When one thinks of Puebla, one thinks of mole poblano, but as I discovered, the Puebla food scene has other delights.
Chilaquiles: At our wonderful hotel, El Sueno, I had chilaquiles and fresh fruit every morning. While there are many variations to this dish, what I enjoyed was quartered corn tortillas, lightly fried, then baked with mole poblano or salsa verde and queso fresco, and served with shredded chicken and sliced avocado. I liked, I liked mucho.
Chalupas: The travesty served by Taco Bell insults this native dish. As with chilaquiles, variety rules beyond the basics – small corn tortillas fried in oil topped with red and green salsas, onions and shredded beef or chicken. They are generally served as an appetizer with crema. So delicious.
Cremina: Love it, love it, love it. This bland looking white custard could easily be overlooked for a flashier dessert, something I would not mind if it meant more for me. One of my traveling companions, Erica Wiggins, has recreated the recipe we received during our cooking lesson at Mesones Sacristia. I recommend it.
Insect Cuisine: Food ickies depend on ones cultural background. I have always thought the worm in a bottle of mezcal gross, so I was abashed to learn that the “seasoned” salt I enjoyed with my mezcal and orange slices was actually table salt with chile and roasted caterpillar mixed in, something known as sal de gusano. With visions of “Amazing Race” in my mind, I tried the sautéed maguey worms (edible caterpillars found on agave plants) at El Mural de los Poblanos. As with escargot, butter and garlic help immensely. I may not be running out to find edible insects, but I suspect we will be hearing more about them in future as the maguey worms, for example, have twice the protein of the same amount of beef with less cost and less damage to the planet. Something worth considering.
Another dish worth trying that I did not have – it’s only available in August and September — Chiles en Nogada, a stuffed Poblano chile with nut sauce and pomegranate seeds.
Finally, in Puebla I had my first (though I hope the first of many) blended tamarind margarita rimmed with chili. This complex fruit with the unique sweet and sour taste goes well with Mexican food and refreshes wonderfully all on its own.
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