Friday, June 25, 2010
Mexico 2010: a few delicous moments
People take care their time. You wait longer, drink more and eat better. No short cuts in the preparation of the cuisine. Cochinita Pibil is served Saturdays and Sundays because its made the old fashioned Mayan way, buried in the ground and cooked over 12 hours. You want Huevos Rancheros? 10 minutes later someone arrives in the restaurant with a handful of eggs. At the same place a woman asked "why the chicken is taking so long?" The waiter replied "Senora, we haven't killed it yet"(Thanks Holly eats)
One of the tastiest parts from this trip was the charcoal(carbon) we used to grill our food. In the US, most charcoal comes in a bag with some label, mass produced in a factory, with fillers, and metal and who knows what else. The stuff we got in Mexico came in a huge ass unmarked bag, I was giving a bucket of diesel fuel as a starter and the carbon was made from Mexican Sequioa. It was flavorful as hell, the same stuff Mayan's used to BBQ their meat so long ago. It took BBQ to a new level.
Taking to the mellow pace of life of small Mexican island does not happen fast. Which is probably why I, in a rush to get all my shopping done in one shot, purchased a packet of boneless skinless chicken breast from the local market that just screamed Ralph's or Costco. But the carbon was the great equalizer, that and an interesting rub I picked up at the same store that featured several chili powders, lime and salt. This turned into some of the best chicken tacos I have ever had.
When your neighbors on the island happen to be fishermen . . .
. . . and they owe you for blasting techno music all night till noon the next day, you just may find of these sitting at your door on ice. There is nothing like freshly caught fish. Snapper is not one of my favorites but when it's this fresh, the flavor is as equally clean and savory as a freshly shucked Kumamoto oyster. Of course it helps when your fish was swimming in the same water you were in less than two hours ago.
Chayote squash, and Poblano peppers take to the carbon's flavors just as well. I threw some mexican onions on as well but too many slipped through the wide spaces of the grill great. The salsa on top of the fish was made from tomatillos we grill-roasted over the fire.
This is the best chile relleno ever.
And that's why. It's every bit as rich and as savory as it looks.(Another thanks Holly Eats)
Bean soup better taste really really good when its over a 100 degrees out and you're sitting in a place with no a/c. It needs to be exceptional when it's paired with a chile relleno like the one posted above.
I finished the bowl.
El Varadero. The hardest to find restaurant on Isla Mujeres.
Going Cuban in Mexico
Large shrimp(not local) bathed in a spicy garlicky tomato sauce and Grouper sauteed and finished with a hint coconut milk and lime, both from a tucked away shack cooking up amazing Cuban food.
And now some final thoughts on tacos.
Does your local taqueria serve this?
This was a taco stand in Playa Del Carmen called El Fogon, and a favorite among the local taxi drivers. We ordered the parilla(mixed grill) which is basically a ton of grilled meats; chorizo, two different types of steak, pork chops, chicken, cebollas and nopales(cactus), all kept warm over smoking embers of carbon - it was a massive smoky mound of goodness. While I love a good taco, it's way more fun to make them yourself. The Salsas were on point, the tortillas as fresh as can be. BEST TACOS EVER.
I may miss this the most about Playa Del Carmen.