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Jun 16, 2009 11:46 PM

La Marquesa: A meal in the Pine Forest of Estado de México

Traveling the road in between the state capital of Toluca and Distrito Federal will surely destroy many Americans middle school Mexican geography education. Their tan sand, blinding sun in bright blue sky and scattered green cactus stereotype of this country is instead replaced by lush green fields, fragrant beautiful pine trees and the occasional trout farm.

Popular amongst weekending chilangos escaping their city's urbanity is La Marquesa - a collection of roadside restaurants situated in the foothills as you near Toluca.
The shining local roots food served here makes US highway diner 'cuisine' look like barely passable dog food.

When you stop you are flagged down by the multiple neighboring restaurants to stop at their place - each painted with the many options of dishes they are able to prepare for you [conejo, trucha, escamoles, sopa azteca, chammoro etc etc]. Once you find the most matronly cocineras you park in front of their resto-cabin and enter.

The food available is proudly displayed and made known to you verbally once you sit down. Your order is responded by the inextricable scents and sounds of the Mexican kitchen - hand patting of fresh blue corn masa, beans bubbling away, chorizo frying.

This was going to be my last meal in Mexico after an admirable 4 day meet DF trip and it left me with that exact strong impression I hoped for.

I ordered the Sopa Azteca - a tomato guajillo broth resplendent with smoky toasted tortilla and topped with generous crackling chicharron, melting quesillo and soft anisey avocado.The kind of dish that makes your soul just crumble with pleasure.

With this came my blue corn tacos of blood sausage, huitlacoche and flor de calabaza with requeson. The moranga was like tasting it for the first time; so impressive and so close to the charcuterie center of Mexico in Toluca. Only in Mexico.

La Marquesa for me was breathtaking food in and equally breathtaking environment. It gave me that extra hard last slap to get my self back to Mexico as soon as I can.

Cabana El Manatial
La Marquesa, Edo. de Mexico
Rte Toluca - DF

More of that 'breathtaking' environment: : o)

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    1. re: streetgourmetla

      Thanks street, I was hoping you could add your take on our meal here. La Marquesa is a special place - I can't thank you enough for bringing me here and introducing me to its extraordinary hwy food.

      Here's street's first report on La marquesa guys:

    2. When I lived in D.F. I weekended a lot in Malinalco and would pass La Marquesa. At first I thought it was odd to see so many vendors so far from anywhere, so I gave it a try. Subsequently, I would plan my trips so that I would be passing by at mealtime, for a caldo de borrego, or cabrito, or just tacos. A special place, indeed.
      The pricey toll to and from DF (about $8 round trip) limits working class family trips from DF, (maybe there's also a libre road?) but it is definitely a destination for families from Toluca.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Veggo

        We were on the libre. The sopa de hongos(wild mushroom soup)was spicy, so naturally flavored with perfectly integrated mushrooms.I saw the produce in a Farmer's Market earlier that day, so it was a nice market to table experience for me.

        I also discovered that these stands make their own hooch.I tasted a homemade absinth and a licor de guayaba.Old liquor and other bottles are used to package the product. For 40 pesos I got a whole bottle of absinth, proof unknown, that was killer.You should have seen me beg for Volaris to let me take it on the plane.The gauyaba licor was tasty too, and they had a viscious kick, but not harsh at all.

        Blue corn quesadilla of requeson with its naturally saltiness mixed with the elegant blue corn.These paraderos(bus stops) get traffic both ways, and the buses and transports go there too.

      2. Oh My Gosh,

        Beautiful descriptions of your trip and beautiful pictures - you make me ache to visit.

        Thanks, GJ

        1. This sounds and looks amazing. Great report.

          1. Late Tuesday afternoon I was on the bus from Morelia to the DF, passing through La Marquesa, and smiled at the memory of this post. I was peering out the window to see if I could see Cabaña El Manantial, but no. One of these days, we'll take the car to La Marquesa!