August 11, 2010
In yesterday’s posting, it was proposed that the international residents in the community could help boost the local economy by sometimes eating out and shopping at locally owned and operated businesses.
I had several emails requesting a list of places I would recommend. “Yucatan Today”, a great magazine for tourists and residents alike has a large section of retaurants you could check out. Many of them are owned by Merida families. Providing my personal favorites is a little dicey because my tastes are not necessarily yours… but to get the ball rolling I have the following suggestions.
I like the small local mercados, fruterias y panaderias . Since our home is in García Ginerés, I go to:
“El Huayito“ on Calle 28, between 11 and 13 for many of my fruits and vegetables and yes, I buy eggs, pork and chicken there too. They also sell tortillas and I get mine from them. They are delicious. The owner Pepe and his brother Fernando are friendly and helpful. They also stock most of the regional adobos and condimentos and commonly needed items like rice, beans and so on. At noon, El Huayito serves up pollo rosizado and sometimes costillas. Both are flavorful indeed. However, the chickens are small so don’t count on one of them feeding too many hungry people. One thing to watch out for… Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday are not the best days to buy. Fresh produce seems to (usually) arrive on Monday Wednesday and Friday. The market is closed on Sundays.
Flowers in my house come from the Santiago market as well and there is an excellent tienda where you can purchase a lot of good sausages (to add to your stews and sauces) as well as bulk dried beans , dog food, etc.
For my tastes, one of the best bakeries is the “Panificadora Montejo” located right on the traffic circle of the Monumento a la Bandera. In the afternoons, tamales are also sold on the doorstep.
At the big” Lucas de Gálvez” market on the corner of 56th and 65th Streets, you can find absolutely anything if you look hard enough. Walking through and seeing all the new and inventive “tools and gadgets” is a favorite pastime for me. I also marvel at the services you can find there: knife sharpeners, people who repair your religious statues, even a lady who will completely debone a turkey so you can prepare your own galantina de pavo! (if you don’t know what that is… don’t worry, it’s a dying art)
Unless I’m also visiting the previously mentioned bakery, I buy tamales from a place called, “Uno de los Cuatro Hermanos” (there’s got to be a story behind that name!) The shop is located in García Ginerés on Calle 16 between 9 and 11. Panuchos and Salbutes are very good at “La Lupita”, located at the end of my street, (Calle 7 and 22)
Restaurants we love… “Luigis” in Itzimna is a comfortable Italian style bistro. “Tacos PM” located on La Prolongación de Montejo between Calle 3 and Calle 5 is the place for tacos al pastor and other grilled goodies.
“Alejandros “is a modest pizzeria on the corner of Calle 63 and 20, Colonia Miraflores. The owner (Alejandro) lived for several years in Ottawa and the good ol´ Italian boys taught him the trade… Marianne and I went across the street from my school (Calle 57, between 56 and 58) to the little restaurant inside the Hotel Flamingo and had coffee and a fruit plate this morning.
“Hacienda X’canatun” (off the road to Progreso) has a high end but not overly high priced restaurant. The gourmet fare is a treat we enjoy on special occasions (and what day can’t be special?) Further out of town, in Santa Elena you’ll find The Pickled Onion a really wonderful eatery that employs a staff of locals, all trained by the entrepreneurial Valerie
This list could get really, really long. There are so many places to go and lots of time. I’m happy to pass on other ideas. If you have specific requests, make a comment and I’ll give you an answer if I can. Or maybe you want to add a comment with some of your own suggestions ?
The idea here is to be part of the Merida community by supporting local business owners who are going through very rough times during this economic crisis. I am NOT saying I think you should do all your shopping and eating out in the small Mom & Pop places. The big stores and chain restaurants also have employees who depend on your patronage.
However much or however little you choose to buy local is appreciated.