Although we were only in Puebla for a few short days, the food has been some of the most memorable we have eaten on the whole trip. My wonderful travel companion, Daniela of The Spiced Kitchen, always asks, “Do you think this meal was life-changing?,” and I honestly have to say that some of the foods we tried in Puebla were a big YES! to that question.
Casa Barroca is the first restaurant I would like to highlight. If the name or plates seem familiar to you, it’s because we also went there for dinner on our first night. Yes, this place was so good that we decided to go back for breakfast, and it was phenomenal all over again.
My breakfast started off with one of the best teas I have ever tried–green tea with vanilla. It was smooth, sweet, and light and they served it in the most adorable spherical bubble glass.
Daniela and I split a freshly baked warm cuernito dusted with sugar. There’s something about warm bread that you just can’t beat.
The breakfast I chose was part of a breakfast package that included juice and fruit, as well as the main dish. I chose this rosy pink jugo de toronja (grapefruit juice). It was so fresh and sweet and didn’t contain an ounce of added sugar. Ahhhhh…the joys of being in Mexico.
The fruit platter they brought out was equally stunning. The papaya, melon, watermelon, starfruit, and pineapple were cut into beautiful shapes and dotted with raspberries and blueberries. There was a smear of fresh yogurt and all of the fruit was drizzled with a floral-tasting honey. It seriously was a work of art on a plate. (Pictured above)
My main dish was called Tortas de Cielo (Heaven Sandwiches). These were super fancy molletes which are pieces of lightly toasted bolillos (french bread) spread with black beans and topped with cecina (salty thin beef), chorizo (Mexican sausage), melted Grúyere cheese. They were accompanied with fresh guacamole and a pico de gallo salsa laid over a bed crispy onion threads. They garnished the whole dish with a beautiful squash blossom.
Everything earned top reviews from me again, and the service was phenomenal. I was able to talk to one of the staff members after my meal, and he told me that the restaurant was started by a group of chefs and restaurateurs called Grupo Plaza. They are part of the Slow Food Group, which means they work to preserve and share local foods as part of a movement that offers an alternative to the industrialized food system.
For dinner, we visited another Slow Food-aligned restaurant located near the zócalo of Puebla called El Mural de los Poblanos. Our meal started out with a complimentary tasting from the chef which included a blue corn tortilla chip lightly spread with guacamole and finished with a salad of nopales (cactus), tomato, onion, and fresh cheese.
For dinner, I ordered a dish called Chanclas (flip flops). These mini sandwich filled with pork and longaniza (spicy sausage), avocado, and lettuce were bathed in a chile sauce made with guajillo and ancho chiles.
Daniela ordered this impressive enchilada dish topped with three salsas of her choice. The front sauce is a pipián verde made with pumpkin seeds, tomatillos, green chiles, herbs and spices. The second sauce is an adobo made with dried chiles and spices. The third sauce is the classic mole poblano made with dried chiles, chocolate, nuts, and spices.
However, the real showstopper of this meal was dessert. There was an unspoken understanding between Daniela and me that the Regalo de Quetzacoatl (Quetzacoatl’s gift) was THE dessert we wanted to try.
This warm chocolate cake was baked right before it was brought out to us and came accompanied by a vanilla bean ice cream using vanilla from Papantla. When I went to put my spoon into the cake, it broke open and this pool of liquid chocolate flowed out.
This dessert was PURE HEAVEN. It is by far one of the most memorable foods I have eaten on this trip. It showcased Oaxacan chocolate in the most sophisticated way. The liquid chocolate was buttery, sweet, rich, and full. I can see myself spending hours in the kitchen once I return trying to recreate this beauty.
Although we have been cooking a ton this trip, I have to admit that I can’t wait to be back in my own kitchen so that I can experiment with new ideas, textures, and flavors.