Eating in Veracruz
I am reposting this here as a response to a question from a hound on another board about eating in Veracruz (the mods asked me to move it). I'd love to hear of other people's experiences eating in Veracruz.
I hadn't been to Veracruz in about 10 years, and I had forgotten how good the food was in that region. To start, where I was (Orizaba), on each table they put a salsa macha, which sometimes comes encacahuatada - both are amazing, though the latter was truly wonderful - nutty, spicy, smoky, and salty. I brought some back to share with my husband so that we can figure out how to make it ourselves. Definitely different than the salsas that are more typical for DF. Another highlight of the trip was the coffee, which was always good - strong and smooth.
But what struck me most were the sauces used on the main dishes, all of which were full of unique but balanced flavors. Even a simple salsa verde was super-flavorful. My favorite meals were a pollo stuffed with jamaica, with a slightly creamy purplish salsa on top - it was a bit sweet and a bit sour. The salsa likely had been been made with jamaica, but my husband later told me that there is a berry from that region that they may have used as well that gave it both the color and slightly sour flavor. REALLY good. The other dish that was very memorable was a pollo en salsa limon, which suprised me because the salsa limon had been cooked with chunks of red pepper, onion, and melon (cantaloupe), all served in a 'bowl' of iceberg lettuce. It was a beautiful, colorful dish, and delicious as well. I'm not usually one for cremas, but the crema de elote and crema de esparragos turned me on to cremas. I'll add that every meal was between $5-$8, including drinks, so I wasn't eating fancy (though not at absolute dives either). Many restaurants were advertising mole de panza, which I didn't try but which must be a regional specialty (perhaps b/c Orizaba is so near Puebla?).
The only bad meal I had was a place someone recommended for the colonial atmosphere - it was a bit of a scene, with bad, overpriced food, weak coffee, and poor service.
The entire trip was truly a dining treat!
Thanks so much for this. I don't think we'll get up to Orizaba, but I'm sure we'll find interesting food. I was in Veracruz a couple years ago and visited several vendors growing and roasting coffee. The Mexican beans were unexcpectedly good, they had a nice mellow richness to them.
I can recommend (and have over the past few years) an excellent restaurant in Veracruz featuring, oddly enough, Italian food: http://www.ilveneziano.com.mx/inicio..... I learned about it on the TT from John Todd, Jr. And it was by far the best food we had in the Veracruz area. Their "specialty" is robalo, specifically: " fresco lomo de robalo horneado en su costra de sal marina."
I found the touted downtown and "on the water" restaurants featuring jaiba to be rather pathetic.