Jeff Smith noon, Oct. 6
Welcome to Pozolandia!
So after all the sightings of food for the dead, I’m kinda dying for some food myself.
Come across this place near Sixth...
...with lots of talk and chat...
...and the bubble of soup in cauldrons. Okay, saucepans.
“Pozole,” says the lady. Maggie, inside.
The place is called Pozolandia (1002, Revolución Avenue, Tijuana, 011-52-664-685-2848).
Oh, I get it. A pozole place.
Maggie -- Margarita Figueroa Mendoza -- and her two assistants Dolores and Evangelina are working away, chopping up garlic cloves, adding laurel leaves, sprinkling oregano, and then tying it all up in a cloth bag for dunking into the bubbling pozole pot.
Evangelina, Maggie, Dolores
A couple brings in a three-week-old baby. Everybody gathers and ogles it.
I sit up at the counter. Ask Maggie for a pozole ($3). (Difference between pozole and menudo? Menudo's beef, chicken breast, chile. Pozole's basically corn, pork, no chile).
My pozole plate
"Chinese tourists go for the menudo, Mexicans the pozole," says Maggie. "I don't know why."
When I hear that she has a grapefruit (toronja) juice drink in the olla, I ask for one of them.
“For $3 you get two cupfuls and the cup to take with you,” she says. Wow. It’s a nice earthenware mug.
I notice everything except the saucepans are like Old Mexico earthenware pots and plates. And a coffee olla on the stove, too.
She holds out a big brown cone and some cheroots of cinnamon. “Cinnamon and piloncillo,” she says.
Piloncillo’s unrefined cane sugar. “I put them in with the coffee,” she says. Lord, her final brew’s gone (it’s late). Or I’d definitely go for that.
She brings my pozole, red in a pottery bowl. “The red’s from the guajillo pepper,” she says. “We put that in for color and the ancho chile for taste."
So pozole does have chiles?
"Neither’s real hot,” she says.
The pozole soup’s swimming with pork and hominy -- basically corn, right? -- and onion and shredded raw cabbage, plus radish slices on top. A lime and a crispy tortilla fill out the plate. Mmm. Not spicy hot. But delicious.
“Pozole never is hot,” says Maggie. “But if you want hot, try adding some of this salsa. It’s made from seven peppers.”
It's really filling. And hey, nice to see this kind of genuine stuff going on, food-wise and pottery-wise. Not just the tourist schlock. And right here on the main drag.
Who knows? Maybe the Old Mexico is gonna be the New Revolución.
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