Thursday, November 28, 2013

Traditional Bolivian Kitchen packs Surprises! Sancho Panza Bolivia!

A cascade of surprises! First is the name! Sancho Panza? A reference to Spanish literature? Hailing from Madrid Pablo Zarate has had great success in La Paz with Spanish Restaurante Sancho Panza. He now teams up with Bolivian Enrique Mendoza and Bolivian Chef, Cristian Vargas to launch Sancho Panza Cocina Boliviana

The menu is truly national in scope. Foods from the mountains, valleys and lowlands are featured in daily specials and coupled with an ample salad bar and buffet for all the sides you can eat. A wine list selected to complement the dishes purveyed, thrills the palate. And the list of national beer labels is as delightful as it is comprehensive. Chef Vargas attends to time-tested traditional recipes, uses only local ingredients and elevates it all to achieve a beautiful dining experience. The environment is well appointed. The service is attentive without being intrusive. And prices are very affordable. It's the perfect restauarant for the traveller who wants to enjoy local fare and, also, for the Bolivian who wants to savour dishes that grandmother lovingly prepared for the family.

Nestled amongst international hotels, the restaurant is situated nicely on the second floor of Hotel Las Brisas on Calle Illampu making it easy to find from all points in the city. Even though just new on the scene, Sancho Panza Cocina Boliviana is one of the finest traditional kitchens in the city!

And, by the way, count on the surprises!

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2013. All Rights Reserved. 
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Industry of All Nations Stiffs Andean Knitters - $1250! And right before Christmas!

The company "Industry of All Nations" has owed non-profit Spirit of the Andes $1250 for eight months. As an unpaid board member, I have attempted to collect the outstanding amount. I, now, receive this very unseemly letter from Juan Diego Gerscovich Co-Founder of INDUSTRY OF ALL NATIONS. Read for your self, I am attacked personally and then comes the accusation of fraud, he alleges that SPIRIT of the ANDES mixes fibers and looks to deceive rather than sell 100% Alpaca as promised.... Simple truth is that in March 2013, high quality 100% Alpaca garments were delivered to Industry of All Nations from Spirit of the Andes. And Spirit of the Andes has yet to be paid... end of story. Spirit would like to resolve the problem and in the future never work with the likes of Industry of All Nations again. Being there has been no move on the part of Industry of All Nations (even after repeated communication) to pay the outstanding balance, we feel the need to go public...

 In Juan Diego Gerscovich own words:
"Learn how to be a good and helpful human being and business person instead of messing up with other peoples life.
I will call on the right authorities to let them know how you are manipulating and using the knitters for your own small benefit.
This is the reason we will not pay you one cent for the samples you did for us, maybe next time you will be more responsible and less selfish with your actions. 
Forget about your ego and work to give work and opportunities to everybody who needs it, in Bolivia and everywhere else in the world."

"And by the way, we have been told that all your sweaters have a synthetic mix although you sold them to us as 100%Alpaca."

Juan Diego Gerscovich / Industry of All Nations
Even though Juan Diego Gerscovich admits above that the garments were sold to Industry of All Nations, Spirit of the Andes has yet to receive "one cent."... and all this right before Christmas!

INDUSTRY OF ALL NATIONS Reneges on Payment to Bolivian Knitters!

INDUSTRY OF ALL NATIONS is Past-Due $1250 (8 months) to some of the poorest artisans in South America, (SPIRIT of the ANDES)... and this is called fair trade?

Below please find the most recent correspondence ignored by Juan Diego Gerscovich Co-Founder of INDUSTRY OF ALL NATIONS:

Dear Sr. Gerscovich,

INDUSTRY OF ALL NATIONS can't ask some of the poorest women in the world to gift their labor and alpaca fiber to make your proprietary designs... It's unconscionable let alone unethical.

Our "OVER DUE" policy is a flat 15% of the invoice if it isn’t paid in full within 6 months. And another 15% if the invoice isn’t paid within a year…  rather lenient terms really.

"OVER DUE" $1250. This outstanding amount must be settled ...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Living in Color! Todo es de Color!

Living in color holds new meaning when shopping al fresco. Open-air markets have been with us since the first move from foraging to the farm. Since that time farmers have  needed to sell the lands' bounty and city dwellers have sought the freshest possible ingredients for their soup pot and spit. I revel in all that history and make a conscience move to avoid insipid supermarkets. Where I find nothing overly super except all the pretty packaging that ends in the landfill. I choose open-air markets... and over the years I´ve learnt the rhythm of seasons and the providence of life in South America. I've seen the children grow and parents grow older and have come to find that shopping for sustenance can be the making of community. Here we have our friendships and conversations. Here we live in color.

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2013. All Rights Reserved. 
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


The oranges, mango, bananas and avocados have arrived in the city! Fruit seems to be everywhere. And the Rodriguez Farmer's Market is popping with color, activity and eager shoppers... Straight from the fields and nearby tropical zone, the farmers' markets are one of the oldest methods of marketing by small farmers directly to the people. And that's certainly true in La Paz, Bolivia. The freshest produce is always to be found first right here and it's a joy to be in the hussle bussle! And the oranges are 25 for $1.80! Okay, I'll take 50! So there is to be fresh squeezed juice every morning, smoothies, Crepes Suzette, Canard a l'Orange, Sicilian Granita, Caribbean Rice cooked with Coco & O.J., savory reduction sauces and... come to think of it, I'll take 100! And next week I'll take on the mangoes.

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2013. All Rights Reserved. 
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Worst Train Experience Ever! Oruro to the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

As a rail enthusiast who´s ridden trains in Russia, Mongolia, China and in many other countries, I´d say the worst ever is the Bolivian line, Empresa Ferroviaria Andina, Oruro to the Salar de Uyuni. Why? All throughout the journey electric fans mounted at either end of the car would spritz air freshener and blow it onto the heads of the passengers. And whenever anyone went to the toilette and marred the floor, the attendant would spray chemical cleaner. A Euro couple with child asked that the fans be turned off. "No," came the answer indignantly. "Cleanliness is policy." Others made complaint to no avail. Some put a handkerchief to their noses. Many of us looked at each other in disbelief, while the few Bolivian passengers took it all silently in stride.

So much for a ticket in executive class. If ever to travel to the Salar de Uyuni again I´ll take the bus (as a rail buff that is hard to say), it´s cheaper and they, thankfully, do not spray chemicals. Most disappointing is the response from staff. On this train, the customer is never right... or so it seems once you acknowledge that actions do speak louder than words.

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2013. All Rights Reserved. 
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food, Wine!