Winter Break in Chapala

Okay. Christmas and New Year are behind us.

In Chapala, the decorations have come down. The manger has been removed and stored for next season.

Carnival is still a few weeks away.

It’s quiet here, and just wonderful.

It’s the dry season. Pretty much every day the sun is shining and the clouds are puffy white. The evenings and early mornings are crisp and cool, dipping down into the low 60s. The day warms pretty quickly and by mid-morning we’re in the 70s.

Just in time for a walk along the malecon. The malecon is sleek and sparse during January. The rides that populated it during New Year’s have moved out until their return for Carnival.

Every day we look forward to seeing the pelicans on the lake. They’re a study in grace and patience. And seeing them every day, we observe some of their nuances. It seems that each season their behavior changes at least slightly.

Last season, a large flock hung out on the pier at the Yacht Club, just off the malecon area.

This year, they’re hanging out on the breakwater on the east side of the malecon.

And there’s a large flock over on the west side of the malecon by some stairs that dip down into the lake. Fishermen stop by here to give fish to the pelicans. They know where to hang out!

They are such elegant, graceful birds, providing a peaceful, easy feeling right before our eyes every day.

Life is good in Chapala!

On the Trail of the Taco Chronicles Part 5

On our last day of the trail (at least for the present), we visited the el centro of Uruapan and visited the featured taco vendor.

Downtown Uruapan was quite impressive. Of course, there was a cathedral, actually several, and a large central park.

Not surprisingly on a Sunday morning, folks here were worshiping.

The el centro park was lovely, a tree and bench filled stretch of land providing a respite from the bustle of the city.

Most fascinating to me was the long line, a very long line, of shoeshine booths. How often do you see people wearing shoes these days that can even be shined? I guess they do here in Uruapan.

After visiting another city park, we headed over to our final food stop, Carnitas As de Oros.

In the Taco Chronicles, we’re introduced to this restaurant by one of the chefs at Cocina M, the upscale restaurant in Uruapan that we visited and recounted here. The chef came here to source their meat that she would then use to make dumplings (which were very yummy!).

She spoke with the gerente (manager) of the store and finally here I got to meet one of the “stars” of the Taco Chronicles.

We proceeded to enjoy a simple and scrumptious meal: a plate of pork, tortillas, and salsa.

Wonderful food and meeting a star. What a day!

Remember the film crew I wrote of in the last post on the Taco Chronicles? They informed me that a second season of the show was in the works. I sure hope so.

And I hope that we’re able to visit more of the locations and sample the foods from the first season.

We loved it!

On the Trail of the Taco Chronicles Part 4

Leaving Morelia, we headed for Uruapan, planning to enjoy some more great food and hoping to meet at least one of the people making these wonderful tacos that were featured in the show. [If you need to catch up on our Taco Chronicles adventure, you can do so here and here and here.]

We arrived in Uruapan in the middle of the afternoon and after some wondering around, we found our hotel. A lovely place called Pie de la Sierra, a little ways out of town and up on one of the surrounding mountains. We did have a spectacular view however.

It’s a rustic kind of place. Log cabin-y. Nice and clean and well-appointed.

We headed into town with an objective of arriving at Cocina M, the upscale restaurant featured in the series, around 7PM. Alas, sometimes Google Drive seems to get confused and we ended up driving in the wrong direction for some miles before realizing our error and backtracking. We did learn, however, on this wild goose chase that Uruapan is the avocado capital of Mexico. Mile after mile of avocado trees lined the highway. No avocados in bloom, but at least we can think of it as we enjoy the avocados we buy at the local mercado.

Finally, we found Cocina M.

I’ve eaten at a few fine restaurants in my life. Not many, but at least a few. Emeril’s at the MGM in Las Vegas. Le Cirque in New York City. And Cocina M was right up there.

Cocina M features some classic Mexican food with a twist and a flourish.

Not long after we ordered a group of young men and women, about 20 in total, were seated at a large table not far from us. Our neighbor thought they were cartel guys. At one point, a more senior man came over to their table and addressed them all. Were they or weren’t they? Not sure, to be sure.

The next morning we headed up to the (free) breakfast buffet at the hotel. And who should I run into but a few of the guys who had been at that other table at Cocina M. Turns out they were a film crew shooting a documentary in the area and were celebrating the end of shot with a splash-out dinner.

They did me the honor of pointing out which of the breakfast choices had a lot of spice. Just what I want!

Welcome to Mexico!



Happy New Year from and in Chapala

Just after Christmas, a new addition to the malecon started construction.

In fact, right next to the Chapala sign.

I don’t know if the new addition is in honor of the symmetry of the year or if 2020 is the anniversary of a significant event in the history of Chapala.

Still, it’s always interesting to watch changes on the malecon.

Of course, the sign got a paint job.

And then it was shrouded, awaiting the celebratory unveiling.

Meanwhile, a few banners appeared around town announcing a big dance on New Year’s Eve starting at 10PM. Interestingly enough, the banners didn’t say where.

But it seemed that everyone knew.

On New Year’s Eve, having just returned from Guadalajara, our neighbors and I walked down to the malecon. Oddly, the thoroughfare next to us was empty. Usually when events are happening on the malecon, it’s jammed.

And the eastern side of the malecon was empty. But we heard music and saw a stage and lots of lights by fisherman’s pier. Sure enough, the party was there and rockin’ and rollin’.

We found standing room amidst table after table of Mexican families replete with food and drink, listening to the music and waiting for the big countdown.

Mexicans do know how to party.

Sure enough, there was a countdown, diez, nueve, ocho, seite, seis, cinco, cuatro, tres, dos, uno!

Cheering and hugging and hooting and hollaring ensued. Along with the biggest sparklers I’ve ever seen. And the 2020 addition to the Chapala sign on the pier was unveiled.

Of course, there were fireworks, lovely as always.

We even got souvenirs to take home!

On New Year’s Day, the malecon was totally packed despite blustery, cool weather. Still, everyone seemed to be enjoying the start of the new year.

We wish you all the best in 2020!