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Moisheh

Oct 11, 2005, 7:18 AM

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hard to get favorite foods

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I am posting this in the general forum as there is not too much traffic in the Kitchen forum. Here in Sonora, even though we are only 300 miles from Tucson, some foodstuffs are hard to get. Por ejemplo: cooked or uncooked roast beef. Sonora is the Texas of Mexico but the beef is horrible. Carne asada is basically shoe leather that is chopped into small pieces so you can chew the gristle. I have seen the ads in Lakeside for all kinds of foods which we cannot get. What foods would you die for? My list would include: Corned beef, rye bread, good bagels, any bread made with flour that is not so soft that it needs extra sugar and yeast to make it rise, dill pickles,good luncheon meats (carnes frias) a real German sausage maker would die from shock if he saw what goes into the cold cuts.Sharp cheddar cheese, baby back ribs, good cookies, cinammon rolls. Of course there are some food items in Mexico that we miss when we are "on the other side": Whole wheat bolillos, Hot aneheim chilis, small limes, smoked pork chops (traif),cheese whiz with Jalapenos, Mexican ketchup. What foods do you miss? What great foods have you found in some out of the way mercado?



jennifer rose

Oct 11, 2005, 7:51 AM

Post #2 of 24 (4487 views)

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Re: [Moisheh] hard to get favorite foods

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At Costco in Morelia, pastrami, sharp cheddar cheese and rye bread are available. The same, along with corned beef, can usually be had at Trico, part of a chain of gourmet stores in central Mexico. Bagels? I've given up on trying to find good ones around here, so I settle for pita, which is always available at Costco and at a health food store across the street from INAMI in Morelia. Costco and Walmart always have good beef, and at Comercial Mega is Sterling, a premium variety of beef in American cuts. Jasmine rice is now available at Walmart, and a few weeks ago Comercial Mega had about six kinds of arborio.

I can remember the days of bringing down vast quantities of unavailable foods, taking orders from friends who lived here as well as replenishing my own larder -- and I am astounded at the variety of foodstuffs now available in Mexico. The longer I live here, the less importance I attach to foods from El Otro Lado. On last week's trip to the US, the only foods I brought home were some Indian spice mixes and some Chinese tea.

I guess I'll have to say that the only foods I really miss are Indian and pickles. On occasion, pickles have been available at Trico, bottled in Colima.


jerezano

Oct 11, 2005, 8:26 AM

Post #3 of 24 (4474 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] hard to get favorite foods

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Hello all,

Cheese Whiz with jalepeño is becoming available even in the smallest villages, it seems to me. As Jennifer points out, it is amazing what the TLC has done to the foodstuffs in Mexico. Pepinos agrios (tart pickles are also becoming available as are Smuckers jams, jellies, and marmelades. (Gone are the days of 25 different brands of Strawbery (Fresa) jam.

At the outer limits we still can never find Dill pickles, Kosher Dill pickles, nor Kim Chee, so on periodic trips to Texas those foods are always bought.

Walmart now usually has both a terrible English Muffin and passable Bagels. Both are in the frozen foods department, with occasionaly fresh Bagels in the Bakery. But then, in Sonora where you are maybe you don't have a Walmart or Costco.

My favorite breakfast is Eggs Benedict made with real canadian bacon and and a delicious English Mujffin. Forget it!

Culture schock? Sure, even after 18 years.

Adios. jerezano.


Chumley

Oct 11, 2005, 8:44 AM

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Re: [jerezano] hard to get favorite foods

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All the items you deeply miss--dill pickles, kosher dill pickles, Kim chee, bagels--are readily available in San Miguel. My favorite import stores has added other wonderful items such as Bush's (not that Bush) baked beans in a variety of flavors, Velveeta, my personal favorite gourmet cheese, White Castle frozen burgers. Bar-B-Que Bob's makes wonderful Canadian bacon, Italian beef, chopped brisket. A local gringo is now marketing ice cream that makes Hagen Das taste cheap, although of course it is not. Two local chocolateers are turning out wonderful candies. We can get Dunkin' Dounuts and very good Eggs Benedict. So I guess while others deride SMA, we are living high on the hog.


Ed and Fran

Oct 11, 2005, 9:07 AM

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Re: [Moisheh] hard to get favorite foods

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What foods would you die for?


Nothing, really. I've been down here long enough to have become accustomed to eating what I can get locally, having given up long ago recalling fond memories of some foods I used to like.

Living out in the Lesser Provinces, most of those items that you guys talk about being able to get in Guadalajara/Lake Chapala, Morelia, San Miguel, Mexico City, or any decent sized city, aren't even on the radar screen here.

If we make a trip to the big city (Tampico), or go NOB, sure we bring back some items. But if I never made another trip out, life (and mealtime) would just go on like usual. Sure, it would be great to have access to a lot of that stuff (and who knows, some of it may actually show up here someday) but I suppose it makes life simpler for me to just let go.


Regards

Ed


esperanza

Oct 11, 2005, 9:56 AM

Post #6 of 24 (4449 views)

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Re: [Moisheh] hard to get favorite foods

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This is a great topic, Moisheh, and I appreciate it's being moved over here to the Mexican Kitchen. The more good posts like yours that we have here in the Kitchen, the more folks will come visit us around the table.

I miss great Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cooking. Although we have a lot of Chinese restaurants in Guadalajara, none is what I'd consider to be high on my list of where to eat. I'm able to buy some Asian spices and other ingredients here in the city, so home cooking is always an option. Many, however, are just a dim memory.

The trade-offs, however, make the dearth of Asian restaurant food more than bearable. Where in the States would I find the only-in-Mexico comestibles that give life here so much flavor? The short list:
  • the panoply of antojitos: tacos, tamales, tostadas, gorditas, sopes, etc.
  • certain drinks: tejuino, pulque, aguamiel, tepache, aguas frescas
  • tortillas hot off the comal
  • the freshest fruits and vegetables at unbeatable prices
  • bread, glorious bread: pan dulce in its 2000 forms, bolillo, baguette, telera
  • comida típica: birria, pozole, guisados of every description, cocido, caldo de pollo, churipo

As you said, when I'm there, I miss here. Since I'm almost always here, I rarely give there a second thought.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Anonimo

Oct 11, 2005, 11:06 AM

Post #7 of 24 (4439 views)

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Re: [Moisheh] hard to get favorite foods

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Corned beef, pastrami and rye bread I can see. But Cheez Whiz? Feh!
We have had decent carne asada in Chihuahua and elsewhere.
Flour? I bought a few kilos of both white and whole wheat bread flour from Panadería Rivepan in Pátzcuaro, and have already made 3 batches of bread en casa, in our first week here.http://www.pbase.com/panos/image/50262955 (Examples)
Sharp cheddar cheese; yes, I crave it. Cinnamon rolls and cookies I can make if I want them.

Speaking of ketchup, that which I crave most is a plump, juicy hamburger, freshly made without filler, served with a side of golden brown French Fries.
(But I prefer pickle, mustard and onion on my burgers.)

Say! I own a meat grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid Mixer!

"En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas."

Saludos,
Anonimo


Gringal

Oct 11, 2005, 12:07 PM

Post #8 of 24 (4425 views)

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Re: [Chumley] hard to get favorite foods

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I've had a deprived existence. Never had a White Castle Burger. Please let me live fully by telling me where you get them in SMA? By the way, the pickles at Barbeque Bob's are excellent. The Maple Leaf Bakery has (almost) great bagels, though only on Fridays. They also have real sourdough French bread. Love the Sensual Chocolates, especially the dark on dark.


Rolly


Oct 11, 2005, 1:55 PM

Post #9 of 24 (4412 views)

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Re: [Moisheh] hard to get favorite foods

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I really like Subway shop things. I found one across the river in Torreón, but it's a 45 minute drive, no place to park, then up a flight of stairs (which my knees no longer allow), and very expensive. Also haven't found a good sushi bar. And no pit BBQ.

But Doña Martha made pollo mole for lunch today, so who cares about the other stuff.

Rolly Pirate


Moisheh

Oct 11, 2005, 2:58 PM

Post #10 of 24 (4399 views)

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Re: [Rolly] hard to get favorite foods

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It is obvious that Costco and even Wal mart stock their stores differently in the gringo populated parts of the pais. Yes they carry bagels that are terrible. Sometimes thy have the pastrami. Corned beef, never. The fancy breads do not exist in Sonora. I have been to every bakery in Hermosillo. The Sonoran palate is quite unlike the rest of the country. Gourmet would be canned rather than day old beans! I envy those of you who have access to the fancy items. My reference to Cheese Whiz was to the small Mexican jars with Jalapeno. Try some! The post about 25 varieties of Fresa jam made me laugh. How true. I do bake my own bread some times but have to use American (or even better Canadian) flour. The Mexican stuff is for tortillas. Almost imposible to get it to rise. I know that further south the bakers do have good flour. There is a bakery in Patzcuaro that has whole wheat buns that are awesome and cost nothing.


Bubba

Oct 11, 2005, 3:21 PM

Post #11 of 24 (4392 views)

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Re: [Rolly] hard to get favorite foods

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Well, you guys make me feel lucky to live in Ajijic and the greater Guadalajara area. There are virtually no grocery items mentioned by any of you that are not available here some place and of generally very good quality. Esperanza is right about the mediocrity of Asian food in general around here but I have found that many of the Mexican food items she mentioned are available in metropolitan areas in California in abundance and are often of superior quality to the same items found in Mexico. I challenge anyone to show me that the abundance and quality of Latin American (not just Mexican) and Caribbean food items available in such places as the Mission District of San Francisco or East L.A. or dozens of other places in California can be equalled in any regional market place in Mexico. And when I get tired of Latin American grocery items when I'm in urban California , I can switch to purveyors of the foods of China, Thailand, Iran, Lebanon the Middle East, East India, Korea, Italy Germany, Morocco and on and on.

I might also add that the quality of fresh produce,meats and fowl is so superior in specialty supermarkets in major urban centers in the U.S. to any place in Mexico that any comparison is ludicrous. And, when they say "organic", they mean "organic". The last time I was in San Antonio and went into a Whole Foods market, the displays of fresh produce and outstanding inventories of specialty food products and well aged and beautifully marbled beef was enough to make me want to cry.

Of course, I never go back to California and rarely to the United States in general for that matter and I have no intention of doing so so skip the suggestions. I plan to stay here and remind you all that everything is a trade off.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Oct 11, 2005, 3:29 PM)


Gringal

Oct 11, 2005, 3:35 PM

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Re: [Bubba] hard to get favorite foods

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Turkey! You just made me homesick.

However: If you make the comparison on a more basic level, leaving the organic and specialty stores out of it, a dozen Bachuco eggs at the local super in Mexico are a lot tastier than their counterpart at Safeway in CA. And, they're cheaper, but that's a whole 'nother topic.


jerezano

Oct 11, 2005, 6:28 PM

Post #13 of 24 (4366 views)

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Re: [Chumley] hard to get favorite foods

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Hello Chumley,

Yes, SMA is a wonderful town to visit but not all of us can affort $300,000 US dollar and up housing.

Enjoy. Adios. jerezano.


Cynthia7

Oct 11, 2005, 8:31 PM

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Re: [Chumley] hard to get favorite foods

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The new Soriana at Delores Hidalgo has a Blue Bell Ice Cream kiosk..Blue Bell ice cream is a Texas Hagen Das..Mexico grows soft wheat which is good for pie crust, cakes, cookies but not real bread like NOB folk are used to. Lots of corn masa but no corn meal. We now can get NOB peanut butter but so far -only smooth-no crunchy in SMA. We get good beef at Sazon but it is frozen..A 6 lb. chuck roast is hard to find..


Anonimo

Oct 12, 2005, 3:49 AM

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Re: [Moisheh] hard to get favorite foods

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Moisheh, do you recall the name of the bakery in Pátzcuaro that makes whole wheat buns? We have been to El Lucero, on Calle La Paz, just downhill from la Basilica, they specialize in elaborate forms of pan dulce. http://www.pbase.com/panos/image/50282017, and Rivepan, on a street whose name I don't know, but it runs from near the back of the mercado to the way out of town to the highway to Santa Clara. (Might be Federico Tena. It's quite close to a nice church across the street.) Anyway, Rivepan sells me flour, and I have found it to be fine for bread baking.
I suggest that you do likewise; go to a friendly, neighborhood panadería and ask to purchase "harina para hacer pan". They may chuckle, but they'll sell it to you. You may also be able to buy largish bags of flour at Sam's or Costco.

This has got me going. I may make some wholewheat buns next. With sesame on top.

Now, where can I get US type corn meal, in order to make corn bread?

"En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas."

Saludos,
Anonimo


Bubba

Oct 12, 2005, 6:37 AM

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Re: [Cynthia7] hard to get favorite foods

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I can't help people in Patzcuaro or SMA but U.S. style corn meal (I believe both white [Southern] and yellow [Yankee] can be found at Lake Chapala.Both smooth and crunchy premium U.S. manufactured peanut butter without added sugar can also be found here. Being a southern turncoat, I prefer the Marie Callendar's corn bread mix, which is made from white corn meal and is a little sweet, for my annual holiday cornbread stuffing with the traditional turkey feast. That mix is always available here.

I have not found a place around Lake Chapala that sells take-home hand made corn tortillas which are so superior to the machine made tortillas widely available. Maybe some one can tell me where to find them around the lake to take home. Last year, I had the good fortune to attend the day of the dead celebration in Merida and was offered the Mayan style smaller hand made corn tortillas hot off the comal as prepared in outlying villages and, man were they good. No need for any condiments to enjoy these treats.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Oct 12, 2005, 10:47 AM)


esperanza

Oct 12, 2005, 7:18 AM

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Re: [Bubba] hard to get favorite foods

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In the parking lot of La Despensa in Ajijic (on the north side of the highway, a block or two before you get to Colón) two women regularly serve up tortillas hechas a mano by the half or full kilo. Ask at the store to find out when they'll be there.

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Gringal

Oct 12, 2005, 9:01 AM

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Re: [jerezano] hard to get favorite foods

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I keep hearing about the high prices here. Good thing I didn't listen when we arrived a year ago, and instead, did some serious leg work looking for property. How about under $150K for good housing in SMA? "Good", as in new. You can't live in a chi-chi restored downtown casa for that, but those who are willing to walk fifteen to twenty minutes can save a lot and enjoy the same cultural and culinary offerings as those who live in the fancier digs.


Cynthia7

Oct 12, 2005, 10:05 AM

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Re: [Gringal] hard to get favorite foods

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I agree..Folk who say there are too many gringos here and housing is too expensive need to get 10 to 20 minutes from the center of town...you can afford housing and rarely see anyone that is not Mexican..The weather in barrio La Lejona or Santa Julia is just the same and often the views are the best.


Gringal

Oct 12, 2005, 10:31 AM

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Re: [Cynthia7] hard to get favorite foods

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My spouse and I both like to cook, and the hard-to-get ingredients are just another little challenge. It also gives our visitors something to bring us. (The latest was "Madagascar Curry". Didn't know it came from there, but that's where she bought it.) We have found that the best way to look at the unavailable is to consider that obviously, we don't need it, since the large surrounding population is getting along very nicely without it. Eating is not really about nutrition or getting food we're accustomed to: it's the entire experience. For us, food served with a beautiful sunset just tastes better.

Our best dining pleasure has occurred after hauling the results of our culinary efforts up two flights of stairs to our roof deck in San Rafael Colonia and enjoying the panoramic views available in that barrio. They are actually the best in SMA, since we have the downtown as well as the beautiful hills to look at. When we have guests, they're always saying things like "I never realized...." etc. Realtors don't normally take them up here . If they do, the clients are probably scared off by the unpaved streets. Or, as ours said: "It's an up and coming neighborhood. The houses are up, and the paving is coming....manana."


julietl


Oct 12, 2005, 1:02 PM

Post #21 of 24 (4268 views)

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Re: [Gringal] hard to get favorite foods

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I miss Gardenburgers and Papadams!
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Gringal

Oct 12, 2005, 2:07 PM

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Re: [julietm] hard to get favorite foods

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I miss the whole Indian restaurant.


Bubba

Oct 12, 2005, 2:45 PM

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Re: [julietm] hard to get favorite foods

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I'll second that. Papadams (you should find those in Indian restaurants in DF. You can buy them packaged in Guadalajara as well but this ain't the same as getting them in a restaurant) ) and Gardenburgers.

To accompany that Gardenburger, we can head down memory lane to Real Foods Market on PolkStrassa in beautiful San Francisco circa 1995 and pick among the numerous varieties of juicy and sweet heirloom tomatoes in season even one of which is better than every commercial tomato sold in every market on any day in all of Mexico.

Then, walk a couple of aisles over in the same magic market and observe the extraordinary display of fresh and spotlessly clean herbs including a couple of types of oregano, thyme, marjoram, several types of mint, chinese and italian parsley, green garlic, fresh garlic and dried garlic in at least three varieties, chives, rosemary, shallots, scallions, tarragon, ginger, galangal, turmeric root, basil, green cardamom, lemon grass, horseradish root ready for grating (that is nothing like the stuff you buy bottled and a hell of a lot better) and all this before we have even checked out the entire wall of dried herbs and spices as well as large varieties of all sorts of fresh peppers achieving all levels of Scoville Heat Units and numerous types of onions, potatoes and other seasonal fruits and vegetables in abundance.

After that, we can walk up the Street in the same neighborhood to find markets specializing in Persian, Italian, Greek, Mexican, Arabic and Asian foods and the finest charcuteries and stores selling the highest quality artisinal cheeses from around the world .

Another thing to miss fervently. Farmers' markets (tianguis) where all vendors must sell organic produce and other food products from honey to sausages they actually grew or made themselves and in which they take great personal pride. instead of selling commercially produced produce they purchased at the abastos a few hours earlier and hauled to the market for re-sale.

Now, to bring us back to reality, I have stolen the following recipe for those of you who miss this product:

HOME-MADE CHEESE WHIZ WITH JALAPENOS

1.5 Lbs. American Style Processed Cheese (widely available and very popular in Mexico)
13 Oz. Evaporated Milk
1 TBS. Butter
2 Beaten Egg Yolks
1 TBS. Flour
Pickled Jalapenos to Taste

In a double boiler, melt the butter and heat the cheese until it is softened. Add the eggs, milk and flour and stir until you achieve goopdom. Add the drained pickled jalapenos to taste.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Oct 12, 2005, 2:48 PM)


Cynthia7

Oct 12, 2005, 3:55 PM

Post #24 of 24 (4236 views)

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Re: [Bubba] hard to get favorite foods

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Your cheese dip recipe is what was thought to be Mexican cheese dip or now it is called nachos in Arkansas. We never realized there was almost no yellow cheese in Mexico. We have found that if you add a little of the hot cheese to the egg mixture and then return it to the rest of the hot cheese there is less of a goopy goopdom. Served with tostados (Fritos in Arkansas) it was delicious. In the olden days a can of Gephardt tamales was often mixed in to make it a full dinner...We are wiser now but the memories remain.
 
 
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