Cristina Lynch, the founder of Mi Golondrina, the fashion line of modern Mexican shirts, dresses, and skirts, is taking tamales out of the oven in her family’s home, in Dallas. These tamales have been wrapped not with corn husks in the traditional Tex-Mex way, but instead with banana leaves in the Oaxacan style. A place close to her family’s heart, Oaxaca is a recurring theme throughout the inviting house, from the artwork and textiles to ceramics and sculptures.
“Steaming in the banana leaves ensures that the tamales emerge tender, moist, and light,” Lynch, who is always in motion, explains as she stacks the tamales in one of her mother’s many colorful Mexican pottery serving pieces. “They are just delicious!” she says, pausing to take in the savory aroma before jetting off to add the dish to the abundant spread in the dining room. Like her mother (whom she is named after), Lynch is constantly hosting and tends to love any excuse for a party. But because of her family’s Mexican heritage, rooted in her mom’s hometown of Torreón—in the state of Coahuila, just a few hours away from the ranch her grandfather ran—Cinco de Mayo is one of her favorite occasions.
“Although it originated to commemorate the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo has grown in the United States into a broader celebration of Mexican culture. A specific event can provide an occasion to appreciate and celebrate the other wonderful things and people in your life. And I think that’s a beautiful idea.”
Cristina Lynch, the founder of Mi Golondrina, stands in front of the antique Mexican doors at the front of her family's Dallas home to greet guests for a Cinco de Mayo–themed celebration.
Guests are served a fresh and icy margarita almost the instant they arrive at the Lynch home.
Lynch's recommendations for three Cinco de Mayo essentials? Chips, queso, and an endless supply of guacamole. Ceramic vessels from Patamban, Michoacan, are the centerpieces for the dining table.
Photograph by Wynn Meyers
Lynch's mother, Cristina Barboglio Lynch, had her own clothing line before Lynch was born. The two creatives often brainstorm ideas for Mi Golondrina and travel to Mexico together on buying trips. "My mother entertains often and is an amazing hostess. Growing up, I watched how those parties strengthened lifelong relationships that have brought so much joy to her life," Lynch says. "Mi Golondrina keeps me pretty busy, but I make sure to host friends and family at least once every two weeks in hopes of following her example."
Lynch's mother acquired this blue-and-white collection of dishes from Casa Uriarte, in Puebla. Displayed in an antique hutch, they cover the back wall of the kitchen, behind a rustic wood dining table.
Lynch calls her family's kitchen her happy place. Most days start there with huevos rancheros and smoothies. She has fond memories of living with her parents for three years after she moved back from New York City, where she worked for Oscar de la Renta.
"We moved into the house thirteen years ago and I can remember my dad planning the architecture when I was little girl," Lynch says. "It is still the center of all family activity, so it is also the setting for a lot of loving memories."
Avid Mexican art collectors, the family has decorated the house with a varied mix of paintings and sculptures.
These Oaxacan dishes are a few of the many pieces Lynch's mother has been collecting for years. She is especially drawn to the contrast of the hand-painted flowers on the black wooden plates.
One of the paintings that hangs in the dining room is by an artist named Peña. It was completed in 1957 while he was living in Paris, but he must have been thinking about his homeland given the depiction of this familiar Mexican scene.
This painting is by Rodolfo Morales, who is known for his dreamlike pieces featuring Mexican women in villages. Morales along with Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Toledo—who helped to make Oaxaca one of the epicenters of contemporary art—are some of the family’s favorite artists.
A photo of Lynch's maternal grandmother, Frances Barboglio Jones, hangs in the hallway leading to the kitchen. Jones, who grew up in Mexico, won a singing contest in Texas when she was 23; this portrait was taken soon after. "This picture is perfect because it shows my grandmother’s strength and beauty. She always gives me the best advice," Lynch says. Her grandmother and her mother are part of the spirit of the house, and guests often leave with a coffee cup featuring this photo as a memento.
This fireplace was sourced in Morelia and transported to Dallas from an old hacienda in Mexico.
In the middle of the courtyard at the back of the house is a sculpture called "Doña Orgullosa," created by an artist who studied with Francisco Zuñiga and goes by the name Amaya. The courtyard opens up to a swimming pool and a lush lawn.
Mariachi Estampas de Mexico de Dallas are often in attendance at a Lynch party, where nights sometimes end with a dance party in the entryway.
When hosting a party, Lynch's mother likes to collaborate on her tabletop designs. She worked with Stephen Frels, of Stella Fine Flowers, for this arrangement.
Custom-made paper picado, monogrammed with Mi Golondrina, hangs from a skylight. Lynch's mother had it made in the markets of Oaxaca.
When it comes to making margaritas, Lynch often goes with a simple family recipe from her aunt Jan Barboglio. Start with On the Border Margarita Mix, add one quarter bottle of a high-quality, clear tequila and one quarter bottle of Cointreau. For a garnish, add oranges or limes, or unexpected items like blueberries, spinach, or freshly sliced Serrano peppers (without the seeds).
The Cinco de Mayo feast is served on the dining room table where guests help themselves, buffet style.
Tamales Oaxaqueños are always on the menu at the Lynch hacienda.
Grilled corn on the cob is a family favorite, especially if it's prepared Oaxacan style with butter, mayonnaise, lime, cheese, salt, and Salsa Valentina.
"I especially love these serving pieces, because they introduce art and beauty into the everyday and pay homage to the artisans carrying on centuries old traditions," Lynch says. "The happiness and appreciation I felt when encountering works like these was the inspiration behind Mi Golondrina and continues to drive us to bring these detailed works into people’s lives."
Guests with full plates in hand depart the dining room headed for the airy back porch.
Lynch prefers open seating, which makes for a more relaxed and comfortable fiesta.
Some of the cloth napkins feature a floral design that was hand-embroidered by artisans from San Antonino Castillo Velasco, a small town south of Oaxaca.
Lynch and friends gather on the porch to eat and catch up. "There is a freedom and calm that comes along with being in the open air," she says. "As a guest, I feel more inclined to explore the space and seem to find it easier to chat with people and make new friends. All things I love about gatherings are even better when the setting is outdoors."
The sculpture above the outdoor fireplace, made of cantera stone from Morelia, Michoacán, depicts La Virgen de Guadalupe.
If mariachis aren’t in attendance, Lynch likes a playlist of classic Mexican music such as Vicente Fernandez and Ana Gabriel. Enrique Iglesias is usually in the rotation as well.
A friend's Mi Golondrina blouse showcases an artisan detail known as "deshilado." Artisans pull the threads and weave around them to create a beautiful and intricate lace. This piece is from San Antonino Castillo Velasco and can take an artisan up to four months to complete.
There are always a number of spots to settle in and enjoy the festivities in the Lynch home. In addition to the family's large Cinco de Mayo celebration, there is usually a festive New Year’s Eve affair, with friends from around the world descending on Dallas for a night of revelry.