Friday, May 21, 2010

Guanajuato - A Web of Eye Candy

Our next stop was the convoluted city of Guanajuato. When I said Morelia was charming, I had no idea what was in store for us in Guanajuato. This city was originally built over a network of rivers, which eventually dried up and morphed into roads and tunnels. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the order of streets - it's devoid of any type of grid system, no real spokes to speak of - it's just a mess of roads haphazardly arranged atop tunnels which are also incoherently woven together. You drive in one tunnel and have no idea where it will spit you out. Basically, once we made it through the outer maze of tunnels, we parked the van and didn't even attempt to move it until we left the city four days later.
The city of Guanajuato (also the name of the state) is a colorful college town full of wifi cafes, cute clothing shops, an ungodly amount of zapaterias (shoe stores), and an ideal place for photographers - professionals and amateurs alike. Honestly, I do not consider myself anything more than a gal with a piss poor camera, but this city made me feel like a fairly decent photographer. Guanajuato was complete and utter eye candy.
After we parked the van, we spotted a park nearby with food carts stationed along the pedestrian pathways. I indulged once again in my newfound cooked food downfall - steamed garbanzo beans. I mixed one of the bags with lime juice and fresh salsa that came with Evan's tacos.
Parts of the city looked like it could collapse at any second.
A tree growing out of the wall.
Pigeons had taken over the stone wall cubby holes. 
Once we got "downtown", we went into a wifi café called Bagel Cafetín (blurry photos. boo).
It's tucked away down one of the many callejones (tiny alley ways) for which Guanajuato is known.
One of the Mexican beverage staples is a blended water drink called frutas de agua. You can choose from any type of fruit or sometimes combinations of fruits blended with water. I tried the cucumber water (agua de pepino) here and Evan got the kiwi water (agua de kiwi). Both were excellent (the kiwi was better). We came back to this café a few more times while we were here and I tried a cucumber-kiwi combination - also, not quite as good as the plain kiwi water. Try it at home! It's incredibly refreshing.

Down the way, the majestic Teatro Juarez stands high and proud. The steps of this famous theater are a popular college hangout.
This is a building/church next to the Juarez Theater. 
We considered hiking up the hill to this statue.
But then we never got around to it.
Another church.
A callejone leading to a restuarant.
Restaurant Taberna
Our first salad bar discovery in Mexico at a restaurant called El Midi.
The only thing raw in the entire salad bar was the lettuce! Haha.
Evan's plate:
My plate:
There were some cous cous salads, cooked cauliflower and broccoli, roasted beet salad, sautéed squash and green beans, sweet loaves of bread like pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, etc. It was an interesting salad bar. I believe it was French inspired. I could be making that up. 

Anyway, that salad didn't come close to satiating me with all that cooked food. Oddly enough, cooked food doesn't fill me up the way raw food does. You'd think it would be the opposite (and it was when I first began my raw food journey). I thought cooked food was more dense and filling. As my raw food helpings got bigger and bigger (mostly salads), my cooked food cravings started to diminish. Now my body craves the vitamins and minerals in my giant salads and green smoothies - a void that cooked food just doesn't fill. If I do choose to eat a cooked meal, I'll always try to eat a salad with it as well (or bring a head of lettuce along with me to the restaurant). 

I believe I ended up making another veggie paté in the van that night and paired it as a dip with sliced beets. 
The next day I went to the Mercado Hidalgo, a large covered market, to retrieve some fruits and veggies. Again, I saw these strange looking herbs and barks.
I decided to sprout some fresh raw garbanzo beans. To avoid the mold factor that comes with jar sprouting and living in a van that reaches temperatures in the 100s, I opted to try out the nut milk bag instead. The nut milk bag will allow the sprouts to breathe a little bit better. 
I de-podded the raw garbanzo beans into the nut milk bag. Then I let the nut milk bag soak in a bowl of water overnight. You could let the beans soak overnight and then put them in the nut milk bag in the morning if you prefer. 

While the garbanzo beans were soaking, I started making dinner. New recipe! I'm finding that many of my new recipe discoveries come out of well-intentioned recipe making gone awry. For example, the veggie hummus I wanted to make turned into the Halfway Veggie Party Paté due to power failure. Similarly, I wanted to try a variation of the veggie paté with raw english peas instead of raw or steamed garbanzo beans, but the power died almost immediately after I threw the ingredients in the food processor. I ended up with a salad rather than a paté, but it was a fantastic fusion of Asian and Mexican cuisine. 

Here's the breakdown:
1 cup of english peas, de-podded.
1 zucchini, chopped
2 handfuls of spinach
1 carrot, chopped
1 handful of parsley
1 thai chili
1 jalepeno
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 stalk of celery, sliced
1 lime, juiced
1 cup of pineapple, cubed
chili powder and sea salt to taste

I de-podded the english peas (roughly 1 cup peas):
I threw in some chopped zucchini, parsley, spinach, and hot peppers.
Then the peas.
Then the garlic.
Then the carrots and the lime juice.
Then I was about to blend it all up into a paté or veggie crumble, but the power shut off almost immediately. So I added some pineapple and spices and ended up with:
 Ensalada de Asia-Mexicano
It was really delicious. It would've been great with some soy sauce, tamari, ume plum vinegarEden Foods Selected, Ume Plum Vinegar, 10 fl oz (296 ml) by ClubNatural, and some preservative free chili sauce. Yawm. 

I've been buying juice every morning. It's so cheap here! It's like $3 for 24 oz of fresh carrot juice.
I thought this was a neat find.
Cafe Tál places a chair pad on the steps and uses it as a seat. Rad.
A fruit cup with lime juice and chili powder.
Guanajuato is the former home of artist Diego Rivera or at least the former city and house where he was born. We paid 20 pesos each to view his four-story house.

One floor of furniture and three floors of art.
Me in Diego Rivera's house.
The view from the top of Diego Rivera's house.
More photos of Guanajuato.
This is the amazing Mercado Hidalgo - a patchwork of stands ranging from fruits & veggies, meat & cheeses to crafts, hats, instruments, postcards, and other gifts.
View from the second story:
We scored.
That night we checked out the highly touted Bar Fly.
This photo - compliments of Evan.J.Wilson Photography
Thanks, Ev.

Teatro Juarez at night.
Pork rinds and salsa come with the beer.
The 'banzo sprouts.
The following day we left Guanajuato.
Next stop: San Miguel De Allende where we had a random run-in with one of Evan's college friends and a tour of the house she has been living in for the last six months.


  1. Thanks for sharing & allowing us to travel mexico vicariously thru u :)

    hearts & hugs,
    mary & danny sparrow

    ps - we miss ya'll!

  2. Aw, we miss you, too, Happy Sparrow. We'll see you in October.