GUAYABAS EN SANCOCHO

guayabas en sancocho

I love the smell of ripe guayabas Mexicanas. Their creamy white flesh and tropical fragrance are simply intoxicating. They remind me of this one particular little stall that sells fruits at the Mercado Coyoacán (consequently, also the same place that made me appreciate higos–or figs; a topic for another post). Whenever I visit Mexico City, I’m always eager to tag along with my suegra when she needs to grab something from the mercado because I love walking among the vendor stalls discovering new things.

José also likes the smell of guayabas–but for a different reason. You see, as a big brother, José has always dabbled in a serious form of sibling rivalry.

My cuñada, on the other hand, can’t stand the smell or taste of guayabas. The smell actually makes her wretch. A few years ago when we were visiting around Christmastime, we bought a big bag of guayabas for making ponche Navideño. I’m sure you can guess what happened next…. 

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SOPA DE FIDEO

sopa de fideo

Sopa de fideo is a comfort food for me–full of one specific fond memory.

Let me explain. Last summer, after more than a decade of dreaming about visiting Teotihuacan, I finally made the 40-kilometer trip northeast of Mexico City with my suegro and my cuñada. I had yearned to visit this archaeological site since I first learned about it in history books as a kid. The Aztec pyramids fascinated me and I never dreamed I’d be able to travel there, let alone make it all the way to the top of the famed Pirámide del Sol.

After what seemed like a long car ride on the highway from Mexico City (in reality, it was only about 25 miles), we finally arrived at Teotihuacan. I had worn loose clothes to be comfortable while climbing, and as it was cloudy, I decided against wearing a hat. I had also decided that I couldn’t climb to the top of the Pirámide del Sol without toting two cameras so I could have the advantage of shooting photos with two different lenses without risking getting dirt in my camera’s sensor. Sort of crazy on all accounts, right?… 

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December in Mexico City

If you hadn’t already heard, The Tortilla is turning into a traveling food blog for the month of December (and part of January)! I arrived here in Mexico City late Tuesday night, narrowly escaping blizzard-like conditions that hit Chicago shortly after my plane took off in the early afternoon. As I claimed my luggage, I began to feel a little trickle of sweat down the back of my neck. It’s been warm here, with highs in the upper 70s during the day (or around 25 degrees C if you use the metric system) and about 50 degrees F at night (10 degrees C). I’m not used to such warm temperatures in Mexico City in December because I usually don’t get here until Christmas Eve when it’s already chilly. Last year on Christmas Eve I remember wearing a winter coat.

Obviously, the first stop after leaving the airport was at a taquería for tacos al pastor. Knowing I had 10 more days ahead of me, most of which would end up taco-filled, I held back a bit and didn’t overindulge like I normally would. Last time I failed to pace myself with the tacos, I ended up with a case of killer indigestion that only a box of Onotón and some Melox could subdue.

Wednesday was my birthday, and if you’ve been a reader long enough you’ve probably already guessed I went to one of my favorite places for sopa de tortilla, La Guadiana in San Ángel. I also was treated to some delicious taquitos de chicharrón prensado and Sábana Azteca, a very thin piece of steak over a bean sauce, covered with cheese and topped with rajas con crema. I was in heaven.

While here, I’ve been dreaming up what recipes to share with you in the coming months. I’m working on learning a few holiday recipes from my suegra–including one of my favorites, ponche Navideño. It’s a Christmas fruit punch, served warm. The recipe comes from José’s abuelita.

For lunch yesterday, we made empanadas with a picadillo de carne molida (ground beef) that had jitomate (red tomato), cebolla (onion) and chile. Thought we cheated and used pre-made dough, they tasted just like they were made from scratch. I’m in the process of obtaining and translating the recipe, which I hope to share here very soon. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of what they look like:

empanadas

I’ll be posting more soon from Mexico once I’ve got more photos and stories to share. ¡Hasta luego!

CHURROS

In the U.S., I’ve seen several different versions of churros. Make no mistake: none of them are very authentic. Some make my stomach churn at the thought (think theme park churros filled with chocolate or fruit-flavored goo), while others are passable for some quick cinnamon-sugar satisfaction during a desperate moment. It’s important to fry the pastry dough just right because if they’re over-fried, they’re just no good.

Churros WEB

churros

Several years ago when José and I were still dating, I made my first trip to the legendary Churrería El Moro in Mexico City. Founded in 1935, this cultural culinary gem is more than just a 75-year-old churro depot. It’s an incredible experience. The storefront has a big glass window so you can watch the churros being made. That alone makes it worth the trip. In fact, even famous Chicago-based chef Rick Bayless is rumored to have stood outside El Moro for hours upon hours when planning the concept for his new quick eatery, Xoco.

The waitresses at El Moro wear mustard-yellow diner uniforms with white trim and aprons. The blue, white and yellow patterned tiles, stained glass and yellow stucco walls inside are elements of any dream I have had dealing with churros ever since. (Yes, I dream about churros.) It’s all a part of the experience. With four types of hot chocolate to choose from and for the equivalent of a few dollars, you can’t go wrong when ordering churros y chocolate, especially in the chilly winter months. … 

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