Archives for posts with tag: Puerto Vallarta

“One of our guests doesn’t eat dairy, another doesn’t eat gluten, two others don’t eat eggs”.
I was feeling a little stressed one morning at breakfast during a workshop last season. I was trying to juggle our guests requests, allergies, etc.. and struggling with my spanish to relay all the information accurately to our chef, Ruby.

She quietly smiled at me and marked down on her checklist the dietary needs of our guests.
Later that morning while serving out the plates, I became confused as to who ate what and was gently corrected and instructed as to which guests got what by once again, calm, cheerful Ruby. Not only was she accurate, but she created imaginative, delicious alternatives for those folks who couldn’t eat the breakfast being served that day.

Ruby, our chef for the last 9 years has been an amazing contribution to our staff at Casa de los Artistas.
She and her assistant (usually a niece) ride the bus (a one hour ride) from the mountain town of El Tuito every morning during a workshop to cook breakfast and lunch for the Casa.

Having barely an hour, she manages to cook up a delicious breakfast every morning including fresh squeezed orange juice! Once or twice a week she also will give a cooking class to our guests, demonstrating an original Mexican entree, (see the recipe for Enfrijoladas below), as well as teaching all of us how to make homemade tortillas.

The feedback we get at the end of every workshop is usually “too much delicious food”!
Many participants just want to take Ruby home with them… including us!
Barely 29, with three children of her own she is an amazing example of a talented, empowered young Mexican woman.
We are proud to employ and support her. -Monica and Bob

Ruby teaching a cooking class at the Casa

Ruby teaching a cooking class at the Casa

Rubys’ Recipe for Enfrijoladas

Soak 1lb of beans, (preferably black, or red pinto) till soft, (a few hours)

Blend beans and soaking water in a blender to a puree

In a pan heat a small amount of cooking oil till hot and then ad bean puree

In a separate frying pan heat a little oil and heat each tortilla on each side, then dip the tortilla in the bean puree, on each side.

Spread fresh crushed farmers cheese on the beaned tortillas and roll up, placing them on a metal tray. –Almost daily, Ruby brings fresh made cheese as well as ka-koe-key, (I have no idea how to spell it, but thats phonetic), a delicious sweet sour cream from her Mt. town, El Tuito. Place the tray in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

While they heat create the Enfriolada Salsa:

in a blender place:
3 large boiled tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 pinch Mexican Oregano, (very strong)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup water

Place 2 or 3 of the hot bean dipped tortillas on a plate
drisel each with the remaining beans
garnish in the center with chopped salad and sprinkle cheese and then pour the salsa over the sides


“Cesar just asked me out and I don’t know what to do!” Our 19 yr. old is confused. Cesar is what would be considered a “mui guapo”, (strikingly handsome), Mexican 20 year old man who works as a waiter at “Ramones Hauchinango, (Red Snapper), Restaurant”, one of the beach side restaurants in the Mexican village Boca de Tomatlan, where the Casa is Located.

“What’s the problem?”, I asked. “He was so suave when I asked him if he had a girlfriend and he said yes! When I asked why then he was asking me out, he replied… “I like to live in the moment”.

“Oh God”, our 23 year old daughter pipes up. “These Latin men…they all say that!”. She has had two steady Mexican boyfriends and one South American lover. “Well, what should I do?” our younger daughter asks,”I don’t want to be immoral!”

This opens a discussion regarding the cultural differences and expectations re/dating and relationships. It is not ok to be “friends” with a young man in our village. According to many of the young Mexican men, it is expected to have a girlfriend (or wife) and sometimes, not always a lover, on the side. Not so for women. Our oldest daughter attempted being friends with a local man who wanted more and she was shunned by the other adolescent males in the village.

Cesar did ask our daughter if she thought her father would approve. Hello… what about her mother?! I wonder if he was assuming that my husband would approve naturally understanding him having a girlfriend and wanting to also date our daughter…Ah… these Latin men… the last boyfriend of our 19 yr. old used to take her out on his boat to a beautiful nearby island and pick her coconuts, open them and feed her!

The dynamics, behaviors, etc…between men and women in the Mexican culture is complicated. The pueblo we run our business in still adheres to a woman moving in with the extended family of her husband. She knows her role, duties and how she is expected to fit in. Our daughters have often commented on the notable ease, comfort and security of this cultural expectation. No angst around choices. In some ways, very seductive.

How much of one’s individuality, goals, dreams, self-determination, powers, etc… is sacrificed following these prescribed cultural roles? Without really being in the interior and living as our neighbors, how can we really pass judgement or really know who has more freedom……

From The Casa Kitchen – Rubys’ Recipes Traditional Home Cooked Gourmet Mexican Cuisine.

Hi and Welcome to the Casa de los Artistas blog.  Casa de los artistas, Inc. was created by visual artist Robert Masla, ( and his wife Monica Levine LICSW, (  We run workshop retreat seminars to foster creativity and Self awareness at our home and studios: In Mexico, in the charming fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan, 10 miles south of Puerto Vallarta on Mexicos’ gorgeous Pacific Coast and at our home in the rural New England town of Ashfield, MA, among rolling hills, brooks and meadows, at the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains.  We will try and post blogs on a variety of subjects related to the “Casa Experience”, creativity and Self awareness each week – so check back, leave your comments and  -Welcome to the Casa!