Tag: Destination: Modern Mexico

Tortilla Soup

I am a soup addict. Every weekend I’ll make a huge pot and eat it for lunch throughout the week. My soup phases have become a way of marking time and seasons – last winter I made a lot of chicken noodle soup, butternut squash soup, and carrot ginger soup. Roasted red pepper soup reminds me of living in Berkeley two years ago, as the red peppers at the farmer’s market were too beautiful not to buy. This summer I’m all about zucchini green chile, cream of cauliflower, and cream of spinach soup.  Last night I made a new soup – roasted tomato and eggplant, with lots of garlic. It’s pretty good. I think I’ll add it into the regular rotation.

photo by Elise Bauer

One of my favorite soups fits perfectly into our Modern Mexico destination, and I thought I’d share my favorite version of the recipe. Tortilla Soup is one of those soups that is flexible – it has a list of ingredients, but you can add and remove things depending on what you have in the kitchen. I love the extra step of making my own tortilla chips.

This recipe is by the wonderful Elise Bauer, from her site Simply Recipes. Almost all of my soup recipes have originated from her website, though many I’ve changed slightly over time. All parentheses below are my notes.


  • 6 6-inch corn tortillas, preferably a little old and dried out
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil, peanut oil, other high smoke-point oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic so usually quadruple this.)
  • 1 medium Anaheim, poblano or jalapeño chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped. (If you can find New Mexican green chiles these are my favorite. Roast them and remove the skin and seeds while wearing gloves).
  • 4 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (I once tried fresh which was nice and made the soup lighter, but doesn’t haves as much flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (boil chicken until cooked, shred with fork)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (I love cilantro so I use a full cup)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


1 If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don’t have a lot of moisture in them. Cut tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-quart pot. Working in three batches, fry the tortilla strips in the oil, until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the tortilla strips from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.

2 Add the chopped onions to the pan, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped chile and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chiles have softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the broth, tomatoes, and salt. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and cook until heated through.

3 To serve, pit, peel, and cut the avocado into 1-inch pieces. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Yield: Serves 4.

Día de los Muertos Tee

Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.

Here are some of our favorite festive sculls from our Mexico trip. It’s kind of funny because right before we decided on Destination Mexico I read a trend report saying how skulls were the huge t-shirt graphic trend for the year.  I thought “gross, we’ll never do skulls.” Well here you are!  I hope its a little more fun and festive than other skull tees.

Tea’s Día de los Muertos Tee

Behind the Design: Taco Trucks

Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.

In Mexico we mostly saw taco carts (below), but back here in San Francisco we see more taco trucks.  We love all food trucks so much so that we even  have huge events that center around them.

The Sanguchon Peruvian Sandwich Truck (above) recently moved into our neighborhood and is a huge hit amongst Tea employees.

For our Taco t-shirt (below), we decided to draw and create our own taco truck, and pay tribute to taco carts of Mexico by referencing their fonts, style and colors.

super tacos truck shirt

Now for the never-ending question – which San Francisco food truck will I eat lunch at today?

Lucha Libre Interior Design

We’re loving this Lucha Libre inspired nursery, made for little Kahlo Noel!

Kahlo’s mother Erika wanted to design a room that reflected her husband’s Mexican heritage, and that wasn’t all about animals like many nurseries. In her words “I think the hardest part, and it still is, is holding back from buying anything and everything with a luchador printed on it. I wanted the luchadores to be present in the room but not completely take over.”

Don’t you think our Lucha Libre hoodie would be the perfect match for this new little citizen?

found via the lovely ohdeedoh

Dolores Olmedo

María de los Dolores Olmedo y Patiño Suarez was a well-known Mexican businesswoman. She studied law in the early years of the 20th century, and went on to own property and factories all over Mexico. Olmedo was also a philanthropist to the arts, and was good friends with both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Diego painted several portraits of her, the most famous of which was painted in 1955 after Frida’s death:

We love her traditional embroidered top and the classic Frida-style flowers in her hair!

Her biggest life achievement was the creation of the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City, which holds her massive art collection. Our designers visited the museum and loved the xoloitzcuintle dogs and peacocks that run wild in the gardens! To date the museum holds 145 paintings by Diego Rivera, and 25 by Frida Kahlo, as well as 6,000 pre-Hispanic figurines.

Dolores Olmedo died at the age of 93 in 2002, but her legacy of art appreciation continues. In her words “Following the example of my mother, a teacher, Prof. María Patiño Suárez widow of Olmedo, I live as she taught me: ‘share all you have with those around you’.  I therefore will this house with all my collections of art, product of a lifetime’s endeavor, for the pleasure and enjoyment of the People of Mexico.” It’s worth a visit if you find yourself in Mexico City.

Mariachi in Mexico City

Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.

We loved the vibrant patterns and fun designs of these Mexico City boats. We couldn’t resist going on a boat ride and we obviously had to hire our own mariachi band. We requested a female singer, which is less common (pictured above). A good time was had by all! This experience inspired our Mariachi en Barco Tee.  We hope you enjoy!