MEXICO IN CABO
Breakfast and Marketing Tour
It’s only very recently that we are able to find Mexico right here in Cabo! The incredibly hardworking men who came to build our beautiful five-star resort, mostly from southern Mexico, pioneered Cabo behind the scenes while living in very rough conditions for years. Then, within the last five years or so, we finally reached a state of civilization that allowed the women and children to join them… naturally bringing along treasured comfort foods and cooking traditions!
This is why only recently the demand for Mexican foods and products has been great enough for major Mexican supermarket chains like Soriana and Chedraui to stake a claim in Cabo, competing fiercely for the recently arrived hordes of Mexican shoppers! As a result, we now have access to an incredible array of traditional ingredients that ten years ago were a dream come true only on trips to mainland Mexico – until recently it would have been impossible to establish the Casa de Colores for lack of basic ingredients!
The Breakfast and Marketing tour takes in the rapidly evolving traditional Mexican food scene in Cabo, including the typical Mexican supermarkets that serve the role played by traditional markets on the mainland.
The tour begins with a traditional ranch breakfast at Casa de Abuela. Casa de Abuela is a family run enterprise using recipes handed down by Abuela (Grandmother) who still resides on the family ranch in Pescadero. We then continue to explore the markets and food sources in Cabo San Lucas.
SORIANA AND SENDERO PLAZA
Soriana is a major grocery and department chain, Mexico's second largest retailer headquartered in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The year 2003 changed the face of Cabo forever with the grand openings of Soriana, Costco and the CCC supermarket, which had long served Cabo with an excellent selection of American products only a two hour drive away in La Paz...
In December 2009 Cabo changed yet again with the even grander opening of Plaza Sendero, of the popular chain of shopping malls located in virtually every major Mexican city, generally featuring full service restaurants, banks and retail outlets. Soriana is the southern anchor, and the state-of-the-art Cinepolis theaters hold down the north end.
Soriana caters to Mexican shoppers with a comfortable, traditional feel to its departments. A prime example is the panaderia, perhaps Cabo’s most impressive array of pan dulce, bolillos, teleras, pan de pulque, cookies, cakes… and of course its beautiful display of Mexican chocolate to wash it all down.
Just before we reach the bakery are the traditional cheeses and sausages featuring loops of beautiful chorizo and longaniza hung out to dry behind gleaming counters. This is where we find mole pastes, condiments and jams, as well as a good selection of dried fruits, seeds and traditional candies, all offered in bulk.
Bodegas de Oaxaca produces quality pottery dishes and cookware at excellent prices, and Soriana keeps a good stock year round along with tortilla presses, comales, tamale steamers and lime squeezers… a great place to stock a traditional Mexican kitchen!
Chedraui was founded in 1927 by a Xalapa, Veracruz couple, opening their first supermarket in Xalapa in 1971. It is now Mexico's fourth-largest retailer with about 90 self-service Chedraui stores operating in competition with major grocers and hypermarkets like Soriana and Walmart.
In 2010, when they bought out the time-honored Centro Comercial Californiana (CCC) which had performed so long and so faithfully, we were all skeptical that Chedraui could ever take its place in our hearts and shopping carts. However, after a major overhaul which included super-cool basement parking with electric ramps which magically grab your cart.
Chedraui is very traditional, but continues to stock many of the American products which are still in great demand. The impressive cheese department, continually stocks all the essentials plus special items like artesanal cheeses from Chiapas. Like Soriana, they keep a nice bulk department with seeds, nuts and dried fruits as well as marmalades and mole pastes.
Fruits and vegetables run to the traditional Mexican, including popular items like jicama, chayote, platano macho (plantain)… and of course a full-time nopalero, the man who does nothing but stand and clean perfect, fresh cactus paddles for consumption in soups, salads and salsas! Very recently, all the big stores have begun to stock traditional herbs like epazote, an essential for southern Mexicans cooking far from home.
Chedraui has the best selection of dried chiles, several of which can be found in bulk, along with jamaica and Mexico’s fabled cone-shaped brown sugar, piloncillo, among other wonders.
It became apparent that we had truly joined the Mexican Republic the first time we set foot in El Mexicano, a true artesanal tortillera producing fresh nixtamal masa daily.
There’s even a verb for it. Nixtamalization refers to the process of soaking and cooking hard starchy field corn in a solution of alkaline lime, after which it can be hulled. Corn which has been nixtamalized has several benefits over unprocessed grain. Its nutritional value is significantly increased, as is its flavor and fresh corn aroma, and it is much easier to grind.
The four women who work seven days a week at El Mexicano, grinding fresh hot nixtamal into the finest corn masa for making tortillas, antojitos de masa and tamales, are my true heroes. It’s the difference between Wonder bread and homemade whole grain bread.
Throughout Mexico women like these work tirelessly on the streets and in small hole-in-the-wall eateries, feeding a nation for almost no money – and what food! Eat even a simple tortilla sprinkled with salt from El Mexicano, and you feel satisfied, well fed, as if you had gone home to eat mom’s cooking for lunch!
It is a privilege to have a quality traditional tortilleria like this in our community. They are increasingly hard to find even on the mainland of Mexico….
Carnitas “Los Michoacanos” was founded in 1899 in San Bartola, near the capital city of Morelia in Michoacán, arguably Mexico’s most beautiful state which produces excellent pork.
Today Los Michoacanos creates a traditional Mexican family ambience with great service for all of their many visitors. You will always find the freshest quality pork cooked to perfection in the old way, every piece tender and juicy, chopped by dedicated professionals and served with fresh hand made tortillas and homemade salsas and condiments. And don’t forget the beans! Can you beat a big pot of tender beans cooked with pork?
There are now five locations in Los Cabos, most of which have special areas for kids to play while the grownups enjoy their meal. There is live music every Sunday at the San Lucas location in front of the Sendero Plaza mall.
PAN DE NATA DE TLAXCALA
Tlaxcala’s rich and famous pan de nata is made from clotted cream similar to Devonshire cream. It is traditionally served at fiestas like Texcoco’s Horse Fair during the first days of March, and the Cotton Fair of San Luis Potosi. It is artisanal bread from the state of Tlaxcala, Mexico’s tiniest state that nestles into a comfortable border with Puebla, also renowned for its gastronomy. It is a tradition that is passed on within families, and we are blessed with an authentic Tlaxcala bakery right here in Cabo
To learn more about how to do this tour in Cabo Check out Casa de Colores School of Traditional Mexican Cooking at http://casadecolores.wordpress.com/