Over the holidays we spent time with our family at a resort in the Riviera Maya, just south of Puerto Morelos, Mexico. We love to explore when we travel together, so we rented a car and headed to the sea port town to find a place to snorkel. I took this photo as we were returning from snorkeling, pulling the little boat back up to the dock.
When you write a blog about Mexican food and travel within Mexico, you’re bound to be asked for recommendations by… well, EVERYONE. I’m talking family, friends, coworkers, friends of friends, blog readers, complete strangers—it really runs the gamut. But it’s a true source of joy when you share Mexico travel tips with people, and they send you thanks in the form of a video, a photo, a tweet (or whatever else) to let you know they’re thinking of you and appreciate a recommendation that has improved their experience while visiting Mexico.
In the last week, I’ve received two such messages that I wanted to share.
Several years ago, I mentioned to my friend Ramon and his wife how much I love El Globo, a bakery chain that makes one of my favorite kinds of pan dulce—garibaldi. They’re a little upside-down poundcake-like treat that’s bathed in (usually) apricot jam and rolled in white nonpareils. You can even make garibaldi at home with my recipe. A few days ago, while they were in León, Guanajuato, they sent this video while visiting an El Globo location there.
A few weeks ago, another friend told me she’d be traveling to Mexico City on business and needed some recommendations for places to go for breakfast and dinners when she was able to go out on her own. I sent her a list of some of my favorite places near where she was staying and she shared this photo when she visited Churrería El Moro.
- Have you taken my travel or dining advice in Mexico? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below, tag me on Twitter or Instagram @MauraHernandez, or tag The Other Side of The Tortilla on Facebook with a photo and note to let us know where you went and what you ate!
Mexico is a very nose-to-tail consumer when it comes to eating animals; like in many other developing countries, and often motivated by economic circumstances in an effort to use the whole animal and not leave much—if any—waste, there are a lot of delicious and unique foods that have come out of this scrappiness. One of these simple delicacies is chicharrón, made of fried pork skins.
This botana, or appetizer, of chicharrón served with salsa verde is very typical in Mexico. Generally, these pork skin cracklings are made by boiling the skin, hanging it to dry, then deep frying it in hot oil until the skin puffs up. They’re by no means a healthy snack, so should be eaten in moderation, but they’re a guilty pleasure worth the indulgence.
They’re not quite the same as processed food pork rinds or pork cracklings you might find in a potato chip-like bag in the supermarket. For that reason, it’s best to buy them from your local carnicería or near the butcher’s counter in any Mexican market.
I’ve been on a healthy homemade juice kick since we returned from Mexico in January. I’ve always loved carrot juice and whenever we vacation at the beaches in Mexico, I always order carrot juice with my breakfast if it’s available. Drinking carrot juice before getting sun, as well as after, can also help you hold onto a tan for a bit longer. (But don’t forget to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.) Carrot juice is high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which aids in tissue and bone development, benefits eyesight, boosts your immune system to help stave off colds, and helps heal dry, flaky skin. Carrot juice is rich in other minerals too, thanks to carrots being a root vegetable, and folates, which are a safe, natural provider of folic acid (and why you’re likely to see pregnant women drinking it). It’s packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C, B complex and also has a low glycemic load, making it a healthy and safe drink for diabetics. What’s not to love about carrot juice?
National Margarita Day is February 22 and National Tequila Day is July 24, but who really needs a holiday to celebrate one of Mexico’s most famous libations? This spiced pear margarita recipe has a cinnamon-infused kick and gets a sweet, molasses-like depth from piloncillo.
There are two great things about this recipe: First, it can be served cold or hot, depending what kind of climate you live in and whether you’re suffering through a brutal winter or not. Serving it hot is just like having a fruit-infused tequila hot toddy! And second, the spiced pear puree will keep in an airtight container (I recommend a glass jar) in the refrigerator for up to a week, and the recipe can be easily doubled if you want to make it in advance for a party or just enjoy a few cocktails during the week.
This margarita recipe calls for Bosc pears, which have brown skin and sweet flesh. They’re in season from September through April. If you can’t find Bosc pears, you can substitute Bartlett pears, which also are sweet and juicy, and in season from August through February.
On the last full day of my most recent trip to Mexico City, my sister-in-law and I ran some errands together, culminating in a stop at the mercado Coyoacán—one of my absolute favorite places to visit in Mexico City. There’s a little, nondescript stand on the outskirts of the market with a yellow sign, which our family has long frequented because of the awesome quesadillas and gordas. My favorite item on the menu is the gorda de chicharrón, served with cheese on the inside. I like to also add some fresh salsa verde. As you can see, I REALLY enjoy eating these because you just can’t get the same thing at home in the U.S.