Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Road Trip Dining - Durango, Mexico

I recently completed a project in Durango, or more correctly, Victoria de Durango, in Mexico.  Of course I received a bunch of "Are you crazy"? comments and "Aren't you afraid of getting kidnapped or killed"?.  Believe me, if they were looking for someone to hold for ransom it sure as hell wouldn't be me.  I believe that Mrs. Vivant may actually pay someone handsomely to keep me there.

Durango is located in central Mexico about half way between Big Bend and Mexico City and lies at 6,600 feet above sea level, which is higher than Denver.  This old colonial capital of the state of Durango was founded in 1563 and is rather smaller than I anticipated at around 600,000 residents and like Denver is relatively flat and easy to walk, except for the altitude thing.  The semi-arid environment makes you continuously thirsty and oddly enough, the watery Mexican beers seemed to fit my craving for liquid just fine, along with copius amounts of water (bottled) and an insatiable need for Chapstick.

It is rather amazing that so many Mexican dishes are made from 4 simple ingredients; tortillas, meat, sauce and cheese.  Enchiladas, chilaquiles, tacos, quesadillas, etc. are all made basically the same way and if you like these combinations you will do just fine.  If you feel the need to eat ‘safe’ you can find McDonalds, KFC, Subway and even Applebee’s, but for the life of me I can’t imagine why you would.  You can also find Italian (not so good), Chinese restaurants (authentic Chinese cuisine is well loved in Mexico) and Torta (sub) shops everywhere.  Remember, breakfast in Mexico is at 10:00 am, lunch at 3:00 pm and dinner starts at 10:00 pm.

Try Fonda de la Tia Chonda at 100 Calle Noga for authentic traditional dishes surrounded by the moneyed elite of Durango.  This is where I discovered Bohemia Obscura beer.  Where in the hell has this one been hiding?  Brewed by FEMSA - Cuauht√©moc-Moctezuma in Monterrey and is a subsidiary of *sigh* frigging Heineken, This amber delight had way more flavor than any Mexican beer that I have tried in the past.  It is quite malty and is a smooth drink.  Light and watery (it is a Mexican beer after all) but with flavor, and most likely is a bock style beer.  It paired amazingly well with the Mexican cuisine being served.

The hotel where I stayed, The Gobernador, has 2 restaurants that are good enough that you won’t feel the need to wander through the streets searching for something better.  The fine dining choice, La Hacienda, specializes in Duragueno and Mixiote dishes of which several that you will not likely find in the U.S.; sorry, though I will eat almost anything, I could not quite work up the nerve to try dishes with a corn smut called huitlacoche, which is a disease that forms galls on the corn kernels. 

I encourage you to visit Durango which I found to be safe, clean (except for the air pollution) and the citizens were amazingly friendly.  There are areas of Dallas that I stay away from because I don’t feel safe and Durango has those same areas.  Your common sense will tell you to stay away from the seedy areas and you should listen.  That same voice will tell you where to eat so keep listening.  In all my many Mexican travels I have never gotten ill from the food or the water and with a bit of common sense you will be good to go. 

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