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May 11, 2008 11:48 PM

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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  1. I beg you for pictures. Damn son what a cool restaurant you got to experience. What is sope de medula? How was the conejo and escamoles prepared? How was the chorizo verde served? Do you know if Indio Beer is available in GDL? Can you reccomend any restaurants in Guadalajara - going in less than a month.

    Please continue sharing!

    5 Replies
      1. re: kare_raisu

        In Tlaquepaque, on the south side of GDL, try Rio San Pedro. A charming little restaurant with excellent food. It is one block off the main pedestrian mall, parallel to the mall.

        1. re: kare_raisu

          EL Sacromonte is alta cocina and I had a great meal there a short while ago.I also had a fun time with a friend at the famous Garibaldi Karnes en su Jugo.Guiness book record for fastest service! I will check on the beer menu;I'm in GDL this Saturday for work.

          The escamoles were prepared traditionally, fried with a few ingredients.I have only had escamoles in La Diferencia and they both seem to be the same preparation, so I imagine this to be a classic recipe.Didn't have the conejo or the chorizo at Lupitas, and didn't have adventurous eaters with me to order other dishes for me to sample. Besides, escamoles are $$ and I received a huge portion.

          1. re: streetgourmetla

            Sacromonte is sometimes criticized on this board... glad to hear you enjoyed it because I though it was good.... they still have the "Crown" of Shrimp on the menu?

          2. Your post is a revelation. We've often passed these roadside restaurants while on a bus, and even if we could have stopped to try them, we wouldn't have. They did not appeal to me at all. They look like tacky tourist traps. That just shows: never judge a restaurant by its exterior.

            You *are* referring to the stretch of the autopista from Toluca to México, DF that climbs into the high mountain forest?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Anonimo

              That's it, and you are right that is an odd location for a cluster of restaurant shacks, but it is certainly not a tacky tourist trap. I passed it a dozen times because it appears so uninviting, until a friend in DF tipped me off that there's good eating there. Subsequently, I planned my travel times through the area so that I could feast on cabrito or lechon. I wish I had known that there is trout served as well, I didn't discover it. (Although I stumbled on a trout hatchery south of Malinalco).