Mexico

Where to Eat and Drink in Rosarito

Rosarito is right on the Pacific coast and in between two great food destinations, Tijuana and Ensenada (including the increasingly trendy wine destination, Valle de Guadalupe) but I think a lot of Americans still come here mostly looking for Vegas-size margaritas. I found evidence for that theory recently when a group of six asked me to take a photo of them in…

Five More Places to Eat and Drink in Tijuana and Ensenada

Tijuana and Ensenada continue to charm me (and my taste buds). Here are a few more places to visit. Tijuana Cine Tonalá This three-story movie house, cultural center, rooftop bar and restaurant has a stunning view of Tijuana. In the background the moorish tips of the emblematic Jai Alai building point skyward, as do the restaurant’s table-top gold…

el guero ensenada

Eating and Drinking in Ensenada and Valle de Guadalupe

Did you know there’s a wine valley in Baja? In Valle de Guadalupe you’re sure to find good food and wine, beautiful views and probably at least one wrong turn down a country road. Not far away is Ensenada, formerly a big destination for cruise ship and spring breakers, and once you have a seafood tostada…

24 Hours in Morelia, the Coolest Mexican City Left Off the Tourist Map

“We’re still the place that people stop through on their way somewhere else,” said Antonio Guzman, the manager at Lu Cocina Michoacana. We’re sitting across from the plaza, having coffee and talking about tourism in Michoacan’s capital city, Morelia. Across the street at the cathedral, a circle of Aztec dancers convulsed and brass horns bounced…

5 Reasons To Love Lu Cocina Michoacana in Morelia

It’s rare that I’ll go twice to one restaurant when I only have 24 hours in a city, but Lu Cocina has the kind of menu that gave me FOMO (fear of missing out) when I left. After breakfast, I had to find out what lunch would taste like. Named  for Chef Lucero Soto, the…

To Quiroga, Home of Carnitas

While everyone has their opinion on where to get the best carnitas in Michoacán, Quiroga is widely acknowledged as the hometown of carnitas. “But everyone has a different idea of who makes the best,” said a cafe owner when we stopped for an espresso in town.  It gets more confusing when you get to the…

Peace and Barbacoa in Paracho: When a Guitar Town Goes for a World Record

A few weeks ago a town in Michoacán tried to do what only the city of Wroclaw, Poland had done before: Bring together 6,346 guitarists to break the Guinness World Book Record of largest guitar ensemble. People have been making guitars in Paracho for over a century, and there are at least 250 guitar artisans…

Sampling Michoacan’s Soul Food in Patzcuaro

When I told friends in the U.S. and Mexico that I was going to Michoacán I got one of two responses: A warning or concern with the state’s reputation for narco activity, or “mmmm… que rico” which is Spanish for get ready to get your grub on. There’s a richness here in artesanía, agriculture, and…

Lunch with Victoria Gonzalez Chavez, Maestra Cocinera from the Tierra Caliente

There are 8 maestras cocineras (master cooks) in Michoacán, a title and honor given to traditional female cooks who are preserving and promoting the state’s ancestral cuisine. Victoria Gonzalez Chavez is one of them, and her restaurant in Patzcuaro specializes in dishes from the Tierra Caliente of Michoacán. When we arrived to the restaurant— a…

My Favorites From Tacolandia

With 140 taqueros I was officially overwhelmed at LA Weekly’s Tacolandia event last weekend. Luckily, there was a lady handing out shot glasses and I always have something to put in one. This was the fourth year of the event curated by food writer Bill Esparza, with the most vendors ever. While it does require…

The Best Things I Ate in Mexico City

I went to Mexico City with two chefs and one of them said that it may be possible that I like food more than he does. That could be true— in Mexico City. Here I always have anxiety that I’m constantly walking by a hole in the wall with the best tortas or pozole or…

Where to Drink in Oaxaca

I should have called this post Where to Drink in Oaxaca If It’s Not From a Plastic Bottle of Mezcal You Got From the Palenque Today. But on the real, there are so many dope places to grab a beverage in Oaxaca it’s hard to choose. Lucky for us the evenings— just like the mezcal…

Talking Oaxaca’s Culinary Traditions with Celia Florián

I haven’t spent enough time in Oaxaca to make an accurate count but seems like these days there’s a new restaurant or mezcal bar popping up in the centro with the frequency of daytime fireworks (they go off way more often than you think here!) But restaurant Las Quince Letras, just a few blocks from the Templo de Santo Domingo, has been…

Where to Eat Breakfast in Oaxaca

I love breakfast. My boyfriend is not a big fan. Anytime I ask him if a certain place is good for breakfast he says, “I don’t know, it’s breakfast,” with a shrug that indicates I might as well be asking him about the differences between the orange and red packets of top ramen. But breakfast…

Drink the Day Away at These Two Cantinas in Oaxaca

I like cantinas, as I do dive bars, especially when I’m traveling. I like being in them during the day, the feeling that I should be doing something productive wearing off after my first beer. I like that while we’re the ones inside,  joyful and too honest and slipping off barstools while the sun is…

Treat Yo Self to These Three Restaurants in Oaxaca

As a journalist who recently quit my day job,  I was in heaven eating cheaply in Oaxaca. I cooked with beautiful market ingredients and ate at cocina economicas, market stands, and drank green juices all day (with the extra shots of bee pollen— take that L.A.) My food costs probably came to a third of what they are in the Bay…

Mezcal and More: Rolling through Oaxaca with Neta Mezcal

Max Rosenstock is from New Mexico, lives in the Bay, and knows the Oaxacan countryside so well I’m surprised when he hits a tope too fast. His project, Neta Mezcal, is soon to officially launch in the U.S.— and in the meantime he’s been traveling Oaxaca for years finding good mezcal. He reminds me of my…

Ranch to Table in Oaxaca with Chef José Luis Díaz

I met José Luis Diaz at his restaurant, Chilhuacle Rojo, in the Oaxaca centro. He has a deep voice, two chile pepper tattoos on his forearm, and uses yadadayadayada to finish out many of his sentences, but never— as I noticed during our breakfast tasting menu— when describing a dish. Breakfast here was one of my best…

Oaxaca Day Trip: Etla Valley

The days of the week in Oaxaca are told by market days. Sunday is Tlacolula, Friday is Ocotlán, Thursday is Zaachila, and Wednesday is Etla. These are the days when there is tiangis, meaning people from the area come to surround the permanent market and sell anything from turkey eggs to cell phone cases. Usually you…

A Night in Latuvi: Visiting Los Pueblos Mancomunados

The morning in Latuvi smelled like fire and smoke, and purple shadows draped over the curves of the Sierra Norte as I looked out from the balcony. At night the trumpet-shaped brugmansia flower was so fragrant it wandered down the stairs towards the cabin. It would be more romantic if the roosters crowed in the…

Day Trip From Oaxaca City: Ocotlán

On Fridays it’s market day in Ocotlán de Morales, a town about 20 miles south of Oaxaca city. Like any market day in Oaxaca tarps web out from the permanent market covering a maze of stands selling fruits and vegetables, dried chiles and fish, kitchen tools, ceramics and woven bags, jeans and cheap plastic jewelry.…

Eat, Play, Stay in Huatulco: 48 Hour Guide

Huatulco’s marketing problem, as a friend reminded me, is that there is no actual town called Huatulco. Nine bays, 36 beaches, small towns, and over 20 miles of coastline make up Huatulco (formerly known as Bahias de Huatulco). There are nice roads, clean beaches,  rules about overfishing, and you can even drink the tap water. At…

A Trip to Oaxaca’s Mercado de Abastos for Oaxacalifornia at Origen

Friday is a good day for the Mercado de Abastos, Oaxaca city’s wholesale market. On Fridays and Tuesdays the señoras come from different parts of Oaxaca to the market to sell their crops. They’re sitting on stacks of newspapers, shelling peas or peeling nopales. Pulling tightly wound plastic bags of roasted ground corn that smell like…

Where to Eat on the Oaxacan Coast: Puerto Escondido to San Agustinillo

I’m pretty sure I learned the magic of eating garlic shrimp, down to the shells and heads, when I was six on our first family trip to Mexico, in Puerto Angel, which happens to be just a few towns down from where I stayed this trip. I’ve come full circle, because when stuck on what to order last week…

Hotels in Mexico

I am booking another trip to Mexico and remembering how annoying it is to look through hotel reviews. Especially if you are like me and want the finer things in life— on a non-profit/writer budget. Sure, Trip Advisor is awesome until you end up at a hotel in “the most charming seaside village” Amy has ever visited…

Where to Eat in Tijuana: Five Places to Sample the City

From old school to brand new, street side to white table cloth, Tijuana has a crazy range of eating options. Here are a few to get started with. Tacos Franc A friend of a friend wrote me with recommendations for Tijuana and said the following: while everyone from Tijuana will agree that we are known…

Where to Drink in Tijuana: Mezcal, Cocktails and Craft Beer

Sorry lonely promoters and tequila girls hanging on the balconies of empty super nightclubs, Tijuana has moved on from the Coko Bongo days. Don’t get me wrong, this is a town that likes to party, and the next morning no one is in the street besides the sad zebra-painted donkey until 10 a.m. But the…

Where to Eat in Tijuana: Three Food Colectivos

I don’t blame you for the question mark in your tone when I tell you that I just got back from Tijuana. You’re thinking spring break or narco violence or fuzzy memories of something to do with a donkey show. I on the other hand had nothing but high expectations for TJ. They were fueled…

In Between Meals on Holbox

It would be easy to spend most of your day lounging in a beach hammock on Holbox. But then you miss smobbin’ around in a golf cart to find the perfect popsicle. Here are some things to do and snack on in between meals: Sunset at El Chiringuito To make friends on the island look…

Where to Eat on Holbox, Part 2: Lunch and Dinner

Before there were ferries and before there was refrigeration, Holboxeños used to eat the eggs of wild birds, all kinds of fish, and on a special night, a manatee that could feed the whole town. There are other protein options now. Keep in mind that lunch in Mexico is the big meal of the day, usually eaten…

Where to Eat on Holbox: Mandarina Beach Club

I didn’t want to leave Mandarina, Hotel Casa Tortuga’s restaurant. I went on my last night, after my travel companion left, and sat under the palapa, on the rooftop bar with a mezcal cocktail and read 50 Shades of Grey (nope, still don’t get the hype) by the light of hanging lanterns and the full moon. I went…

Where to Eat on Holbox Part 1: Breakfast

At 7 AM on Holbox I woke up and walked the beach, stopping to swim in the Caribbean sea with no one else in sight but two fisherman untangling the silver fish from their nets. Towards the end of the hotel strip the sand turned into tiny unbroken white sea shells. As I walked into…

Where to Drink in Merida: La Negrita, An Exceptionally Pretty Cantina

La Negrita was just a regular cantina when I lived here, which means it was the kind of place my university friends and I would go to after finishing afternoon class and spend the remainder of the day drinking cheap beer. They always insisted on walking me to the bathroom, and occasionally had to do…

Cooling Off In Chicxulub

On a 100 degree day in Merida the centro is like a fiery pit of cement. I know I went to school in heat like this when I lived here, but on this two day trip with no obligations I decided it was wiser to sit in my friend’s pool eating mangos until 4 pm,…

48 Hours in Mexico City

Leaving Mexico City after two days is like leaving a really good party at 10 pm. Granted, I had been before with my sister and done a lot of the major sites: the centro, the Diego Rivera murals, Frida’s house and several markets and classic restaurants. So this post is more for the traveler that…

Meet The Yucatan’s Culinary Soldiers

I met Chef Wilson Alonzo in the patio of Restaurante Frailes, plucking flowers from the chile xcatik bush, a bright orange chile the shape of a tiny christmas light, with flowers so delicate they looked like they could easily fly out of his ceramic white bowl. Chef Wilson is the executive Chef at Restaurante Frailes,…

Five Restaurants to Try in Merida

I’m headed back to Merida soon, and I can’t wait to eat all of this. Here are five restaurants that represent a spectrum of food in the Merida area, and I’m hoping to make it a solid ten after my trip. 1. Los Frailes, Conkal Skip the wimpy salbutes served at the plaza-side restaurants in…

Treat Yourself: Ice Cream and Chocolate in Merida

Boy, have my taste buds changed. Ten years ago when I wasn’t drinking a beer in the Merida plaza I was sitting across the street at Helados Colon enjoying an ice cream. There’s nothing special inside this classic parlor since 1907, but the tables outside have a perfect view of the cathedral and plaza. However,…

Three Food Markets in Merida

On my return to Merida after ten years a lot has changed. Back in the day if you said the word vegetarian you’d get a bewildered look and a plate of beans (or for that matter, chicken). But now they have a slow food market with whole wheat muffins, locally made herbal supplements and organically…

24 Hours in Valladolid

Ten years ago I came to Valladolid for a night with my fellow study abroad students. It was my 20th birthday and we set out to find a bottle of tequila to bring back to the hotel only to find that most places were closed. We ended up with a bottle of unlabeled clear liquid…

Guide to Eating, Drinking and Exploring Isla Mujeres

Well, Cancun pretty much sucked like I thought it would. Thank god Isla Mujeres is a 20 minute ferry ride away. Isla’s got turquoise waters, a good mix of tourist accommodations and local haunts, and everyone on the island pretty much knows each other. It also has just enough quirkiness — ex-pats building houseboats out…

Bucerias and the Quest for Good Food in Tourist Towns

Bucerias is a low-key beach town that gets most of its charm from the fact that it’s not a big resort city like its neighbor to the South, Puerto Vallarta. Not that it wasn’t lovely; bougonvia hangs over the sides of brightly colored stucco walls, the beach is free of frat boys, every corner of…

Puerto Vallarta for a Night

I don’t usually find myself in places like this. It’s very touristy here. There’s a Señor Frogs. But a friend and I were staying about 30 minutes away in a small town called Bucerias and thought we would check out the PV scene for a night. We wandered past the resorts and clubs and found…