Monday, January 7, 2013

Pigging Out In Michoacán

Scott and I LOVE FOOD.  We aren't foodies, we just love consuming good food.  Most days we wake up asking, "so what are we going to eat today?".  Our travels through Mexico have opened up a whole new world of amazing flavors and mouth-watering dishes.  We figure a good way to support the local communities is to buy food from them instead of the big box stores.

The markets in Mexico have been stunning. Fresh, inexpensive fruits, veggies, spices, and bread make it hard not to overeat.

Bread ladies in Paracho
This market in Páztcuaro went a quarter mile in each direction.
4.4 lbs of mandarins for 80 cents - YES!  A cow or pig head - NO!

At first, I was a little weird-ed out by the street food stalls.  Not because I doubted the quality of the food, but because I didn't understand why people would sit so closely together, facing the cook.  I remember our first time getting fish tacos in Baja, I kept trying to stand up and look at the street, rather than sit at the bar, staring at the cook.  There is a reason for this.  Usually, if you order tacos, sopes, gorditas, tortillas, quesadillas, etc., you get more than one.  So, to ensure the freshest, right-off-the-griddle food, you eat one at a time, while the cook works on your next one.  It takes a lot of coordination for one cook to keep everyone's plate full, but not too full. As evidenced by the pictures below, we have gotten over any fear of sitting on a street, right next to the cook.

Grilled torta (sammy) with all the fixin's in Patzcuaro (don't forget your own, salt-rimmed cuppa marg)

Blue corn tortillas filled with whatever you please in Paracho.
This was one of the rare vegetarian finds, as she had fresh-cooked beans.

So far, it has been hard to find good vegetarian items on the street in Mexico.  At every new place, I try to order vegetarian.  They can usually accommodate me, but without fail, I try Scott's food, and realize it's just sooo much better.  On the rare occasion that we find good vegetarian fare, I am obsessed about eating it morning, noon, and night.  Examples include chard-filled tamales in Tapalpa and black bean sopes in Troncones.

Who needs a helmet when you can have a bread-basket hat!?  Mom, I think you need one of these.

We recently spent a few days in a town called Pátzcuaro in the highlands of Mexico halfway between Mexico City and Guadalajara.  After the third or fourth day, we would wake up and put together a food itinerary for the day.  For the most part, we were either eating or trying to do some exercise so that we could eat again.

If anyone is looking for THE BEST food in Patzcuaro, find this guy (pictured below) with his wife and son tucked away in the mercado. All of their food comes from their ranch (meat, veggies, salsa, and thick, fresh corn tortillas).  The guy was also neurotic about putting anti-bacterial soap on his hands during every interaction he had with our plates.  This family takes a lot of pride in what they serve. Scott still talks about this place. They don't have a sign, but after entering the mercado, take the first street heading north. They're on your right, underneath a sign for a dentist (or ask for Gorditas Mary).

We tried 6 of the 8 types of gorditas until we were gorditas ourselves

For dessert, we were obsessed with seeking out cocadas.  They are baked and caramelized, freshly sliced coconut.  These giant treats cost a little more than $1. They remind Scott of the topping on his Mom's oatmeal cake. He has always loved coconut, but I grew up hating it. Guess what Mom and Dad? I like coconut now!

We returned to the coast a couple days ago, and I found that my surf shorts were a bit tight.  Julia Child once said, "Life itself is the proper binge."  Patzcuaro was proper, indeed.


Danno said...

All I can say about this post is what me and Lina got from a coworker of mine:

"Om nom nom nom"

Unknown said...

Heather and Scott,
Looks like a wonderful time and I love the food. I am always planning my day around it:)

Unknown said...

Heather and Scott,
Love the posts, the turtles are great. I always love to plan my day around food also, so I totally understand. Enjoy and Safe Travels

Anonymous said...

Hope you two are doing good. I sure could use an update. I love the pictures and adventures you guys go on.


Heather and Scott said...

Hey "Anonymous" Jeff,

Thanks for the comments. I'll have to post another update soon! Which Jeff is this? Jeff H? Jeff F?


Anonymous said...

This is "Jeff H", I just love the blog and the pictures. Your way of traveling is amazing. I love getting a new notification on my rss feed that you posted a new blog story. Im from rainy Seattle, so I really like looking at all the sunshine. Keep it yp you guys!

Jeff H.