Friday, August 8, 2014

Mexico 2014: The Food

While I stand by my statement that the most important reason we go to Mexico is family, I have to admit that food is (very) close second.  Mostly we ate at home.  This was our preference because it was affordable and we could control the preparation - which is important not only to avoid illness but also lets us control the spice level on salsas etc.

The staples on our table were: 
  • Tortillas - there are two tortillerias on our block - on up the hill and one two doors down - so we bought tortillas 2-3 times/day to ensure they were fresh for every meal
  • Avocados
  • Crema - like a liquid sour cream 
  • Beans - usually black, whole or refried 
  • Pico de Gallo - diced tomatoes, onion, jalepeño, and cilantro with lime juice and salt
This way, no matter what else was on the table, I knew that the kids would eat a fairly well rounded meal.

Our breakfast nearly every morning was fresh fruit (usually mango or papaya) with yogurt and granola. 

A typical table: 
  • Sopa de fideo - soup with pasta (and spinach)
  • Cucumber and Jicama with lime juice and salt
  • Rice with carrots
  • Crema
  • Queso Oaxaca - like the most delicious string cheese ever
  • Taquitos dorados - these were chicken and some potato

We drank fresh squeezed juice every day.  At home in Philly, juice is sometimes treat - but in Mexico we drink it at LEAST once a day because it's so freaking delicious and fresh.  In the mornings I would walk up to the bodega that squeezes fresh juice with a large pitcher and ask them to squeeze enough to fill it; enough for our whole family to have a small glass.  Filling the pitcher cost 36 pesos - that's about $3.  Then later, if we went downtown sometimes we'd get a green juice or a pinapple-strawberry juice to share.  

The kids share some orange juice

Of course there were times we did go out to eat.  Place we ate mostly fell into one of two categories - 1. Places we went for the food and 2. Places we went for the amenities.  Occasionally there would be a place that had great food, comfortable chairs, wifi and a children's play area - but usually it was either delicious or comfortable. 

One of the places that we went to for the unspeakably delicious food:

Zoe agrees that what it might lack in ambiance it more than makes up for in YUM.

Quesadilla Love

Taquitos and Chalupas

Pozole - be still my heart

Tacos Al Pastor - more foods should incorporate pineapple
Agua de Jamaica - Sweetened Hibiscus Tea

Chilaquiles - breakfast of champions
Elotes may as well be their own food group.  The kids loved them just as much as I was hoping they would.  Elote means corn, but the way this corn is prepared is what makes them so delicious.  The corn itself is different than the sweet kind we are accustomed to in the US.  It's a bit more bland and mealy - I know that doesn't sound appetizing, but when you add a little mayonnaise and's heaven.

I also drank a lot of coffee.  

Mocha Cappucino
The kids enjoyed mexican hot chocolate and either Pan Dulce (traditional mexican sweet bread) or churros.


The man that came down the street with his cart full of baked plantains that he drenched with sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon knew to pause in front of our house.


At the beginning of the trip I made a promise to the kids - I would buy them ice-cream as often as they liked as long as they tried a flavor they'd never tried before each time.  This was not hard to do with flavors like rice, avocado, bean, corn, mamey, and almond.  

Tepoz Nieves has been listed among the top ice cream shops in the world - and I think it's well deserved.  My favorite flavor was rose petal.

Loved these flavor signs at an ice-cream shop.

If I had to choose my favorite food in all of Mexico?  I'd have to say quesadillas at the Tepoztlan market.  We always to the "Los Chinelos" stand and have never been disappointed.  They make the tortillas to order and all the ingredients are fresh.  Possibly the best food on the planet.

It's busy, so you know it's good.


Leo says the crickets taste like salty and lime-y chips

Cecina y chapulines

potato and chorizo quesadilla

Zucchini flower quesadilla
The kids also got to drink coconut water right out of a coconut.  We stopped by a stand labeled "Cocos Frios" - or cold coconuts.  The man had a table piled high with coconuts.  When we ordered one he very gracefully rolled one off the top of the pile, expertly cut a small hole in the top with his pocket knife and popped a straw in before handing it over to us.  

Then, there is of course Los Colorines, my Abuela's favorite restaurant.  It specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine and has an open kitchen with food cooking in clay casuelas.  

The kitchen

Tortilla Soup

Finger licking good

One of my favorite dishes is Chile En Nogada.  It's a poblano chile stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, fruit and nuts.  The cream sauce on top is a walnut sauce and it's sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and peaches.  It's divine.
Chile En Nogada

And last, but certainly not least, I managed to indulge in some adult beverages.  There were margaritas, piña coladas, micheladas, and straight up shots of tequila - but my go to drink was a paloma.  Grapefruit soda, lime and tequila.  After the kids went to bed, I sat with the family and watched movies and had a Paloma or two.

There may have also been a night I drank a beer the size of my head. 

We ate (and drank) very well while in Mexico.  Can't wait to do it again.

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