Monday, September 14, 2009

Patriotic Street Food

One year ago, Nick and I were in a such a state of disorientation that we failed to embrace the festive atmosphere in the weeks leading up to September 16th, Mexico's Independence Day. Taxis and buses waving flags from their windows and buildings lit up and decorated in patriotic colors. I remember seeing street carts selling flags, pins, and toys in red, white, and green, and I vaguely heard about pozole (hominy soup) and chiles en nogada (stuffed poblano chile in a walnut cream sauce). Once we figured out what chiles in nogada was, the season had passed (yes, chiles en nogada has a season -- as if it's produce -- and it's only in September), and we looked forward to this year when chiles en nogada would reappear.

Well, chiles en nogada and I walked into each other lives, literally. On Sunday, while taking a stroll down a street I know very well, I noticed an older lady with a food stall right in my path. I thought, "Hmm...she's never been here before. Not only is she in my way but so are a lot of other people, and now she's made me hungry." Having seen the rice and ground meat, I had a hunch she was selling the elusive chiles en nogada.

Let me tell you that this was the best-ever street food find, and quite possibly one of the best dishes I've ever tried. With the walnut cream sauce, pomegranate, almond slivers, raisins, and pieces of fruit, it tasted very Mediterranean. But then again, the stuffed poblano was very Mexican. It was very intriguing, and the accompanying rice was a little too good. Never mind that we had just eaten breakfast 30 minutes earlier, and never mind that Nick's stomach was having a fit, I can never pass up a street food opportunity such as this.

Before September ends, and like many others, I am on a mission to eat this as many times as I can, especially because I missed nearly half a month of it already. I liken it to my obsession with eating as many turkey-related dishes and pumpkin pie around Thanksgiving and Christmas before a 10-month dry spell.

If you count points with Weight Watchers, chiles en nogada may be the only meal you can eat for one week. And, if you choose to sop up the nearly one cup of cream with a piece of bread (as is the practice), this may be your only meal for a month.


  1. I'm like you last year I was to scared to go out alone and my head was still in a whirl from moving here. In Tepa they have festivities every evening downtown. From dancers to people climbing a pole with lard on it. So tonight we are going downtown to see when everything is happening. I plan on me and the girls experiencing everything we can even if hubby is at work. Good luck eating as much as you can. You should find out what the festivities are.

  2. Ha, love your caption. You just need to add "If you count points with Weight Watchers and you live in Mexico in general, you are hosed."

    Amanda-- climbing a pole with lard on it??? When is this happening & why haven't I seen it??? I love it. This sounds as good as greased pig catching in the midwest. ;)

  3. southern living hope you don't mind me answering this one on your post.
    Midwesterner-They do it downtown (Tepatitlan), there are prizes at the top of the pole. And your right about the greased pigs. When I saw this here I told my husband how I did that once at our towns 4th July fair. I don't think hes ever heard a better "get er done" tale. lol

  4. Chiles en Nogada are wonderful!!! And as for the calories... I guess that's why we only have them once a year ;)

  5. Amanda -- Not sure if you have something like this in Tepa, but the entire military comes out and parades down Reforma on the 16th. And if you see the lard pole, do take pictures and post them.

    Julie -- As I like to say, "If you count points with Weight Watchers and you live in Mexico in general, you are eh-screwed."

    Alice -- I've been looking for chiles en nogada, but finding them is harder than I thought. And the lady from Sunday isn't there anymore. Maybe she moved her business closer to the Zocalo.