Overland miles: 1498 Tacocount: 43 Days without Tea: 6
I mentioned in my last post about Mexican breakfasts that heuvos al gusto (eggs your way) was a big part of the country’s first meal of the day, so I thought I’d showcase a couple of these many and delicious ways here.
Clare has already waxed lyrical about our train breakfast (your food corespondent has failed in his mission to bring you all the best meals in glorious technicolor because the restaurant car reservation was too complicated / he was too asleep and forgot the camera, but trust me: it was ace). We’d tried the ‘classic’ way, which is heuvos revueltos – literally, ‘mixed up eggs’ – which come scrambled with a choice of ham, bacon or chorizo. In all cases the meat will be chopped up very small, and mixed directly into the eggs. If you’re very unlucky, as Clare was the next morning in Creel, where we stopped over for a couple of days before continuing our journey to Chihuahua, you won’t be offered this choice, and get them au naturel. I didn’t take a photo of these eggs either because they were a bit boring, but here’s a pic of how they look, canteen style, at a hostel a little further on:
To clarify what you’re looking at, the eggs are to the left obvs, the stray bits of bacon actually came in the pinto beans, and there were also some sort of sausages on offer, so they’re above the eggs, and because it was a free breakfast, I took the lot. Jolly tasty and filling it was too actually; the fried potatoes were a nice partner for the eggs, and although the odd-looking pile with lumps of cheese on the right was a little strange to say the least – it was a kind of wet tortilla-based lasagne – it somehow worked for me. So if you want my opinion, go for the chorizo version, as it adds that extra zing to your huevos.
Anyway, I digress: we were at Gaby’s on Avendida Lopez Mateos, and had decided to experiment with eggs two ways. You just don’t get any crazier than that people! Creel is a lovely place to go for breakfast actually, it really is a one-horse town in both senses of the word: anything that goes on in Creel goes on on Av Lopez Mateos, making it a very enjoyable way to make the most of a short stay. It’s also in the heart of rancher country, and the place has the look and feel of a ‘Wild West’ town nestled in an Alpine forest. Strange but true. The morning air was cool and crisp, much less of a sweat-fest than Baja, and the sun was shining brightly on the log-cabin shop fronts as we sought out a restorative breakfast. Gaby seemed happy to see us: a cheerful, stocky lady of indeterminate age, she bustled about a brightly decorated restaurant comprising only five tables. Only one other was taken, and that family left shortly after our arrival (but I don’t think it was personal).
We were seated at a table with a bright red table-cloth and set about choosing our eggs. I decided to plump for the style that is most well known in the UK, huevos rancheros – which is actually done fairly well in some trendy restaurants (I even saw it on a Cafe menu in Chester a few weeks ago, but I really didn’t know if I could trust their interpretation), as I’d been dying to try it in its authentic setting. The dish actually translates as ‘smallholders’ eggs’, but that sounds daft so most English menus simply give ‘ranch-style’. It is certainly a feast fit for all those sombrero-sportin’, big buckled belt-wearin’ farmers in this region, and here it is in all its glory:
The eggs this way are estrella – fried (literally ‘starred’, although I’m not sure why) – and are served atop a couple of tortillas, with a side of the ubiquitous frijoles (refried beans). Then the majestic rancheros salsa is applied liberally – the tomato, pepper and onion sauce that marries perfectly with the soft eggs and soaks the tortillas in a creamy tomato-and-egg mixture that is completely irresistible. Cheese and of course your choice of salsa verde or roja is scattered over the dish, but these are mere distractions from the unctuous ranch sauce beneath. Granted, this was my first experience of the dish in Mexico, but I think it was a pretty top-rate example.
Coming soon: omelettes, hot cakes, and if I can get my hands on them, some red enchiladas!