Mexico Cooks !: August 2009

Temple of the Holy Child is the spiritual heart of this neighborhood that is part of Morelia's Historic Center (historic center). The Holy Child's fountain of the Holy Child was built in front of the church as the water supply for the neighborhood.

Santo Niño plaque, embedded in the wall at the side of the church. The church was built because the plaque was found on the site.

The Nicolas Bravo Market is the commercial heart of the neighborhood. Because of its proximity to the church, the market is more popularly known as the Santo Niño Market . The market has been in Morelia for more than 34 years. Some of the big differences between this market and others are its exemplary cleanliness, wide aisles, and the medical and dental offices upstairs.

Doña Felícitas Economic Kitchen (Doña Felícitas' Affordable Foods) is space number 127, upstairs in the Santo Niño Market .

Our dear friend Rosa invited us to lunch at her favorite fonda Place) in the market. Fonda food is usually just a half-step up from eating in Mom's kitchen, but once in a while we discover a treasure. Don Joel Cuamba García and his wife, Doña Felícitas Díaz y Díaz, owners of the Economic Kitchen of Doña Felícitas , are just as filled with the joy of life as their picture shows them. Doña Feli's wonderful laugh boomed out across the fonda Don Joel regaled us with old family stories.

Doña Feli's delicious, freshly prepared chicken broth contains a whole chicken thigh, a piece of corn on the cob, carrots, chayote, tomato, rice, and chickpeas . All of Doña Feli's tortillas are hand-made as you eat.

Doña Feli started learning to cook from her mother. She'd never worked outside her home until so many people begged her to open a restaurant that she finally agreed to. Don Joel said, "All our married life has been wonderful for the family and our guests. Now it's for everyone!"

You prepare just enough of her marvelous stews to serve during any given day. Nothing other than the pot of beans is held over to be served the next day. In the kitchen: Mirna (left, 18) and Marisol (right, 19), Don Joel and Doña Feli's smart.

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, Attentive, and beautiful daughters.

The fonda is open daily from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Don Joel said, "We have four-my wife, and our daughters-work to make this business go. Each of us has a role to play. Our daughters serve the tables, I keep the customers happy with my chatter , And my wife-well, without her cooking we'd have to close it! She's the heart of it all, she has the sazón (personal flavor, every fine cook's special touch) that keeps you coming Back for more. "

Open for just a year and a half, the fonda has plenty of regular customers. For 45 pesos (less than $ 3.50USD), the little restaurant fills your plate and makes sure you go away satisfied. Even more than filling your plate, the owners fill your heart. Don Joel assured us that even though we were paying customers, we were also members of the family. This was no empty promise; We felt more than welcomed and left knowing we would be back soon for another serving of food and the affectionate conversation.

Doña Feli gave us a quick recipe for her rightly famous black chile sauce . "You have to be very careful, because it's easy for the sauce to come out really bitter. First you clean the chiles (in this case, chile chilaca) by wiping them With a towel. You do not roast or peel them. Cut them up and sauté them in a little oil, along with garlic, cloves, three or four peppercorns, and a large cut-up green pepper. When you look right, put it all in your blender . >

Downstairs in the market, vendors are currently selling seasonal huitlacoche (corn fungus) )

The bright orange wild mushroom is also in season.

The dairy ( milk products) vendor offered rich jocoque (a fermented semi-acid cream) from this Clay pot.

Several of the booths at the Santo Niño market sell-or-sell red or white eggs, at least three kinds of dried, beans, rice, milk, oil, laundry soap, baby formula, two or three kinds of pot scrubbers, dried chiles , and a hundred other things.

Nicolás Bravo Market (del Niño)
Nicolás Bravo Street between Calle Corregidora and Calle Guerrero
Morelia, Michoacán

  • Adam Floyd