Eating Our Way Through Puebla

Tom and I recently spent a week in Puebla, a colonial Mexican city that charmed us with outgoing people, Parisian-inspired architecture, a low key vibe, and above all – food. After growing accustomed to a fairly narrow spectrum of culinary choices, the sheer abundance and diversity of cheap street food in Puebla kept us eating…and eating…and eating. So much so that we began to draw skeptical looks from our CouchSurfing host Alma and fellow guest Markus. Before long, we were warmly christened “the crazy fucking cyclists” and met with a resigned shake of the head each time we scampered over to the next food stand to sample any novel nibbles on display.

Unsurprisingly, our bike adventure has served to unlock (or perhaps just encourage) our natural eating abilities. Had we stayed in Seattle, the prevalence of artisanal goat cheese and ironic cocktails would surely have continued to lure us towards the endemic legions of foodie aficionados. In Mexico on the other hand, one can’t help but embrace a sort of food egalitarianism. The sheer multitude of dishes that the beloved market grannies routinely concoct with corn, beans, and chiles alone stand as a testament to Mexico’s proud culinary history.

Like good cyclists, we are doing our best to support said market grannies by eating anything and everything we can. The pesos we save by camping and avoiding the big tourist attractions are inevitably spent on eating ourselves into a food coma at every opportunity. Accordingly, the following is an overview of our week in Puebla, as told by our stomachs. Enjoy!

The Basics
Corn, most often in tortilla form, is the basis for all Mexican food. White corn, blue corn, yellow corn, red corn – you name it. According to the locals, more than 200 varieties of corn are grown in Mexico. We regret to inform you that we have only tried a handful. The slap-slap-slap of corn tortillas being made has been called “the heartbeat of Mexico,” and a rolled up tortilla and a spoon are considered the only two utensils you really need.

A Vacation from the Vacation

It’s 9:00AM, and Tom and I are mentally preparing ourselves to board our second flight of the day – from San Francisco back to La Paz. The SFO terminal is mostly deserted, but occasionally a wave of Californians bustles off a red-eye, each sporting a getup that effortlessly exudes casual-chic. In my mind, they’re all headed off to high-paying, fast-paced jobs at Google. Yes, this is ridiculous, but after nearly four months on the road we are decidedly un-hip. Tom would need a once-over with a pair of shears and a lot of hair gel to ever have a chance with those esteemed Googlers. And my new blue raincoat, hiking shorts, and filthy Rainbows basically scream intruder. Not that we ever were hip, but three hours at SFO can really drive the point home.

In addition to our blatant lack of hip, but we have slowly descended into blogging apathy. This is partially attributable to the fact that we’ve been living off the bikes for a month, soaking in the humid heat and beautiful sunsets of La Paz on two feet rather than two wheels. Our day-to-day has been somewhat stagnant, at least compared to the ever-changing scenery of our first two months on the road. But a lot of fun happened too – we got dive certified, the Germans won the World Cup, my Spanish is finally turning a corner. A La Paz post is forthcoming.

And then we absconded back to the Pacific Northwest, where a one week visit stretched out into a two week indulgence. We promised ourselves that we would use at least a few hours of our extra week to get up to speed with the blog. We then managed to use most of those hours enjoying those little pleasures that were unattainable in La Paz: the ability to be outside between the hours of 11:00AM and 6:00PM, a cool breeze, good coffee in the morning, and the easy companionship of friends and family. Long story short, we have a lot to catch up on.

The good news is that we will be back on the bikes on Thursday, bound for mainland Mexico. This means a little more adventure in our daily lives, and hopefully a resurgence of blog-worthy inspiration. In the meantime, we’ve put together a simple map to illustrate our travels thus far (it works better if you view it full screen). We’ll keep it updated in the Our Progress tab up top as we wind our way south!