Monday, May 12, 2008

Culiacan report-Living and eating on the edge!

It was another interesting day at the office in Mexico. The rival cartel killed the son of “El Chapo”(Sinaloa Cartel) in a bazooka attack! Many have died in the past week in Sinaloa and other parts of Mexico. Needless to say my event was cancelled and a curfew was imposed on Culiacan. We found this out this as we landed in town and were told to stay indoors. This would deter some, but a true chowhound could never heed such advice.Culiacan is another favorite surf and turf state of mine being the king of cabreria and home to Sinaloa style seafood with fresh catch from the sea of Cortez. On previous trip I’ve had cabreria at Palomar de los Pobres, where the menu features Sinaloa cuts of steak accompanied by queso fundido, cebollas, guacamole, tortillas, and their complimentary frijoles. This place is very inexpensive and delicious. We also have dined at El Farallon, the upscale seafood restaurant featuring authentic mariscos estilo Sinaloense: exquisite callo de hacha, machaca de marlin, pulpo al ajillo, pescado saradeado, and camarones Costa Azul, to name a few. They have a tequila cart, too, with a fine selection of al types:blancos, reposados, and anejos.

This weekend what made going out well worth the risk was Mariscos Las Palmas, just a short walk from the Hotel Ejecutivo in downtown. Convoys of armored vehicles carrying masked Mexican soldiers whizzed by reminding us of the mayhem and credible dangers we faced in seeking our cena. Las Palmas is a very humble restaurant with neon poster paper listing specials that should have been on the menus years ago, but the locals need no such accommodations, and neither did we. While my coworkers, one from Mexicali and the other from Chihuahua, ordered campechanas, as they seem to do in every city in Mexico we find ourselves for work, but I chose more regionally. I cringed inside as they poured catsup on the callos!! My trio of seafood delights included a quesadilla of machaca de marlin to start, a molcajete, which is an aguachile served in a molcajete, and the filete Culichi. The molcajete, which was set upon by my campechana slurping friends, had raw shrimp, cooked shrimp, and lobino in aguachile. The lobino had the texture and flavor of the amazing callos of the Sea of Cortez. My filete Culichi, named after the people of Sinaloa, was a batter fried filete smothered in a cream of spinach sauce, crema de espinaca. This was so decadent. Along with 2 Pacificos, my bill came to $23, and the molcajete was huge. Another coworker from Sinaloa ordered callos and the filete encebollado, both superb choices from a culichi in the know. All dishes were made incendiary with the addition of salsa de chiltepin, and the Sinaloa special salsa of chiltepin with soy sauce. Las Palmas has a slammin' menu. I wanted to order so many more things like the ostion de mangle, mariscocos, or the camaron al coco, but I will have to get to these the next trip to Culiacan which will be soon.This was one of the best seafood experiences of my life. I highly recommend Las Palmas and coming to Sinaloa for some of the best mariscos and traditional food in Mexico. Next time I will be getting into some chilorio, as I didn’t have time this trip.

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