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barbandflanners

Nov 9, 2009, 11:36 AM

Post #1 of 14 (7823 views)

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Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Hello,
I am planning a move to Central America to research the phenomenon of hidden restaurants or Paladers (seen alot in Cuba)
I don't know if these exist in mexico, although I do hope they do, and would love anyone's help on guiding me to any interesting restaurants that are hidden, special, hard to find, open rarely, have a great chef, or cook or generally has a great story or history to it...

If you do have any tips or titbits to share with me, I would be so very appreciative.

Hope to hear from you.

Thanks,

E



Hound Dog

Nov 13, 2009, 4:30 PM

Post #2 of 14 (7741 views)

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Re: [barbandflanners] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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I think perhaps the reason you have received no response to your inquiry about "hidden resaturants" in Mexico is because this is not a significant local phenomenon in Mexico. I´ve lived here for almost ten years and have never heard of such a thing. Please explain your quest in more depth.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Nov 13, 2009, 4:32 PM)


mazbook1


Nov 13, 2009, 4:46 PM

Post #3 of 14 (7738 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Yes, for expats living in gringo areas, the "hidden" restaurant is not a significant thing in México. BUT if you live in the Mexican colonias/billages/barrios, etc. there are lots of them and they play a significant role in Mexican life. They may be open only certain days or certain limited hours and certainly have no alcohol license or fancy ambience, but I sure have had some good meals at different ones in different cities in México.

Finding these, or even trying to get directions to them is a whole 'nuther story. I would never be able to find even one of the many I have eaten in. Of course, in my colonia I know of a couple that are pretty good, and if we ever had more guests at the house than we could comfortably feed, I wouldn't hesitate to take them there, I'd be pretty leery at recommending them to tourists.


Hound Dog

Nov 13, 2009, 7:30 PM

Post #4 of 14 (7717 views)

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Re: [barbandflanners] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Hello,
I am planning a move to Central America to research the phenomenon of hidden restaurants or Paladers (seen alot in Cuba)
I don't know if these exist in mexico, although I do hope they do, and would love anyone's help on guiding me to any interesting restaurants that are hidden, special, hard to find, open rarely, have a great chef, or cook or generally has a great story or history to it...

If you do have any tips or titbits to share with me, I would be so very appreciative.


Well, let me give you a tip Mazbook;

Mexico is not in Central America but in North America and your faithful correspondent does not live in a "gringo" enclave but in Chiapas which has less "gringos" than Uzbekistan so get off of your high horse.

Hidden restaurants my ass. What you mean is neighborhood dumps.





(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Nov 13, 2009, 7:40 PM)


mazbook1


Nov 14, 2009, 3:34 PM

Post #5 of 14 (7679 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Dawg, If you don't live in a gringo enclave, why did you say you lived in Ajijic in the thread on writing addresses? It sounds to me as if you are someone that is "severely stressed" at living in a purely Mexican area, so you are always ready with some angry, anti-México response. Have you advised your neighbors that they shouldn't eat at those local "neighborhood dumps"? If you have, what was their response? I bet it wasn't an abrazo and a "De acuerdo, gringo."

Sorry, I would much rather eat in a neighbor's courtyard/patio/or even the sidewalk in front of their house, rather than pay double for the same dish poorly prepared at some commercial restaurant with some false ambience, questionable hygiene, lousy service and who knows who actually doing the cooking. At least at the neighbor's house, I know that either the abuela or the mamacita has prepared the dish and fed it to their family without any fear. I got over being afraid of living in/visiting México in 1951, when did you first become acquainted with the country? Oh, and I have NEVER lived in or stayed in a gringo enclave in México. For me, it was "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." from the very beginning of my love affair with México.

Oh, and I drink the local municipal water too and have never had any bad effects! And no, I don't gobble vermifuges every six months.

So what if the OP puts México into Central America? Except for Panama, all those little countries were originally part of México and their cultures are still closer to that of México than México's is to the culture of gringolandia. Actually, Chiapas WAS one of those "Central American" countries until it decided to re-attach itself to México. Where North America ends and Central America starts is one of those questions that can never be answered, just like where does Europe end and Asia begin. In both cases they are part of the same continental landmass, so ANY answer is purely subjective.


Hound Dog

Nov 16, 2009, 12:34 PM

Post #6 of 14 (7627 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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So what if the OP puts México into Central America? Except for Panama, all those little countries were originally part of México and their cultures are still closer to that of México than México's is to the culture of gringolandia. Actually, Chiapas WAS one of those "Central American" countries until it decided to re-attach itself to México. Where North America ends and Central America starts is one of those questions that can never be answered, just like where does Europe end and Asia begin. In both cases they are part of the same continental landmass, so ANY answer is purely subjective.

Actually, Mazbook, Chiapas was a part of the Central American Republic AKA "Guatemala" which was founded in 1524 and included all of Central America to the Panamanian Peninsula which was originally, under Spanish rule, a part of Colombia until the imperialist U.S. stole the peninsula from Colombia in order to build the Panama Canal. This was a separate provincial colonial enclave from Mexico. Chiapas and what was the independent province of Soconusco were all a part of "Guatemala" until after Mexican independence when the small group of right wing and murderous landowners enslaving the indigenous people of Chiapas voted to join the new Mexican federation. The reason Chiapas/Soconusco is a part of Mexico today instead of Guatemala is because the owners of the vast landholdings enslaving the indigenous who worked endlessly to protect their privileges under penalty of death, voted to join the Mexican Republic in order to protect those holdings in what they considered to be a more stable political structure.

Now, as to the subjective nature of continental dividing lines, while our home in Chiapas is in North America it is south of parts of Central American and, furthermore, the northern part of the southern state of Yucatan is north of Guadalajara. So?


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Nov 16, 2009, 2:02 PM)


TlxcalaClaudia

Nov 21, 2009, 12:21 PM

Post #7 of 14 (7509 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Mazbrook -
Would this (hidden restaurant) be the same as a fonda? Trying to think of other names.

Claudia


esperanza

Nov 21, 2009, 3:29 PM

Post #8 of 14 (7498 views)

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Re: [TlxcalaClaudia] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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The Cuban "hidden" restaurants are called paladares (paladar, if you're talking about just one).

I've never seen a "hidden" fonda in Mexico. A fonda is just a small restaurant, a local in a market that's a restaurant, etc.

Occasionally a family here in Mexico opens a room in their home, usually in the evening, and the lady of the house informally serves her special dish or a couple of dishes to regular customers. In addition, women often dish up pozole, menudo, atole, ponche, champurrado, tamales, atole de grano (a Michoacán specialty), and any number of other delicacies, but this normally happens on the sidewalk outside their homes and most often para llevar--as takeout--and usually at night. You bring your TUPPER and buy a couple of liters of pozole, a dozen tamales, or a liter of atole to take home to drink with fresh pan dulce from the bakery.

I am not aware of restaurants here in Mexico that compare to Cuban paladares.

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mazbook1


Nov 21, 2009, 11:32 PM

Post #9 of 14 (7479 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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I don't have any experience with the "hidden restaurants" of Cuba, but the little I've read would make it seem that they are somewhat different than the little non-advertised ones I'm familiar with in México.

esperanza, in my experience here what you say is pretty close to true, but I think if you don't have a Mexican family as I do you don't see the whole picture. There are more than you think of the folks in the neighborhoods who don't just open one room in their house where the ama de casa serves her specialty, but many that have nearly full-blown restaurants in their courtyards inside. These places have absolutely NO advertising, not even the ubitquitous A frame sign sitting out on the sidewalk. One of the best desayunos I've ever had in México was at a home like this in D.F. where the in-laws took us to breakfast. And one of the better cenas I've had was in the courtyard of a private home in Tecuala, Nayarit where other in-laws took us out for cena.

And I've been here long enough now that I've even seen some grow up. A lady in Mazatlán used to (early 1990s) serve pozole out of her front door, but you had to bring your own container. Her pozole was so good that she made some money off it and pretty soon she had a couple or three tables out in the parking spot in front and was serving not only her famous pozole, but a chicken dish, a beef dish and hamburgers for the kids. Quality was so good you still usually had to do the take-out deal, as the tables were full with a waiting line. That made her enough money that she remodeled the front room of her house and made a small sit-down restaurant out of it. Still no sign out front or any kind of advertisment. That was so popular that she tore out the wall between the front room and the one next to it and enlarged the restaurant and even put tables in the courtyard that was now accessible. Finally, she put a nice little sign to identify her place over her front door and now serves not only pozole, but a complete cenaduría menu and if you come after 10:00 PM you will probably have to wait for a table or share with someone else. Quite a success story. So much so that due to requests she now opens at 11:00 AM for comida corrida, then serves a full menu comida from about 1 PM until 6 PM (her original pozole opening hour) and then serves the full cena menu until at least midnightl, but about half are still ordering the pozole that made her "famous". Thankfully, few tourists know about it, so it's never overrun with gringos. And she achieved all this without a liquor license! If you want something besides agua, refrescos or aguas, it's a bring your own deal. Her advertising is still just word-of-mouth and the little sign over the door, and NO, I won't tell you where it is!


sioux4noff

Nov 22, 2009, 7:57 PM

Post #10 of 14 (7441 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Quote
NO, I won't tell you where it is!

I guess I never have understood this philosophy. The place didn't grow like it did by nobody teling anyone else where it is.


Anonimo

Nov 28, 2009, 5:57 AM

Post #11 of 14 (7365 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Sioux; maybe it's because if I tell the OP about the ones I know, they won't be hidden any more.

Discovery is a large part of the pleasure of going to those hidden restaurants. When they are listed in a guidebook, much of the point is missed.

"En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas."

Saludos,
Anonimo


sioux4noff

Nov 28, 2009, 6:18 AM

Post #12 of 14 (7359 views)

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Re: [Anonimo] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Obviously the one Mazbook is speaking of is no longer hidden.
I've heard people say they had this really cute little place they go, but didn't want to share with anyone. Then the place goes out of business, and they wonder why. I realize that some little hidden places get "discovered" and change, so there is merit to both sides of the discussion.
The hidden places I know, I would tell certain folks, and the others, I would just say, we'll have to go there some day.


Ustlach


Dec 4, 2009, 8:30 AM

Post #13 of 14 (7245 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Aren't these little informal, family-run places in Mexico called "cenadurias?"

There are a lot of cenadurias here in Sonora. We really depend on them in places like Alamos and other small Sonoran towns.


esperanza

Dec 4, 2009, 3:27 PM

Post #14 of 14 (7222 views)

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Re: [Ustlach] Hidden Restaurants - on the hunt

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Not necessarily, Ustlach. A cenaduría is a little more formal business--more like a fonda, but the cenaduría is only open for supper, usually from 7PM till the food runs out.

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