Honoring La Virgen de Guadalupe

December 12th is a very important day in Mexico for faithful Catholics—El día de la Virgen de Guadalupe. If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s the very abbreviated version: in 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared to a poor Aztec man named Juan Diego, who had converted to Christianity several years before. He was so poor that he wore no shoes, and his mantle was coarsely woven of cactus cloth as he could not afford cotton. He often traveled hours to make his way from his home to the nearest church, and during one of his journeys, the Virgin Mary appeared to him and asked him to build a temple there in her honor. She appeared to him a total of four times before the miracle occurred when her image appeared on his cloak. The bishop requested that Juan Diego bring him a sign to prove what he had seen; after telling La Virgen that they requested physical proof of what he’d told them, she revealed to him several varieties of fresh, blooming Castilla roses (which were out of season), that he brought as proof and which amazed the bishop. When he unfolded his cloak (called a tilma), the roses scattered and the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe appeared, just as it exists on the tilma hanging in the Nueva Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe today. The sanctuary that stands at the location where Juan Diego revealed the roses to the bishop is called La Capilla del Cerrito.

In the 1730s, La Virgen (also sometimes referred to as La Morenita) was adopted as the patroness of Mexico City. This is why her image can be found just about everywhere—from churches to market stalls to homes and even on quirky trinkets. She is beloved by all and today, the basilica in Mexico City is one of the most-visited Catholic shrines in the world. She is credited for performing many miracles to those who pray to her to watch over them…. 

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Tacomiendo: El Borrego Viudo

Yesterday for a late breakfast we drove all the way to José’s favorite place for carnitas, only to find that all they had left were maciza (the “white meat” with no fat or bone), hígado (liver) and riñones (kidneys) – which was not exactly what we were hoping to eat. Unfortunately, when you arrive later in the morning, you risk them running out of the best parts. So we turned around and headed back to the car and resolved to show up earlier another day.

We hadn’t eaten breakfast in anticipation of eating carnitas, so we were starving. The friend we brought with us recommended another taquería not too far away called El Borrego Viudo, or The Widowed Sheep, which is supposedly one of the best taquerías in Mexico City, especially after a night of drinking.

There are only seven items on the menu: al pastor, suadero, longaniza, sesos, lengua, cabeza and tepache (a drink made of fermented pineapple and sugar).

We stuffed our panzas with tacos de suadero, longaniza and al pastor, and drank an apple-flavored soda called Sidral Aga. According to Chilango magazine, it’s the taquería’s red salsa that people love the most but the truth is that José and I didn’t think it was anything phenomenal. What was phenomenal though was the longaniza, which was perfectly spicy and not greasy at all…. 

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