Mexican hot dogs

After our lunch at Teresita’s, we were all so full we decided not to go anywhere for dinner. Then we heard that the whole town congregates in the main square in the evenings, along with many food and drink hawkers and couldn’t resist going to have a look.

Luis’ mum was craving some corn on the corn, so we walked a couple of streets over to the square to see what we could find. The first few corn sellers were all sold out of corn (obviously popular, it was only 8pm and most people here eat a lot later in the evening) so we ended up at a hot dog stall.  Luis insisted we all try one, so we crowded around watching the sausages and onions being fried.

One corner of the town square

The hot dog stand

The sausages are wrapped in bacon and served in a light bun that has a slit cut into it, where the meat is placed. This is topped with fried onions and then your choice of 10 different condiments. I added tomato sauce, chipotle mayonnaise, cilantro sauce, salsa and chopped mushrooms to mine. The bread was really light and soft unlike the normal hot dog buns you get in the US. The sausage was a little too smooth and soft for my liking, I prefer ones that are packed with (real) meat, and I could barely tell that it was wrapped in bacon. All in all though, it was a great hot dog, full of different rich flavours and not too heavy or greasy.

Sausage wrapped in bacon

Alexia's hot dog with cilantro sauce, chopped mushrooms, cheese, salsa and American mustard

Sergio's hot dog with lardons, salsa verde, chili sauce and American mustard

In the meanwhile, Reyna, Aloysus and Paola had been hunting for corn and found some in the next square. They brought back several cups of it, off the husk and piping hot in a mixture of cream, butter and lime. The corn was very chewy (it’s white corn, which has a very different texture to the yellow corn I’m used to) and the sauce seemed like an odd combination but seemed to work well, though was a bit too heavy with all the cream in it.

I handed the cup over to Luis, who happily finished it off for me.

Chewy corn in a cup

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Next stop, Alamos!

Last night, after sleeping off our huge lunch, we decided to go and try some more tacos – this time, beef. It was raining (which is a rare occurrence, especially in this part of Mexico) as we dashed from the car into Luis’ favourite taco restaurant – this is normally his first stop from the airport when he arrives in Hermosillo.

Inside the taqueria

Some queso fundido as a starter

Luis ordered us some queso fundido to keep us going while we waited for the tacos to arrive. This version was a lot runnier and softer than the one we had before – a lesser quality cheese.

We each ordered 2 skirt steak tacos and went and chose from a big condiment station in the middle of the restaurant what we wanted to eat with them.

Steak tacos

I chose fresh salsa, cilantro mayonnaise, 3 kinds of chile sauce and salsa verde, which was a great accompaniment to the steak. It was simply grilled, still very pink and incredibly tender.

Adding condiments to our tacos

The condiment station

We washed it all down with a jug of horchata, which is made from rice milk, cinnamon and sugar. I found it a bit too sweet but it was quite refreshing.

After a night of tacos, we found ourselves back at Taco Fish this morning. This time we stuck to shrimp and I had three orders. Luis only had 2 as we had a 4 and a half hour drive ahead of us so he didn’t want to fall asleep. I have to say, I could get used to having tacos for breakfast.

The whole family set off for Álamos, a colonial town south of Hermosillo, near the state border, around 10 and arrived at our hotel, Hacienda de los Santos, (the house of the saints) a series of heritage buildings lovingly restored by it’s American owners, by 2.30.

Since every day seems to revolve around food (and rightfully so!) we immediately found the hotel restaurant, Agave café, and ordered lunch. The guacamole was served in a huge black lava bowl and we had a huge plate of nachos for the table. Simon and I shared a bowl of tortilla soup (which Luis told us he had put on the menu at Agave in Hong Kong) – a chicken broth base, chock full of tortilla chips, chicken, vegetables and avocado.  I ordered a beef salad, trying to opt for something a bit lighter, but it was huge and contained peppers, corn, beans, avocado, carrots and lots of rare beef all coated in a tangy chipotle and lime dressing.

Big bowl of salsa

Chicken fajita with peppers and beans

Beef salad

Tortilla soup

Collection of cowboy paraphernalia outside the restaurant

I heart Rolles de Canela

Simon and I went for an early breakfast, around 7am, and sat outside as it was still quite cool (well around 35 degrees or so). They brought us honeydew melon, papaya, watermelon and orange with a little bit of lime to squeeze over them. We ordered an omelette stuffed with sweet peppers, served with bacon, frijoles, potatoes and tortilla chips, and granola with natural fruit yoghurt and a freshly baked banana muffin that I smothered in homemade marmalade. It was sweet and rich, not the usual bitter flavour I normally associate with this kind of jam.

Early morning breakfast at Agave cafe in Hacienda

Omelette with bacon, frijoles and potatoes

After a walk up a nearby hill for a panoramic view of Alamos, we wandered around the town for an hour or so – we walked past cows, chickens, sleeping dogs, orchards of fruit and vegetable patches. We saw tortilla dough in one place being shaped and created by machine, and a few shops down being rolled out by hand. It’s a lovely little town full of colonial buildings and is remarkably well preserved because of all the Americans who holiday there.

Teresita's courtyard

We ended up having a late lunch and strolled in the baking sun to the other side of town, to a charming little bistro and bakery, Teresita’s. Behind the door, which doubled up as blackboard menu, was a small courtyard with a pond and a few outdoor tables. Inside, the walls were white washed, the ground was cement with hand painted carpet patterns on it, and stone boar’s head hung over a huge stone fireplace. The kitchen was entirely open and the wall at the end of it was covered in blue and white tiles.

We started with some freshly baked bread and whipped butter – a welcome change to the usual chips and salsa, and some fresh limonada.

The open kitchen - love the tiled walls

The first dishes to arrive were a gazpacho, a cold soup made from fresh tomatoes, chopped vegetables and herbs and copious amount of garlic and a Tarascan bean soup, a spicy pureed bean soup that was topped with avocado, cheese and croutons. The gazpacho was lovely and light, incredibly garlicky and had large chunks of avocado floating on top. It was a real contrast to the bean soup, which was incredibly rich and heavy and could have easily been a main course.

After this we tried an open face tartine sandwich – thick slices of ham and cheese over sun-dried tomatoes, a salad of chicken and artichoke soufflé and fresh crab cakes with tartar sauce.

The heavy bean soup - a meal all on it's own

Crab cakes

Deliciously refreshing gazpacho

Open face tartine sandwich

Chicken salad with artichoke souffle

We’d all been waiting for the end of the meal as the counter was lined with so many incredible looking desserts and baked goods. We ordered a few to share. First up was a flourless chocolate and almond torte, which was dense, moist, and surprisingly slightly bitter; following that was a dark chocolate mousse with a hint of cointreau and placed in a crunchy brown sugar bowl, which reminded me of brandy snaps you find in New Zealand that are piped with fresh cream. There was also a mango version of the mousse and this was incredibly light and fluffy, packed full of chunks of mango – this reminded me of mango puddings in Hong Kong and was a better pairing with the brown sugar bowl than the chocolate version.

We also tried a triangular shaped scone with clotted cream and homemade jam. The real star of the show however, was the Rolles de Canela or cinnamon roll. The first one was polished off in and under a minute so a second was quickly ordered. It was perfectly warm, the dough light and airy, drenched in a sticky cinnamon sugar sauce.

I want another one of these Rolles de Canela right now!

Dark chocolate and almond torte

Dark chocolate mousse

Lovely vintage cutlery

Luis and I agreed that when we were back in Hong Kong we’d spend an afternoon trying to make these rolls, and that we’d try variations on them as well – chocolate and almonds, salt caramel and milk chocolate, cranberry, nutmeg and cinnamon! Can’t wait to start experimenting!

Limonada

Baguettes on sale in the bakery