dusk near Cuernavaca

dusk near Cuernavaca

Friday, January 8, 2016

Eating Well in Mérida

In my previous post I wrote that my friend Frank was falling under the spell of Mérida.  After only a couple of days here he has fallen in love with the city.  Certainly part of the allure has been the food.  Every meal here has been a culinary adventure for Frank.  I have traveled to Mérida many times, and I have been steering him to my favorite places to eat.  So far (knock on wood) our meals have been very good. 

On our first night in Mérida we went to a place called "El Chile Habanero".  I recommended their signature dish which is called "Chicken Aphrodite"... chicken breast served in a tamarind sauce and accompanied by a variety of local fruits and vegetables. These include jícama (a root plant whose flavor seems to me a cross between an apple and a water chestnut), papaya, and chaya (a leafy plant which is sometimes referred to as Yucatecan spinach)  Frank was very impressed with the combination of unique flavors.

(Unfortunately I didn't remember to take a picture until Frank was half done with his supper.)
The next morning we went to Café La Habana for breakfast.   Café La Habana is an establishment that has been in Mérida since 1952.  There we both had my favorite Yucatecan breakfast... huevos motuleños.  This dish, which originated in the Yucatecan city of Motul, consists of tortillas topped with refried beans, fried eggs, tomato sauce, peas, diced ham and cheese.

After doing some sightseeing in the historic center of the city, we stopped at sidewalk café for a snack and something to drink.  Frank tried "horchata" for the first time.  It is a beverage made with rice and flavored with cinnamon. Although the ingredients are different from the "horchata" which is served in Spain, the taste is similar.

 Guacamole, chips, and a glass of "horchata".

That evening we went to my favorite restaurant in Mérida...  Amaro.  

The restaurant is located in the courtyard of an historic, colonial house.  Andrés Quintana Roo, a hero of Mexico's War of Independence, was born here in 1787.

One of the reasons that Amaro is my favorite (aside from the beautiful setting and the excellent food) is Enrique, one of the waiters.  He has a fantastic sense of humor, and the banter with him is always great fun.  On this occasion he took it upon himself to try to teach Frank some Spanish.

We began our meal with one of the most traditional soups of the Yucatan... "sopa de lima", a chicken soup flavored with lime.  Amaro has one of the best that I have tasted.

Although I opted for one of the chicken dishes, Frank ordered another classic of Yucatecan cuisine...  "cochinita pibil", shredded pork, flavored with Yucatecan seasonings and baked in a banana leaf.  He said that it was one of the best meals that he has ever had.

But there was more.  We couldn't leave Amaro without having "crepas con cajeta"... crepes with a Mexican caramel sauce.

Whenever I leave Amaro I feel so happy that I am in Mérida!

As you can see, even though we are doing a great deal of walking, I doubt that we will lose any weight!  

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