Monday, May 12, 2008

La Marquesa-Cabana Lupita

On the highway from D.F. to Toluca lies a culinary destination for those seeking Mexico state cuisine.La Marquesa is about 15 minutes north of Toluca and contains an ecolgical conservation center, the Insurgente Miguel Hidalgo National Park, and features rows of restaurants on either side of the road featuring very similar menus and foods. We were lucky to be turned on to this spot by our driver who happened to be a real foodie from Toluca.

The restaurant he brought us to was Cabana Lupita named after the daughter of the owner. The specialty of there restaurant was cecina. They also had conejo, sopa de medula, chorizo verde, flor de calabaza, huitlacoche, chapulines, gusanos de maguey, escamoles, cabrito,trucha, and so many other regional dishes Oh, did I mention las tortillas de mais azul made to order from mounds of masa?The restaurant is a stall in a stream of similar restaurants with a kitchen that takes up most of the space leaving only a little room for about ten tables circling the theatre of operation.The team of three cooks agreed to take our dollars, since the 8 of us would make their trip to the casa de cambio worth while, and we got to see them in action, amazing. They were so charming and were pointing out dishes for me to take pictures."Mira los escamoles, ven..." To eat food from cooks of such caliber that were just so happy to be sharing their food with you is not an experience one can come across everyday. I got there business card as I have received many from the finest restaurants in Mexico, hand written on the nearest piece of paper with their personal cell phone number on it. Que buena gente!

I started with the best escamoles I've ever tasted and then had the cecina completa with rice and dry, crispy, and savory refritos for my main.The cecina was unlike anything I've ever been presented here in LA in some of the Oaxacan restaurants. It was rich and flavorful not dry and salty as was my previous experiences. A couple bottles of Indio beer were incorporated to make this a dinner to remember.

You could spend a week trying the different restaurants located on this roadside center of alta cocina served by humble cooks and their simple venues. I will post some pix when I get a chance.

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