Saturday, November 30, 2019

Guadalajara and the Escape From Tequila

I was sad that this was the last morning that I would emerge from a barrel, but this trip was so packed with goodies that there were still multiple things to look forward to.

While packing our stuff up I realized that I still had my space ice cream from that whole Houston airport debacle. It was a solid breakfast for champions like myself.

I'll never get tired of looking at these plants. The blue contrasting against the dusty Jalisco soil is striking.

It was time for one last tour. I don't think I realized it this whole time, but our barrel homes at Matices Hotel de Barricas are situated at an actual tequila distillery, La Cofradia. I think we'd all pretty much got the gist of how tequila works at this point but this was included in our stay so... let's do it!

Everybody was getting pretty jelly of my tequila tour wristbands at this point.

One thing I've learned about tequila distilleries is that they have pretty great murals. 

Now I've seen a couple giant piles of blue agave in the last couple days, but this pile was already partially roasted?

We got another chance to eat some roasted agave. Man is it good. Calling the blue agave a "pineapple" made even more sense when I saw it comes apart in little sections just like the fruit.

I hadn't seen the process of chopping it up before. This was really new and fun and an example of something you probably have to come to Mexico to try. You can just ship tequila to the States but nobody is shipping baked agave slices as far as I'm aware.

I’ve been savoring every piece of delicious agave because I probably won’t taste it again.

Simon the tour guide was really crushing it.

A sophisticated cooling system was in place to ensure the distillery ran at peak performance.

This was something that we hadn't seen at any other tours: La Cofradia was selling a lot of (all?) their tequilas in handmade ceramics. I always thought that when a bottle like this said it was "handmade" that it was just some marketing scam, but we actually saw the ladies painting the bottles with little paint brushes. It was cool.

We left the tour a little early to catch our ride back to Guadalajara. If you recall, Lydia and I lengthened our Mexico time by a day to make up for the lost time when our flight out of Houston was delayed. So the plan was to drop Zoé and Jenna off at the airport and then do the real fun stuff without them in the city.

I liked that the hotel reception was in a larger barrel than the rooms. What I did not like was that we were in a bit of a hurry to leave but the hotel made us wait at the front desk while they checked if we took anything from the mini bar. Lame.

We met a couple of drivers over the course of our few days here, and I think we even had two of them booked to come take us to the airport. Neither of them came. We tried for a while to get an Uber but there weren't many available. We finally just asked the hotel gatekeeper guys if they knew anyone and they hooked us up. The ladies were getting worried that they would miss their flight.

Railway crossing in Spanish is crucero de ferrocarril. It really rolls off the tongue. I think ferrocarril translates to something like "iron path".

I saw an ad for that Coca-Cola con Café espresso drink we tried at Cuervo.

We dropped chicas dos off at the Guadalajara airport then we popped over to the hotel to drop off our bags.

I don't know why but I'm fascinated with fire/emergency procedures in other countries. It may be because every country has to deal with fire, while a problem such as "Mountain Dew overdose" is really only something that we have to deal with in the US.

We were quickly reminded that Tequila was play time Mexico, and that Guadalajara was big boy Mexico. The metro area is home to 5 million people, making it the second largest in the nation. Furthermore this was a last minute addition to the trip. I didn't know anything about this place. I felt like we were getting more attention from randoms than would be usual in a city of this size, and I also feel like we saw about 5 white people total the entire day. I never felt threatened or anything, but I did have a bit of a... "should I be here?" feeling at times during the day. 

Our maiden Guadalajara adventure was to the Mercado San Juan de Dios, the largest indoor market in Latin America with an area of 131233 ft² of haggling.

We were hungry so we headed straight to the food level.

I decided to be really creative and order some tacos. I was impressed by their rotisserie meat set up. I've never seen this thing deployed anywhere other than a Greek restaurant or a kebab place.

Had to wash it down with one of those Jarritos sodas in the glass bottles.

I was surprised at the large amount of Chinese and even Japanese food on display.

I was on the hunt for an after-lunch snack in the form of gara piñados, pretty much like candied peanuts. They were like if sweet and crunchy got together and made a beautiful baby. And then I ate that baby.

I wanted to fit in like a local so I wore my Lemon-Ade-Rita sunglasses. It's really a beautiful culture.

Hospicio Cabañas is one of the oldest hospital complexes in the Americas, founded in 1791. Now it is an art installation/museum.

The interior is covered in frescos by José Clemente Orozco, in what has been called the “Sistine Chapel of the Americas.”

This one in entitled The Man of Fire.

"Jorge González Camarena

La exhumación del conquistador Cristobal Romero, 1964

Óleo sobre tela"

We figured the line outside of La Chata was a good sign. I love waiting in lines.

Oh man, the chips and salsa they brought were killer. First off the chips seemed to legit just be a fried mini-tortilla. Then there were multiple sauces, some spicier than others. It was great.

Of course at a place called La Chata we had to order the horchata. It didn't disappoint. It was good and cinnamony. I'm gathering that Mexicans like to make cool pottery mugs. I still had the one in my bag I kept from Cantaritos El Güero at the beginning of the trip.

Enchiladas con mole. I'm pretty much a mole convert at this point.

This was really fun and quaint. People were in the square watching a black and white movie being projected onto what looked like a bed sheet. Does it get more wholesome than that?

There seemed to be a rich and/or famous people wedding happening. There was a lot of rubbernecking happening.

Lydia loves Walmarts. It's a sickness.

I didn't know what a picón Guadalajara was but it had the name of the city in which I was standing so I had no choice.

They had a tequila I bought for cheaper than I bought it at the frickin distillery at which it was made. How can that be possible?! I'm not mad. I'm disappointed.

We did some McDonald's research.

Next to the ketchup they had just a legit bowl of fresh jalepeños. Just thinking about them is making my mouth defensively water.

They had a pie with cheese filling.

We won McDonald's and we won Mexico.