|La Gran Paella Lacustre|
About 2 weeks ago, after eating those gorditas at the Quiroga Mercado, we were returning along the same stretch of Carretera Federal 120, when I saw a sign posted, "Casa Paella". It was still early, so we stopped to check it out. After we hola'ed a couple of times, out came this big man, with a big smile and a bigger heart. He is Mauricio Hernández. His beautiful wife "Tey" (María Esthér) also came out to greet us. Then they invited us into their home.
|L-R: Tey y Mao|
The actual site for the feast would be at the Hotel Lago Sol which Mao and Tey manage for the Moreliano owners. The hotel is just down the highway 300 meters in the direction of Quiroga. It's a lovely, relaxing place.
We all were enthused about this paella project, and after exchanging email addresses, we left.
I knew who might be interested. Our friends Ron, Georgia, the Fergusons, and Mark and Nancy, although they were in Colorado. When I emailed the Coloradans, they were enthused and said that they would try to attend. I invited a few others to participate, but they were unavailable.
There was an exchange of emails between Mao and me, and we determined what the paella would have in it as well as the supporting dishes. The price for the meal was agreed on to be $165 pesos per person, including a salad, the paella, bread if desired and a light dessert and coffee. The beverages would be BYOW. Traiga tú propio vino.
The guest list grew to nine in all when Mark wrote that they would bring a friend, another Nancy.
Sra. Cuevas and I made another preliminary visit in order to pay an anticipo (deposit) of about half the total. At that time we also met Georgina, Tey and Mao's daughter, visiting from Seattle. Georgina took on the responsibility of creating the salad.
The night before the Day of the Paella, the Coloradans arrived in good order to their Pátzcuaro home. All was set for el Día de La Gran Paella Lacustre. (Lacustre: lacustrine. Of, relating to, or associated with lakes.
ORIGIN early 19th cent.: from Latin lacus ‘lake’ (the stem lacustr- influenced by Latin palustris ‘marshy’) + -ine1.)
|Higos horneados rellenos de queso de cabra|
I won't describe the cooking steps as it would be tedious to write them, and especially to read.
You can look at the slide show below for more details. Click slide to open in original album.
Mao cooked the paella using techniques and ingredients adapted to and available in the region. Keep in mind that we were on the shore of Lake Pátzcuaro, neither near the mountains of Madrid nor on the coast of Barcelona. See below. In my opinion, the results were very good and highly satisfactory. Most of all, we all had a very enjoyable afternoon.
Boots of Spanish Leather sung by Martin Simpson
The salad was, pleasantly light and refreshing, with mixed greens, dried cranberries, sliced fresh figs and a tart, citrus dressing. That's a slice of star fruit for a garnish.
|Franks, but no thanks|
In the end, all was well, and we left, happy, a bit tipsy, very well fed, especially after the two desserts, the first, sliced pear with blue cheese crumbles, and a rich poppy seed cake that Georgia brought. (There were two secret birthday observances, unmentioned to the group.) To my everlasting remorse, I failed to take a photo of the poppyseed cake. But it has now developed into a Special Research Project to find out if poppy seeds are legal in Mexico.
Keep in mind, this is not a typical restaurant, open to the public, with regular meal hours. Paella dinners have to be arranged in advance with Mao and Tey. They will customize your meal according to your tastes.
Prices vary according to how may ingredients the paella will contain.
So, please consider these ratings to be very tentative, and yes, "soft".
Price: $-$ Where each $ indicates about $100 pesos. Ours was $165 pesos per person, and we added a $20 peso gratuity for each diner. That is, in all less than $15 USD at current exchange rates.
Ambience: outdoorsy, relaxing, small swimming pool, soccer pitch, tennis court available. Great, friendly hosts. More like visiting good friends than a restaurant.
Restrooms: Clean and well supplied. The restaurant area is next to a hotel suite and two bathrooms were made available to us.
|Map from hotel web site|