Traveling a lot is a challenge for me in ways I hadn't anticipated, like finding nourishment for my mind and soul, as well as my body. Places with local charm, or that at least provide a good taste of local culture, haven't been too hard to find, and cosmopolitan spots with some international flair have been conveniently located along most of the well-traveled routes I've taken. Finding old world charm and a fresh, sophisticated atmosphere together in one establishment, though, has been rare, indeed. That's what I discovered at Tamal Gallery, and I enjoyed my visits there very much.
Even before sipping the first rich, really excellent cup of freshly brewed coffee I had in La Paz, Baja Cali Sur, I felt at ease in the comfortable arrangement and good vibes of this unique art cafe. I was immediately taken in by the contemporary, urban style art, as well as the traditional works on display and for sale all around, on the walls, and hanging from the ceiling. In fact, I think it'd take an effort not to delight in the original, 5-foot tall, ostrich-like bird made from household and natural elements, that seems to be welcoming you in front, bobbing in the breeze. (I got on the waiting list to buy one for home at a very fair price!)
I think what the owners are doing here is promoting talented, undiscovered artists who are producing work that modern people of any age and background can appreciate. My spirits were definitely lifted during each of my visits to this place, and I lost track of time talking with the regulars and new visitors alike—individuals of nearly all ages, from their late teens to well-past retirement. Our conversations ranged from the latest news to movies to world travel to who's a real good, local hair stylist (Patricia at the "Diana Salon" on Revolucion) and where to get great fish tacos (the stand at Madero and Degollado) or the best chille rellenos (in front of Mercado Madero, the last stall on the left from the main entrance.)
My only complaint about Tamal Gallery is that they don't have more food and beverage offerings themselves: their reasonably priced tamales and fresh juices were as good as could be, along with the coffee ... and being a late evening person, I wouldn't have minded if they were open later on weeknights, when they closed at 8 pm.
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