandit apparently has a more sophisticated

palate: raw bacon and cold tortillas, and the slice of sausage pizza I was saving for breakfast.

How they get in is no mystery: I have a cat door. Unfortunately, its size -- large enough to accommodate my biggest cat – allows easy access to all manner of other creatures, as well.

The ‘coons generally have been a well mannered lot. Well, there was that one rowdy generation against which I had to secure my oven and microwave (where I hide all the goodies) with thick leather straps. And my cats get on well with them. Never have they made a run on the fridge, though.

I solved half the problem by putting a heavy wooden chair in front of the heavy refrigerator door. But I still wonder what’s coming in to raid my fridge? At least, whatever it is – do I really want to know? – still isn’t strong enough to break down my barricade.  

Given our proximity to the jungle and the popularity of open architecture, mine isn’t the only house that’s served as a nocturnal hospitality suite for wild animals. But, hey, it’s all part of the adventure that is La Manzanilla.

Cooking with Eileen

Instead of raiding your fridge or going to a restaurant for a variation on the same old lunch, take a cooking class with Eileen Zack while you’re in La Manzanilla. It’s guaranteed to be totally unique, different from anything you’ll find on any local menu. And you get to help create it!

Classes accommodate five to eight students, and are held in Eileen’s spacious, well-appointed home kitchen. She offers a range of global cuisines – Indian, Mediterranean, Asian, Mexican and more – with seasonings from Asafetida to Za’taar.  

Aside from knowing which end of a knife to hold, and a blender from a skillet, you need not be cooking adept to participate. “No one ever fails in Eileen’s classes,” declared one satisfied student. (Not even those of us who can’t manage to separate an egg.) Eileen herself says the goal is to “learn, have fun, and eat well.” And that you do!

Take-with recipes for the day’s feast are handed out, for you to choose your portion of the menu. Work stations are assembled with pre-measured ingredients and all the implements you need. Follow your directions, and savor the mouth-watering aromas as the various dishes near completion. Then sample everyone’s efforts, served buffet style, in Eileen’s private front-porch dining room overlooking the garden.

Each approximately three-hour class costs 300 pesos.  Classes in individual cuisines are offered in two-week segments, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, when five or more cookers are enrolled. Visit her website, eileenslamanzanilla.com, for a schedule of classes and how to reserve your spot.

You can’t spend every day on the beach. And you have to eat. Sign up for one of Eileen’s classes. They’re great fun. You can practice playing well with others. (No running with sharp knives!) And you’ll get a one-of-a-kind lunch.

Thanksgiving Dining

The temperature in La Manzanilla may be a whole lot hotter than Thanksgivings of your past. Nonetheless, you can still gather with friends and dig in to a turkey-day feast at two local restaurants.

Celebrate the holiday beachfront at Lora Loka’s. Back by popular demand, the irrepressible Lora will serve her traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Get there in time for cocktails at 6:30 p.m., with dinner served at 7 p.m. The cost is 299 pesos per person. Stop by her restaurant to make your reservation, or call (315) 351-5333.

You also can satisfy your craving for turkey and stuffing and potatoes and such, including pie, at Palapa Joe’s. Seatings for this perennial favorite will be at 3 and 7 p.m only. The cost is 300 pesos per person and reservations are required. To book, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Willy at (315) 351-5348. And if you crave leftovers, with luck you can have them for lunch on Friday.  

BTW, Palapa Joe´s got da blues again every Friday night. House band, The Lounge Lizards – Willy Mason on guitar, Denise Brown on drums, Scottie Turner on bass and Dan Crosby on harmonica and vocals – take the stage at 7:30 p.m. No cover, but tips are always appreciated. Bring your dancing shoes!

Wherever you spend Thanksgiving, whomever you’re with, may you have many reasons — aside from being in Mexico — to give thanks.

La Manzanilla Memo - November 5, 2016

Filling in

The Lois Lane of La Manzanilla is back!  Temporarily. I’m filling in until our regular columnist, Patti Wagner, returns. Hurry home, Patti, please.

La Manzanilla Memo – April 1, 2016

A Dream Come True

Walt Disney once said that “Any dream can come true if you have the courage to pursue it.” Well Mr. Disney, our pueblo just proved you were right!

Laguna Chapalac - March 19, 2016

Something’s Cooking!

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the cooking classes offered by local legend Eileen Zack.