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Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Morelia, Tlaquepaque


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Two weeks in Mexico - what was I was waiting for? (post has been broken into three to allow photos - sorry they are so small.)

 

A random conversation with Cristina set wheels in motion for this trip. We landed in Guadalajara at 5 a.m. and were settled into our B, no B, Las Sabilas, by 6 a.m. Few hours of sleep, a cup of coffee and conversation by the (currently unheated) pool and lush garden and we went off for lunch. 5543862054_df511081c9_m.jpg

 

 

A couple of blocks away Lidia Restaurant Y Menuderia, serving 3 course lunch for a bit under $4. I had cream of spinach soup, chili rellano, and a taste of cinnamon braised plantain. Basket of fresh cut bread, fresh tortillas, pan dulce, large fresh pina yerba buena jugo.

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That evening, we headed to Birrieria las Nueve Esquinas for baked lamb and steamed goat with all the fixings. Fresh tortilla, green sauce with avocado chunks, picked onions (just a touch of habanero), picked vegetables, salsas, cheese...

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Day two, another breakfast at Lidias - chilaquiles this time, and fresh orange juice. Mid day break for horchata. Shopping, museums, walking. Dinner at La O - way across town in the fancy neighborhood. Converted mansion, full service, interesting food. Good salad bar with little things like thinly sliced meats, stuffed peppers, seafood, vegetables, and entrees distinctively flavored. I think the bright sauce on my shrimp was hibiscus - jamaica as locally identified. We saw it throughout our travels. M had a filet with huitlacoche sauce.

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Day three - same breakfast place (I was having trouble eating - travel, altitude, unknown and since resolved.) The huge Christmas market of the day before was gone - burned down over night. 200 merchants lost their inventory in the night. Much shopping. Retail therapy isn't usually something I like, but it helped this day. Stop for paletas. Mexican cola. Attempted to eat at La Fonda de la Noche, but got there too early. Walked to Karne Garibaldi and enjoyed another spread of meat, etc. I continually ordered chika portions and still wasn't finishing my food. I had expected a hole in the wall, but this place has it going - highly staffed, fast, good.

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Day four - bus early to Guanajuato. Ham and cheese bag lunch, with beverage. After settling in at Casa Zuniga, we went down to eat at Casa Valadez. Fresh food, great people watching. Impressive wine list. Restrooms like a good Vegas Hotel.

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Day Five - breakfast at Zuniga - a crazy spread of home cooked chilaquilas, beans, eggs, fruit, squash, tortilla, juice, coffee, and more. Good company too. Museum day - Rivera and Quixote. Stall stops for fruit and pan dulce. The bakeries are huge, though much of the variety tastes similar. Dinner tonight was very odd. We went to a place that was bustling early in the day - still open, but quiet. Showed us in, took out orders, served mine, but not M's. Don't know if they were out or confused, but as they started sanitizing the place, we left and moved to a sweet outdoor spot on the Plaza de San Fernando and got M dinner and me, dessert at Esquinas. I had picked at oldish pollo and rice at La Carreta, here had a pastel de limon. Thought it was lime cheesecake as I ate it, but I think it was more like a key lime pie now that I think about it. It was refreshing and very good!

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How great! I'm glad you got to meet La Cristina.

What did you think of the carne en su jugo at Karabaldi? It still haunts me.

Cristina took me to Lu and I was knocked out. I just loved it.

Do you remember about how much the Soledad was? I've stayed at the Carmen and it's fine, very tipico. I'd love to have a nicer place but I'm pretty cheap.

Any photos?

how does one go about getting two weeks off?

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How great! I'm glad you got to meet La Cristina.

What did you think of the carne en su jugo at Karabaldi? It still haunts me.

Cristina took me to Lu and I was knocked out. I just loved it.

Do you remember about how much the Soledad was? I've stayed at the Carmen and it's fine, very tipico. I'd love to have a nicer place but I'm pretty cheap.

Any photos?

how does one go about getting two weeks off?

 

La Cristina speaks highly of you as well.

Nothing to fault at KG - just have to wonder who orders the grande version!

Soledad was rack rate of $1500 (pesos) but they offered us a discount to $1200 and then an upgrade to a superior room, usually $2000. So for approximately $95 US per night, we got a wonderful room, excellent service, and two substantial breakfasts daily. Also a discount card for additional food purchases, and two free welcome cocktails. I did not want to leave.

Photos - lots - I have trouble posting so perhaps I'll load to Flickr and link?

M is a freelance writer (he posted while on the bus, by the way.) I stopped working last February...$ is tight, but no sense in saving it all for a rainy day - it has already arrived.

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Day Six - another great breakfast from Rick and company, including thin sliced steaks and chicken to roll into burritos, along with the rest of the spread. Sights, rest. Dinner at Las Mercedes. Other side of town with a view back. Should have gone during the day to see the view, but the place is pretty at night as well. A little shorthanded for the number of diners, the food was pretty, well flavored, and a cut above. M actually ordered salmon, it did come in a black mole. I had smoked salmon layered with nopales and goat cheese. We shared a large salad (yes, we ate lettuce more than once. Ice too) and two soups in a bowl - bean and tomato. Drinks looked fun. (Neither of us drank anything more adult than agua mineralize.)

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Day seven- Thanksgiving? Quick enchiladas breakfast and bus to Morelia via Irapuato. Peanuts and cereal bar snacks on the bus. Checked in to Hotel El Carmen. Off to a late lunch at Cafe Cathedral. I had a big sandwich with pork. Ran into two free music concerts, lots of street life, hints of how easy it could be stay here.

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Day eight - decided the room was too small and dark and relocated ourselves to Hotel de la Soledad after breakfast back at Cafe Cathedral (mmm, hot chocolate.) This was our splurge of the trip - and at that, it was very reasonable. Converted 18th century courtyard building with stone walls, tall ceilings, modern baths, great sheets and beds, lots of service, and excellent breakfasts. Helped that they offered us a discount and then upgraded us a class as well. Mexico needs our tourism! Lunch at Fonda Marceva - along with half of town. A real joy. Ladies singing quietly at their table, strolling musicians, suits, families, artists and film makers. More rest, more strolling. A gaspacho - diced mango, jicama, pineapple, lime, chili, cheese, orange juice, to go. Tons of stalls, and eaters. Gelato.

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Day nine - the highlight of the trip. Met Cristina for a day trip to Patzcuaro and about (Tzintzuntzan?) Having a guide through the markets to identify, translate, add context and stories made a huge difference. Plus, a wonderful woman all on her own. A little shopping, lots of conversation. Lunch at the restaurant behind the gas station (she and M had rabbit, I had enchiladas). A typical comida - another three course meal. Place was packed when we left. Evening stroll with water, snacks and more gelato (I had trouble locating the ice cream places at night!)

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Day ten - breakfast at the hotel - only the "american" breakfast is included - eggs your way with many options of meat or sauce, fruit or juice, fresh bread and pan dulce, small side of chilaquiles and of beans...the buffet is extra. M went for it and had a plate packed with special dishes, tamale, pork, chicken, and I don't know what else. Bump of a few dollars. Met Cristina that evening to go to Iglesia La Immaculada. Like a nightly Greek Church food festival. A large space ringed with counters - each serving a single dish - fresh corn tamales, enchilada plate, quesadilla fritos, sandwich as big as your head...beverages, desserts. All for supporting the works of the church. Inexpensive and very good. Seven nights a week.

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Day eleven - breakfast at leisure, sweets museum tour, laundry, bought fruit, visited galleries, rested. Sat outside with cool beverages. Dinner at Restaurant Lu. Humble ingredients handled well to make modern cuisine. 6 fillings for one plate of quesadillas, 4 types of tamales in one order. Crazy good crystalized jamaica flowers top the salad with pomegranate seeds in the dressing.

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Day twelve - depart for Tlaquepaque. Arrive at La Casa del Retono - sweet home compound with newly built rooms that look like they have been there forever. Full of local character, close to the main square, but quiet. Garden full of live and potted poinsettias (Christmas season) and hummingbirds. Early dinner at El Pescador Rojas - a barn of a place that smelled fresh and good. We had great shrimp cocktails - tall sundae glasses filled with fat sweet shrimp, chunks of ripe avocado, red onion, lime, sauce, and filled to the brim with shrimp stock. Plump shrimp empanades and fried fish completed the table. Walked a bit and got ice cream - the style here has good flavors, but is much less creamy than our local.

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Day thirteen - Light breakfast at the B&B, room for a Mercado fonda snack of fried treats. Ceramic museums, more strolling, more rest. A last dinner at El Pescador Rojas - subbing a couple of tostadas for the fried fish.

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Day fourteen - out way too early. Salty breakfast at the airport. Fast food burger at LAX. Home with a bagful of chilies, beans, scarves, Morelia sweets, and warm memories.

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How great! I'm glad you got to meet La Cristina.

What did you think of the carne en su jugo at Karabaldi? It still haunts me.

Cristina took me to Lu and I was knocked out. I just loved it.

Do you remember about how much the Soledad was? I've stayed at the Carmen and it's fine, very tipico. I'd love to have a nicer place but I'm pretty cheap.

Any photos?

how does one go about getting two weeks off?

 

La Cristina speaks highly of you as well.

Nothing to fault at KG - just have to wonder who orders the grande version!

Soledad was rack rate of $1500 (pesos) but they offered us a discount to $1200 and then an upgrade to a superior room, usually $2000. So for approximately $95 US per night, we got a wonderful room, excellent service, and two substantial breakfasts daily. Also a discount card for additional food purchases, and two free welcome cocktails. I did not want to leave.

Photos - lots - I have trouble posting so perhaps I'll load to Flickr and link?

M is a freelance writer (he posted while on the bus, by the way.) I stopped working last February...$ is tight, but no sense in saving it all for a rainy day - it has already arrived.

We just got home from a week in Mexico City and I just saw this thread.

 

It's rare to meet otherwise total strangers and feel like old and dear friends when they leave. This was a wonderful treat for me as well as for the tsquare and spouse. We ate and talked and ate and talked and talked and ate...but I repeat myself.

 

We also had a great meal and great time at La Inmaculada--the cooks pulled out all the stops to make it memorable. Incredible uchepos and excellent talk...oh my oh my.

 

Thank you Mouthfuls.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last week's NY Times featured a piece on Mexico - and what a great travel deal it is. I was very disappointed to read their recommendation to stay out of Michoacan due to the spillover of the cartel and military presence. Perhaps we were just very lucky, but we had two great weeks with no problems. I would not hesitate to go again and I do recommend it as a lovely place to visit.

 

Of course, that could be morning mocha talking. What will I do when I run out of the good chocolate?

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