Postcard from Guanajuato, Mexico: Try to save room for an affogato

Pouring espresso over gelato for affogatos at Estacion Gelato

We had mourned the loss of Le Midi in Guanajuato, but were pleased to find a tasty newcomer had filled its lofty upstairs quarters – Costal Cultura Cafetera. Place an order for their croquetas while pondering choices. Both the tacos filled with tender octopus and the ceviche tostadas made great starters. The two variations of ancho chiles rellenos were rich in flavor, one filled with a ground beef mixture and the other with corn and cheese. The shrimp topping a salad with mangos were not abundant, but were perfectly cooked, and the chicken breast filled with spinach and goat cheese was flavorful and moist.

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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.

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Postcard from Merida, Mexico: A trio of restaurants for dining well

Above: Micaela Mar y Lena crudo de atun

Grilled seafood is the specialty at Cocina de Mar y Lena, a contemporary restaurant that seems a magnet for an upscale crowd of fashionable Mexicans arriving by the Uber-full, at least they were pre-COVID. The grilled shrimp and octopus were wonderful, and the refreshing raw tuna (above) just melted in your mouth.

Chef Sara Maria Arnaud Gomez combines the flavors of Oaxaca with those of the Yucatan at Apoala on the prime people-watching park of Santa Lucia. From ceviche and fried zucchini blossoms to dessert, everything was beautifully plated. Loved their mezcal mule cocktails with a smoky charred chunk of caramelized honeycomb riding atop the rim.

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