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May 13, 2008 03:09 PM

Tale of 3 Lunches around Patzcuaro

Fresh back from several long months in the states, we have hit some old and new lunch places this week.
On Sunday afternoon we drove across to the north side of town for lunch at the Purepechan ladies cafe. Cafe doesn't have a real name, but they hold it every weekend in the courtyard of the technical institute. Patio dining and out-door, wood-fired cooking. This week 2 soups-a chicken and a beef, chili rellenos with a mild tomato broth, pork in a spicy green chili, mole, rice, beans and freshly made tortillas. With 2 Indio beers the cuenta was 90 pesos. Tasty food, but slow preparation. Start to finish 2 hours on this comida, the first hour with no food.
Had to stop for gas on the way home. There is a neveria cart at the Pemex (BTW, regular translated to $3.23 per gallon). I had the 6 peso cup of lime ice. DH had blackberry ice. Yummy.
Monday we drove seven miles to Santa Clara del Cobre, the copper artisan's town. We bank there because there is always a parking space in front of the bank and no long lines. After our arduous banking chore (10 minutes), we walked down to the southwest side of the plaza and secured 2 stools at a communal sidewalk table behind the carnitas cart. Hot tortillas, tender carnitas, salsa and 2 Coca Lites for 50 pesos and we had leftovers to take home for the pups. We had enough meat and tortillas for 4 tacos each. DH had 3 and I had 1. Pups ate well yesterday.
This morning I cleaned out a flower bed under a big oak tree in the backyard - so this afternoon I just had to go to the vivero (plant nursery) for more plants. While we were in the states a new Pollo al Pastor place opened new door to the vivero on the highway between Patzcuaro and Morelia. Lunch and plants, what could be better? The restaurant is a big open box under a metal roof. In the back were swings, slides and a trampoline for the kids. The restrooms were closed off with a pink curtain for women and a blue curtain for men. The cooking area is just outside the side door. A big charcoal fire with the chickens cooked whole on spits stuck vertically in the ground next to the fire. The chicken is finished on a grill by dusting with a salt and chili seasoning and a squeeze of fresh orange. Lunch was served with 5 minutes of ordering. We had 1/2 chicken, hot tortillas, rice with veggies and pinto beans. The salsa for the chicken was spicy but not overly hot like so many are around here. Salsa was lots of chopped white onion, a little chili manzano or chili perron and the star ingredient, orange juice. Spicy but refreshing. With 2 Coca Lites this tasty repast was $80 pesos with enough chicken for DH to have a chicken salad sandwich on Thursday when I go to Morelia for lunch with the girls.
Three tasty lunches for 2 totaling $170 pesos or about $15.00 US. Living the dream!

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  1. Thanks for the update, and we're glad to have you back.

    When we returned from 2 weeks in the US and 3 days in Mexico City, we also went, with our neighbor, to the restaurante of the Purépechan señoras. We've learned to get there after 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and on that occasion, all the food was ready, although the pot of churipo was boiling furiously. My wife and I both had sliced pork in red salsa with nopaitos, rice, and the extra good, tortillas hechas a mano. I had a modest portion of their excellent mole (hold the chicken) and some more rice. The bill came to about $50 pesos each, with two cervezas.

    The viveros to which you refer is the Viveros Jacarandas, near the Hotel Las Bugambilias?

    On weekends, north of the railroad tracks, on the eastern edge of Tzurumútaro, right hand side of the highway, at "Mariscos Vicky", heading toward Tzintzuntzan, is a really good pollos asados al carbón stand. There, also, orange juice is the seasoning secret. A whole chicken, with a bag of salsa and some pretty good Mexican "coleslaw", is now $70 pesos (The price has risen 15 pesos each over the last year and a half. Ouch!.

    If you want tortillas, ask for them when you order. They are prepared only to order (yes, they cost a little extra.) Waits to get a chicken to go or to eat in may be as long as 10 minutes at busy times. (Noted: the pollos you describe are cooked on wooden stakes. I believe that's known as "pollos al pastor". They usually cost more than just regular, old pollos adobados al carbón, s served at the stand I've described.
    At any rate, these roast chicken stands offer the tastiest, best food deal going in the Pátzcuaro area.

    They opened for a couple of weekdays not long ago. We bought one on a Thursday, but it was dried out, definitely inferior to the weekend pollos.There are tables and chairs, but we've always taken them para llevar.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Anonimo

      Glad to be back, but have to go NOB again soon. Yuck.
      The Pollo al Pastor restaurant is next to Vivero Patzcuaro on the north side of the highway to Morelia. It's across from Campestre Los Pinos. I totally agree that the pollos are the best food in Patzcuaro.
      That being said, we also really like the carnitas at Carnitas de Carmelo there in Tzurumutaro. And now they are in a real brick and mortar restaurant, not just a cart on the side of the road.

      1. re: Pampatz

        Ah, I was thinking it was the Viveros next to the former Hotel Chalamú, now the Bugambilias.

        There's a spurt of growth in food places out where you mentioned; Mariscos La Güera is developing a branch there. It's under construction, but of course, it's already open. The "matriz" Mariscos La Güera, is, of course, one our favorite restaurants in Pátzcuaro.

        We've not eaten at the Carnitas Carmelo at the Tzuru junction, just had pretty good carnitas to go. I really like the ones sold in front of the Plaza in Quiroga, due in large part because of the friendly and good humored carnitas guys,and especially for the really busy vibe on weekends and holidays.
        We ate comida t Los Pinos one Sunday, and we pretty much agreed that it was mediocre ar best, Nice dining room, though.

        Finally, there's a brand new branch of the local coffee house chain, Lilian's Coffee, It's a largish building with a loading dock in front, out in the middle of nowhere, between Pátcuaro and Morelia. I don't know why they put a coffee house out there. It's bizarre. Maybe it's a sub warehouse for their coffee supplies, and they might as well have a coffee house also.