What I learned is that Mexicans have a passion for food. Whether it's from the side of the road, a marketplace or high end restaurant, it's all good - at least what I experienced.
Local market in Cancun where I ate the best ceviche of the trip. Quite unexpected.
Meat roasting on a spit and woman is making tortillas
The Terrace at the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico over looking the Zocalo. Very creative salad and the best glass of wine I had all trip.
Chocolates at Que Bo! chocolateria mexicana. Located in Polanca neighbourhood of Mexico City.
They go even better with Mezcal.
Chocolate and Mezcal my new favourite flavour combo.
At the Mercado de Coyoacan, Mexico City. I was looking for salad and this place delivered.
It doesn't look that attractive but this salad was so good. All kinds of vegetables and then some protein.
At the Mercado de San Juan in the historical centre of Mexico City. Another lunch spot where I got a sandwich to go.
Noche Buena beer - only made at Christmas time.
While biking outside Oaxaca city we stopped at a local market where the ladies were making lunch. This is the owner - Dolores.
I had the best chicken mole here. Doesn't look like much but the flavour of all the spices and the chicken cooked in it was heaven.
Oaxaca is known for its chocolate and in particular hot chocolate. I had one after my chicken mole and it was also heaven.
Snails and a martini in Mexico City.
Mexicans love pastries and bread. They have lots of shops that cater to every taste. This was a rather large one near my apartment in Mexico City.
Puebla is known for it's special cuisine. I visited Moyuela for it's cemitas but first started with something I cannot remember what it was called. Sort of like parsley tempura. Very tasty.
I then had their specialty: Cemita Arrachera. It's basically a steak sandwich but they dress it with all kinds of good stuff like guacamole, roasted peanuts with chilli guajillo, cheese, red onion creole and cilantro
Oaxaca and the shrimp with chilies at El Quinque. Only these chilies weren't hot. They had a real smokey flavour. The restaurant was near where I was staying, family run and excellent food. I ate there a couple of times.
Well speaking of smokey. You cannot go to Oaxaca and not taste the mezcal. There are bars dedicated to only serving mezcal. And, Mexicans drink mezcal quite a bit it turns out. It seems they mostly take as an aperitif but I could be wrong. I prefer it after a meal, or with chocolate or alone. This one is Joven which means "young". Seems this is very popular. But I prefer Añejo which is aged. It's smoother and has less of an edge. Also a more smokey taste.
At the alter of mezcal
At Cabuche cafe in Oaxaca. A lentil soup to start with fried plantain as a garnish
Then stuffed chayotes (from the gourd family)
Another day another meal. This one at Los Danzantes, Oaxaca. Starting with some rib eye rinds, served with morita chile sauce and guacamole and accompanied with handmade tortillas
Then onto something very local - Chapulines or grasshoppers.
This dish is fussilli with sauteed Oaxacan grasshoppers in herbs and lemon. Very tasty.
By the way, a great tool that most restaurants in Mexico have is a purse stand. They bring one to the table and women can hang their purses. About four fit. Keeps your purse close by and at eye level so you can see it at all times. We need these here in Toronto.
Also at Los Danzantes some mezcal to finish. They make their own artisanal mezcal. It's very common to serve it with slices of orange and a salt mixed with chili.
Well I was almost finished. This looks like ice cream but its a goat cheese flan with figs, honey and bitter chocolate sauce.
At the local organic farmer's market in Oaxaca I bought some mezcal from this gentleman to take home.
Street vendors everywhere in Oaxaca and it's all good food.
Last meal in Oaxaca at Casa Oaxaca. This was a ceviche with guacamole and pomegranate.
Then black mole with turkey, mashed banana, rice chepil, bean paste and fried plantains. I have to say I was disappointed in this dish. The mole was fantastic but it had been poured over the turkey rather than the turkey cooked in the mole which I think would have been much better. The turkey was a bit dry and lacked taste. By cooking it in the mole which is the traditonal way I think the turkey would have been infused with the mole flavours and the dish more cohesive. But what do I know?