Postcard from Guanajuato, Mexico: While we spent a year home cooking, chefs did not lose their touch

Above: Tartar de atun en chile viejo at Mestizo

Memories of a great classic margarita and appetizers from the sea drew us back to one of our standbys in Guanajuato – Mestizo. The presentation of tender tuna tartare, crowned by an ancho chile overflowing with more, is stunning. Octopus carpaccio arrives in a bath of the fruit of the nopal and dried chiles, and tostadas topped with shredded duck salpicon were satisfying. Both salmon and bass are cooked to perfection, and even pedestrian-sounding soups provided surprisingly savory, less filling, options.

The level of service found at Casa Mercedes, tucked away in a neighborhood above Hotel Castillo Santa Cecilia, is legendary, as are the authentic Mexican dishes produced by Chef Jesus Cardenas. The luscious chiles rellenos en nogada would easily merit approval by the most persnickety of judges of the council reigning over the official dish of Puebla, and the pork shank was falling off-the-bone tender. Cannot for the life of me remember what the crispy cheese mock chicharrones were filled with, aside from the fact I would have like to have three orders of the appetizer and count them as my main course. Even the humble corn tortilla was elevated to artistic presentation at Casa Mercedes.

Oggling the photographs has left me feeling full for now, so will have to return later with one final food post from Guanajuato.

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