On a recent trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, Eric and I indulged in some pretty incredible regional culinary treats that this area has to offer. Known as the Tequila Capital of the World, the surrounding areas of Guadalajara have some amazing drink and food specialties that totally encompass Mexico’s commitment to coaxing maximum flavor from few ingredients. Because I was four months pregnant at the time of our trip, my main focus was more on the food end, but Eric definitely enjoyed a few tequila laden treats while we were there.
Our list of recommended restaurants and foods to try was short and sweet, but topping the list was a place called Santo Coyote. This place was incredible! It was roughly the size of one entire street block, unassuming from the outside as an oversized warehouse or storage building, but once you walked through those old wooden doors, you entered an endless courtyard oasis with larger than life stone and wood carvings, a giant waterfall and room after bar after room for dining. Their specialty? Molcajete Mexicana, a savory, slow-cooked concoction of various meats and vegetables in a cheesy, creamy sauce, prepared in a stone Molcajete. The traditional Molcajete is made of porous basalt, which makes it a superb grinding medium for crushing spices and preparing various salsas and dips, such as guacamole. In the case of the amazing dish we devoured at Santo Coyote, the Molcajete can also be used to serve prepared food dishes because of its ability to withstand and hold heat for long periods of time. We enjoyed two dishes prepared in the Molcajete while at Santo Coyote–a table side prepared salsa made of crushed fire roasted tomatoes, peppers, onions and habaneros, and the Molcajete Mexicana chalked full of grilled steak, pork ribs, house-made chorizo, cactus, poblano chilis and onions in a creamy, bubbly cheese sauce. The Molcajete is the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle and can be found in nearly every Mexican kitchen, should you visit. It is considered a favorite cooking tool by many, and takes on many shapes and sizes, as we soon found out. They are traditionally carved out of a single block of vesicular basalt, round in shape with three supporting legs, and are often decorated with the head of an animal. While Eric and I were wandering around an open market in the nearby town of Tonala, we came across the most popular form of Molcajete–the pig! We instantly fell in love with their charm and have them available for sale here. After we returned home, Eric immediately began recreating some of the dishes we enjoyed in Guadalajara with the help of our new Molcajete. He created his own version of the fire roasted tomato and habanero salsa and one of my all-time favorite treats, fresh guacamole.
The possibilities are endless with this awesome new kitchen tool, and I can’t wait to see what Eric comes up with next. With the arrival of better Spring and Summer weather, I’m sure we will have some fun new recipes to share and some additional creative uses for our new Molcajete. Watch our Facebook page for Eric’s Fire Roasted Tomato and Habanero Salsa recipe and his Fresh Guacamole recipe coming later this week!