Tag Archives: Puebla

Handcrafted Chips in Puebla, Mexico–Close to Heaven

We are getting down to the micro level when discussing chips.  Not the taxi driver variety, but potato chips.  These are not the store bought commercially made chips that we are familiar with in the USA.  No.  Potato chips are a fresh made delicacy here, prepared as you like them, while you wait, plain, seasoned with chili sauce and fresh squeezed lime, or doused with dried hot red pepper resulting in a bright red chip.  A food fantasy extravaganza for all potato lovers.

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To find my favorite potato chip maker, from the Zocalo get to 4 Poniente and head toward 11 Norte.  After you cross 7 Norte look on the left side of the street for the little stall where you will see the young man with the mandoline slicer and a pile of fresh peeled potatoes.  Then, you will be close to heaven.  Go another block or two on the left (between 9 Poniente and 11 Poniente) and you will find Talavera Uriarte — another bit of Puebla heaven.

Potato Chips

New Location for Puebla, Mexico Folk Art Cooperative Siuamej

After landing in Mexico City, taking the Estrella Roja bus (complete with WiFi, TV, and reclining seats) from the airport to Puebla, and a good night’s sleep, I set out to find my favorite folk art shop Siuamej, only to discover that they moved.  First and foremost, here is the address: The corner of 4 Oriente and 4 Norte. 4 Oriente is the street of the camote shops.  Puebla streets are confusing** and I got turned around and lost trying to find the new location.  But, when I got there — WOW!

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Siuamej is an indigenous arts cooperative that represents the work of artisans from throughout the remote Nahuatl-speaking mountain region which is a good three to four hours by bus from the city of Puebla.

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Within moments of entering the shop, Kit Rank showed up.  She is a New York City artist represented by McKee Gallery who has been living with her husband in Sicily for the last ten years. They have been living in Puebla now for a couple of months and love it.  She had her eye on an exquisite hand-embroidered top that we convinced her to model.  She bought it on the two-month layaway plan!

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While Uriel, son of shopkeepers Mari Jimenez Barbara and Tomas Amaya Aquino amused himself with Sponge Bob, I looked through the all naturally dyed wool quechquemitls and rebozos, settling on a Chal de Hueyapan handwoven by Teresa Lino Bello, dyed with baseide sauco  (elderberry plant dye) that yields a stunning olive green (see photo above of the three shawls).  The hand spun yarn that is used for the embroidery is dyed with nogal (tree bark) and the brown embroidery on the green provides a subtle contrast.  The fringes or punto are hand tied in a style called doble vista.

In addition to the handwoven wool textiles, there is a selection of jewelry, baskets, embroidered cotton blouses, ceramics and lots more.  Tomas speaks English very well (he is originally from Oaxaca), and it is easy to be in discovery of Puebla’s indigenous artisan riches for well over an hour.  This is the only artist cooperative I’ve been able to find in Puebla.  Here you know you are buying the best quality available and the funds go directly to the makers at fair trade value.

**Puebla streets are arranged in a quadrant — north, south, east and west.  Odd numbers go in one direction, even numbers go in the other direction.  Get a map from your hotel or the tourist office on the Zocalo before you set out.  It is really confusing.  Especially since oriente translates to east and poniente translates to west.

Puebla in the Rain

Puebla, Mexico, is my regular stopover between Oaxaca and Mexico City, D.F. Benito Juarez International Airport and my return to the United States, where I am now for the next ten days.  I love the magic of this Spanish-Moorish inspired city, its Talavera ceramics, mole poblano, the season of Chiles en Nogada (available fresh only mid-July through September), huaxmole (October) and reunion with friends Antonio and Alfonso.

Summer is rainy season in Puebla and you can depend upon the clouds to burst open during the late afternoon and continue with a steady downpour through the evening. If you aren’t careful, you’ll get soaking wet!


Sometimes the rain continues through the night, providing me with a lulling backdrop for sleep at my favorite little resting spot, Hotel Real Santander, which is right across the street from La Quinta de San Antonio Antiguedades y Arte Popular.


I’m in Santa Cruz, California now with my sister for the next ten days to help care for my 96 year old mother who gave us a scare last month.  We were afraid we were going to lose her!  Even though the crisis has passed, she is frail and needing our love and attending to.  Plus, my sister primary caregiver needs a break!  So, here I am before returning to Mexico on July 27, when I will go next to Guanajuato for a week and then return to Santa Cruz and then Los Angeles to continue to help and visit with my family.


Meanwhile, Puebla in the rain is beautiful, isn’t it?



Antiques & Folk Art in Puebla, Mexico–La Quinta de San Antonio

Directly across from our Hotel Real Santander is treasure trove of collectibles, antiques, folk art, sculpture, chandeliers, textiles, and jewelry.  Everything inside La Quinta de San Antonio Antiguedades y Arte Popular is at least mid-century and much, much older.  I would measure the contents in cubic rather than square feet.  Look up across the 20-foot high colonial ceilings of this 16th century structure and scan the room so you are sure not to miss anything.  Here is a visual journey of this fabulous shop operated by Antonio and Alfonso.







Antonio Ramirez Priesca prowls the villages and towns throughout the Puebla valley to find the very best treasures.  Old Puebla families call him when they want to dispose of an heirloom estate.  Antonio’s family has been in Puebla for a long time.  He and Alfonso have extraordinary taste and an excellent eye for the unusual.



The colors and textures and shapes are assemblages that tell a story.  Hard and soft surfaces are combined.  Clay, metal, dried flowers create a still life that any great painter would appreciate.


Find La Quinta de San Antonio at Calle 7 Oriente #10, Centro Historico Puebla, (222) 232-1189.   You’ll recognize Antonio by the photo below!




On Sundays you might find Alfonso at the flea market on Calle 6 Sur between Calles 5 and 7 Oriente near the fountain.  Today,  he had the antique sterling silver earring box with him.  Who could resist?

El Mural de los Poblanos, Puebla, Mexico Restaurant Continues to Please

“It was wonderful, close to perfect.” That’s what I told NY Times travel writer Freda Moon this morning when she asked how my meal was at El Mural de los Poblanos.
Hollie and I settled in after escaping a particularly violent thunderstorm, rain pellets pounding our umbrellas as we stepped carefully along the slippery paving stones from the Zocalo to the restaurant two blocks away.  It was impossible to hurry despite the weather.
First, Isaias welcomed and escorted us to a table, brought fresh baked rolls, butter, two glasses of Mexican Baja Tempranillo-Cabernet house wine (yummy), and an amuse de bouche of spicy, hearty red-broth with chicharrones.
Then, we got into the serious ordering:  fresh fish in casserole (cazuela) with garlic and butter.  Simple, succulent.  I think it was sea bass. Cooked to glossy perfection. We shared this and the ribeye steak (this is beef country), seasoned with just a bit of heat, grilled medium-rare (more on the rare side) to perfection, then topped with grilled, crunchy garlic slices.  The dish was accompanied by a skewer of roasted, grilled baby potatoes and baby onions. The sprout salad with walnuts and avocado was big enough to share and a great interlude to entree bites.
After dinner, we ordered the almond tart with a small scoop of housemade vanilla ice cream to share.  It was a perfect ending to the meal.  But, we brought our own Talavera de las Americas mezcal cups, so topped it all off by sharing a shot glass of El Cortijo Añejo — a smokey, aged mezcal that is one of my favorites.
Total cost of all this, including two entrees, salad, two glasses of wine each, dessert and mezcal was $1,195 pesos for two, not including tip (we left 15 percent).  Translated to the current exchange rate of 13.8 pesos to the dollar, we spent $43.00USD each.
Chef Lisette Galicia Solis is offering cooking classes Monday-Saturday with 2-day notice, 1,000 pesos per person, no minimum.
Service by Isaias and Enrique was attentive, not overbearing.
It’s still my favorite Puebla restaurant. We ate there twice during this trip. I would choose dining here before La Conjura or the restaurants at La Purificadora and Casa Reyna any day.
P.S.  I pay full price for every meal I eat, take no discounts or complimentary giveaways, FYI.