A long walk on a blazing hot summer day turned up some nice architectural surprises.
I arrived in downtown Hermosillo in the evening, and the hotel staff weren’t very helpful when it came to restaurant recommendations. I struck out on my own in a nice residential area, and found a lovely park, one of many in Hermosillo, where the local families were eating. I reluctantly passed up a popular hotdog stand in favor of tacos at Taquería Michel.
Every place has its own versions of this popular dish. It’s always spicy marinated pork cooked like shawerma on a vertical grill, often with a piece of pineapple on top. But the variations go from there. At Taquería Michel, the tasty meat was sliced generously onto thick tortillas, and I even got slices of the warm, juicy pineapple. There was a self-service bar with a wide range of embellishments, but I try to stay away from unpeeled vegetables like tomato and lettuce when I’m traveling, so I just went for a couple of dollops of hot chile salsa. The spicy flavors, washed down with an orange Fanta soft drink were a perfect light meal on a hot night.
I was tired when I arrived in Culiacán. It had been a 12 hour bus ride from Hermosillo, and I wanted to stay in a nice hotel. I looked at various websites, and saw that Hotel Executivo was exactly where I wanted to be, within an easy walk to the Cathedral, and had very good ratings from previous guests. It was a little more expensive than my budget allowed, but I thought it would be worth it.
From the moment I set foot in the lobby, I felt at home. The front desk manager was pleasant and helpful, and even gave me a rate that was close to the internet prices I had seen. My room was attractive, the air conditioning set in a comfortable place, and I even had a nice view. The bed was comfortable, I had lots of cable TV choices, and there weren’t even any strange echoes in the hallway.
I had a wonderful breakfast the next morning. There was a wide range of choices, and the hostess even went out of her way to be sure I was putting the right things on my chilaquiles.
There’s no question that I will stay here again the next time I’m in Culiacán.
Here’s the website: http://www.executivo.com.mx/executivo.com.mx/ES_Portada.aspx
I developed a taste for Dairy Queen when I lived in Omaha, Nebraska, and have been disappointed that they are not widely represented in Los Angeles.
I was thrilled to find a Dairy Queen on a recent trip to Hermosillo. It was a blazing hot day, and it felt like an oasis in the desert. As I ordered “un Blizzard con Butterfinger, por favor” I was reminded of John Travolta’s rant in the film Pulp Fiction, as he recalls ordering “le Big Mac” at McDonald’s in Paris.
I took a long taxi ride to the beach in Tijuana to try a restaurant that Anthony Bourdain featured on his show. Guess what? Terraza Vallarta isn’t there any more. $22 in cab rides later, at least I had a nice conversation with the cab driver… It was one of the less expensive little white cabs, so I probably made his night.
On Saturday night in Hermosillo, I took another long cab ride – not as long this time – to a Sinaloa style seafood restaurant called El Charco. Before the taxi could leave, a lovely young woman raced out to tell me that they closed at 7:00 pm. I’ve come across this with other seafood places in Mexico.I ended up at La Cobacha, a huge place with an extensive menu. I had a mixture of shrimp, scallops and avocado in a sweetish red sauce called Manjar de Neptuno… Finally got my seafood fix.
After years of doing it the American way, I finally went for a real Mexican breakfast. My usual favorite place for breakfast in Mexico is VIPS, sort of a Denny’s equivalent, but there wasn’t a VIPS anywhere near where I was staying. So I went to the Mercado Municipal, where everyone else seemed to be at that time of day.
All the food stands were trying to lure me with their delicious cabeza (head), but I wasn’t ready for that. Instead, I went for the Gallo Pinto, a northwest Mexico specialty that they assured me was a highly traditional breakfast.
Gallo Pinto turned out to be a rich soup with big chunks of beef, hominy and lots of pinto beans. Sprinkled with cilantro, chopped onion and chile flakes, it was truly satisfying, and didn’t leave me sluggish, as I feared, in the brutal summer heat.
Maybe I’ll eventually break my Raisin Bran and yogurt habit.
They told me the ride would take 12 hours, but it turned out to be 13 and a half. Not a big deal.
The scenery was mostly desert, but the first couple of hours covered some remarkable arid mountain scenery. The bus drivers with the Elite bus company couldn’t have been nicer. When they saw me taking pictures, they made a special stop at a “mirador” so I could get better shots.
I just started this trip on Thursday, taking buses from Los Angeles to Tijuana, and from there to Hermosillo, and I’ve had a surprising number of invitations to eat the heads (cabezas) of various animals. The picture of the steaming skull is from my favorite taquería in Tijuana, Tacos El Gordo. The others are from the Mercado Municipal in Hermosillo. Each time I passed a food stand, they tried to lure me in for breakfast with their delicious cabeza… So far, I’ve managed to resist the temptation.