23 November 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Wet


Wednesday night, while working a shift in the temple, two different women came up to me and threw their arms around me. “I love you,” they said and gaving me a long Mexican “abrazo.” What a lift it gave my spirits! I think I just happened to be the nearest woman in white and so I was the lucky recipient of their tender emotions from being in the temple. Whatever the reason, I am grateful. 


Old Town Monterrey: Picture a plate of spinach-filled cannelloni, four-cheese fettuccine, a tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and pesto dressing, thin-crust pizza, fresh lemonade, and flan --that was our divine lunch last Saturday. We went down to Old Town Monterrey with our landlords, the Taylors, to their favorite Italian restaurant: Restaurante Italiano Iannilli. It is now our favorite, too! It is the best Italian food we have had since leaving Buenos Aires. The building, which houses two restaurants, has been renovated and is charming and inviting. There were a few other places in Old Town that had also been restored, but many of the buildings were empty due to the mass exodus of people from the city during the really bad days of the drug wars. That part of the city was also hit very hard by the hurricane a few years back, and it still hasn’t recovered.

West Monterrey: Now picture a tiny little hole in the wall taco stand. There are nine plastic patio chairs around two small card tables and each table has a uniquely patterned plastic tablecloth on it. We are out with the temple presidency. They are bidding farewell to a temple worker who is leaving and welcoming us to Monterrey. We are at President and Sister Machucas favorite taco stand--according to them the only one in Monterrey that won’t make you sick. There are two choices for lunch: Menudo and barbecoa. Menudo is a stomach soup that is considered a great delicacy here. Barbecoa is slow-cooked cow’s head, chopped up and served in a soft corn tortilla. We skipped the menudo and worked our way through the tacos de cabeza piling on the onions and cilantro. In my book they are down at the bottom of the list with chicken-feet tostadas. Not impossible to eat, but no seconds please!  Where, oh where, is the barbecued goat when we need it? 

Downtown Monterrey: So now you know the best and the worst of the food choices here, but there is a middle ground. We went downtown to wander around on Revolution Day and stopped in to Chilos for lunch. This is what we learned: The beans are pinto and come in a soup, not on the side of your plate. The corn tortillas are thicker and larger than usual and hold enough meat to feed a family of four. The norteños (northerners) love their meat--they make the folks in Mexico City look like vegetarians. So food is interesting, different, and way more "exotic" than we expected. 


The weather changed drastically about a week ago bringing us a long series of “misty, moisty mornings” and clouds drifting down to the housetops. It has been very gray and quite cool. Tonight it suddenly changed from a light mist to a serious downpour. Winter is here and we are definitely going to be wet. Humidity is now officially 100%. This is a photo of the cloud cover settling down over the city today. 

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