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Saturday, December 04, 2004

Beautiful Merida

Merida is just as beautiful as I remember it. A very romantic city with Moorish details to the architecture and Spanish colonial influences everywhere.

Lunch is the main meal in the Yucatan. Many of the best restaurants are closed for dinner. You can have a taco for 30 cents or go crazy in an elegant upscale fine dining institution and spend $10, if you really try hard. We had lunch our first day at Gran Almendros. This mainstay of Yucatecan cuisine claims to have invented poc-chuc, a very popular dish in this region. Pork cutlets are marinated in achiote and bitter orange juice, then grilled and served with a picked onion relish and more bitter orange. They also served cochinita pibil, another dish with sour, bitter orange juice, but this time a shredded pork. The meals are often heavy and well-spiced but light on vegetables.

Fortunately fresh fruit is everywhere including juices and frozen popsicles called paletas. The Mexicans may not be experts at dessert, but they sure grow wonderful fruit all year round to enjoy. Many fruits are not commonly available at home, such as mamey but they are exotic and enticing to gringos on vacation...