Tlaquepaque, the suburb with a funny name, is about a 20 minute bus ride from central Guadalajara yet is very different. It has a small-town feel and a lovely central plaza, full of strolling families and street eats. There's actually an almost Disney feel to the main calle, which is pedestrianized and lined with beautiful boutiques and fancy restaurants advertising sushi along with their tequila drinks.
We arrived yesterday midafternoon and checked into our cheapie little place, donde el indio duerme (yes, that is the name!).
It's very cheap, like I said (unlike most of the places to stay in Tlaquepaque), and the rooms are cute, but it is definitely in need of some TLC! The first room we were given had HUGE mold spots taking up an entire corner. This room is better, though the paint is peeling from the walls in sheets and a spring in the bed poked Logan all last night. It faces the main road, which while it is a pedestrian thoroughfare, is pretty loud at night. We'll be in fancier digs tomorrow, so no biggie.
We dropped our bags and immediately took off to explore the town.
I smelled the aroma of roasting peanuts coming from a street corner and followed my nose to this guy.
A sack of the in-shell peanuts, freshly roasted over an open flame, made a wonderful snack.
We made our way back to Tlaquepaque's main square and ogled the beautiful Santuario.
The main square is beautiful, and was beginning to pick up as we strolled around at 5:30.
We bought sacks of freshly boiled green garbanzo beans for snacking and discovered the wonders of buñuelos, huge fried disks coated in piloncillo (unrefined brown sugar) caramel. No chicharrones for us, though. That's their spicy sauce in the 5-gallon bucket.
We also bought a 5-liter jug of tequila, just for funsies. (No, we didn't.)
After a quick stop back at the hotel to freshen up a bit, we walked down the few blocks to find Doña Victoria's dinner stand. In Tlaquepaque, there seem to be lots of establishments like these, with seating indoors and a kitchen set up outside. There's no sign of them until early evening, when the doors are thrown open and the kitchen is set up and starts cooking.
This place was quite well organized - they even had a printed menu!
All of the cooking takes place in this mobile stand. There's a metal sheet pounded into a hillock with a divot in the middle; the divot holds frying oil, and the sloped sides outside the divot form a bed to keep already fried items warm.
We ordered a couple of tacos, a few enchiladas, and a bowl of posole. Sort of hilariously, they all had the same garnishes and looked about the same when they arrived. The agua fresca on hand was jamaica, and the big mugs of hibiscus-flavored water were refreshing and welcome.
The posole was the standout here; the porky broth held shredded pork leg meat and chunks of hominy. The hominy was especially interesting - I'm used to the commercial canned stuff, where each kernel of the treated corn looks just about exactly the same. This hominy was much more homely. There were kernels of varying colors, from red through to white, and each had its own often smooshy shape.
On the way back, we walked through Tlaquepaque's square again. Such prettiness.