Saturday, March 24, 2012

From Guaymas on the bay we make our way to Ciudad Obregon.  The dusty road seems to offer nothing but Sahuaros and sunshine so we settle into the hum of the highway, noting hawk sightings.  We are leaving the state of Sonora on our way to Sinaloa.

CIUDAD OBREGON seems a small city buzzing with service industries.  It has been named the capital of Sonora so we visit the catedral (see pic) which is a surprising modern marvel.  The state building and main library are here comprising what is the political park.  One uber-large Mexican flag seems to wave in slow motion over the entire area…it’s size dictating it’s undulations….trust me…it is huge!

Ciudad Obregon Catedral

Brad and I strolled the main plaza in the heat and spotted a La Michoacana, one of my childhood haunts where they serve a wide variety of paletas or popsicles…but these beauties are full of fresh fruit, wonderful nuts, amazing ingredients…and I’m told all natural.  So Brad opts for a paleta de nuez (mixed nuts pop) and I a mixed fruit.  Mine comes with mango, fig, kiwi, guava and strawberries.  They are totally appropriate for the heat and our appetites and I make a culinary note to have many more while here.

Speaking of the culinary, my friend Cassie asked about the food we are eating and if it would be hard to be a vegan in Mexico.  Most of the food stops along the carretera are of the fast food – western kind.  But if one were to shop at the local markets and cook at home a vegan diet would be easy to do.  And in a few towns there are vegan restaurants as well….so I’ve decided to start Cisco’s Culinary Corner (CCC) , to write about our food adventures when we hit something that zings our palettes. 

NOVAJOA was a blur of a town…we drove through and decided not to explore. 

LOS MOCHIS is where my friend Corina’s parent’s live and I was anxious to see the place.  I was told it was a land full of sugarcane fields.  We saw a few but the city is also totted as a modern wonder and modern is not why we are here.  Once again a city overrun with shops and small businesses, seemingly not developed in a conscious way…haphazard is more like it.  We did decide to stay the night in a hotel called the CityExpress….a hybrid hospice somewhere between a surreal Japanese hotel and Mexican modern….good for one night.

CCC – We did find a restaurant that served a delicious, outstanding Mexican breakfast spread…and on top of that a 2 x 1 deal.  It was called Liverpool and we feasted on fish empanadas, pescado marsalla, mixed vegetables, beautiful beet and green juices.  A note:  fresh, natural, made-to-order juices abound and are something of a favorite for us.  The green juice ingredients vary but mostly contain parsley, celery, apple, cactus, garlic and other green veggies available.

Liverpool Lover 1

Pescado Marsalla y vegetales

Liverpool Lover 2

CULIACAN – We drove into the state of Sinaloa around midday and were greeted by rolling planted, green fields.  I knew it was a good omen when a big juicy red tomato was the icon for the Sinaloa license plate.  And we saw plenty of ripe tomatoes on the vine, ready for harvesting and some in trucks on their way to market.

As we drove further south, we passed several federal agent vehicles and military personnel heading north.  It looked like a sizable force headed for a showdown of some sort.  I was happy we were headed in the opposite direction.

And so we rolled on through verdant views, sleepy small towns with goats, sheep, cattle and horses as our guideposts.  It seemed the further south we went, the greener the landscape became.

Brad had researched hotels in Culiacan and one caught his eye – The 3 Rios Hotel.
Thirsty and hot from our journey we decided to find the main plaza with the town’s catedral and happened upon a lovely place full of shade trees, vendors, city travelers.
So, being the opportunistic travelers that we are decide to take a respite and stop at the Portales de Culiacan, in front of the main square.

A few micheladas and mariscos later we were sitting in heaven watching the world go by.

CCC – Brad’s seafood tostada and my campechana were amazing!  They had just the right amount of onions, tomatos, cilantro, lime and chili for me.  We highly recommend the seafood here.

One thing that I love is to have my shoes shined in the main plaza.  It brings back memories of my grandfather in Guadalajara and traditional Mexican civility.  Brad mentioned that his brown shoes, hidden in the van, needed shining…so he retrieved them and off to the main plaza we went in search of shoe shine booths….and there were plenty…so we settled on the nicest looking man in the plaza and he made our shoes look like new.  He also mentioned that mine had not been shined in a while….probably since the last time I was in Mexico.

Apparently there is much water in Sinaloa…so much so that 3 main rivers converge in Culiacan and become one large river which runs along most of the city.  Our hotel search started here…but like most things in Mexico worth finding, it took a bit of effort (and frustration) to get to the 3 Rios Hotel.  After 3 different directions being given and Brad growing tired of the misinformation, we found our treasure…and the search was well worth the effort.

I had told Brad that I really didn’t have any memories of Culiacan as a town, only that the seafood here was superb.  As we drove into the main reception area I had a rush of memories of myself as a child, running through this property, diving into the endlessly blue pool, the shade trees and winds blowing…..I had stopped here at the Hotel 3 Rios many times when my family made the drive from L.A. to Guadalajara, and now I was revisiting the place after many years.  And the place really had not changed much…much to my happy grin.

The place was in preparation for a wedding reception to be held here last night…and a celebration it was.  A full band, dancing, dinner and drinks…and it went on until 3 a.m.!

CCC – We decided to go to an early dinner at The Camichin restaurant to beat the wedding crowd and feasted on pescado Veracruzano, seafood medley pasta, salad, guacamole, raja crepes and flan for dessert.  Well fed, we made our way back to our room and slumbered for the night.
So for Brad, myself, our new feathered friends we say adios for now.

Today we journey to Mazatlan, a city that holds many memories.  We’ll see how those hold up to the test of time....and my mind's eye.

Hasta pronto,

Fco. y Brad


  1. Thanks for posting all these pictures. I remember staying at a hotel in Culiacan that looked the same, only the water in the pool was a milky light green. Our parents only let us swim if we promised not to put our head under. But otherwise, it looks the same. And all the fields of green. I bet a lot of the veggies we eat here are grown in that area. So glad you guys are having a good adventure. I bet Mazatlan is huge now. Are you going through Tepic or straight from Mazatlan to Guadalajara? Love you!

  2. Thanks for the food update and all of the pictures! I feel like I'm there with you.

  3. I'm loving the CCC.

    Of course I'm envious of it all. The food, the adventure, the you being there. :-)