Ten years ago, I came to Mexico for the first time to study in the city of Puebla. I immediately fell in love with everything–the food, the people, the architecture, the colors, and the way of life. I remember coming to the downtown area on my free afternoons and just marveling over the beauty of the buildings and the hanging green plants everywhere. I would often walk by this quaint hotel that was painted that pretty Mexican pink with indigo blue accents and peer in at the beauty beyond its large wooden doors. I remember I even asked the door attendant one time if I could come in to take a few pictures. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that ten years later I would be staying at this gorgeous oasis in the middle of one of my favorite cities.
Today we traveled to my “Mexican hometown” — Puebla. We arrived at the beautiful Hotel Mesón Sacristía in the downtown area and will be staying here for the next few days taking cooking classes focused on Puebla’s cuisine.
When we arrived, we took a few minutes to snap pictures of our gorgeous surroundings. Don’t you love that giant key to open our room?!
The hotel used to be the home of wealthy aristocrats in the 17th century, but then it was purchased by a family of antique sellers and transformed into an 8-room hotel. The hotel has been owned by the same family for four generations now. It is decorated with the family’s antique collection and almost everything is for sale from the tapestries to the furniture to the artwork.
We were welcomed by a little plate of traditional sweets from Puebla, and tonight when we came back from dinner there was a live mariachi band playing on the colonial steps of the hotel.
Even as I write this, our balcony door is open to the quiet street outside, and the softest night breeze is blowing throw the window. I feel as if I were living in a different era.
Tomorrow, we will be taking a class at this very hotel. They are renowned for their traditional comida poblana (Pueblan food), so I cannot wait to cook in their kitchen.
After we settled into the hotel, we headed out to find a bite to eat. We stumbled across this restaurant–Casa Barroca–announcing comida artesanal mexicana y galería (artisanal Mexican food and art gallery). We stopped in to look at the menu and were immediately convinced that we should give it a try.
Our meal started off with a blue corn tortilla chip topped with a chile paté, a chapulín (grasshopper), and dried cempasúchil (marigold) flower. Just one bite and I knew we had struck upon a treasure in the city of Puebla.
Our meal continued with an order of Gambas — coconut and chicharrón (fried pork skin)-crusted shrimp filled with cheese and placed over a helping of guacamole. The shrimp were drizzled with a sweet tamarind sauce. I absolutely loved the mixture of crunchy, savory, and sweet.
For my main dish, I ordered El Monarca — a traditional dry noodle “soup” made with three different types of chiles, topped with King Crab, chile guajillo strips, chicharrón dust, añejo cheese, and served with a chorizo cream sauce. Isn’t it a stunning dish? I have no idea what the sauces around the edge were, but they were so darn delicious.
Daniela ordered Pepián — chicken breast filled with Oaxaca cheese and wrapped in hoja santa (a Mexican herb). The whole dish was sitting atop a green pipián sauce (made with pumpkin seeds) and a black bean risotto with lard. What a beautiful presentation!
Of course we had to give dessert a try. We ordered two different dishes. The first one was called Dulces Besos and included a mousse made with pink pine nuts that was filled with a milk chocolate ganache. The dish was accompanied by a red fruit salad that consisted of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries and mixed with chamomile. The third “kiss” of the dish was an horchata ice cream atop a circle of crushed cookies. Of the three desserts on the plate, my favorite by far was the mousse.
Our second dessert was an absolute dream. It tasted like a deconstructed key lime + lemon meringue pie. It consisted of a lemon meringue with vanilla and passion fruit creams, a lime curd, various citrus slices, and a lime tea ice cream. The ice cream was sitting on some crushed cookies that had a hint of rosemary in them. I adored everything about this dessert. It was perfection on a plate.
Not only was the food at the Casa Barroca amazing, but the entire meal only cost us $43. The quality and attention to detail is just outstanding.
After dinner we explored the art gallery upstairs and learned that the restaurant also has a boutique hotel with 4 rooms. The waiter told us that the restaurant, bar, and hotel just opened about 3 months ago. We were so lucky to stumble up this!
The restaurant had so many beautiful corners and was decorated to perfection. Even the views from the gallery upstairs were exceptional. It gets a high recommendation from me.
Tomorrow is our first cooking class in Puebla! For now, I’m off to take a shower and then to bed.