The purpose of the trip was the wedding of close family friends, the destination Mexico City. Never having ventured farther into Mexico than Ensenada, and because of assumptions based mainly on movies and media, we were somewhat apprehensive. To our great surprise the trip could not have been more wonderful. The city is draped in color, not pastels but vibrant greens, blues, reds and oranges. The warm palette matched the warmth of the people, and of the food as well, and not just in heat. Dishes were well seasoned, presentation was inviting, and everything tasted incredibly fresh. There were salsas that were smokey, acidic, and garlicky, prepared with assorted chilies that delivered various levels of punch. Freshly caught fish was shown to us on platters before being grilled with different toppings or rubs. Homemade corn tortillas, right off the stove top with a slight char accompanied most meals. Margueritas made with tamarind, both sweet and tart were a highlight. From the elegant meal at Contramar to the tacos at the family style restaurant El Califa Condesa, we looked forward to what we would discover at each meal.
The wedding took place at ex Convento de San Hipolito, a former convent that has been beautifully restored. Under the chuppah the Rabbi spoke of faith and magic, words that described that night perfectly.
Afterwards, we spent a few luxurious days in Acapulco. The air was tropical and the rhythm was slow. Although our days were full, our meals were leisurely, lasting several hours at a time. We arrived back home in Los Angeles well rested, happy and still feeling the magic.
Ranchero sauce is typically served with eggs, but I thought it would be equally good with meat or poultry. I learned how to make it in Acapulco and tonight I served in over shredded chicken in the blue corn tortillas I carried home with me.
2 large beefsteak tomatoes
6 Serrano chilies, tip and stem cut off.
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic
1/8 of a medium onion
Place tomatoes and chilies in a small pot, with just enough water to cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain tomatoes and chilies and purée in blender with one clove of garlic, onion, and about 1 /4 cup fresh water. Season with salt and pepper.
I had made some chicken broth and after the chicken cooked and cooled, I shredded it and warmed it in a frying pan, adding a little broth for moisture, some cumin, and a few tablespoons of the ranchero sauce.