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Puebla, Centro Historico

Anonimo Dec 19, 2008 06:21 AM

A Mexican woman friend recommended the Fonda de Santa Clara in Puebla, for when we visit there. Our dear friend is herself an excellent cook.

I harbor some doubts about the restaurant. I'd appreciate second and third opinions about the place.

Gracias

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  1. r
    racheljana RE: Anonimo Dec 25, 2008 09:40 AM

    I lived in Puebla and ate there twice. I believe there are two locations (one closer to the zocalo and the other on the west end of the centro historico). To be honest I sort of felt like the food was stuff you could get at comida corrida (the menu changes daily so shop around the menus to see which one seems to fit your tastes) for a much lesser price. If you're going for mole poblano (in my humble opinion better than other moles), it is a dime a dozen in Puebla and you could easily find it for 45 pesos elsewhere. (also, note that if bones in your chicken don't suit your fancy you can ask them to replace it with pechuga (breast) and it tastes just as good.) If you're going there for a specific something or other, it depends.

    I would recommend a place specifically for comida corrida about 5-10 minute walk from the zocalo. I hope it is still there and the setting is lovely on the cheap. They would often get away from the comida corrida typical stuff and have things like chicken in an orange almond sauce or cilantro creme soup or chayote stuffed with dried fruit and nut cream compote. No kidding all for roughly 35 pesos when I was there a year ago.

    The directions are as follows: From the north end of the zocalo, take Palafox y Mendoza east until you reach 4 Norte (about two blocks from the middle of the zocalo). Turn left on 4 Norte. Take 4 Norte until you get to 8 Oriente (a wild street that isn't too safe going westward, but fine right around there- I used to live on this street and loved it, but be careful of the crazy bus drivers). Make a right on 8 Oriente. The place is on the south side of the street (the direction from where you'll be coming), has large wooden doors that open into an orange courtyard with roughly 5 tables, a coffee bar and usually art showcasing. I'll be going there for my annual pilgrimage back to Puebla in just a week!!

    18 Replies
    1. re: racheljana
      Anonimo RE: racheljana Dec 25, 2008 03:07 PM

      Racheljana, I'm crossing Fonda Santa Clara off my list and copying your comida corrida recommendation.

      Many thanks,
      Anonimo (the same as the TT Anonimo)

      1. re: Anonimo
        r
        racheljana RE: Anonimo Dec 25, 2008 04:00 PM

        ha! I wondered. :)

        I'm sure you already know that comida corrida is really hit or miss, so I hope on the day that you go (like I said, provided it is still even there) they have some good food. Let me know if you have other questions about places to eat on the cheap in Puebla.

        1. re: racheljana
          Anonimo RE: racheljana Dec 26, 2008 02:02 AM

          Yes, Racheljana, I have another question: can you recommend any extra good places for breakfast in the Centro area? We'll be staying at the Hotel Imperial, 4 Ote #212. We don't mind walking up to 10 blocks either way.

          1. re: Anonimo
            r
            RST RE: Anonimo Dec 26, 2008 07:06 AM

            The place Racheljana recommended should be 2 or 3 blocks from your hotel. I am blanking out a little bit on the streetscape of 8 Ote. but don't recall it being particularly unsafe, at least on the Oriente side of 5 de Mayo. At the corner of 8 Ote and probably 6 Norte (i.e. just before the ring road) is the beautiful Teatro Principal. On a performance night, the plaza in front of the theater could make for some really fun people-watching. Stand with your back to the theater and look across the plaza and you will see a little eatery with a sandwich board in front advertising a huge range of typical Pueblan street food (molotes, chanclas, pelonas, guajolote etc)-the offering is uneven in quality but there are some very good things made here (the sandwiches in particular). 6 Ote of course is the celebrated ancient street specializing in sweets (Calle de las Dulcerias) it extends along 6 Ote from about 2 Norte to 6 Norte. There has been for several years now an excellent guide to the subject of these famous dulcerias, i.e. the volume called "La dulceria en Puebla" in the CONACULTA "Cocina indigena y popular" series. Rick Bayless also just published what seems to be an excellent article on this subject in the most recent issue of Saveur (Dec 08) but I have not had the time to read it so cannot tell you what it covers and what it does not. Crossing the ring road on 10 Ote., you reach the old neighborhood (much of it now demolished for the boulevard) around the beautiful San Francisco church; it was an area celebrated for the distinctly Pueblan specialty called chalupas de San Francisco (these are now impossible to find around here//but there is a fine example of it to be found at night outside the churchname escapes me at the moment-on the corner of 6 Ote and 6 Nte//much better than most of the dozen or so chalupas makers on 5 de Mayo going north on 10 Ote). From your hotel on 4 Ote, you will be very close to two famous tacos arabes places. Ranas, a board favorite (see various old posts from circa 2006/7 by "Maya") is located on 2 Pte at 5 de Mayo. Ranas' is an excellent modern interpretation of tacos arabes with brighter, more emphatic flavors (vibrant chili rub, higher levels of char etc). Not too far away is La Oriental which I enjoy just as much for its different approach, which brings out more the pure flavors of meat and fat. (Antigua Taqueria La Oriental, "desde 1933" a sign claims, has several branches throughout the city-is now a mini-chain of sorts-it claims to be the place where tacos arabes originated.) There are many other very good examples of tacos arabes both within the centro as well as outside the ring roads (try El Sultan at 31 Pte. for an outlying example) but none in Puebla itself can IMHO stand up to the two tacos arabes specialists (Tacos T and Tacos Bassam) located on 4 Ote. in Orizaba. Also on 4 Ote (I think) is a bakery specializing in the breads (pan de queso etc) of Zacatlan. More recs later if I can find some time tonight.

            Richard

            1. re: RST
              r
              RST RE: RST Dec 27, 2008 06:57 AM

              1.) The church at the corner of 6 Ote/6 Nte is San Cristobal. There's a large statue of St Christopher right inside the main entrance.
              2.) The name of the eatery across from the Teatro Principal is Antojitos Los Portales. The last time I was there I had a very poor taco arabe-serves me right for ordering an item that is clearly not a specialty. There are many antojitos places like this throughout the city that offer a vast range of all the typical street foods of Puebla: this one even has mole de panza (i.e. Puebla's "menudo") and pozole. But all these street foods are best enjoyed at single-item specialists: molotes at the moloteros (specially the ones that sprout up at nighttime: more on this later), cemitas at the various dedicated cemitas stands (which I started listing on the parallel thread on cemitas//more places later). Nevertheless, these antojitos shops are good places to sample three very distinct Pueblan sandwich forms that are very close to extinction. These are the chanclas, guajolotes and pelonas. Juan Carlos Osorio, who operates a peddler stand offering these sandwiches outside the San Agustin church on Sats and on the night of the 28th of each month (the day of St Judas Thaddeus: there is an impt shrine to this saint inside this church) told me that these sandwiches are fairly recent (compared to the cemita), dating only to 50 years back. Chanclas and pelonas are first of all names of breads and you can still get these breads from specialist bakers stationed near the entrance of specific markets (Acocota for instance). The chancla is a round soft roll, which is stuffed and then drenched in adobo "como si fuera una torta ahogada". The guajolote, is a chancla, but fried in lard beforehand. Pelona comes from "pan pelon" ("fraudulent bread"; historically, a bread that incorporated a lower grade of flour), is cut in half, fried and stuffed with beans (scented with avocado leaves), guacamole, and one's choice from a very specific range of possible fillings (pollo deshebrado-often hand-pulled on order, sesos, tinga, hongos etc). Nowadays, people have begun to forget the specific nuances and the specific pleasures of these unique forms and simply ask for a generic torta. A big shame. Incidentally, Juan Carlos Osorio could also be found in the Mercado del Carmen on Sundays and owns a little shop of his own on 5 Pte (I will try to find address later). A good place for a simple breakfast of coffee and mollete.

              1. re: RST
                r
                RST RE: RST Dec 27, 2008 11:22 AM

                Quickly (I know that Anonimo is arriving tomorrow)!!! I will try to cram in as much as possible today and then fill in the blanks later (sorry, am working without my notes on these places). I am also headed for Puebla in Jan (Zacualtipan, Molango, Huejutla, Tantoyuca, Chicontepec, Papantla, Zozocolco, Coxquihui, then either west to Huachinango/Pahuatlan or back down through Altotonga to Cordoba, ending in Puebla) and will fact-check all this stuff and maybe put them together in cleaned-up form later..

                3.) The most famous molote stands are on 5 Pte, just west of 16 de Sep (I hope I am getting this right: it's behind the cathedral//from the Biblioteca Palafoxiana, walk west and you will see them). There are three in a row: all built-in streetside stalls without seating: La Pequenita, la Poblanita (desde 1968 the sign says) and Acapulco. Molotes are large ovaloid (9 inches or so long//only 5 inches or so wide) tortillas (handmade corn tortillas once upon a time, now a lot of people add a measure of harina de trigo to make it more pliable) folded in half like an empanada and then deep-fried (the elongated-half-moon form would measure about 2 1/2 inches in height). The very characteristic fillings are typically "hash-like" in texture: tinga, picadillo, requeson, huitlacoche, sesos, salsicha, papa con chorizo, finely-chopped chicharron etc although these stalls also offer shrimp and pulpo. There are slight variations to the way the tortilla is folded (sometimes with one side sticking out slightly for a kind of crunchy rim or lip) but I can't really get into this now. Originally, the molote, turned upright, lower half simply wrapped in a piece of folded red/pink paper was eaten as is, without any salsa. These three are the most visible molotes stands, but molotes actually can be found throughout the city (and also in neighboring towns like Cholula) and there are specialist-fryers in virtually every market. These are also a typical nighttime streetfood in Puebla, very similar to the way tlayudas serve as nighttime food in Oaxaca (see this old post of mine on this subject):
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/267737
                Families that set up a fryer (and a couple of benches) in front of their houses at night to offer molotes and other nighttime snacks could be found by simply wandering the streets say after 9. There's one very good one on (I think) 4 Pte between 7 Nte and 9 Nte (or thereabouts//they shouldn't be hard to spot). Another very typical nighttime snack is the wonderful very distinct Pueblan chileatole (serrano, epazote, elote kernels, nixtamal masa to thicken) which I wrote about many years ago in an old thread (circa 2002) on Cemitas Puebla here in Chicago. This could also be found by wandering through this part of town at night. The three stands on 5 Pte also make pelonas (but not chanclas/guajolotes) BTW.

                4.) Mueganos are a seasonal treat and are sold by ambulant peddlers from about Xmas time (now!) till start of Lent. Watch out for them!!! Also still very visible throughout the city are the sellers of meringues, who walk around with a large board (tabla) balanced on their shoulder, stacked high with gaznates, duquesas, vasitos. More on this subject later.
                Sweet salty sour tamarind balls could be found throughout Mexico but I am specially fond of the Guerrerense version as well as that of Puebla, where they are typically called tarugos or tarugos enchilados. You will find old men with small backets sitting on the sidewalks selling these. He will ask if you want your tarugo 'preparado", in which case, if you say yes, he will amp up the intensity by adding lashings of yikes more chile sauce, squeezes of lime, more salt etc
                Richard

                1. re: RST
                  Anonimo RE: RST Dec 27, 2008 01:16 PM

                  Richard, your knowledge about comida regional is inexhaustible, and your generosity in sharing immeasureable.

                  1. re: RST
                    r
                    RST RE: RST Dec 28, 2008 07:27 AM

                    3A.) I did find some of my old notes on molotes: yes, the one I was thinking of is on 4 Pte. between 7 Nte. and 9 Nte. In fact, this is not just a nighttime stall but operate throughout the day. There are three (or four?) molote shops in a row here on the south side of 4 Pte.-all of them essentially private residences with the front room opened up and converted into a kind of shopfront, the molotera frying away in that liminal space between in and out, simple benches and tables for customers set up inside (Racheljana's comida corrida place is almost certainly similar in its setup). The one I like the best didn't have a street number but I noted that it's next to #715 and should therefore probably be #713. The three molote stands on 5 Pte. are more centrally-located and so serve as a more convenient reference point, but the moloteras of 4 Pte. are well-known throughout Puebla and are well-beloved.

                    The chileatole lady I was thinking about is located (by night only) on 8 Pte between 7 Nte and 5 Nte (media cuadra hacia 5 Nte) although there are several others by night all throughout the city.

                    From your hotel, you can get to the moloteras easily in one nice short stroll. The spectacular Sto Domingo Church is right on the corner of 5 de Mayo of course-its Capilla del Rosario is one of the pinnacles of Baroque architecture, the design scheme so extravagant and so radical it's almost modernistic. There are many tacos arabes and cemitas places and umpteenth eateries in this area-most of them meant for the large number of tourists clustered around here (but more on the subject of street-eating on 5 de Mayo later). Continue on 4 Pte and you have the shell of the old Mercado Victoria (see the parallel post on cemitas on the historical significance of Mercado Victoria) to your left. At past 3 Nte. there is a tiny plaza named Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Standing right on the sidewalk in front of it is an "Indian" woman (wearing large beautiful dangling earrings) who makes splendid blue corn quesadillas (huitlacoche/flor de calabaza) and gorditas de frijoles which are also known elsewhere as tlacoyos/tayoyos/tlayoyos etc. She's from San Miguel Canoa, the notorious San Miguel Canoa of the sad events recorded in the film Canoa from the mid-70s. At the corner of 5 Nte. (SE corner) is one of several tacos arabes places in Puebla called Tacos Tony (the famous one is the one on 3 Pte./3 Sur//I don't think that all of these Tacos Tonys are related//unless they're operated by diff brothers and cousins). I like to poke my head in this particular shop because it's one of the few places where you can watch (up close! bec the shop is fairly small) one of the REALLY old-style pastor spits in use. This one has three shelves to hold live charcoal (and a pan below to collect the ashes); it doesn't even have a crank for turning which means that the spit has to be hand-rotated using fingers and a knife/some other poking instrument! Such spits are becoming rarer by the day and in the US the total number could probably be counted with the fingers of one hand (I know of exactly one in Chicago: at Huentitan (on North just w of Pulaski).

                    Richard

                    1. re: RST
                      r
                      RST RE: RST Dec 28, 2008 08:39 AM

                      2A.) The mention of Antojitos Los Portales above is not necessarily a "best of" listing-I just wanted with that mention to explain this "type" of business and the range of distinctly-Pueblan antojitos that could be found in such places (the list of Pueblan snacks is long and I have barely exhausted it on this thread: there's also jarochitas, tacos dorados, flautas etc.). Other examples of this are Antojitos Tony on (going on memory here) 3 Sur just south (?) of 5 Pte. (Also near this corner, but on 5 Pte. is Pozoleria Atlixco; the town Atlixco being famous for its distinct pozole). The Antojitos shop of my friend Juan Carlos Osorio is called Antojitos San Agustin and is on 5 Pte near the corner of (I think) 5 Sur. But he will be in front of San Agustin church tonight (the 28th) for the monthly worship at the shrine of San Judas Taddeo inside the church. Do stop by and ask him for a short history of the pelona or the chancla!!!

                      5.) After visiting the moloteras on 4 Pte. double back to 5 Nte. (the corner of the hand-turned arabes spit) and start walking north. Here's the start of what could potentially be a fabulous long walk on a weekend. Because starting from about 10 Pte. northwards, there is, on weekends only (but extending into lunes: for you Anonimo, this means tomorrow morning, the 29th, is your one chance!) a truly wonderful "street" market rich in "Indian" vendors of the type known as Marias-little old women selling foraged herbs/fruits or rare varieties grown in small home gardens in miniscule quantities. 5 Nte. is not totally closed off to cars, but the sidewalk vendors "take over" the street so it's virtually impossible to drive through and 5 Pte turns into a kind of pedestrian street. (Incidentally, the kid who sells nieves and chamoyadas on 3 Pte/3 Sur told me that the "municipio" has been trying for years to kill all street business and has been trying to limit all kinds of sidewalk vending to Fri, Sat, Sun and Mon only-what else is new-it's the same story everywhere in the world!)

                      Now the markets in Puebla city center are largely sleepy neighborhood affairs-some of them achieving a wider reputation throughout the city only for certain specialties (a specific type of bread for instance, or a specially well-regarded carnitas specialist, or the cemiteros at Venustiano Carranza or Carmen). I mentioned a couple of them on the cemitas thread: there's Parral, the Carmen, Acocota, and then the one on the southside that burned down last month etc But the big markets are on the outskirts, a large Indian market on Sun (?) and the immense Mercado Hidalgo near the bus station (CAPU). Those places dwarf this pedestrian market on 5 Nte. However, the experience of walking through this street market is incomparable! Those big markets near CAPU are convened in immense hangars, this one has as its setting some of the most spectacular streetscapes in all Mexico-an astonishing ensemble of buildings going back to the 17th and even perhaps in some cases 16th century. It's possible to imagine that it looked exactly like THIS during the time of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, and that the experience of walking through it is exactly the same as in her time and that there were Marias exactly like these selling the same things back then.

                      There are chalupas vendors of course. And old ladies specializing in tamales de charalitos (fishes packed together in dried corn husks into one long log like a tamal, the whole thing charred) and carpa al horno, both items so typical of the lake regions to the north in Puebla and Tlaxcala states. And then vendors of tortitas de elote also known elsewhere as tlaxcales (the ancient name for tortillas) or vendors of specialty breads like the ajonjoli-topped cocoles. Corn in all colors of course, piles of huauzoncle and pipichas and the quintessential papaloquelite, purple camotes, huesitos de capulin, camaron seco of all sizes, foraged mushrooms depending on the season etc It goes on and on. At 16 Pte, the street market opens up even more bec to the right is the Mercado 5 de Mayo and the street becomes even more clearly a "spillover" of the market as fishmongers, tripesellers etc begin to take over.

                      Again, on an absolute scale, this market/street market might not compare in sheer range of offerings with other bigger markets in Mexico (Cholula's on market day for instance). But the setting is superb and it is a walk that takes you by some really fantastic churches: La Merced on 5 Nte (and 8 Pte?), the San Juan de Dios, the famous Sta. Monica convent, the church with the cult of Jesus de las Maravillas etc

                      Richard

                      1. re: RST
                        Anonimo RE: RST Dec 28, 2008 02:33 PM

                        Richard, you really need to start your own blog.
                        The amount of info you have written here staggers me.

                        We probably won't get to Puebla until about noon tomorrow. I'll let you (all) know how it went.

                        1. re: RST
                          r
                          RST RE: RST Dec 30, 2008 07:04 AM

                          I have quite a bit more to add to this thread, but I'm afraid most of it will have to wait till the new year. In the meantime, here are two terrific articles from La Jornada de Oriente on what the writer claims to be the last authentic mueganero still operating as a street peddler in the city. These pieces should be required background reading for all those who want to understand "eating in Puebla" or do any kind of hounding in the (now-pretty-cleaned-up) centro historico since they points up the problems and contradictions involved in such a task:

                          http://www.lajornadadeoriente.com.mx/...

                          and previous to it:
                          http://www.lajornadadeoriente.com.mx/...

                          Those who read the posts I have made over the years on CH know that this is the kind of food writing that I value most: completely engaged with the specific story of one individual but attuned to history and to the history of forms, deeply aware of politics and the larger contexts. The first of the two pieces is more or less contemporary with my "Ice: a Forgotten History" from this past summer, a piece which was written in the very much the same spirit:

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/539004

                          I note with approval that the writer seems to have no little hounding spirit in him; houndiness-"true" houndiness-being a very rare quality in Mexican journalism where newspaper food writers tend to serve as mouthpiece of gentrification and the most deadening forms of conventionalism (but then it is the same thing this side of the border: so what else is new.

                          )

                          A very telling line is this:
                          Esta ciudad está llena de contradicciones.
                          It is exactly the way I also feel about Puebla, I love it dearly, but as I indicated on the other thread, much of the truly vital strains of this extraordinary food culture has become diluted over time and have come to rely on cliches, expedients etc At the same time, there is the sense that the best keepers of the traditions are no longer to be found in the obvious places, but in the outskirts, hidden away in the anonymous colonias, or in the smaller outlying "provincial" towns. This is why it was so hard for me to put together any notes on the city: and I know that there has been several requests for "where to eat in the centro historico" over the years. How does one give a sense of the rich history of the centro historico while (respectfully) also indicating that it might not always be what it used to be...

                          But the work had to be done for two specific reasons. First of all is the fact that there is absolutely no information on any of this stuff anywhere. A lot of what I wrote about above (re: molotes, chalupas etc) is the first time ever these subjects have been treated in the English language (and there's hardly more information on these in Spanish) in the same way that at the start of the decade there was virtually nothing on the subject of cemitas. There's no discourse at all. How could one talk about the food hidden away in the outskirts when one hasn't even laid the groundworks of the discourse by pointing out the best-known (perhaps the most "cliched") places. The second reason is of course that the centro historico is the true birthplace and the true setting of this extraordinary range of food forms, much of which is still (despite the city's crackdown) still very much visible and still available on the street level. And it is important to keep affirming this centrality.

                          Richard

                          1. re: RST
                            Anonimo RE: RST Dec 30, 2008 10:28 AM

                            I did note the presence of KFC, Carl's Jr., Starbucks' and countless Italian Coffee Company outlets in and around the Zócalo. That seems to confirm your thesis that the city would prefer to have a sanitized, gentrified, tourist-safe environment, while ignoring the rich food heritage of Centro.

                            Nevertheless, on our long (thank God!) walk back from Cemitas Las Poblanitas a while ago, I did notice, on a secondary street, two or more Tacos Árabes places with the charcoal fired rotisserie grills, neither mechanized. Unfortunately, there was no way we could sample either, as I was totally stuffed from the cemita at Las Poblanitas.

                            I'll describe this morning's breakfast, and my take on the cemitas experience in a separate reply.

                            (It might be good if the Chowhound Team would merge the cemitas thread with this one. And change the title. But please, Mods: don't move it over into "International".)

                  2. re: RST
                    Anonimo RE: RST Dec 29, 2008 01:20 PM

                    Soon after arrival, we strolled over to La Rana and had a great lunch. My wife had a taco Árabe, I had an Árabe Gringa. We split and order of frijoles charros and an order of cebollitas. The salsa verde was really picante but the salsa colorada was extra rica. I had a beer and my wife had a Fanta orange.

                    For seconds, we spit an order of tacos al pastor, which were seasoned more intensely than the Árabes, but very beautiful.
                    Only the cebollitas were mildly disappointing. Not bad, but lacking char and sizzle.

                    The place was terrific, for in addition to very tasty food, it had animated activity and energy.

                    The bill totaled out to $92 MXN.

                    Across the street, kind of, is another branch of the same taquería.
                    Pictures are coming later.

                    On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a Pan de Zacatlán bakery. The product remaining on the self didn't appeal to me much, but a women was picking up an order of excellent looking tamales. One of the employees told me that the tamales were not especial to Zacatlán, but of Puebla. I'm heading back over there at 7:30 when the hot ones come out of the steamer. The bakery opens at 7:30 in the morning, and I'll be there to see what's fresh.
                    (Note that our hotel offers a free Continental breakfast, but I'm willing to skip that for good tamales or fresh pan dulce.)

                    1. re: Anonimo
                      Anonimo RE: Anonimo Dec 30, 2008 03:18 AM

                      We got 3, very large tamales, two de chile verde y queso, one of mole. They were sustaining, and tasty enough, but really, we've had better, if smaller tamales back in Pátzcuaro. These had a lot of masa, IMO.

                      I picked up some cheese-filled pan dulce. It reminded me of the sort of cheese Danish we used to get at Jewish bakeries in Brooklyn, NY. Other pan dulces await tasting.

                      Also got a couple of bottles of Sidrita, a pretty good apple cider from Zacatlán. It wasn't too sweet, which I liked.

                      1. re: Anonimo
                        r
                        RST RE: Anonimo Dec 30, 2008 06:25 AM

                        Here's a pic of those "(pan) relleno de queso" of Zacatlan, one of the most gorgeous towns of the hundred gorgeous towns in all Mexico. It is a city I love dearly. Zacatlan (in the Sierra Norte) is famous for its apples (and its apple ciders, as well as fruit liquors). This pic is from the famous Panaderia Pimentel. If I remember correctly, this bakery on 4 Ote. in Puebla (city) also has other breads like picadas, morelianas, almohadas, etc

                        http://www.periodicodigital.com.mx/in...

                  3. re: Anonimo
                    r
                    racheljana RE: Anonimo Dec 26, 2008 09:20 AM

                    Well, yes and no. I'm actually not the biggest fan of typical breakfasts (not a fan of pork or eggs). When I ate breakfast out it usually was a tamale from the street vendors, sliced up fruit and freshly squeezed juice. So, two places in particular if you are willing to do the street food thing. Again, these are not high-end places so the chance that they have closed, particularly with the recession upon us and Mexico, could be probable. But I hope not- for their economic sake and our gastronomic sake. :)

                    Juice. There juice stands open at 7:30 usually and close around 11ish (at least the street vendors). There is a guy right across from the plaza of Teatro Principal that has more than the average orange, mandarina and grapefruit selection. He is set up with about 6-9 jarras de jugo that can range from nogal juice, beet, strawberry and mango. Not particularly novel in Mexico or Puebla, but not too common at the price (I recall 7 for a cup and 15 for a liter!) he has and in a mobile booth. Anyhow, with your back to Teatro Principal, looking north, walk across 8 Oriente to another little plaza (Blvd 5 de Mayo will be to your right). That juice guy is under the big tree with his numerous jarras.

                    Tacos. So, a place that is only open for breakfast and has my favorite tacos in Puebla is another hole in the wall. They prepare handmade, thick blue corn tortillas (not too uncommon for street food) and fry nopales and potatoes (you can also get bistec) to put in these whooping big tacos. The nopal tacos are 12 pesos and the steak ones, I believe were 20. But they're enormous and so good. The customer service kind of sucks, and the cleanliness could even be questioned, but I think you'll be fine. (however, in my year and a half in Mexico I never got sick off of food, so I might have a stomach of steel- not that I want to jinx myself, since I'll be going back next week and eating at all of these described places). I still dream of these tacos, and as I type with a bowl of oatmeal next to me, and listening to my Chicago neighbors try to spin their cars out of the packed-up snow, I really can't wait to be enjoying these tacos in the sun of Puebla. :)

                    It is on 4 Sur (I'm nearly positive) and 13 Oriente. It is on the eastern side of the street and near the southern corner approaching 13 Oriente (I couldn't remember so I did some major sleuthing- comparing my photos and the direction of traffic to a map!!). It is in a bldg (so not a booth on the street), but their big frying area extends to the sidewalk. You should see a crowd. Get there early so as to not hear the words "ya no hay." Which happened to me on several occasions arriving at 10/10:30 and brought on grave disappointment. :)

                    Here are links to photos of the place:
                    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/...

                    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/...

                    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/...

                    1. re: racheljana
                      cristina RE: racheljana Dec 27, 2008 07:42 AM

                      Rachel, when you have a minute, send me an email: piensalo44@hotmail.com. I have a question, not about food.

                      Cristina
                      Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

              2. re: racheljana
                Anonimo RE: racheljana Dec 30, 2008 05:10 PM

                Tonight we wanted something lighter, so we walked out of the Hotel Imperial, turned east on 4 Ote, left and north at the next corner, 6 Nte, I think. The block had several places offering comida corrida. (This was like at 5:30 p.m.) We picked the one that was packed with people. It''s called "El Paraiso". There was a column "A" of choices at $35 and a column "B" for $40 MXN.

                Unfortunately, the Puerco en Pipián had run out. So I had instead the Enchiladas Poblanas, preceded by a light Consomé de Pollo con Verdura, a plate of Arroz Rojo, and followed by a very light gelatina dessert. My wife had much the same as I, except she chose Mole Poblano de Pollo. Came with tortillas AND bread, but I ate neither. There were supposed to have been frijoles, but we didn't miss them when they didn't come. We drank an agua de durazno, which was neither bad nor great, and tasted like it came from a concentrate or flavor powder.

                It wasn't a big deal, but it was very pleasant, and the lady who served us made sure we had everything we needed.

                After, we walked around Centro, first stopping by 2 or 3 dulcerías to sample and buy some items. At one I bought a "múengano", a ball of bread cubes stuck together in the manner of a popcorn ball. I haven't tried it yet. There are other shapes of these.

                On the way back to the hotel, I went into the Panadería San Pedro, and amongst the usual baked goods were unusual bread rolls. One had the shine of a bagel but was coiled in a spiral, and sprinkled with what looked like salt. A pretzel!?
                I bought a flour-dusted roll that vaguely resembles a bialy, without the dimple. The lady at the counter said it was a "pambazo". Not like the pambazo chile-dipped, fried tortas I've known.

                There were also flattish, dense looking rolls with sesame seeds on top, indented or partially cut in several more or less parallel lines. It was all intriguing, but there was no way we could eat them all, so we limited our purchase to the "pambazo" and some regular pan dulce.

              3. Anonimo RE: Anonimo Dec 26, 2008 03:30 PM

                Thanks to all for your responses. With this much information, I'll need twice as many days in Puebla.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Anonimo
                  r
                  RST RE: Anonimo Jan 21, 2009 10:38 AM

                  I just got into Puebla and am here only for a short day. Won´t have the time for much hounding either as I am pursuing several other things (books etc) while in the city. But since my first response to the original query concentrated on places close to Anonimo´s hotel on 4 Ote, I realized that there´s enough material already on this thread to map out, chowwise, the entirety of 4 Ote. and 4 Pte in the parts within the Centro Historico (that the best chow may not necessarily be found in the Centro Historico is another issue//here we just want to establish a basis for a discourse by mapping out this street, block by block//hopefully others will do the same and take on each one of the other streets in the Centro to suss out the best chow in each block).

                  In this case, we are talking about 4 Ote. limited on the east by Blvd 5 de Mayo and to 4 Pte limited on the west by 11 Nte.

                  Here´s the quick survey I did this morning to factcheck the info (that I had pulled from my head, without notes) when I first replied to Anonimo last Dec:

                  4 Pte:
                  At 11 Nte = Mercado Venustiano Carranza. As discussed in the parallel cemitas thread, this market has a large representation of stalls selling cemitas, several with links to stalls originally in the Mercado Victoria (the historic birthplace of the cemita, at least in its public form) before this market was converted into a mall. The As de Oros stalls (there are at least three of them) dominate. They are owned by diff brothers (the family´s from Tecalcingo. I had a cemita from one of them the last time and although the ingredients were excellent, the cemita was rather sloppily constructed. Today, I had for lunch an excellent cemita at ¨Cemitas¨Alex¨ made by Gerardo, the grandson of the owner of this stall-the milanesa was fried ä la minute¨, the quesillo was a little too thick for my taste but it was still very good. I made a list of all the stalls the last time and could put it down here later. The As de Oros brothers also have a barbacoa de borrego stall where one can buy very good barbacoa by the pound or sample this in the form of the traditional tacos de nana, tacos de buche etc There are several antojitos places, one Antojitos Lupita is owned by Gerardo´s mother (Lupita) who offers quesadillas, chanclas, chalupas etc There are also several fondas serving very traditional everyday dishes, eg albondigas in mole verde and so on. In my opinion, the fondas here are much better than the ones at Mercado El Alto which the city is trying to push as a tourist destination. One very traditional poblana dish which is not very well-known is the guasmole de zancarron which has my vote as the most suggestive, most intriguing name for any single dish in the Mexican repertoire (such a richly baroque word like zancarron conjoined with such a marvellous word from from the nahuatl as guasmole). Zancarron is the foreshank (or sometimes hindshank) of borrego prepared in a sauce of guaje seeds. It is related without a doubt to other dishes from this region such as the celebrated mole de caderas prepared during the period of the matanzas in Tehuacan (in that case, it is a stew of pelvic bone and espinazo in a sauce of guaje//always with guaje although in Tehuacan it is simply called mole-not guasmole-de caderas). I was remined of this dish today on my walk-through of the market as several of the stalls offer this on Sat and Sun. Also available as weekend specials are mixiotes. There are two bread specialists in this market, both displaying beautifully constructed mounds of cemitas at one of the entrances to the market along 11 Nte. These two are the sources of the cemitas (bread) of all the cemitas (sandwich) vendors in this market. Also several vendors of traditional sweets by entrance.

                  At 9 Nte. (south side of street)
                  is a bakery called La Holandesa with what looks like very good bread. (Untried)

                  Between 9 Nte and 7 Nte (south side of street):
                  The molotera I was talking about (and I think others open up later tonight//will check later) is across from 708
                  Papas El Carmen is at unnumbered storefront across from 712 And no, the boys who make those fantastic potato chips in those big vats of oil do not know the street number either.¨

                  At 5 Nte.
                  I was wrong. The place I was thinking about is not Tacos Tony (which I gave as the name above) but La Oriental. That´s the place I said has a traditional charcoal spit set right by the entrance, very accessible to those who want a close-up look. I had a short chat with the arabes-master (the s-pitmaster?) and he told me that this is actually the original La Oriental (!!!)(see above on La Oriental´s claim to the invention of tacos arabes) although there are now 20 or so of themin the city. This one is still owned by a ¨sobrino¨of one of the original owners. The taco arabe I had here was superb, really excellent example of the La Oriental style of tacos arabes (see short discussion above on this subject). For those who have only tried the tacos arabes at Rana, I would urge you to try this one as well to get a sense of the range of styles.

                  The lady from San Miguel Canoa was not in her usual place in front of the little park at 5 Nte this morning.

                  (To be continued)

                  1. re: RST
                    Anonimo RE: RST Jan 21, 2009 02:07 PM

                    Gracias, Richard; I'll be watching for more.

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