Thursday, September 30, 2010

La Posada Loma - Fortin de las Flores

We discovered this place (actually read about it in Lonely Planet) last March on our way to Cozumel. It was pretty rainy so we didn’t walk around the grounds. But, it’s a lovely hotel, and when our flexible schedule put us in the area, we didn’t hesitate to return.

This area is blessed with a mild climate and a fair amount of rain. The gardens at the hotel, which has been in the same family for 60 years, are loaded with orchids and bromeliads, among other flowers and plants.

The rooms are nice and comfortable, but the hotel is well know for their breakfast. With homemade marmalades and fruit juices, organic eggs, local bread and coffee, and wonderful red, green and mole sauces for eggs.

On our two mornings, the dining room (which has a view of Mexico’s highest peak, Pico de Orizaba) fills with guests and locals (businessmen and ladies who-do-breakfast) who politely nod and offer “buen provecho” (good appetite) as they pass your table.

The coffee is rich and subtle and really doesn’t need cream or sugar, the strawberry juice is delicious, the toasted bread with butter and pineapple or lemon marmalade is so good that you can’t stop eating it, and the huevos, regardless of the style are terrific. Especially good was the Salsa de Huevo, eggs scrambled in a bowl with a red chile sauce.

We were just passing through and only planned to stay one night, but Hurricane Karl and Tropical Storm Matthew had dropped a lot of rain in the area to the east and the mountains of Chiapas to the south, and the roads between us and the next days travel were flooded. So we stayed a second night to see if the waters would subside.

The owner graciously made calls, and found a route to the north of the flooding, on higher ground, closer to the Gulf, and then made a reservation for us at Laguna Catemaco, a lakeside town that is a popular spot in the state of Veracruz.

So, with full, happy tummies, we headed out for an easy 3.5 hour drive to Catemaco.

Didn’t really turn out that way. See the next installment.

La Posada Loma

Fortin de las Flores (just east of centro 1 Km on highway)

Breakfast Included in room - 750 MP

Monday, September 27, 2010

San Miguel de Allende

Our third visit to San Miguel de Allende was also our third visit to La Posadita, a terrific restaurant on a terrace with views of San Miguel. The food is a little upscale, but is fitting for the first night south of the border.

Red and green salsas arrive with house-made chips soon after we are seated. Peruse the lengthy menu, but end up on the page with traditional foods.

Start with a chunky, mashed guacamole, simply made with buttery haas avocados, fresh tomatoes and a touch of chile.

Follow that with a Guerrero-style posole, a rich broth with shredded chicken and hominy. It’s enhanced by the attractive condiment plate with limes, oregano, onion, avocado, ground red chile, coriander and chopped jalapeño. Still more options are available to customize your posole with tostadas or chicharrones.

The Chile Relleno is a large poblano filled with Oaxacan cheese (more than is necessary), lightly battered and smothered with a wonderful red tomato broth. Very nicely done and just what I wanted.

The service is prompt and courteous and the atmosphere is relaxing. Food this good, in a setting this refined, in a town as pricey as San Miguel, should cause most anyone to choke on the bill. Not here. All of this with a beer and limonada came to 285 pesos (@12.5 that is $22.80).

La Posadita is reason enough to visit San Miguel de Allende. Although lots of people reportedly come for the architecture, art, the realty offices with their many million dollar homes for sale.

Lunch & Dinner: Closed Wednesday

Cuna de Allende #13

around the corner from the Parroquia

Why Mexico?

It’s not a matter of wanting to leave the U.S. as much as it is a desire to live in Mexico. We love the landscape, the culture, the rich history with Msesoamerican sites, the food, the regional variety, and most of all, the people. So, rather than be content with a glimpse at one of the many resorts and beautiful cities a week at a time, once a year, we’ve decided to immerse ourselves in the culture and the language by living here.

It will require some red tape, applications and visits to government agencies, but we’re willing to do what our adopted country requires in order to get this love affair underway.

This is the third time I have driven from Colorado to Cozumel and Jennifer’s second. We’re certainly aware of the trouble surrounding the border area of our countries. But after a close look, we decided driving across the border and making our way south will not be any more dangerous than driving through certain parts of the U.S. So far, that has been the case and we don’t anticipate any changes.

Traveling this way allows us to bring a few more of our personal items, but more importantly, it allows us to see and feel the country in a way that arriving at an international airport doesn’t.

While the starting point for this blog is the beginning of this journey, we’ll also post some favorites from the past. We hope to introduce our readers to new places, restaurants, hotels, and most importantly, the wonders of Mexico.

Visit often, comment as you feel so moved, and check out our web sites when you get the chance. After all, we’re still photographers, still.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Carmen's - Marfa, TX

My good friend, Cecil, is my mentor and advisor in all things gustatory on the road. Especially when the road runs through Texas, New Mexico, California and, for that matter, most of the rest of the mainland U.S. He said I couldn't write about Carmen's, and for awhile, I considered granting his wish.

But, Marfa, TX doesn't see that much traffic, Carmen came out of retirement to reopen her breakfast and lunch spot and, at least today, she seems to have plenty of help. So, she deserves a nod from us, and a visit from you.

A night and a day in Marfa was a long time in coming. Friends have talked about the place for years. The high desert country of West Texas is more picturesque than I expected. Although the remnants of recent tropical storms have helped with the vibrant landscape and interesting skies.

The Thunderbird Hotel is a cool place to stay the night. Great vibe, stylish contemporary rooms and, most importantly, comfortable beds. We slept there, but checked out the historical Paisano Hotel for dinner. OK, hardly memorable.

The real treat was the next morning, after the great coffee and killer pumpkin muffin offered by the Thunderbird, when we pulled into Carmen's. A mostly local clientele wished each other "good morning" and buenos dias" as they entered.

The fresh donuts had just been loaded into the display case. WHO makes fresh donuts anymore? For $.75 each? Carmen, that's who.

The fresh cinnamon rolls were due to come out of the oven in minutes, but we had 7 hours of road ahead of us. Guess we'll have to go back.

It was hard to pass up the huevos rancheros, my yard stick for all Western breakfast joints, but we were thrilled with the egg and bacon burritos. Sounds simple, right? The flavor was intense. Great eggs? Quality bacon? Some good cheese and a fresh tortilla. All good, but the jewel was the roasted green chiles from Carmen's garden. A taste bud extravaganza.

You may not get this great of a burrito in June before Carmen's garden starts producing, but you can count on one in September.

Pretty good coffee, too.

U.S. Hwy. 90
Marfa, TX
Mon - Sat: 9:00 to 3:00

The Owl Bar & Cafe

I've heard about this place south of Socorro, NM for years. When I've passed by, it's either not lunch time or the place is closed (Sundays). This trip coincided with lunch time, and it was Friday.

Nothing much to look at from the outside, and hard to see anything on the inside until at least five minutes have passed. The menu is simple, but you are here for only one thing: a green chile cheeseburger. OK, the fries are hand cut and not bad, but you walked into this place that has been under the same ownership for 46 years (or maybe 47 according to the gal at the counter) for the GCCB, which today is running $5.25.

Good fixings, decent bun and cheddar, tasty chopped green chiles and a nice patty made by real human hands. Ragged and a little crispy on the edges, not stamped out by a machine at some obscure food preparation facility miles, or states away. It's a damn fine burger.

The place is a classic, and it is worth a stop when you are in the area. Hell, a burger lover would probably make a special trip.

San Antonio, NM
A mile east of I-25, 7 miles south of Socorro
Just north of Bosque del Apache NWR (worth a trip on its own)
Full bar, fair prices. Probably closed on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mary & Tito's/Albuquerque

We'll start off this tummy/palate pleasing project with Mary & Tito's in Albuquerque. Serving up traditional New Mexican cooking that just received a James Beard Foundation award for being an American Classic. While the starter basket of chips had a nice, simple salsa, the chips were stale. Must have been due to the rainy day in the Duke City. The Carne Adovada Turnover and the stack of cheese enchiladas with a fried egg, both with red chile, made us forget the stale chips. Probably one of the tastiest red chile sauces I have eaten (and I make a pretty good one). Full of roasted red chile flavor and something deeper, possibly some meat. The pork in the adovada was shredded, tender and near perfect. I usually leave the pinto beans (refried and mashed instead of whole) on the plate. Not this time! Must have been the lard?

Can't wait to return and try the chile rellenos. Hope they aren't egg roll skin fakes, but something tells me that they won't be.

2711 4th Street
Albuquerque, NM
Mon - Thur: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Fri & Sat: 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
No Alcohol - MC & Visa

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We're moving to Mexico!

Here we go!  It's been a little over a year getting to this point.  Michael S. Lewis and I, both professional photographers, started dating at the end of August 2009 and then left for our South American photography escapade in December for three months and Mexico for 6 weeks shooting stock for National Geographic Image Collection.  On that trip we decided that we wanted to live in a Latin country for at least part of the year and so we started looking at options and eventually decided upon Cozumel, Mexico.  So we're moving - tomorrow!

We love great food and are always on the lookout for the best little hole-in-the-wall taco place in LA, thin crust pizza and fried squash blossoms in San Francisco, a perfect French bistro in Sucre, Bolivia or a great Malaysian food stand in Cozumel.  So check with us often for our latest meals and reviews!