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Archive for April, 2007

Spain Book Recommendations added!

I know we just launched Quixo Spain last week, but we have so much more to add! Our spain book recommendations page just went up. It has recommended fiction to enjoy during your travels, Spanish / English dictionary recommendations, poetry (yes poetry is a fun way to learn Spanish. If you are a geek like me.) And some kids books that we enjoy. Yea, more Spain stuff is coming soon!

April 29th, 2007

Peruvian Food Recipe: Lomo Saltado (gringa version)

We’ve been having a lot of fun with Quixo Peru and we’ve been getting a really nice response. The biggest surprise has been the huge demand for info on Peruvian food. We’ve been getting emails and requests and here is our first recipe: Lomo Saltado (gringa version). It is a mostly authentic peruvian recipe with plenty of background resources, tips for substitutions and variations. But our chef, Catherine Criolla, while she insists on authentic Peruvian aji chile and even lists an option to cover the dish with pisco (an alcohol drink from Peru) and ignite it, she just had to take a little gringa short cut. I was personally involved in the taste test and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, so here it is: Peruvian Cuisine: Lomo Saltado Recipe.

¡Buen provecho!

13 comments April 26th, 2007

Spain Travel Guide Launched

Quixo Spain is now live! We offer info on flights to Spain and travel within Spain, tips for lodging, including hotels, hostals, paradores and apartments, a cultural survival guide, Spanish language tips, and a guide to the best in Spanish food and resources to plan your trip to Spain.

Yea, we have much more in store, but we just had to get this out there to share with you. As always we appreciate your feedback!

7 comments April 25th, 2007

Polar Bears: Endangered but who cares….

In the first article of our Issues department, Carla Wise has a hard time caring that Polar Bears are becoming endangered. Not that she doesn’t care — she’s a conservation biologist who has devoted her life to endangered species — it’s just that climate change is now threatening all living species. Check out this incredible article on Polar Bears, climate change and the evolving environmental movement. Don’t despair, it includes a strong set of solutions to help save the Polar Bears, human beings and all living species.

You can leave any comments on the article here….

17 comments April 20th, 2007

Toddlers are Terrified of Automatic Toilets

I don’t know what goes through the minds of people planning kids’ museums and attractions. Why do they put automatic toilets in places that are supposed to be kid friendly? My kids are just starting to get past this, but as toddlers they were absolutely terrified by the automatic toilets.

It goes like this: you are trying to potty train your young child, you bring her into a public restroom at the local tot museum, and as soon as she spots the blinking red eye, she freaks out, refuses to use the toilet and you are left struggling for ways to reassure her. Finally, you crouch down, face nearly touching the toilet, to attempt to firmly cover the sensor so the toilet does not flush while your child is sitting on it. You hold this painful pose for 15 minutes while your kid tries to poop. Then maybe you get a little lazy because you’re in pain from holding the pose or because your other child is lying on the floor, licking the side of the stall, and you move your hand ever so slightly. The toilet, with its supersonic public toilet pressure, emits a loud WHOOSH and your kid is sure she is going to get sucked down, never to see you again. Potty training is set back a decade and have to start looking for a therapist.

I know not every kid is afraid of these things. Some may think they are kind of cool. But save this cool feature for the sinks. The cool factor is much more appreciated there when there is no danger of being sucked into the sewer.

Any day now I’ll start a whole campaign with T-Shirts. Something like: Toddlers United to Stop Horrifying Terrible Red-eyed Automatic Potties. (T.U.S.H. T.R.A.P.). If your interested in joining the movement or have a more punchy acronym, let me know.

If you are a parent seeking help, I can suggest one solution that works pretty well. We learned it from a kind attendant in the baby care center at Disneyland. She showed us you can simply stick a Post-It Note® over the eye and it seems to work most of the time. The trick depends on a couple of things – first the ability of the post-it to stick to the dingy surface of the toilet. Second and most importantly it requires buy-in from the toddler. You have to really sell it with confidence and enthusiasm. I’m not much of a salesperson, so my success would rely on the kid’s disposition on a given day. Still, I keep a couple of post-its handy in my wallet at all times.

My suggestion, again, for anyone building children’s facilities: DON’T MAKE THE TOILETS AUTOMATIC. Save it for the sinks and we’ll all be better off.

(If you are in LA or Santa Monica, I have a list of fun things to do with toddlers and kids. But they don’t have toilet reviews. Yet.)

4 comments April 20th, 2007

So All May Eat: SAME Cafe

SAME Cafe in Denver serves up good organic food on a sliding scale — pay what you can and everyone eats. Together. You can visit their website here (and donate if you like), and read the LA Times article about the restaurant here. I worked for many years in services for poor and homeless people and there was a huge difference between the organizations that worked with people and the groups who were condescending, abusive or just burnt out. And SAME is all about people being in it together. At first glance this may seem like a pointless excercise in the face of vast social injustices. But often art and culture spread messages that are more transformative to our society than the many protests and legislative squabbles we engage in.  A cafe like this could do well (and good) with Santa Monica. Anyone with a little free time, money and real estate?

1 comment April 16th, 2007

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