Thursday, December 15, 2011

Aromas y Sabores 2011: Empalmes and Smiles in Allende, Nuevo Leon

The Reina de Turismo, Allende-Tanya Salinas Guzman, gracefully displays her home town attractions and symbols on her scenic regional gown.

The Aroma y Sabores 2011 troupe of munchers and nibblers only had a brief visit in the town of Allende, Nuevo Leon to see the city square and attend an agricultural expo. I slipped away..again..and was on the prowl for pollo en salsa, empalmes, or any other little regional morsel I could handle. We had already encountered quite a bit of food in Santiago earlier that morning and the day was still young.

I was developing a 6th sense to guide me back to the group lest I get left behind. It's far too much responsibility to keep track of over 90 people--I call this newly discovered ability: paranoia. No luck in the downtown area I was frenetically stalked, given such a small allowance of street food recon for these eats that had pricked my ears up earlier in the day.

At the expo we learned about Allende's substantial agricultural presence in Mexico, being one of its largest producers of honey. They also grow oranges, and are big in poultry.

One of the best thing about this stop though was the cute factor. We all had sweet, young girls from Allende holding up the national flags of our Aromas y Sabores press group. Diana was the flag bearer for us few Americans; her smile is one of the most precious moments on a tour that would have magic as an every day luxury.

All that fusing around earlier and low and behold: pollo en salsa. This dish is a local guisado of chicken stewed in tomatoes,peppers, and jalapeños.

And right after that we heard empalmes were coming to our table. Empalmes are made with either beef or pork--ours were pork--with lard fried tortillas and beans with chile piquin(a dried red chile). A second tortilla is placed atop the rich, savory meat and beans to form a sandwich out of the taco--kind of like a mulita done guisado style.

The cute continued as we said goodbye to Allende with a local group of elderly country style dancers. We loved this, and won't soon forget these sweet moments that lightened up our weary souls that afternoon. You should have seen them tear it up; I guess empalmes are good for your health if you can still move like these folks.

Later that night I obliged myself a quiet evening at the Gran San Carlos back in Monterrey, and got in a good night's sleep before we would bid farewell to Nuevo Leon and head off for the state of Chihuahua. Nuevo Leon is amazing: the food, the people, the sights, and the priceless memories. A special thanks to the local tourism agencies in Nuevo Leon that treating us like we were in our own homes. Gracias queridos, nuevoleonense!

To be continued...

Aromas y Sabores 2011, La Ruta del Norte

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