Food and Dinning
The 37th Annual Mexican Chili Cook-Off was a great success. It started on Friday, February 27th and went through Sunday. It ended at five p.m. on Sunday, March 1st. It was held at the Tobolandia water park. This year the parade was very small. The Shriners were in it and the tour bus from Chapala. Instead of starting at six corners as it did on previous years, it started by the bank up on the Carretera. What was the reason for such a small parade? I was told that Lent was the reason. The priest at the six corners Catholic church did not like having a parade during lent. So it was cut back to just the Shriners and the tour bus. Usually Lent is after the Chili Cook-Off so it wasn’t a problem. But don’t worry, a small parade did not mean small pleasures for the Chili Cook-Off visitors. Tobolandia was jumping with excitement! Below is a photo of the Shriners as they arrived in the parking lot at Tobolandia.
The Chili Cook-Off is the biggest fund raising event of the year here. Proceeds from it go to eight local charities. I will list them later on in this article. Last year the Cook-Off raised 36,550 pesos for each of the charities. This year they are hoping for more. (more…)
There is a new restaurant in town, at the end of Colon and across the street from the pier and malecon. Maria Isabel is the new name. It was opened by a couple recently retired from Guadalajara, Adriana and Leonardo Cornejo. Leonardo retired in September and they moved up to Ajijic. But Leonardo is a restless sort and not one to sit around. He started looking for things to do and within three months he opened up Maria Isabel Restaurant. Their son, also named Leonardo, is helping to run it.
The restaurant is easy to find. When you walk to the end of Colon, look to the left. It is overlooking the water. It is in the Old Posada. This is one of the oldest buildings in town. It was built in the 1500s. When you go to the restaurant, check out the back of their menu and you will see the history of the building. In 1530 it was a Grand Tequila Hacienda. (more…)
The Ajijic Tuesday Organic Market is an ever expanding success story. It started out in Carol Kindschi’s Back yard in March three years ago. It was organized by a small group of Expat women. The idea was formed when a dear woman friend developed cancer. These women decided to bring the organic fruits and vegetables to one place so they could shop for her. They contacted all the organic farmers in the lakeside area and the market was started.
The first e mails went out to only thirty neighbors. It quickly took off like wildfire. It has changed venues three times since then and many more venders have joined. The woman with cancer recovered and returned to the States. All good news. This market seems to be touched by magic. It is a huge success and every Tuesday morning there is a line of people waiting for it to open. Watch out for the crush at the most popular stands.The current location is at La Huerta Eventos Center in West Ajijic. It is easy to find. It is three and a half miles or ten minutes from the Libramento. Carreterra-Jocotopec-Lakeside #522. Just look for the signs and all the cars. (more…)
The Monday market is located below the Hole in One Restaurant in San Antonio. The address is: #89 Carretera. It is easy to find. It is across the street from the Chula Vista Golf Course. Both the big buses and the small buses will stop there for you. This market hasn’t been open long. At first it was on Tuesdays but that conflicts with the organic market in the shopping center in San Antonio. So they changed it to Mondays. Many of the same people sell at both markets but the Monday one is mostly for already made foods. It is great if you don’t like to cook or don’t have a kitchen. You can just freeze these delicious dishes and put them in the microwave when you get hungry. Not all of the food that is sold in this market is organic. The organic foods are always labeled as such.
The Chili Cook-off is the largest fund raising event of the year in Lake Chapala. It was started 33 years ago with just six participants, a banjo and a barbeque grill. It has grown since then. Now the expected paid attendance is 7,000 people with more than 100 vendors, scores of entertainers, and 30 cooks competing for awards. This year was the largest parade in cook-off history, and over 250 volunteers helped to make everything go smoothly.
It was held at the water park grounds, Tobolandia, on the carretara in Ajijic. The two corporate sponsors were Coca Cola and Corona. They provided 80 small tents and two huge canvases to keep the spectators, cooks and tasters in the shade. There were over 100 arts, crafts, commercial and charitable vendors. I went on Saturday with two friends. There was a huge crowd. They had so many cars that they had to shuttle people back to the grounds because it was too far to walk. There was a sense of excitement in the air. (more…)
I took a walk along the Carretera the other day. It was interesting for me to explore the different shops. There are many restaurants. I had lunch at an Egyptian restaurant. It is very small. It is on the mountainside of the Carretera. The owner is from Egypt. He works from early in the morning until late in the evening. I figured it was about 12 hours a day. He didn’t seem to mind those long hours. He has only been in business a few months and he has big plans. He wants to have a larger place in the future with Middle Eastern music and belly dancing. Sounds like it would be a lot of fun. The name of the restaurant is El Faron. If you like Arabic food, you should try it.
The owner’s name is Wael Noaman Soliman. If you went to reach him, call 331 0441 1441. The address is Riberas del Pilar Carr. No. 54 A. It is a clean restaurant and the food is good. I had a gyro. It was made with chunks of lamb and interesting spices. It is good to have a new kind of food. I love Mexican food but change is nice from time to time. (more…)
Wednesday is my favorite day of the week because it is market day. I love to shop at the outdoor market. I live just a couple of blocks from it. I buy all my food for the week there except milk, bacon and toilet paper. I also like to sometimes have breakfast at Salvador’s Restaurant with my friends. Salvador’s is busy all day on Wednesdays.
Some of the sellers are what I call floaters. They don’t have stands. They carry their wares in their arms. Women walk around with homemade banana bread, cookies, flowers or sometimes just one object for sale, like a strainer. A man always shows up with beautiful handmade baskets. There are the beggars. They go up and down the area, looking for a few pesos. (more…)