New WEEKEND ESCAPE Series to Inspire Travel & Global Experiences at Home: Dinner and a Movie

I’m starting this series to inspire real life travel, celebrate global culture found at home, and feed the soul. In the summer of 2014 just before I moved abroad from Nashville, I saw Chef at the theater and loved it. Although the soundtrack has been on my plane playlist since I rushed home and downloaded it, I hadn’t seen the movie again until last night. A great getaway, Netflix and Chef took me on a food tour that stopped in Miami, New Orleans, Austin and Los Angeles.  (I’ve been considering a streamline retro trailer life in the US for awhile now.)

I had no idea after two years in Morocco I’d end up living in the Caribbean, but given my love of Latin culture in Nashville—the music, dance, food—it makes sense. Last fall the Santo Domingo Food Truck Festival felt like home. In fact, downtown workers in Music City say the best part of the workweek is Street Food Thursdays.  But this movie, starring Jon Favreau as Everyman Chef Carl Caspar, serves up more than culinary masterpieces and comfort food– a grilled cheese sandwich turned art, a Cubana this carnivorous girl raised on Western Kentucky pork craved.  It’s for those who fancy food…eaters and cooks…and those who love a good story.  (Foodies can check out this space with recipes from the film (and other films) thanks to Judie Walker’s story here.)

Most will be able to relate… wanting to do what you felt you were put on this earth to do but feeling held back in (or from) the dream job…parents co-parenting across two households… dads and sons wanting to connect but not sure how …the bullying and blessing of social media… a career crisis that can rend or mend a family. Performances, funny, real, and warm, are given by an interesting cast— Emjay Anthony (Percy), compelling ten-year-old son of Carl and Inez (Sophia Vergara); Marvin (Robert Downey, Jr.) as the first husband, Riva (Dustin Hoffman) as the creativity-crushing boss, Molly (Scarlett Johansson) as faithful friend, and Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), the callous, caustic food critic who ignites a Twitter War and change. An added treat is live performances of “Oye Como Va” and “La Quimbumba” by legendary Cuban singer, Jose Caridad Hernandez, who plays Abuelito.

The film written and directed by Favreau  with the help of consultant/food truck Chef Roy Choi of Kogi Korean BBQ  won nods including Audience Award for Best Narrative at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and in 2015 Best Comedy given by the AARP Movies for Grownups Awards.

Be prepared to plan a southern road trip to NOLA for beignets from Café du Monde, Little Havana for Cubanas at Hoy Como Ayer, or some blues at Franklin Barbecue.  Even better, the film will help anyone who feels he/she may have lost his/her way or is simply afraid to turn in the direction to which we’ve been called for a long time.  E. E. Cummings said “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” Growing pains are real no matter our age, and change for the better usually comes after we are pushed from our comfort zones and, thus, really scared. For years I’ve taught literature students the hero’s quest  which is all of our journeys. When called to adventure–our bigger story and unique purpose God put us here to do–we often, at first,  back away from the call.  When we do accept it, there will be obstacles, but I believe it’s the way out of living the lives of quiet desperation Henry David Thoreau said sadly most people accept.  Carl is faced with a choice though he feels he has none.  Sometimes it takes a lot for us to heed our hearts.

Carl: “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve always known what I was going to do and now I’m lost.”

Molly: “I think that’s a good place to start.”

Food Truck Fest in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic…

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Happy Birthday to Me…Thanks for the Memories

 After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life…There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.

–Sophia Loren, named “The World’s Most Naturally Beautiful Person”one month before she turned 72

On the eve of another one, here’s to friends who taught me over the past few years to celebrate every birthday in a big way. Thanks to pals and family for making rich memories in my 52nd year. You danced, laughed and cried with me through the good stuff and the growing pains. Thanks to you and my God for loving me–especially those times when I didn’t love myself.

My son became a senior, my daughter an adult. I’m not excited about an empty nest, but I’m working on it. That and a lot of things. But for now, what is is enough. I have plenty of candles to light the way. Happy Birthday to Me.

Birthday…Kim made Tres Leches Cake and gang gave me dancing shoes 🙂

Party at Kim’s before Mad Donna’s


Kim calls this one “Salsa Barbie.”

The gang goes to the Nashville Film Festival to support me on the Big Screen, then Musica Campesina begins its world tour…

http://www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2011/09/07/pick-of-the-day-musica-campesina-country-music-at-vanderbilts-sarratt-cinema


http://anthropologicalobservations.blogspot.com/2011/11/musica-campesina-opens-in-chile-picked.html


Film Festival Party

Then there was the Classic Coup World Tour thanks to Rawsam, Emily, and Dehan…

Rawsam takes Road Less Traveled across US, Canada, Central & South America, Middle East
Emily takes Road Less Traveled to Africa
Dehan wears Rebel Reads From Alaska to Europe

Sherry Sifers Coyle wrote: Just wanted to let you know, dear friend, that without the Romeo and Juliet books you provided for my seniors this year, they would have graduated never having read a Shakespeare play. And. . . without having read the play, one of my students would have never had the chance to take first place today in a local Shakespeare speech competition. Love ya’, Cindy 🙂 My students in Nashville Skyped with Sherry’s students in Quito about love and parents after reading R and J together.
Classic Coup in Gulch’s Nashville Clothing Company

Cole in lead role of Our Town
Cole’s junior prom
Mom with Cole
David Sandoval teaching salsa to my students on World Culture Day
Italian cooking class with Paulette

Taylor starts new job
Lake…Kyler and Cole
Tubing with my sister, Penny
Left lake to get story on Rumba at CMA Fest
Examiner Article on Rumba at Chukkers for Charity Featured as Top Story in Arts/Entertainment


So honored to have been part of Moni and Ale’s big day

Thanks to Emily for making reservations and beautiful pics. The fancy photos are hers.
Beach Buddy

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Summer Reading to grade
Cole does Tennessee Tech campus tour and is sold.
Cole’s senior pic


One of Kenny and Sheyla’s parties…link to featurette I did for Alimentum magazine

Emila at Cindy D’s luau
Italian Lights…dancing on grapes
Chilean Independence Day

Spoke in Carole’s Belmont University class on Southern Festival of Books and Classic Coup

My Girl

Yuri Cunza of Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce presents Journalism and Community Award
Students recite Shakespeare wearing Hamlet tees

Cole rocks pre-K

Sisters


Thank you, Paulina, for inviting me to see you become my fellow American. You said you waited 18 years and I’ll never forget your tears of joy.

“I Will Survive” serenade at Pablito’s
Getting by with a little help from my friends… thanks for the advice and the love…

And this birthday at Beth’s…Thanks Emily for video and gang for another celebration.