OF COURSE, LOS DOS!!
LOUISE BURTON, ARMSTRONG, BC, AND LYSLIE REMMIE, PRINCETON, BC, CANADA "To David and the Team: Gracias, thank you, merci, grazzi, etc. etc. Lyslie and I had a fabulous time in Mérida – agreeing we couldn't have squeezed anything more into our schedule. We arrived back to our homes this evening and now will be hunting for some of the elusive ingredients - well, elusive in western Canada, common in the Yucután. It was a great trip and we are so thrilled to have selected it as our winter getaway. Mérida is a lovely city, surrounded by many fascinating places and containing (of course) Los Dos!! Many thanks once again!"
OUR CONTRABAND RECADOS SURVIVED CUSTOMS!
GERRRY & DIANE BRINKMAN, ROCHESTER, NY. "Just a quick note of thanks for the delightful day we spent with you in Mérida. Thank you for sharing your wealth of Yucatecan knowledge and your most beautiful home with us. Our trip to the Mérida market and the honest and delicious food we experienced there were both highlights of our Mexican holiday. We have made two marvelous Yucatecan feasts since our return made possible by our contraband recados which thankfully survived the customs dog's watchful nose. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors and are looking forward to reading about you and Los Dos in the upcoming Travel and Leisure magazine. We will most certainly make arrangements to visit you and your school when we return to the Yucatán. Once again, we had a great time and would love to meet up again sometime. BTW I made the black stuffing and I have to say it was delicious."
WHAT A TREAT OF A DAY!
JANINE AND ALLAN PITMAN "Thank you and all your staff very much for creating a wonderful educative day for us at Los Dos. Your warm welcome was just a lovely beginning to a great day for us. We appreciated your very generous hospitality in addition to all the extremely interesting information we gleaned about food and cooking in the Yucatan during your presentation; I wished we could have recorded it to hear it all again here at home. (Reading your book is helping us out though). Our market visit was a highlight for me; I could have lingered at each place you led us for ages and enjoyed the sights, smells and of course, the people. Cabs waiting and then a lovely snack back at Los Dos before we launched fully into the main cooking was really appreciated and enjoyed. Allan and I have prepared the Sikil P'aak dip, the Crema de Cilantro soup, and the Arroz Verde with Pollo Pibil (using the paste I bought from the market) so far and they have worked well. It brought back lovely memories. Suffice to say, we appreciated all your attention to details, ensuring we made it to the bus to Cancun on time, and your kind hospitality; we loved your house and all its furnishings and fabulous painted dining room walls. What a treat of a day!"
FOCUSED ON FOOD
CHARLIE & JEFF SHARP, OAKLAND, CA "David, thanks so much for the great day in Mérida. Jeff and I both really enjoyed meeting you, spending time in your beautiful home and of course immersing ourselves in the lessons on Yucatecan food. Learning about the history of the spices and dishes was completely fascinating. The market was great and of course the lunch at Hacienda Teya was very nice (check out the photo!). Your city is so lovely . . . Outside of Paris and the south of France I have never wanted to live in a city as much as Mérida. Los Dos will receive numerous recommendations from the Oakland Sharps. – Charlie. I want to echo Charlie's words of thanks. We had a fantastic time in Mérida, and your introduction to the food and culture played a significant role in our appreciation and enjoyment of your wonderful city. Your mini-lecture about the food and history of Yucatán was quite informative to both of us, and in a framework (focused on food) that we could easily digest, so to speak. I was so pleased, as a conga player, to see the huge impact of Cuban culture upon Mérida. We listened to live music every night, often dancing in the streets and parks with locals and tourists from age five to age eighty or so. Your tip to check out the dancing at Santa Lucia Park on Sunday morning was great; it was such a kick to see young-at-heart old timers really kicking up a storm! Gracias por todo, y que le vaya bien!" – Jeff.
HOW COULD ONE NOT INDULGE?
BRIAN POREA, SAN FRANCISCO, CA "Thank you for a fantastic day spent at Los Dos last week. Michael and I both had a wonderful time hearing about Mayan and Yucatecan cooking, and then having the opportunity to make (and eat!) such simple, beautiful and extraordinarily flavorful dishes. In a million years, I never thought I'd get Michael to eat onions pickled with an entire head of charred garlic, not to mention ANYTHING cooked in lard – but the flavors and the presentation were so fantastic, how could one not indulge? Hopefully, the dishes I make back here in San Francisco with the spices we bought at the fabulous Galvez market will come out half as good! Again, a heartfelt Mayan yum botic to both you and Keith. We've already recommended Los Dos to a number of our friends and will continue to do so."
EVEN THE HUSBAND ENJOYED THE DAY!
MAUREEN DENNIS, CALGARY, CANADA "My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our day of cooking and eating at Los Dos. As a person who loves to cook and has participated in other cooking schools in North America, this by far was the most entertaining and knowledgeable day I have experienced. A tour of Mérida's wonderful mercado lead by David was a real highlight. I was then able to go back the next day and purchase with confidence. Even the husband enjoyed the day! David provided a great deal of background on the history and culture of the Yucatán relative to the cuisine. Thank you both, David and Keith!"
LIS MOLLER, KINGSFORD, AUSTRALIA. "Dear Chef Sterling, your cooking course was practical, informative and lots of fun. I really enjoyed the trip to the markets and meeting all your contacts. I wish there had been time for a more extensive course. I give you top billing for your teaching skills, cooking expertise, personal warmth and graciousness. With fond memories, Lis."
DIANA AND FRED GILLASPY, SANTA CRUZ, CA "We arrived back in California Thursday evening in one piece, and have been catching up since our return. It was indeed a pleasure meeting you and spending quality time learning about the unique foods and fine cuisine of Yucatan. We learned much from your overview about the differences between Mexican and Yucatecan cooking ingredients and methods of food preparation. The markets you took us to, both new and old, were eye-opening and became far less intimidating to us after your knowledgeable introduction. In fact, we were so inspired that we cooked Cochinita Pibil yesterday, using the Annatto paste we bought from you - and it was quite good! Finally, we commend you on the wonderful job you and Keith have done on your awesome Mérida home. You have given it new life as well as created a very inviting and rich environment for culinary students and guests."
I'D RATHER BE WRAPPING TAMALES!
BARBARA, JOHN, JULIE AND STEPHANIE SHERMAN, BOSTON, MA "Hi David and Keith! We came home to snow covering our front stairs and a power outage. Yesterday John and I froze our behinds off at a Patriots' football game (first pro football game for me - and last). In the middle of the shivering I said 'I'd rather be cooking in Mérida!' Anyhow, we think you are both very special and we want to send our friends to Los Dos. We want to come back, too." And a personal note from Julie: "Happy New Year!! I'm e-mailing to let you know that the Sherman family returned safely to Boston... although none of us was ready to leave Mérida and we all agreed our vacation was too short! Thank you so much for your hospitality. We all feel that we totally "lucked-out" in finding Los Dos. We loved getting to know you both, learning to cook with David, and touring the restored homes with Keith. Our only regret was having signed up for just a one-day cooking class rather than the three-day! Now I must get back to work, though I'd much rather be wrapping tamales than staring at my computer screen!"
MY FINGERS STILL BURN
PETE CUEVA AND FAMILY, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA "I just want to thank you again for a great visit and experience. We all felt that our time with you was the highlight of our trip!. Melany, Chris and Katie are in Southern California visiting relatives and they've tried several recipes that you taught us. All were pleased with the results!" From Katie's online diary: "Yesterday we drove into Mérida. We started classes today and my fingers still burn from all the peppers we prepared, but our teacher knows so much about where our dishes are from – the Spanish or French or Cuban influences and the history of the names of food and what language they're in and where the people who speak the language are from and how they got to Yucatán and when ingredients were incorporated and it's pretty incredible. There's also live music in the zócalo (central square) every night. There are lots and lots of markets with necklaces and chickens and spices and porn and sandals and just about everything you could want. Prospero Año Nuevo!"
MOROS Y CRISTIANOS
GRAHAM AND JOZEF, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM "Just a quick note to say thanks for the fun day we spent cooking, eating and chatting together in Mérida - we really enjoyed it. I think I must be still suffering a bit of jetlag. It's 2 a.m. and yet I'm raring to go! Maybe I should get in the kitchen and rustle up a salsa or three. You'll be pleased to know I recreated Moros y Cristianos this evening, although with peas (I didn't have any black beans), so it was more like Martians and Christians than Moors and Christians. Best wishes to you all and thanks again."
SUCH WONDERFUL FOOD
BLAIR AND LAUREN LUCAS, SHANGHAI, CHINA "If there was one highlight of our trip to Mexico – and with everything Mexico has to offer, it can be hard to choose – it was attending your school. From my initial inquiries to the final dinner, I was overwhelmed by David's friendly, professional and helpful approach to answering my questions, arranging a menu, and, most important, teaching us how to cook such wonderful food. Thank you, both David and Keith, for an unforgettable trip to Mérida, for your enthusiasm and hospitality, and for making us feel like we were at home. I will not hesitate to sign up for more classes next time we come to Mérida!"
CULTURE INCLUDES GASTRONOMY
FABIEN AND MARINA CALVO, PARIS, FRANCE "As a mixed French-Italian couple, we believe that culture includes gastronomy - so we had to try to learn about Yucatecan cuisine. Since the holidays are a time we share with our children, we spent with them one day at Los Dos. We all enjoyed this wonderful house restored with such taste and fidelity, the warmth of the welcome and the quality of what we heard and made: not only do you learn about making this delicious cuisine but also you get a personal view from sensitive and intelligent hosts who love México and Yucatán. This was a perfect complementary view of the marvelous sites of this area."
BEYOND A TYPICAL HOLIDAY
GAIL GLATT, TORONTO, ONTARIO "Your school goes beyond the idea of the typical holiday in México by offering an experience of the culture first hand through taste and a hands-on activity. Now I'm able to go home and say I traveled to the Yucatán and experienced unique cuisine and also got a chance to cook it for myself – all in a stunning setting in the private old colonial mansion of a cook from New York! What's more, I not only worked hard and learned how to cook a lot of new things, but I also felt pampered by the setting, the service & the ambience."
ATUL AND RINA JOSHI, PHILADELPHIA, PA "David, I can't tell you how happy I am with the way things turned out at your cooking class a few weeks back. Rina and I really enjoyed ourselves and learned a lot. The way the proposal worked out couldn't have gone any better, and I cannot thank you enough for making it possible. The ad lib you did about the 'special prize' when I gave her the ring worked out perfectly, and now, we have a memory that will last a lifetime. Best wishes to you!"
THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY VACATION!
TRACY VAN NAMEN, SCHERERVILLE, IN "Hi David, I just wanted to send you a note and let you know what a wonderful day I had at Los Dos!!! I can honestly say it was THE highlight of my vacation to Mérida. Your knowledge and passion for what you do is amazing and I'm so glad I got to experience it, even for a day. My husband John loved coming to your home in the afternoon to dine on our taste treats as well! I wish you so much success and I will definitely be back to school on my next visit!"
WHAT A TREASURE YOU ARE!
TERESA EELS, AUSTIN, TX "Thanks does not seem to be enough but it's all we've got! We had such an amazing experience and it truly was the highlight of our trip. Your enthusiasm for the region and the people have inspired me to learn more about the culture. What a treasure you are!"
KUDOS 4 TUS PANUCHOS!
BESTY McNAIR, SANTA CRUZ, CA "Querido David, the class you created for My Mexico Tours
was FABULOUS! I even thought I knew what to expect but you knocked my socks off. Everyone talked about it the entire rest of the trip, and we all agreed that what made it so amazing was that it was not only a great cooking class but so much more
than that. We got a lesson in history, geography, anthropology, and
cooking! And the food was marvelous. Manageable even for non-cooks, fun, things we'll do at home, delicious, interesting . . . it was just perfect. And then the workbook! Yikes, that is the best Yucatecan cookbook out there. Complete, useful and beautifully presented. Oh, and I love the apron too! But wait...then there's you! My gosh, you were FABULOUS, David! Totally relaxed, focused, calm, inspired, clear and oh-so kind and patient. And I particularly wanted to let you know that I - La Exigente
- noticed how beautifully orchestrated it all was. Flawless, seamless, über-professional, my dear.You rock. Sign us up for next year. Really."
MORE THAN A "COOKING CLASS"
DIANE AND BOB BRAYMAN, ALBERTA, CANADA "We’ve recently returned from our Yucatán trip and wanted to thank you and your staff again for the outstanding day at Los Dos. It was definitely a highlight of our vacation – informational, interesting, fun, and the food was absolutely delicious and beautifully presented. One of the things that we particularly appreciated about your approach was your deep respect for the history, culture and culinary traditions of the people of Yucatán. As a whole we have always found the people to be gracious, kind of heart and proud of their heritage – there is a beauty and dignity present which we felt you captured in your interpretation of the region and your attention to detail. Certainly you offer much more than a “cooking class”. We plan to do our best to recreate some of the food and ambience of the Yucatán here at home. Meanwhile, our friends are asking for your Web site and looking to go to Mérida! By the way, a couple of days after your class we stopped in at the market stall that you had recommended (Benny's)
and had a few panuchos there – along with yours, they were the best! Where else can you get such a fresh and tasty lunch for two for $4 including tip, never mind the quick and friendly service?! Muchas gracias y buen provecho! Hasta la próxima vez."
MEMORABLY OUTSTANDINGLY DELICIOUS
ALICE AND STEVE FLINK, WHITE PLAINS, NY "Now that we are home (in the very cold state of New York), I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how very much we enjoyed our day with you. Not only was your home gorgeous, but also your presentation was charming and informative, your preparation and our involvement was fun and entertaining, and the final product was most memorably outstandingly delicious. Speaking for both Steve and me, our cooking experience with you was definitely the highlight of our visit to Mérida. Again, muchas gracias."
CURSE YOU FOR THAT HELADO DE CHOCOLATE
NANCY OSCARSON, GAINESVILLE, FL "I so enjoyed Wednesday's class. This is how good a teacher you are: I have already prepared Cebollas Encurtidas, Chaya Frita
and Sikil P'aak.
I got rave reviews so I would say your recipes translated very well. I have promised my friends back home a Yucatecan meal so I thought I better start practicing. Curse you for that Helado de Chocolate
....I crave it! Many thanks to your very professional staff and to you for being a delightful teacher and warm host. I look forward to another class on my next visit."
THANK YOU FOR SUCH A BROADENING EXPERIENCE
PENNY CROMER, WILMINGTON, NC "David, I was in your class on January 5th. It was a more than wonderful experience! I am now back in NC and this past Friday decided I would tackle some of the recipes we made in class here at home. I invited my neighbors over the following Saturday evening for a Yucatecan meal. It was absolutely fabulous! It was such a fun, delectable, and unique evening and has certainly piqued my neighbors' interest in the Yucatán. Thank you for offering this incredible culinary experience."