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Visiting DF (Xalapa, Veracruz, Puebla)

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Hey, I'm going to be coming down to DF the 22nd. I'll be meeting Scott from DallasFood.org there a few days later and we'll probably drive to Veracruz via Puebla and loop back through Xalapa on the weekend. No real destination, just seeing what there is to see since neither of us has been to Veracruz or Xalapa. I'm sure plans could change. I may never return to the United States for all I know.


However, the main point is that if anyone's down there and wants to meet up prior to Scott's arrival, I'd love to. I friended a couple of you on Facebook and may be contacting you through there, too.


Part of the reason I'm coming down is research. I currently co-own a couple of restaurants here in Portland (Kenny & Zuke's, I'm Zuke). Those are doing fine now and don't need me day-to-day. So I can finally work towards something that's always been my first love: Mexican food. Currently working on a couple of ideas that depend on the available spaces. One of them is a tacos de cazuela place. So I'd love suggestions on the best of the best in DF.


I'm also looking for modest-sized commercial equipment for preparing nixtamal and grinding it into masa.


Lastly, I'm looking for books. Where should I go besides Gandhi? What are my chances of getting a copy of Zurita (I have a photocopied one that I got through Inter Library Loan; took me four hours to photocopy and more time to turn into a huge PDF)? I'm also looking to fill out as much of my collection of the Indigena y Popular series as possible. I have about 20 or some of them. Also looking for De tacos, tamales y tortas (which again, I only have a photocopied version of through ILL).

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Isn't life weird? I just got back and one of the things I found was a copy of Tacos, tamales y tortas for you. I found it in a used bookstore for $12us! I remember your asking for it in the Mexican book thread and saw it this last trip. I've been meaning to send you as a PM!


Right before DF was a trip through Veracruz. We started in Papantla, did El Tajin and drove south, staying at Casitas to Veracruz, then Xalapa on the way back to DF. IN short, El Tajin was one of "those" places. If you can, you really should go. I couldn't believe I was seeing it for real. Casitas was ok, not great, but the water was cool and it was great taking a 2 day break by the sea. I am tempted to hop on a plane and join you in Veracruz. I think it's my new favorite place on earth. I was only there a night but I can't wait to get back. All of this despite the heat and humidity, which ruined my elaborate hairdo. I was with Mexican friends who are so particular about food that I don't have any recommendations. They tend to enter a town and sniff out a place they'll eat instead of checking the internet. We ate really well all along the way but the best was always at people's houses, obviously, and restaurants were good but not good enough to insist you go. In Casitas, Los Moros (or was it El Moro?) was crowded and very good and I'd go back in a flash.

In Xalapa, we had a great cheap hotel and I can find the name if you like. The museum is incredible and deadly quiet and wonderful when we were there.


The Zurita is supposedly coming out revised this year so don't sweat that one. You hear a different story each month but there are lots of rumblings. I'll try and find the card for the DF bookstore where I found your book. They had other v. good vintage cooking books and the owner was funny and v. aware. I tried to see about Quintana's Puebla book and he knew it was going for $600 in the US. You're wise to get the Indigena series completed while you can. I see the selection shrink with each trip!


Craiglist for used tortilla equipment. We've had a lot of it locally.


I think you have to PM me. I have lots more.

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Awesome, thanks, Steve! You might just need to fly down and join me. Found out this AM Scott might have to bag out and eat the tickets for a project at work that just came up. Would love to get any and all recs.



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  • 3 weeks later...
Not sure mid-summer is a good time for Veracruz. Yesterday it was 95 with 80% humidity. Even the Mexicans' shirts were soaked in sweat.

You should hop on a bus and come visit me in Morelia. Weather is perfectly glorious, everything is green and lush since the rains started about two weeks ago. I'll take you to eat fabulous things...just ask Ranchito.


Four hours on ETN from the DF to Morelia...

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Not sure mid-summer is a good time for Veracruz. Yesterday it was 95 with 80% humidity. Even the Mexicans' shirts were soaked in sweat.

You should hop on a bus and come visit me in Morelia. Weather is perfectly glorious, everything is green and lush since the rains started about two weeks ago. I'll take you to eat fabulous things...just ask Ranchito.


Four hours on ETN from the DF to Morelia...


Yes! Everyone should go to Morelia, and all the better with Cristina to show you around. But even with the heat, Veracruz is pretty terrific too.

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Sorry Cristina! Next time. I'm back home now. It was just a short trip, unfortunately, but I got a lot of "research" done. btw, there should be a warning for gringos how damned expensive the toll roads are in Mexico. I think I spent about 400 pesos on the road from Puebla to Veracruz. I spent about half that coming back because I wasn't in a hurry and could jump the libre for a while. Due to aggressive driving techniques learned in a youth spent mostly on video games, I was able to get by most of the semi trucks even in the curves. I wish I had left Veracruz earlier, though, so I could have stopped in some of the little towns with their roadside tiendas and queserias. Liked Xalapa a lot. Good vibe. Pleasant centro. Unfortunately it was a Sunday and a little late for anything other than churros or antojiterias serving Jaliscan favorites.

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No, I went through Xalapa late on a Sunday night. They were just finishing up a big event in front of the cathedral and there were tons of people in the plaza. I assume it was something political since political events were dominating plazas everywhere that weekend.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm more convinced than ever that Veracruz is the grooviest place on the planet.


Brujitas (Xico)



Zopilotas (Basically enfrijoladas with no chicken) (Coatapec)



Breakfast sopes (I think they had a different name) (Coatepec)



Mamacita, fry it! Empanadas, one was goat cheese and the other quelites. (Xico)



Posada de Coatepec. Lovely but overpriced.



This is what love is all about. Stuffed chiles, chipotle and jalapeno. (Xico, but we had them in Coatapec,too)




Panaderia in Xico. Mexican pastries always look better than taste.





Sta Maria Magdalena:




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Caldo de trucha (trout)



Trout w/almonds



Scrambled eggs tossed with black beans and epazote, with panela cheese.



Making tamales in Coatepec. I love the how awful the kitchen is and she cranks out some masterpieces. No Kitchen Aid or Wolf ranges!



Tamal "Ranchero"



Later, roast chicken, mole and tortillas.



Prepping the stuffing for the chiles rellenos.


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At the beach (Las Casitas, but it's not a recommendation. I love it but it's pretty rough)




Cocktail of sea snails and octopus



Huatape de Camarron (they shrimp were HUGE)



Beached sun-kissed whale enjoys a jumbo prawn



Possibly the greatest dish ever. Super puffy corn things come. You smoosh them down and add eggs that are simmered in a chile sauce and then epazote-black beans and finally a dab of some special butter from a local cow. It's called Esponjadas and it's just incredible. And you burp this Jarocho love all day.



Salpicon de jaiba



Cazuela de Mariscos



Camrrones mojo. The best I've ever had? Possibly!



Goodnight, Veracruz.....I'll miss you something awful!



Pity Me Dept: Left at 7am from the beach and drove to the airport in Mexico City. We arrived about 1:30p to find United had canceled the flight and put us on a plane to Houston, then to San Francisco. Then 2 hours more to Napa. I am so fresh and pretty.

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