Morelia & Huatulco report....
Posted 25 February 2004 - 12:21 PM
Morelia, a colonial gem. Huatulco is an isolated resort destination - which is
both a good and bad thing. I'll include my activities, accomodation and misc.
information at the end of my report.
Hotel Juaninos - La Azotea
Av. Morelos Sur 39
T: (52 4) 312-0036
Had both lunch and dinner here. Some of the dishes I had from the menu: dried poblano
stuffed with requeson and crushed shrimp in a coriander sauce (60.00), pumkin flower and
light poblano chili cream sopa (48.00), assorted Michoacan snacks: adobera (type of Panela
cheese)- charales (small fish) - chile ancho with cream (68.00), smoked trout on a macadamian
nut sauce (100.00), sopa tarasca (45.00), poblano stuffed with chese covered in puff pastry
and tomato sauce (70.00), jicama in a tequila caramel sauce. All the dishes were presented
stylishly. My favorite dishes - the pumkin flower and light poblano soup - a ying and yang of
light yello and light green cream soup, warm without being scalding, the flavors fresh and light;
the smoked trout on the macadamia sauce, which worked very well together. I also like the
Michoacan snacks - especially the little silvery fishes, which were a little salty, briney, crispy.
I tried a 1/2 bottle of Mexican Blanc de Blanes X-A Domeq (100.00) - which I thought had good
structure. They also make a very competent margarita (46.00). The view of the cathedral is a
knockout from here - a great place the day you arrive to have your jet-lag lunch. The restaurant
is done in a mexican minimal modern tone - this is defintely a place to come for drinks as the sun sets.
"... the cathedral is lit dramatically so the pink volcanic stone pops against the inky blue night sky,
in the plaza below a clown entertains a laughing crowd, from above the cars and the crowds move
at a leisurely place, the night is not a time for rushing about..." I hate to admit but I could have almost
eaten all my meals here while in Morelia. My only quibble - the cloth which they wrapped the warm
tortillas imbued them with just a hint of detergent (can't believe I would notice something like that
but I love the smell of warm corn torilllas)
Posted 25 February 2004 - 12:23 PM
Breaded pumpkin flower stuffed with requesón in poblano chilli sauce
Breaded Panela Cheeses with herb garland
Platter of cold meats and assorted cheeses
Crushed shrimp in chipotle chilli sauce on fried corn tortilla
Mushrooms with shrimp in garlic sauté
Fried flour tortillas stuffed with requesón in avocado sauce
Dried beef, northern style
Beef tenderloin Carpaccio
Asturian cheese breaded with puff pastry
Dried poblano chilli stuffed with requesón and shrimp in coriander sauce
Poblano Chilli stuffed with cheese covered in puff pastry and tomato sauce
Monastery - Fine lettuces with jicama and mango
Convent - Watercress, salad with apple, bacon and sesame
Friar - Fine lettuces with avocado, tomato, onion , cucumber and green pepper
Monk - Spinach salad, with camembert cheese and prosciutto ham
Dressings: Vinaigrette French , Honey or Balsámic
"Mestiza" Soup with mushrooms, pumpkin flowers and corn
Chicken broth "Tlalpeño" with vegetables and chipotle
Pumpkin flowers and light poblano chilli cream
Combination of fine cheeses cream
Fettuccini with smoked salmon
Chicken breast stuffed with pumpkin flower and cheese in poblano sauce
Breaded chicken breast stuffed with prosciuto ham and cheese in mustard sauce
Chicken breast with mexican "mole" sauce
Duck with orange or black cherry sauce
Beef fillet stuffed with fine-grained corn in "huitlacoche" sauce
Beef fillet tournedos with cheese sauce
Beef fillet au gratin in chipotle sauce
Beef skirt steak accompanied with guacamole, beans and french onions
Mexican style beef fillet steak with Nopal in red chili sauce
Grilled beef tenderloin acompanied with potato and vegetables
Breaded shrimp stuffed with cheese
Shrimp al´orange in a tequila- based flambée
Shrimp au coconut with orange and bilberry chutney
Red snapper fillet, veracruzana style
Red snapper in garlic sautee
Smoked trout navarra style
Assorted Michoacan Snacks:" Charales,dried chilli, asadera cheese"
Smoked trout on macadamia nut sauce
(stuffed with cheese in red chilli pepper sauce)
DIFFERENT CREATION EACH DAY
Be sure to enquire about our specialty
Thinly sliced jícama in cajeta and tequila sauce
Posted 25 February 2004 - 12:28 PM
Col. La Loma Camelinas
Juan Sebastián Bach 51
T: (52 4) 314-7344
A restaurant housed in a troje, a wood cabin typical of the region - you'll need to take a cab.
The main emphasis here is carne. Seems to be a popular suit and tie lunch place, but there
was also casual. As I was seated tortillas, salsa, limes, nopales, rojo and verde sauces,
some raw vegetables and bread were placed on the table. I had queso adobera with a chipotle
sauce (49.00), crema cilantro (36.00) and filet poblano (99.00). The queso adobera (semi
firm cheese in a chipotle sauce) came with warm corn tortillas (no detergent smell) and
guacamole - add a spoonful of nopales, a squeeze of lime - a nice appetizer. If crema cilantro
sounds a bit overwhelmingly cilantro-ey, it wasn't. Does anyone else find similar notes between
cilantro and tomatillos because I thought i detected some tomatillos also? Garnished with toasted
sesame seeds and croutons - this was a smile producing sopa. I order the filet poblano rare -
and it came rare - I should have ordered it medium rare. It was a thin filtet folded over with the poblano
strips inside, smothered under a very light cheese sauce, a sprinkling of onion. The dish was a bit
muddied for my taste. For dessert, postre flan de cajeto and espresso - which was okay.
For wine - I had a half bottle of cabernet sav X-A Domeq (110.00)
Posted 25 February 2004 - 01:02 PM
T (443) 314 02 31
Located outside of the historic district, in the mountains but what a view - I sipped
Don Julio tequila (56.00) at sunset on the terrace overlooking the city, gazing
at those evocative unmistakable Mexican mountains, watching the lights come on.
The hotel and grounds are intimate and cozy. (Along with tequila I got a small glass of
tomato juice, limes and salt - not really sure what the proper succession is - does anyone know?)
For dinner I started with a lobster and pumpkin flower bisque touched with agave (70.00).
Thick and creamy, warm not tongue burning. There were small pieces of agave on the
bottom of the dish - which add a nice textural contrast to the silky sopa. For my entree - duck
breast in a porto sauce with bacon wrapped asparagus and risotto with squash blossoms
and wild mushrooms (170.00). Most of the dishes on the menu lean towards international
instead of Mexican (unfortunately). I had a 1/2 bottle of cab. sav. X-A Domeq (100.00) For
dessert I had a nahuatl avocado souffle (50.00) - a light green, airy, not too sweet confection.
Service was attentive - I felt a bit self conscious because I was the only person there at first -
other diners arrived, the fire place was lit, a piano player played gently.
Posted 25 February 2004 - 01:35 PM
Ignacio Zaragoza 90
I tried the Michoacan traditonal breakfasts - one morning, uchepos, which are fresh green corn tamales,
served with a cream, salsa rojo and either poblano or nopales strips and refried beans. Another morning,
corundas, which are a crumbly light tamale, also served with cream, salsa rojo, refried beans. I really liked
the corundas - the airyness in contrast to the thick beans. Along with the breakfast, marmalade and toast,
fresh fruit, hot chocolate, coffee, and juice - all for 58.00. Sitting on the edge of the courtyard, watching the
morning sun slowly pour into the courtyard, the birds chirping, the chill in the air (it get's cold in the mountains),
a blue cloudless sky - life is good here.
Posted 01 March 2004 - 12:50 PM
Mercado de Dulces
Wandered through and tried the coconut/lime treat (was tasty), tamarind (which was sweet) and
tamarind rolled in chili powder (which is an acquired taste) - both tamarind treats possess a lot of
seeds. I also tried atole de guyaba - which was great at night when the temperature had dropped.
Couldn't find atole de negro. Overall the merchants sell the same treats - and the upstairs "crafts"
section is pretty bland, but has some great vintage postcards.
Monarch butterfly preserve / El Rosario
I did an all day excursion (400.00) to the monarch butterfly preserve in El Rosario. Seven of us
departed Morelia with Luis Miguel around 9 am and drove for about 2 hours through the Michoacan
countryside, which is beautiful. Green fields - pear and apple tree groves, newly planted agave,
shallow lakes. The hike into the mountains starts at a village that has numerous small restaurants
and stores. The hike takes about 1 1/2 hours to get to the main viewing area - the air does get thinner
as you hike upward through the forest. Along the way Luis told the migration pattern, the theories and
the folklore associated with the monarch butterflies. The butterfly nucleus drifts, and expands on the
mountain side according to weather conditions. You cannot walk underneath the huge mass of
butterflies clinging to the trees anymore - however, Luis did bring some high powered binoculars
which allowed for incredible viewing. Also, when the sun went behind clouds, the air was filled with
monarch butterflies fluttering about everywhere. Personally - I found the experience moving - it almost
felt like a pilgrimage, the forest lending a cathedral like quality, the migration of millions of monarchs
from Canada to Mexico for thousands of years - a rewarding experience. Hiking back to
the small village we had lunch at one of the restaurants, which was included with our excursion - we
started with freshly grilled nopales, hand pressed blue corn tortillas which were thick, chewy and
slightly charred form the stove. With a dollop of a wonderful home made picante amarillo salsa, I
was in heaven. I ordered pollo con mole, rice and beans (which was okay, the enchiladas looked
better) and quesadillas with requeson (the cheese slightly tart), which were great - a couple
cervesas - this meal hit the spot perfectly. If you choose to do the butterfly excursion - I really
recommend Luis - the group size was intimate, he is extremely knowledgeable and personable -
just a satisfying experience. His company also offer tours of Morelia and surrounding environs.
Posted 01 March 2004 - 04:03 PM
JUST ANOTHER WALMART SHOPPER IN THE RURAL SOUTH.
Posted 01 March 2004 - 09:31 PM
Av. Madero Oriente 440, Centro
This confectionary store is located near Templo de las Monjas.
They make fruit pastes, jellies and liquors in a variety of
flavors. Marzipan like candies painted like delicate jewels
are available as are cajeta filled wafer cookies and numerous
flavors of ice creams.
I found this website very helpful and informative:
List of boutique hotels and upscale restaurants in and around Morelia.
Here are a few restaurants I had considered for my visit to Morelia.
Note that many non-hotel restaurants close by 6 pm on Sundays.
Fonda Las Mercedes
Leon Guzman 47
(52 4) 312-6113
Extensive selection of carefully prepared Mexican and international dishes.
(52 4) 324-4411
Creative Mexican dishes such as filete tzitziqui, filet of beef served
in a sauce of squash flowers and corn.
Virrey de Mendoza
Av. Madero Pte. 310
(52 4) 312-0633
Mexican and international specialties including Tarascan soup,
corundas, and white fish from Lake Pátzcuaro.
Casa de la Calzada
Calzada Fray Antonio de San Miguel, 344
(443) 313 53 19
Posted 01 March 2004 - 10:22 PM
is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Spanish baroque architecture
is done in pink volcanic stone. The Cathedral is gorgeous - the
spires are over 200 feet tall. The tourist center is located in the
Biblioteca Publica - they have a free detailed walking tour map
of the historic center. The city is incredibly clean and somewhat
stately and reserved. (Very opposite to the festive tone of Oaxaca.)
The city is a real pleasure to stroll around - I loved walking through
the numerous courtyards beneath a deep blue sky. There are numerous
museums and theaters. The one must see is Templo de San Diego.
The outside of the church is very plain and in no way hints at the
interior - the inside is a riot of color and decoration. Every square
inch is colored and adorned - like an overly decorated cake - very
unique and impressive.
Here are a few web sites i found helpful:
Lots of information about Morelia - hotels, restaurants, festivals,
museums, theater, etc.
Lots of information regarding Michoacan.
click on destinations, then Morelia
If you have questions regarding my trip to Morelia - feel free to ask.
I'll be posting about Huatulco later this week.
Posted 02 March 2004 - 01:31 PM
weather: weather.com and weatherunderground.com had predicted
rain/scattered rain for the three days I was to be in Morelia - let's not
over look the previous 30 days had been partly sunny to sunny, and
the following 5 days after I left Morelia were to be partly sunny to sunny.
Both web sites were completely wrong (yet when I went to Istanbul, were
fairly accurate) - every day was perfect, during the day a high of about
75, blue skies with an occasional clouds, no rain - at night, it got chilly,
lower 50s, upper 40s.
one funny observation: on the butterfly excursion, Luis, our guide
mentioned casually, that a margarita is considered a female drink in Mexico
(I could sense the other two men in the car tense up also). One them asked rather
nonchalantly, "did you say that only women drink margaritas?" "Si, men do not."
I was somewhat conflicted for the rest of my trip because I really like a well
prepared margarita. Yet when I ordered a tequila, or when in Huatulco mezcal,
I invariably got a quick approving nod from the waiter. In Huatulco, ordering mezcal
got me a "hmm", a raised eyebrow and a slight grin. Of course after my 5th mezcal
the waiter wasn't sure what to think of me.
Posted 02 March 2004 - 02:32 PM
Club de Playa, Camino Real Zaashila
After checking in, walking around the property (which is beautifully landscaped
and situated), I decided to have lunch - this restaurant is located at the far end
of the beach, which gives a wide expansive view of the bay, and has an infinity
pool for when you you feel like cooling off. The menu has some Mexican seafood
dishes but caters to more standard American dishes (hamburger, etc). I asked
whether I could order items from the room menu - which featured more Oaxacan
dishes - and they accommodated me. I tried one of the ceviches (75.00), which was
satisfactory - needed more lime, which I added. Also had quesadillas de calabaza (45.00)
and oaxqueno tamales (45.00?) - the quesadillas had generous amount of that wonderful
white, stringy Oaxaca cheese. With a dab of guacamole or salsa, a gentle warm breeze,
the sun glinting off the water and a mezcal (46.00) or two (or three) - I settled in for the
afternoon, getting a little bit of sun (which was very strong), taking a dip every now and
then and just trying to slow down.
Chez Binni, Camino Real Zaashila
The setting for this restaurant is impressive - you sit under massive ocher barrel vaults
that open towards the Pacific, swaying palm trees and bougainvillea fill in the setting.
Service was competent - a solo guitar player in the bar next door. Being that Huatulco is
a resort town - prices everywhere were very similar. Definitely a nice setting. For dinner
I started with lobster quesadilla with pineapple pico de gallo (90.00) - I liked the pineapple pico de
gallo, could have used a bit more lobster though. For my entree, red snapper marinated in
white wine and coriander (I think) with roasted banana on a banana and mango sauce (170.00) - the
roasted banana added an interesting note to the fish. Dessert: crepes with Oaxacan chocolate
and bananas. I had a bottle of Blanc de Banes X-A Domeq (150.00). All the dishes were well
prepared and reflected an assured touch.
Posted 03 March 2004 - 09:00 AM
This is where the breakfast was served, overlooking the beach.
I usually ordered freshly made huitlacoche, chapulines, nopales
and calabaza quesadillas for breakfast with a side of frijoles and
assorted fruits with lots of freshly squeezed lime. And also hot
chocolate. The buffet also offered other Mexican/Oaxacan
specialties and the usual American breakfast standards.
It was included with my room.
Las Cupulas, Quinta Real
The Quinta is one of two non-inclusive's on Tangolunda Bay.
It is an intimate hotel comprising 28 rooms, lushly landscaped,
impeccable design details and a perfect view of the bay. For
dinner I started with a seabass and octopus ceviche with cactus
salad in a soya and habenero vinaigrette (105.00). Then had
chilies stuffed with cheese and grasshoppers on a red and
green sauce (60.00). For my main dish, mahi mahi with a lime
and fresh vanilla sauce (150.00). For dessert, crisp apple and
walnut tamalito with guanbaya sherbert (55.00). All the dishes
were well prepared - the only quibble, I wish the chilies hadn't
been breaded. To drink, I had a couple mezcals and a glass of
a Mexican white, Fume - which I found a bit thin and weak.
I would also recommend coming here for afternoon drinks.
Posted 03 March 2004 - 12:41 PM
After spending 2 days in the resort, I wanted a dose of
reality and went to Santa Cruz, which is where the cruise
ships dock. Maybe it was because the tables are literally at
the water's edge but something about the setting made this
a real sweet spot for me. Started with a large mixed seafood
cocktail (90.00) - a 1950's soda fountain glass filled to rim with
various seafood in a slightly sweet spicy sauce. Ordered a
whole pescado, grilled (100.00) - which was moist and pleasing.
To drink - mezcal on the rocks (40.00-50.00?) The setting was
perfect - a constant breeze, the occasional vendor selling either
hats or coffee - it just felt more authentic/real compared to the
resort (more about that issue later). At dusk I walked around
Santa Cruz - not really much to look at but, I think, better than
La Crucecita. I did watch a procession of locals going to church,
singing and carrying banners - their plaintive voices rising and falling.
Sabor de Oaxaca
Maybe it was because I was sitting on the beach all day and had
a few mezcals - but I can't really remember much about this meal.
I do recall having 2 mezcals, a seafood cocktail and a stuffed chili (80.00)
of some sort, which was flavorful - the bill came to 220.00. The menu
does featured many Oaxacan dishes besides fish.
Alebreges Del Mar
Bahia El Maguey
This was my most expensive meal while in Huatulco - I must admit
though I had 5 mezcals (60.00) throughout the day. All the
restaurants line the beach and have palapas, lounge chairs, etc.
My belongings were safe while I swam. I started with a small
mixed seafood ceviche (100.00) - very simple, clean distinct
flavors. I decide to try the Hawoi(?) pineapple - a pineapple stuffed
with jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon, roasted slices of poblano and
pineapple, drizzled with a cream sauce and a sprinkle of fresh corn
and cilantro (250.00). This was a very rich dish but fell a bit flat for me.
Maguey is powdery tan sandy beach - a bit make shift and rough around
the edges (which I like) and seems to be a popular local place for
family outings. The water is clear green and calm, great for swimming.
Posted 03 March 2004 - 06:34 PM
Bahia de Santa Cruz
Had dinner here my last night - along the water's edge,
beneath a starry sky - a moist evening breeze. Started with
a shrimp and octopus cocktail, once again served in a large
parfait glass, then had lobster a la Dona - which was nicely
seasoned but not extraordinary.
I spent one entire day sitting under a palapa on the Camino
Real's private beach. Ordered a couple bottles of X-A Domeq
white throughout the day and just kicked back. What made
this day so enjoyable was how ensconced I felt underneath the
palapa. Sand had been heavily deposited at the base so one
had to stoop to get under this palapa - thus I was always in
shade - the Pacific a stone's throw away, the occasional bird
walking by, a gentle constant breeze, the sun sparkling off the
water, the ousnd of the surf. I was surprised to find the price
of lobster at some beach side restaurants to be around 600.00.
At the Camino Real, a small lobster was 280.00 - it was beautifully
grilled , split in half - a nice afternoon snack. Also, a local Oaxacan
was purveying freshly caught oysters - 15 for 200.00 - with a
squeeze of lime, some homemade sauce - very nice.
Posted 03 March 2004 - 09:14 PM
Some unrelated food afterthoughts:
I'm still unsure about resorts and resort destinations. The
one thing I really liked about Huatulco was it's remoteness -
I felt so far away from my life, NYC - and that was one of the
reasons for going to Huatulco. Crucecita and Santa Cruz are
concrete block constructed towns - no charm and way too many
stores selling crappy tourist junk. Also you need to take a taxi
to get anywhere - mind you, taxis are pretty cheap but there is
something about pedestrian traffic that I enjoy very much. As for
the resort, somehow being so insulated from the "real world" didn't
coax me to fully relax. There were moments I didn't feel like I was
in Mexico - very strange. The hotel grounds are beautifully lush -
great beach - good to excellent food - one of the most beautiful
pools I've ever seen - personable staff but still something didn't feel
right. Maybe if I had been with friends. The Quinta felt very intimate,
only 28 rooms - while the Camino Real has about 120 rooms, which
all have sea views. The one negative I have regarding the Camino
Real is the room felt a bit institutional - tropical print bedspread and
curtains, mixed matched furniture - great bathroom though. Also, the
rooms don't have rugs. I was awoken every morning at 6 am by the
person in the room next door, stomping back and forth to the bathroom.
I wish I had rented a scooter and explore the coastline - that may have
alleviated my feeling so insulated. I'm glad I didn't stay in Crucecita -
it's too far away from the beach. And I had no interest in staying at
any of the all-inclusive beach hotels. I will say though, sitting underneath
that palapa was really enjoyable and relaxing.
I would like to visit the state of Oaxaca in September as the rainy season
is winding down and everything is green and lush. I really liked the verdant
Michoacan countryside - which is supposedly awash in flowers in September,
add to that the Mariachi festival in Guadalajara in September - hmm....
I found out there are hot spring spas in Michoacan, which might be nice to
visit next winter. And of course there's Patzcuaro - so much to see...
If I could do it over again, I might actually do it in reverse - Huatulco first,
then Morelia. I was really taken with Morelia - it surpassed my expectations
ten fold - a real delight. Anyway, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Posted 16 June 2004 - 10:27 AM
we rented a villa with cook and made.. so only went into town a couple of times...
we took it as real vacation.. but for me was for Gringo's!
We were offered tours.. tours... tours...
We had just come from Oaxaca ( went to Suzanna Trilling's cooking school for 2 day of classes) As noisy and crazy as Oaxaca is I love it!
WE ate lightly at our home.. our cook made fruit plates, gave us yogurt and fresh juice, eggs ( different everyday) with tortilla, toast and jam.
Lunch was Quesedilla's... that's all ( I think she called them Morsito's, a little bite to kill the hunger) and then dinner was lovely local food!
the last night she did a huge red snapper stuffed with shrimp, grilled on the barbeque!
The times we went into town... it wasn't too interesting..
I did enjoy the market..
Try Being Italian once a Day!
I LOVE TO BLOG...
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Whole Hog Blog
Posted 19 June 2004 - 10:03 AM
ONe day we requested a Tamale workshop.. boy did she make us work.
the kitchen space is fabulous,
and there is lots of help ( Oscar makes great margaritas)
I especially enjoyed themarket tour and tasting. what I offer in Florence so nice to see it from the other side!
the next day was a full menu, with cheese making and also mole!
Try Being Italian once a Day!
I LOVE TO BLOG...
egblog November 2006
OVER THE TUSCAN STOVE BLOG
Whole Hog Blog
Posted 19 August 2004 - 06:09 PM
fully agree as I will be traveling there next spring, THANK YOU!!
I just want to say how much I appreciate your taking the time to post all of this terrific information! I am hoping to travel to that area sometime soon, perhaps for an extended stay, and your information is really a help to me.
Posted 20 August 2004 - 06:13 AM
i was there a zillion years ago, and totally charmed, what an unexpected gem, so colonial, so exquisite, i remember bouganvilla climbing a pink spanish looking building twisting around the wrought iron as it climbed......
however i also remember that as delighted as i was to be in such a beautiful and delicious place, the road in was scarey, real scary.
we might have come by bus from patzcuaro, maybe there is an easier way? i remember sheer drops from cliffs and mountainsides and a bus driver who really enjoyed passing the cars in our side of the road. fast. and i think he was wearing a blindfold. who wouldn't? it was too scary to look at.
ps this is such a marvellous posting, so really thoughtful and rich with tasty detail. a million gracias!