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Friday, March 31, 2017

A Great #Foodie Day in Cozumel #Mexico at Josefina's Cooking Class!

When Chef Dan and I travel we try to do as many "foodie" things as possible (he's a chef, duh!), because that's basically the only chance he gets all year to eat fine and inventive food, shmooze with chefs, and learn new techniques and recipes for the Elkhorn Inn. On our recent cruise, Chef Dan and I spent our one day in Cozumel, Mexico taking an excellent cooking class at Josefina's Cooking School, and it was WELL worth it! (See below for info on the cookbook- trust me: you will want this!!) On a previous cruise we took a 'cooking class' at a "tourist" resort in Cozumel and it was rather a disappointment- more about drinking and being silly than real Mexican cuisine- so this time I searched the internet, including TripAdvisor, for a REAL Mexican cooking class, and from everything I found online, Josefina's seemed like the "real deal"- and it was! Located in a nice residential area just a few short blocks from the tourist area on the water, the intimate class is held in the kitchen of a lovely private home with a delightful garden in the back; the market we went to is just a few, short blocks away. Luis and Tania were Excellent instructors, and we started our class with Luis taking us on a shopping trip to the nearby market to get the ingredients for the many dishes we were to prepare; after the class Dan and I went back to the market to buy a fabulous, huge (and heavy!) mortar and pestle like the one we used in the class! In addition to getting spices, fruits, veggies, and fresh fish for our dishes, one of the places we stopped at was a small tortilla shop, where we got to sample hot-off-the-press tortillas- thin and warm, and oh-so-good!
Luis & The Spices!

Veggies and fruits!

Luis and Dan: Fresh fish!

FRESH fish!

Spices and ground pumpkin seeds- staple of the Maya!

Luis & our hot, fresh tortillas!

Tortillas- hot and fresh!!

Then we went back to the kitchen and began making our lunch! We made a truly unique (to me!) pumpkin seed pate (Xilkil-Pak), using the ground pumpkin seeds we'd bought at the market; I had no idea that pumpkin seeds were a staple of the Mayan diet- I've never seen this dish- or anything like it- on a Mexican restaurant menu in the USA- and it's SO good!!
We started our class (and lunch) with Hibiscus Flower Water, and then made the Xilkil-Pak Mayan Pumpkin Seed Pate, Tikin'xic (Red Snapper in Achiote Sauce), tried different Mexican cheeses with great salsas that we made, created a delish guacamole with lots of texture and taste, made tortillas from scratch, and a dish of fried Nopales (Cactus)... and at the end we were treated to flan for desert, and a REAL Margarita! What a great lunch- and what a great day in Cozumel!
If  you enjoy Mexican food, you REALLY need to get Josefina's cookbook! You will discover SO many authentic Mexican dishes that you NEVER see on menus at Mexican restaurants in the USA, and that you can make with ingredients you can get here so easily! Order the downloadable cookbook for $10 from Christina Cannon at - and please tell her Elisse sent you! :-)

We went back to the market to get a mortar and pestle like this!

Tania, making the Achiote Marinade for the fish...

Tania, marinating the fish in Achiote Sauce...

Learning to cut up cactus (Nopales)

Chef Dan, cutting up Nopales!

First lunch- and then, last but not least- Luis making us a REAL Margarita!

Red Snapper in Achiote Sauce

Chef Dan, learning to make a tortilla!
Our tortillas!
Dan's perfect tortilla!

Luis making us the Mayan Pumpkin Seed Pate

Chef Dan crushin' & cookin'!
As you can see we had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and ate like kings! If you are having a holiday in Cozumel, or just have one day in Cozumel on a cruise, and are into food and learning about the place you're visiting, trust me: THIS is how you want to spend a morning!
To contact Josefina's Cooking Class (Cozumel Chef) and book a class,  go to:\
To order their great Mexican Cookbook, email Christina Cannon at - and please tell her Elisse sent you! :-)


Friday, March 24, 2017

We won! The Elkhorn Inn is a SCORE #BizChampion for West Virginia!

We are proud and honored to announce that the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre has been chosen as an American Small Business Champion by SCORE and Sam’s Club! Thank you to everyone who voted for us! 
Photo (c) John Sagert
The American Small Business Championship ( awarded this title to 102 small businesses, two in every state and the District of Columbia, for their dedication to the success of their businesses. Each state winner (including us!) will be awarded a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to a training and networking event in Dallas, TX, and SCORE mentoring and publicity throughout the year. Each Champion is also eligible for one of three $25,000 grand prizes!
We are truly honored to have been chosen for this award! When we opened the Elkhorn Inn in 2003, after saving and restoring the last historic building in Landgraff, West Virginia, our dream and goal was to help kick-start the post-flood tourism industry in McDowell County, serving the community by providing needed tourism services as an historic inn, and promoting the many wonderful and fun things there are to do in McDowell County, West Virginia! For the last 14 years, the Elkhorn Inn has provided bed-and-breakfast accommodation and fine dining, and we have welcomed thousands of guests from across the USA and overseas, and we look forward to continuing to do so! Please check out our Facebook page: for lots of photos and info on the Inn, as well as the fun things you can do in McDowell County, including great railfanning, trout fishing, and ATVing!
The prizes, training, publicity, and SCORE mentoring we have been awarded will help us take our business to the next level, and better serve you, our customers. We look forward to attending the training event, and will be sure to check back in and let you know how it goes! For more information on our win, check out: