Thursday, July 30, 2009

Weekend in Roma, Mexico City

Plaza Luis Cabrera, Colonia Roma Norte
Back in late April, we'd planned to stay a few nights in Mexico City, enroute to a visit to parents in New Jersey. However, the swine flu dissuaded us, and instead, we flew out of Morelia.
That non-event left us with two vouchers for tickets on the AutoVías bus lines. Moreover, an old friend in Mexico City had just acquired a new Apple iMac Computer, and asked for tips in making her conversion from Windows P.C.'s. I was very pleased to help.

We arrived Friday, and took the fast Metro ride from Metro Observatorio (just across from the Observatorio Bus Station", and a few minutes later, were looking for the correct exit for Calle Jalapa in the sunken gladiatorial glorieta ring at Metro Insurgentes.)

Our hotel was the perennial
Milán, on Av. Álvaro Obregón. Nice place; modern, clean and very nicely situated in one of the pleasantest areas of the city.

After checking in, we headed out for grilled hamburgers at the now famous
Hamburgesas a la Parrilla stand in Colonia Roma Norte, Mexico City. They were good but not as searingly memorable as on previous occasions, as trade was light and the hamburgers were parcooked when we ordered. Still, the 3 of us managed to eat 5 in all.

Sunday afternoon in Mexico City, our old friend and her 20+ y/o daughter invited us to dine at Parrilla Quilmes, one of many choice Argentine restaurants in Colonia La Condesa. We further satisfied our carnivore lusts with two orders meant for two persons; one of "vacío", a hanger steak like cut; and "bife de lomo", a more compactly grained slab of beef. Both served on wooden cutting boards. Chimichurrí and a picante red sauce, and a bottle of o.k-but-not-great mustard sauce to be added al gusto. We shared a boat of crisp brown papas Francesas and a bowl of salad.

Parrilla Quilmes
We also sampled a couple of Empanadas Argentinas; one extremely good, filled with Roquefort and onions; and one pretty good, with what seemed to be chopped roast beef. We shared a nice bottle of Argentine red wine.

Empanadas at Parrilla Quilmes
Monday, Doña Cuevas and I lunched not far from our hotel at "La Embajada Jarocha", a somewhat funny name for a restaurant (meaning, "the Jarocha Embassy". Jarocha is slang for a woman of Veracruz.)

The distinctive Veracruzana treatment of seafood is famous in Mexico. I started with a bowl of Chilpachole de Jaiba, a spicy crab soup, loaded with crabmeat, already picked from the shell.

La Embajada Jarocha building
Doña Cuevas had a hearty bowl of Arroz a la Tumbada, which in this case, was a Sopa de Mariscos (including slices of abalone) over rice, although they at first forgot to put in the rice.)

It was filling, and she couldn't quite finish her second course of three tostadas with different types of hot (!) seafood on each. However, the saucing and spicing were identical on all, so interest palled after a few bites. Still, not bad, if somewhat over salted (as were the two soups.)

I forged ahead with a filete de mero (grouper) al acuyo (cooked in a leaf of Hoja Santa or Piper Auritum)
, wrapped in aluminum oil and steamed. It was light and clean, yet savory and very good, especially after the spicy soups.

Filete de pescado al acuyo
The restaurant opens at 1:00 p.m. and closes at 2:00 a.m! (Or so says the sign. There appears to be live music at times, including a drum set. Uh-oh.) Decór is fairly minimal, so that it doesn't intrude on the food. We didn't look upstairs.

There was other food, of course, over the weekend, but those three places were the memorable highlights. Breakfasts were usually at
Bisquets, Bisquets, Obregón, at la Mamá de Todos Bisquets. Moderate priced, nice Mexican family fare, brisk service; plus, they give a discount to viejos who carry an INAPAM credencial. The specialties are the house-made pan dulce and the café con leche, served with style, from two metal kettles, with the milk poured from on high.

(Oddly, with such good pan dulce, why is the bread in the baskets so corriente?)

Next to the Hotel Milán is Café Fertíl, a Fair Trade coffehouse serving o.k. breakfasts and terrific coffee. We also enjoyed a couple of soda fountain treats at La Bella Italia, on Calle Orizaba, after a visit to the
Circo Atayde Hermanos, which is another story, but one nicely described on Mexico Cooks! and David Lida's blog. I won't elaborate on it here, except that we really enjoyed the show. (I, for one, was shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, by the scantily clad and lovely female dancers. Mmmm.)

We took an ETN bus home as far as Morelia. We really need to use ETN more often, as it's quite a bit more comfortable than AutoVías, our usual choice, and the included sandwiches weren't too bad. There's also hot water, of a sort, for tea and instant coffee, which you must ask for when you board.

At Morelia, we got a second-class, Purépechas bus, which dropped us off at the intersection of our choice. Second class buses give you opportunities to buy snacks and other stuff from vendors who come on board, but we did not.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Serious Sunday Seafood Feast

For years, the People's Guide To Mexico was my Mexico "bible". One of the memorable sections of the book described serious Sunday seafood feasts, with entire extended families going out for a leisurely and extended comida, often entertained by musicians. Well, the good news is that it's still a tradition alive today. The bad news is that the prices have risen considerably since the earlier editions of that book were written. Yet it's still possible to eat well on mariscos and not break the bank.

Five of us got together for such a Serious Sunday Seafood comida at Mariscos La Güera Campestre, on the Pátzcuaro-Morelia highway, across from OXXO and next to Viveros Pátzcuaro, at Km. 44.6

We made a point of arriving later than our usual time, in order to enjoy the bustle and the tables filling with other customers. The covered beer garden is now open, but as no customers were in it, and as I like to observe the open kitchen, we sat inside in the main building. Two of our group were already waiting for us.

Inside, there was live entertainment of a very good karaoke singer and his ocasional guitarist partner. (Just a little too much volume to where conversations were difficult.)

Drinks were ordered, among them several of the zesty Micheladas Preparadas con Clamato, which now came with one shrimp perched on the rim and 3 in the copa.
It's like a mini shrimp cocktail. How the restaurant can afford to do these drinks with shrimp at $24 MXN each, I have no idea, but we are not complaining!

Some of us started out with tostadas, for which Mariscos La Güera Campestre (and the matriz restaurant) is noted. I had one of the smoky, densely textured smoked marlín, and a light and refreshing one of tiritas de filete de pescado. The latter was tasty, but the fish strips were very soft, more than nomal, as if they'd soaked in the lime juice too long.

Others in our group had tostadas de Ceviche de Calamar, a saucy and spicier concoction. Muy recomendable. Other options were cocteles de camarones and/or pulpos, in 3 sizes, made to your taste, with or without cilantro, regular or with poca catsup, cucumber on request.

I decided to be dutiful and brave and give the Camarones y Pulpos a la Diabla a third try. I'd had the camarones only version at Mariscos La Güera matriz on two past occasions, and hadn't been pleased. The starch or flour-thickened red sauce had problems both times. This time it was quite successful. It's a tomato based, thickened sauce with a good kick, possibly of chipotle, although I can't be sure. There was a minor hitch when the platter arrived, as the food was lukewarm, but when I notified our waiter, he took it back to the kitchen and they quickly reheated it. It was more than just satisfactory; it was picante and delicious.

Mariscos La Güera is notable in that if ever arise any problems with your meal, a quiet word with your server or the manager will bring a quick and satisfactory solution.

Three of our group ordered whole fish; two of which were the mighty Mojarra al Mojo de Ajo, and one Trucha a la Veracruzana. The last is prepared in a style very unlike any pescado a la Veracruzana elsewhere. It's somewhat minimalist, as if the classic Veracruzana treatment had been deconstructed to a few strips of tomato, a chile, a few slices of green olive. Although it wasn't what he'd expected, our friend liked it.

We could argue that the La Güera style of pescado a la Veracruzana allows the taste of the fish to shine, rather than the dominant, complex and spicy tomato-onion-chile-garlic-bay leaf-capers and olives sauce. We could, but won't. I prefer it the classic way, although I think that it's too strong for delicate trout.

Another dining companion had Camarones Empani-Cocos, or shrimp breaded in unsweetened, shredded coconut. It's a dish that's easy to like, and he did.

The little yácata of rice that accompanies all the platters was unusally good and well prepared. All, of course had the usual backdrop of shredded carrots, tomato, cucumber and orange slices, and a little fan of avocado.

Quibbles, apart from the tepid Camarones y Pulpos a la Diabla: the table tostadas for munching were stale, and the lime chunks on the plates were a little past their prime.

We actually requested and received separate checks, which process took a little while, but what's the hurry? (I hated to leave, even though I was very full.)

We were given a friendly send off, and as we stepped out to the cars, raindrops were felt.

(Slide show is a compendium of over three years of photos, from both locations.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Brunch for a Saturday in Summer

To celebrate the return to the Rancho of our Alabaman neighbors; as well as to take advantage of the excellent produce and seafood now available, Doña Cuevas and I hosted a brunch last Saturday. There were seven of us in all.

The developing menu went through several stages of creative imaginings, but in the end, this is what we had.

Brunch Menu July 11, 2009
Sangríta Marías -Bloody Mary drinks made with Tequila and seasoned muy picante.
Platón de frutas de la temporada.
"Gazpacho" Salad
Angel double-raised Biscuits with crisped cecina.

Salsa Poblana Cremosa,. (Roasted fresh green chile crema salsa; muy rica.)
Herbed, garlicked and pimentón dusted roasted baby potatoes.
Revuelto de gambas y ajetes, (soft, creamy scrambled eggs with shrimp and garlic chives; tocino y quesillo de Oaxaca)
More Angel Biscuits, butter. Conservas de Santa Rosa, GTO. Miel de Abeja. (Tropical and other jams, marmalades and honey.)
Café Americano
Brioche au raisin et canelle
(Nadie pudieron comer el brioche por tanta comida. Lo cortamos y repartimos para llevar.)
Our neighbor, Geni took some pictures which she generously agreed to share with us.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mercado Niño Santo Morelia

"How could I have missed this place all along?" I exclaimed when our friend Rose led us to the Mercado Niño Santo (officially, the Mercado Nicolás Bravo), on the western side of Morelia's Centro. The popular name derives from la Iglesia del Niño Santo, up at the corner.

I had often walked nearby, south of Avenida Madero and west of Calle Galeana. I'd been close, but not quite close enough.
The Mercado is just south of Calle Corregidora, on Calle Nicolás Bravo.

Photo: Cambio de Michoacán
It's a small, traditional mercado, one of the most pristine in México. I Googled it and found out that it was the first mercado in Morelia to be certified under the government's "Mercados Saludables" program. News article, Spanish. It's celebrating its 34th birthday this year.

Across Calle Nicolás Bravo from the mercado entrance is a small shop where a busy family makes corundas. Customers line up to have these small, simple corundas, 4 pesos apiece.

Back on the steps at the portals of the mercado were bread and pan dulces sellers. Rose bought us a few hearth baked bolillos. We ate them later that day at home. They were hand made, and had the characteristic and desirable scorch marks where la masa had hit la piedra. They were tangy with sourdough, equal and perhaps superior to those of
La Espiga in Pátzcuaro.

Inside the main floor of the mercado was a world of blue and white walls showcasing the dried chiles, vegetables, fresh fish and meats.

An older woman was selling tall bottles of golden liquid. I asked her what it was."Vinaigre de piña" was the reply. I wondered if there were any smaller size bottles available. She sad the big one was only 10 pesos. She unscrewed the cap to allow my to sniff the mildly pungent vinegar. She said, "Look, there is la madrita on top."
It's a fuzzy little fermentation film that I remember from my Mom's pickling and canning days, back in the 50's.

"Es muy bueno para el estómago" she went on.

I decided that for the price, I couldn't go wrong. I gave her the 10 peso coin and she crossed herself and blessed it. It may have been her first sale of the day.

Beyond were beautiful, rosy huachinangos being unloaded from an icy crate onto a sales table. I knew I'd have to come back another day. For one, I hadn't brought a camera.
Various meaty joints and piggy parts were set up on a table across from the fish.

The mezzanine level beckoned, with its comedores ringing the mercado, promising a savory breakfast in the true Mexican mercado tradition.
Although not al the comedores were open that early, it was still a difficult choice.

One of the nice things in a mercado comedor is that the proprietors are happy to lift the tops of the cazuelas and explain the contents to you. Local # 127 had birria, bistec de res en salsa negra; albóndigas. I imagine that they could prepare huevos al gusto.

On the opposite side, another local had barbacoa, which in that instance looked a lot like the birria across the way. The were also serving menudo. The man lifted the pot lid to show me the caldillo and to one side, a separate pot full of very fresh cooked and varied viscera.

Over in a corner local, a strumming guitar player sang scratchily. Although I can appreciate the cultural aspects, I prefer not to listen to these performances while I'm eating.
I found my wife and Rose and we sat down at Local #127, Comedor Doña Feli."Felicitas" is her true name, and it's felicitous to eat there.

My choice was easy: birria. I'd had a bowl of barbacoa de borrego the day before at Barbacoa José Luis, on the Periférico near ISSTE, west of Costco. But it wasn't up to its usual standard. There were too many small bony fragments which detracted from an otherwise pleasant meal.

At Doña Feli's, the birria was bone free, rich and meaty, red with chile and tomato and very satisfactory.

Doña Cuevas had a plate of Bisteces en Salsa Negra, with some good beans and a small mound of rice. We both drank jugos de naranja brought up from the juice stand downstairs. Rose recommends this juice stand for its special combination jugos.

When we finished, Rose ordered some rice and beans to go.

We asked for la cuenta. $115 pesos Mexicanos. About $8.44 USD
This demonstrates again that in México, the best food bargains, and delicious ones, are in mercado comedores.
Contrast that cuenta with what we paid the evening before at Cafe Catedral, under the portales, looking at the Plaza de Armas. Two limonadas, a cafe con leche, a portion of carrot cake and some pastel de elote: about $160 pesos.

The sótano or lower level of the mercado seemed more typical of mercados elsewhwere: dark, relatively low ceilinged (compared to the main floor) and jammed with merchandse and more chiles and vegetables.

I've a last observation about el Mercado Niño Santo.

Upstairs, on the mezzanine level, you can get a dental or medical checkup or, as I've read, even a chest x-ray . It's open to the locatorios or stall holders and the general public.

Don't go away.
I'll be back...with a camera.

Monday, July 06, 2009

My Vegetable Love Should Grow

A new enterprise, the Mercado Buen Provecho burst upon the Pátzcuaro food firmament like a nova, one day before the Fourth of July.

It was a great beginning for what promises to be a mecca for gastronomes and foodies alike who crave fresh produce of varieties hitherto unknown or rarely seen in Pátzcuaro.

Lisa, one of the principal movers behind this mercado/tianguis told me that for their first day, they hadn't brought everything that they might have. To my eyes, it was still a dazzling selection of beautiful salad greens, white eggplants, two sorts of earthy turnips and herbs; as well as hen's eggs and freshly killed ducks. There was also a table of specialty fruits, including the fantasy pitahaya, giant Italian lemons like small footballs, Persian limes (not so rare, but excellent, and most tempting of all, red round hothouse tomatoes, just a day or so short of perfect ripeness.*

Panadero Ivo's bakery table had a attractive selection of whole grain and seed breads to sell, but the packages of plump cinnamon rolls were selling like the proverbial hotcakes.

I had to restrain myself from buying more than we could use. I focused on vegetables: mixed salad greens plus arugula. Since all the salad greens were priced the same (I wasn't paying close attention to the prices), mix-and-match was easy.

I also bought some super nice, purple blushed, young turnips with great greens attached. There were red turnips as well, which, I was told were sweeter and had little or no "bite". But as I like "bite", I chose the purple ones.

A branch of fragrant Lemon Verbena or "cedrón, for tea; and a handful of basil, sweet basil, not the small leafed variety common in Michoacán, completed my herb purchases. There was also very robust branches of rosemary, and amazingly fragrant Lavender!

I bought two dragon fruit pitahayas from the second vendor's table, plus over a kilo of medium tomatoes, and one Italian lemon, just to fulfill my lust for lemon lemon LEMON! We rarely can get sour yellow lemon here.

The next morning, we tried one pitahaya for breakfast. It was easy to peel, despite its fearsome apparance, and the vivid vermilion-purple flesh was pleasantly light and tartly refreshing.

Although the baker's table held attractive products, I didn't buy any as I have much home baked bread of my own.
Then came the reckoning: la cuenta. I paid up; it was not cheap, but to me, well worth it for specialty produce of top quality.

When I returned to Hacienda Enmedio de Nada, I laid out all my purchases and took a few photos ** of them.

The following day, inspired by a sample of Braised Turnips I'd tasted at the Mercado, I made my own version.

I first coarsely cut several strips of smoked bacon. Thick sliced would be best, but I used what I had. This was set to slowly frying in a large non-stick skillet. The greens had been throughly picked over (they were in very good shape) and washed in several changes of cold water. They were then cut very coarsely into lengths. The tougher stem toward the root was discarded.

One onion, sliced, was put into the skillet, then very carefully, I put in the greens. It's important to leave some moisture on them. In fact, I added about 3/4 cu of water.
Salt and pepper are added. Go lightly on the salt.

When they begin to simmer, I turned down the heat and covered the pan.

The turnip roots themselves had been peeled and sliced into thick rounds. They went into the pan before the apples.

Next, I cut an unpeeled Granny Smith apple into small chunks, then as the greens began to get tender, added the apple pieces. Next, a tablespoon of white sugar sprinkled over all. I let this caramelize a bit, then added a "glug" of cider vinegar.

At that point, I replenished the liquid with about 1 cup of beef stock, made in this case from Bovril Beef Concentrate and a cup or so of hot water. That is the reason to be very easy on the salt at the start.

After a while, when the vegetables become tender, it was time to check the seasoning.

This was a wonderful, earthy, hearty dish, which went very well with the brown beans I'd cooked the day before and some freshly made Southern Style Buttermilk Cornbread.
*Last night, we tried a couple of the beautiful tomatoes. They were a little disappointing in that despite their brilliant red color and perfect conformation, they lacked any sort of that unmistakeable, sharp fresh tomato fragrance. The taste was o.k. but not what we were hoping for. I found that when I sliced them, they had good acidity, but were improved by sprinkling the slices with salt and a little sugar, and letting them repose about 10 minutes. Best of all, there a much better texture than the watery, pale red balls sold for tomates bolas in the supermarkets here.

** While at the mercado, I acceded to a request to not photograph within the mercado, so that all my photos were taken afterwards, in my own kitchen, at home. I'm hoping that the ban on photography will one day be relaxed, so that the mercado can be shown at its best to others.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Chickening Out (reprise)

We're big fans of pollos asados al carbón. It used to be that we didn't distinguish between the al carbón pollos and the pollos rostizados. I now make the distinction that the former are cooked on a grill over charcoal and the latter, more common and usually cheaper, cooked by gas or perhaps la luz on a rotating spit.

So, over time, we've made a small list of favorites. Many made our list due to their convenience as well as their savory qualities. Price is a lesser consideration, but still of some importance.

Here's our personal favorites; what are yours?

1. Pollos Asados al carbón "El Tejaban". It's north of the railroad tracks on the right side of the highway on the edge of Tzurumútaro, heading towards Tzintzuntzan. It's ably run by Abel, but is consistently open only on weekends. Sometimes you can get lucky and find it open other days.

The pollos Tejaban are coated with adobo marinade before cooking, then fresh orange is squeezed on at the finish, and a sometimes too generous shake of salt and black pepper. They come with a thin, piquant salsa roja; a fresh, crisp and barely dressed cabbage slaw, accented with strips of chile Jalapeño, and crunchy carrot rounds; rice (we skip the rice as it's extremely dull, oily and stodgy); tortillas hechas a mano are extra. Sometimes, but not often, Abel will grill chiles güeros to toss in. Prices have varied from $50 to $60 pesos recently.

There is outdoor seating, and drinks (including barrel Tequila in the nearby tienda de abarrotes "Los Fresnos".) We usually get it to go, but it's even better eaten on the spot, even with some flies about.

2. We have heard good things about Pollos "El Rey" from a blogger named Felipe Zapata. He likes El Tejaban but says El Rey is even better. It's on Libramiento kind of near the bus station, below Mercado Tariacuri but above Ibarra. We haven't tried any yet, but intend to.

3. Just stopped yesterday at "Pollos Asados "La Vías", which kind of translates to "Chicken Tracks", indicating it's closer to and just south of the RR tracks at Tzuru crossing, on the other side of the highway than El Tejaban, but close to Barbacoa a la penca "Javier y Lety".
(Got all that?) It's the one with the pineapple upright on the grill. It seemed a bit more primitive and less professionally run than Abel's El Tejaban, but the chicken we had today (and it was a slow day for pollos) was very tasty. It came with grilled onion, nopales and a couple of tasty slices of grilled pineapple. It was supposed to have salsa and rice, but the very young assistant left them out of our purchase, even though he told his Mamá he'd put them into the bag.
No importa; we had both rice and salsa at home.

A whole pollo to go at Pollos Las Vías was $65 MXP. A good deal, even with the mixup and a general air of dishevelment. I didn't note any seating.

4. Pollos Al Pastor "Don Alfredo" This place attained a moment of fame from an appearance in a Lonely Planet Guide to Mexico. We once got one of these rustically prepared chickens, speared on a tilted stake over smoldering charcoal and were quite unimpressed, It was one of the blandest pollos we've had. The price a few years ago was $70 MXP, and not worth that much. Today, I was quoted $80 MXP. We passed on that. The chickens did not look very attractive, especially at the price. I think they may come with frijoles de olla. Maybe it's the Lonely Planet listing and maybe it's the superb location, on the lower end of Libramiento, just before it enters the Glorieta, opposite the new Bodega Aurrerá, but they are just not worh that much to me. (Speaking of which, I'm surprised that Bodega hasn't put in a rotisserie for chicken.)

5. 'Way up on the Carretera a Santa Clara is a pollos al carbón grill run by women. It's sort of across from and between Super Codallos and Automotriz Gárvez. These chickens have a heavier coating of adobo. If you get there early, say, 1:00 p.m. they are quite good. But if you arrive after 3:30 or so, the pollos tend to be dry. Back when we used to stop there, 3 years ago, the chickens came with frijoles de la olla, tortillas and salsa. I have no idea of current prices.

6. Unnamed pollos asados al carbón, Calle Padre Lloreda, east of Siete Esquinas, more or less below el Hospital Civil. Nicely adobado, about $60, but doesn't come with much. One disadvantage is that they are cooked ahead and kept warm in an ice chest. I don't care for that method, but prefer them fresh off the grill. However, they are no bad and will do in a pinch.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

You Are My Flour

By pura casualidad, Joe Pastry is starting a series on flours and their qualities. Interestingly, an American Mexpat acquaintance emailed me last week with a question about Mexican flours.

DISCLAIMER: My reply is based solely on my subjective experiences and should not be seen as a result of deep and painstaking research.

Don Cuevas, I know you have a background in baking so perhaps you can comment on this observation. Isn't it true that the wheat flour sold in Mexico is soft wheat (i.e., cake/noodle) flower, rather than the hard, red wheat flower used for bread in the US. I notice that the bagged wheat flour sold at Soriana clearly has a picture of cakes and pancakes on the bag, and I have noticed that most breads sold here have the texture of cakes. Could this be the problem with the breads baked here?
In reply;
D.Y., that answer may be partially correct, but in my experience, pan salado (not pan dulce) is chewy and occasionally crisp crusted. That's not likely achieved with soft wheat flour. I'm confident Bodega, Wal-Mart, and probably Soriana have steam injected rack ovens. This steam injection, in the first moments of the bake, are what give the baguettes and other pan Francés its crisp crust. Crispness is not considered desirable in teleras, or the usual bolillos (although you can get fantastically crisp bolillos from a tiny bakery on Calle Abasolo, near Plaza Carillo in Morelia. However the taste of those is inferior, IMO, due to the probable use of dough conditioners "fluffer-upper").*

The packaged consumer grade flour you are seeing on the shelf at Soriana is probably a soft wheat flour for making hot cakes, cakes and the occasional tortillas de harina. ("Harina Celestial" is a good example.)

I'm betting that with the exception of harina integral, your regular, popular bakeries (not in the supermercados) use one kind of flour only, and I'm going out on a limb to predict that the majority use Harina Óptima. It's milled by Harinera Guadalupe.

In my baking, I use Sello Rojo Harina Tradicional, milled by Harinera Michoacana, which makes fine bread. I also use it for cookies, cakes, sweet breads such as cinnamon rolls and Danish, and even occasional strudels. A strudel dough is optimally made from a high protein Hungarian wheat flour, but lacking that, I just make it work with Sello Rojo.
Óptima flour is my close second choice. I buy 10 kilo bags of these at Super(mercado) Codallos.
If I wanted to be very picky, I'd buy Harina Celestial brand, in 1 kg bags, just for pies, biscuits and cookies. It seemes to be a softer wheat flour, although I have nothng but subjective experience on that one.

Addendum: There's an excellent baker's supply house in Morelia on Calle Abasolo at Plaza Carillo, "
La Frontera". They have just about everything the professional and home baker might need.
*(The best tasting bread in Pátzcuaro, as far as I know, are the teleras made in the Panadería La Espiga, bien escondida in a casa in a colonia north of Don Chucho's. The rest of their products are not at the same level of quality.)

And, now, purely for your musical entertainment, here's Flatt and Scruggs doin' that old favorite, "You Are My Flower". ( I am aware that Flatt and Scruggs were for years sponsored by Martha White Mills, makers of  Martha White Flour, with "Hot Rize".)
Come on in boys, and pick it out.