Girls on Food

Mexico

GOF Interview With La Feria de los Moles Co-Founder Lourdes Juarez

On Saturday, October 7th 2018, the 11th annual La Feria de los Moles will commence at Grand Park in DTLA. This free event is an LA classic celebrating all things mole, offering live music and mole preparation workshops. Favorite local vendors including Rinconcito Poblano, Carniceria La Flama and Zapotec Cafe will be selling their dishes starting at $10 per plate. One new addition for fans of this event is a “Passage Through the Eras of Mole” an exhibit that will detail the development of mole ingredients during “pre-Hispanic” era and the creation of mole and it’s evolution into specific dishes based on environmental region during “post conquest” era.

La Feria de los Moles Co-founder Lourdes Juarez, who grew up in South Central LA, has a serious excitement for sharing this iconic Oaxacan dish with others. Growing up, Lourdes and learned how to make Mole Poblano, Green and Red Pepian from her mother and these experiences awoken that passion in her. I recently spoke with Lourdes about this event and her mole endeavors- check out my interview with her below!

Lourdes Juarez

GOF: Do you have a standard mole recipe that you always cook for events or do you like to mix it up? LJ: My Mole recipe is fairly standard now, but it must have been more unique before. I feel this way because I recall my mother saying “if your grandmother was alive, oh no, I would be in trouble.” See the thing is that it is very hard to get Ingredients common to Mexico. It is often one or two ingredients, a small variation, that becomes the essence of each family’s recipe.

GOF: How did you start up La Feria de los Moles?
LJ: My husband (co-founder Pedro Ramos) one day said “I want to honor my grand-mother.” Of course she too had a special Mole recipe and I recall that moment because he tells me he saw my face shine like a light bulb in my head was shining through my eyes and skin. The dots all connected with memories of his mother’s Mole, and of course with my parents each coming from Oaxaca and Puebla would tease each other about growing up with the best Mole. The difficulty at first was getting the Moles and the chefs to come from those Mexican states. It was kind of hard to find it on menus here. Now everyone from the smallest to the grandest restaurants have Mole on the menu. If Angelenos still can’t find a Mole they love, they should make plans each year to taste different Moles at La Feria de Los Moles.

GOF: Can you tell me about the process of getting Mole sauce it’s own national holiday in Mexico?
LJ: Oh my gosh. First we had to submit an official request. Then we wait for majority approval. It is a long extensive writing process. It’s like submitting a scientific study on Mole with research and findings, etc. Its very difficult but not impossible, we are indeed excited.

GOF: Can you tell me your top 3 spots for Mole dishes in LA?
LJ: Sorry, but no, not really. That’s just too difficult a question for me because some places just use about 6 ingredients in their Mole while others are far more extravagant with over 40 ingredients and I completely appreciate any and all Moles. If someone loves, cares, and respects the history of Mexican cuisine enough to place Mole on the menu I’m going to be a fan. So I’m just going to take the easy way out of that question and say come down to La Feria de los Moles and find your own favorite.

GOF: Have you ever tried to add something different to Mole, and did that work out?
LJ: Yes, I have always been very interested in exploring and experimenting with different ingredient options. One day I tried honey instead of homemade chocolate, and my mother stop talking to me for over two months! In my family that’s like an eternity and every family member knew I must have done something horrible and when they found out what I did they agreed with my punishment. My lesson learned was go ahead and experiment around the edges, but never mess with the core of our Mole recipe!

GOF: What does mole represent to you?
LJ: Mole represents my roots. The flavor always takes me back to my childhood, which goes back four generations. In my opinion Mole is the epitome of family. Mole brings families together, large and small. When Mole is being served everyone comes over. The table is full, everyone is happy, it’s just the best.

For more information on La Feria de los Moles, click here.

A Taste of Napa at The One and Only Palmilla Resort in San José del Cabo

The One and Only Palmilla resort in San José del Cabo, located in the southernmost tip of Mexico on the Baja Peninsula, is as close to paradise as you can get. This exclusive ocean side resort provides butler service, immaculate and lush resort grounds and ocean views so stunning that during the winter months you can see whales and dolphins from the comfort of your room! It’s so exclusive that it’s not abnormal to find yourself in the company of celebrities and boasts two restaurants by Michelin rated-chef Jean George Vongerichten and a third by Chef Larbi Darouch who apprenticed with the legendary French chef Jean-Louis Palladin beginning at age 13. The only thing that would make this experience even better would be to bring in a three Michelin star-rated chef from Napa for a pop-up dinner.

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A Mexico City Classic: San Ángel Inn

Since 1325, Mexico City has been a marvelous place full of so many surprises. One of the delightful sites are the hacienda like restaurants, right in the middle of this crazy busy metropolis.

One that has been around for a couple centuries is the forever classic San Ángel Inn. Located in the beautiful and traditional neighborhood of San Angel this restaurant not only allows one to believe you’re away from a big city but also delights with its delicious food, perfect service, mesmerizing decor and beautiful music.

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Meatless Monday at El Amerikano in Fullerton, CA

Being a non-meat eater I’m a huge fan of “Meatless Monday” becoming a thing. Mainly because I feel its raising awareness about the awesome dishes possible without having a formerly living creature in the recipe (tehehehehe). On a given Monday it’s always super exciting to see all the different recipes and dishes being showcased in the interwebs! Jackfruit tacos, DIY chickpea veggie patties, tofu nuggets – oh my! Little by little the rest of the world is being exposed to the lavish lifestyle non meat eating tastebuds are subjected to. 

Usually others will ask “OMG how can you live without meat? It’s so delicious blah blah blah.” The answer is now becoming clearer to them. I’ll be showcasing some of my fave dishes from a local gem of mine you can make your new Meatless Monday go to’s. 

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Cristina’s Mayan Riviera Tour

Last month my boyfriend and I went on a tour of the Mayan Riviera. We flew to Cancun, rented a car and explored as much as possible in one week. We visited Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Xel-Ha, Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza and Valladolid. We even managed to squeeze in one night in Bacalar enjoying one of the most beautiful lakes in the world: La Laguna de Siete Colores. We explored many cenotes, attended Cirque du Soleil and went scuba diving where we discovered a couple of turtles.

The love of this part of the world has drawn many people to leave everything behind and open shop in Mexico. You will find numerous diverse and delicious restaurants. Even smaller towns like Puerto Morelos where we dined on delicious guacamole and ceviche on the beautiful beach of Playa Moroma.

One of the first places that really caught my attention was Mar-Bella Fishmarket. The entrance looks like a 7-Eleven, not kidding. As you climb up a tiny, metal stairs you find yourself in a spacious, wooden restaurant with an amazing view. In the market you can choose from fresh fish, lobster, shrimp…whatever you’re in the mood for. They will prepare and cook to your specifications. Quite magical! One tip: make friends with your waiter; he will be a lifesaver as you navigate the market.

Marbella Fishmarket
Carretera Cancun Puerto Juarez,
Sam km 2
Cancun, Quintana Roo

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Thai-Mexican Fine Dining in Acapulco: Zibú

In the middle of one of the most dangerous roads in Acapulco sits one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to Zibú, Thai-Mexican fine cuisine with the most beautiful Caribbean like atmosphere. The mesmerizing views of Acapulco Bay, fantastic service, and delicious food makes going to this place a memorable experience that you’ll want to repeat as much as possible. I’ve been quite a few times myself and even spent New Year’s Eve that at an awesome party. 

Zibú
Avenida Escenica S/N, Fraccionamiento Glomar, Pichilingue, 39887, Acapulco, Guerrero

This last time I went for a romantic date with bae. He had never been before, so I took him by the hand and guided him through the most delicious dishes of Zibú. The entrance of the restaurant is hard to find because the only thing you see, even more so if you go at night, are a few steps, the sign of the restaurant, and the valet. As you take a few steps down, you meet with the hostess under a beautiful palapa, right next to a rustic bonfire. I would suggest making a reservation, they are on Open Table, and they tend to book quickly, they also host events as well, so sometimes half of the restaurant is unavailable. For instance, the time I went, there was a wedding reception. But as a customer, you would never know, the only reason I knew was that my sister was a part of the wedding. As I said before the restaurant has different sections and private rooms that the regular customer would never be aware, once I saw one of their smaller rooms filled with roses and candles for a proposal once, so special.

Anyway back to me! As I was trying to show my boyfriend the best of the best we had quite the big dinner. We started with the amazingly delicious Camarones Sol y Sombra (Sun and Shadow Shrimp), it consists of six grilled shrimp placed on top of a mirror of mango sauce, the sun, and tamarind sauce, the shadow. It was not only delicious but amusing. As you can tell from the picture, it comes with veggies, mashed potatoes, and rice which is mostly carbs and neutral flavored so that they absorb the sauce to give the protein a beautiful complement. It can be sweet or sour or mix both sauces and get the best of both worlds. It’s a very well rounded dish, just delicious.

Camarones Sol y Sombra
Arroz Oriental
We then ordered Arroz Oriental and the Chicken Pad Thai. The rice has a colorful seasoning, ginger butter, and Thai red pepper, also a variety of seafood: shrimp, octopus, calamari, and lobster. If you like paella this is an interesting twist. It was delicious. Next up the chicken pad Thai, personally I love the texture of noodles and these were just perfect, the flavors of this dish were less bitter and more sweet with a hint of spice. Honestly, the food and the service were so good that we were planning on when our next visit should be.
Chicken Pad Thai 
Selva Mextai
As full as we were we could not miss dessert, this is one of those places that you can’t leave with out trying to fill your body with the biggest amount of food you’re capable. After a few minutes, we both agreed on getting the Selva Mextai. The description of the dish leaves out an ingredient on purpose, and even if you ask the waiter what it is, he won’t tell you, he will tell you though that you’ll have to guess after you try it. It was fun, we have no allergies, and we were curious, so we got it without fully knowing what to expect, and I’m glad we did. The coconut ice cream was fantastic, buttery and tasted just like an iced coconut. It did not have a hint of artificial flavors, and the dulce de leche made up for a great companion to eat. The mystery fried vegetable surrounding our dessert, well I can’t tell you, you’ll have to guess once you’re there!

Comida como debe de ser! Angelopolitano and Nómada Heladería

One of the most iconic neighborhoods in Mexico City is La Condesa-Roma, which used to be a hacienda during colonialism but in the 20th century started to change along with the fracture of the hacienda and the expansion of the city. Its narrow streets are filled with small businesses and a combination of tourists, hipsters that live in the area, and the old timers, which combine to make this area of the city feel vibrant, fun, diverse, and forever changing.

You can now find libraries, art galleries, bars, nightclubs, antique stores, offices, and of course, hundreds of restaurants. Mexican, Italian, German, ice cream shops, vegan, French, Japanese, Chinese, American, Spanish, bakeries… that’s just a few examples of the cuisine you’ll find here! They’re also almost always great and no chains. The owners might be in the restaurant, and a lot of them like to get creative with their business. You can find amazing experiences in this area.

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AltaMed East LA Meets Napa & La Rioja + OC Meets Napa & Mexico

After much debate and consideration I was able to narrow down the awesome (pescatarian friendly) bites and beverages from AltaMed’s East LA Meets Napa & La Rioja as well as OC Meets Napa & Mexico. The events were incredible fundraisers with proceeds supporting health care for uninsured patients (from AltaMed). I couldn’t believe how huge the event was and was happily jumping from one table to the next in my attempts to try everything.

My Favorite Food Picks!

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M Cocina Creativa: A Mexican-Vietnamese Birthday Dinner in Guadalajara

Last weekend I went to Guadalajara, one of the biggest cities in Mexico. Filled with culture amazing food and lots of tequila, this city is a true Mexican gem. Tequila region is just an hour away from there and you can actually ride a tequila train that leaves from Guadalajara. A cousin of mine lives there and since he knows I’m a food blogger he picked a special restaurant so that I had the chance to blog about his city, he took me to M Cocina Creativa, which means “creative kitchen”. This restaurant totally justifies its name. It’s a Mexican-Vietnamese fusion restaurant that implements ingredients you wouldn’t normally see in a menu in Mexico, like pork stuffed squid (which were delicious).

M Cocina Creativa
Av. Aurelio Ortega No. 611, Seattle, 45150 Zapopan, Jal., Mexico
http://www.mcocinacreativa.com/

Another thing that makes the place unique is the really big two story indoor patio with a rustic feel, a fountain made out of half a tree, really tall ceilings and filled with plants. It’s not only relaxing and romantic but it really makes you forget you’re in the city.

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Restaurante Esmeralda in Acapulco

Acapulco located only three and a half hours from Mexico City is one of the biggest destinations for “chilangos” (people who are from Mexico City) and also for international travelers. Back in the 1950’s, Acapulco was huge for Hollywood elite, even Frank Sinatra included it in his famous single “Fly Me to the Moon.” Other notable characteristics of this charming city are the views of the bay:  “La Quebrada,” a tall cliff where divers throw themselves into the sea (with the only protection of their knowledge of the tides) and over three hundred days of sun and warm ocean. The average temperature is between 78 and 89 degrees throughout the whole year.

Acapulco has many different ways to entertain its visitors including; the longest zip line above the sea opened earlier this year, chic nightclubs, delicious restaurants, bungee jumping, fishing, all of the water sports one can think of and so much more.

Restaurante Esmeralda

One of these water sports is what brought me to Restaurante Esmeralda. After water-skiing we were famished so our captain took us here where we got to eat the most amazing “Pescado a la Talla”, enjoy beautiful views of the lagoon and the ocean, relax in hammocks and look at the amazing nature all around the island, including a baby alligator.

Restaurante Esmeralda
Pie de la Cuesta, 40981 Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

This restaurant is located on Montosa de Cocuya Island it is close to where Cocuya lagoon and the South Pacific Ocean meet. (a 40-minute boat ride to get there from where we were water-skiing) There’s a legend revolving around this island and the ones next to it; people say there was a man here once that had a hundred wives and they all lived there together. The rumor is all the local women here, that serve and prepare the food at Restaurante Esmeralda, are his descendants or ex-wives.

So this island belongs to the staff of Restaurante Esmeralda. 

 

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Biwon Restaurante Coreano Brings Korean BBQ to Mexico City

Korean food in Mexico City is not that easy to get. After living in Los Angeles for almost three years and having Korean food only fifteen minutes away from me it was harsh to accept my new reality: no Korean food. Heartbroken is an understatement for the way I felt about this. 

One day as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I found out there’s a small Korean town close to Downtown Mexico City. It consists on a couple blocks right next to El Angel de la Independencia, Mexico City’s icon. 

As soon as I got this news of a K-Town in Mexico City, I called my boyfriend (who was also heartbroken because he fell in love with Korean food while visiting me in L.A.) and on we went for some Korean barbecue.  

Biwon Restaurante Coreano was our choice. If you’re walking down Florencia Street you could totally miss it. It’s a small entrance, so tall people, be prepared to duck down in order to get in. This old-fashioned restaurant is situated upstairs and it was packed at the moment we arrived. No hostess just a couple of waiters running fast and furious to accommodate hungry patrons. 

Biwon Restaurante Coreano
Florenica 20, Juàrez, 06600 Cuidad de Mexico, CDMX, Mexico

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Brunching With Best Friends at D’kírico in San Ángel

San Ángel is a colonial neighborhood in Mexico City with lots of tradition, its cobbled stone streets and colorful facades take you back in time. But on the inside things are entirely different, restaurants and shops occupy the place of what once was bedrooms of the richest people in Mexico City. One of these restaurants is D’kírico. 

D’kírico
Plaza Grand San Ángel
Calle de la Amargura #17, Álvaro Obregón San Ángel, 01000, Ciudad de México, CDMX
http://www.dkirico.com

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