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Figure 1: Baker taking bread out of his oven. Copyright Scott Perry, 2000.
There is some risk in eating on the street and in markets. Decide if the food looks clean, fresh and well cooked.
Look for these numbers (6) to find the locations on our Alamos sketch map.
Taco stands with grills set up every day. In late afternoons and evenings, our friend Maximo and his sons have a stand and picnic table on the street across from the SW corner of the Parque de Alameda (2). The setting is plain, but the beef tacos are muy sabroso - delicious. At lunch, there is a good stand across from El Palacio (4). On Sunday evenings, try the stand on the east side of the Plaza de Las Armas (1). A few sell pork or fish tacos.
Most serve soft tacos made from grilled, chopped beef folded in your choice of harina (flour) or maíz (corn) tortillas. Toppings include guacamole (avocado), red beans, sautéed onions, radishes, limes and chili salsas (sauces of red or green chili, tomatoes, cilantro - some are hot). These are included in the price of the taco.
Bottled soft drinks are extra. Sometimes a stand offers whole grilled onions or tostadas (open face tortillas topped with refried pinto beans, chopped lettuce, tomatoes and cheese).
Other carts sell Sonoran hot dogs, roast corn on the cob and fresh fruit cocktails. They are set up around the plazas (1) and (2).
Mexican Panaderías (Bakeries) make slightly sweet Mexican pastries and cookies, empanadas (turnovers filled with fruit preserves) and bread rolls (boleas, which usually come out last).
The pan (bread) is ready for sale in late afternoon every day except Sunday. The time varies a little. If it's cold, the dough takes longer to rise. The baker heaps hot coals on the floor to warm the room. Panadería Moderna is across the Arroyo La Aduana (6), just up the hill in the Barrio Capilla named for the Capilla Zapopan, a small historic chapel built in 1841. Pan is also available in the Mercado and from street vendors.
Coyotas, flat pancake-like cookies filled with jam or brown sugar, and pastry empanadas are sometimes sold from houses and market stalls.
El Mercado (3) is the town market. Stalls sell fresh fruit and vegetables. There are two tortilla factories.
In the Mercado, around the Alameda and on the surrounding streets are small grocery stores with staples like coffee. Shops sell handmade tortillas (tortillas del mano) and sometimes roast chickens (ask around). There are also liquor stores, the vaquero (cowboy) bars with swinging doors (women not welcome) and snack bars that serve soups and inexpensive meals to mostly local customers.
The Sunday Tianguis Market (6) starts around 8 in the morning and is really going by 10 o'clock under the big cottonwoods along the north side of the Arroyo La Aduana. At the southwest end, a family usually sells excellent fish tacos with radishes and limes.
Other seasonal vendors offer sheet cakes sold by the square, empanadas, pastries and surprises like fresh fried potato chips with lime and salt. Our favorite is churros - long, thin pastry deep fried like a doughnut in a big ring, then cut into short lengths, rolled in sugar and sold 6 or so to a paper bag. Sometimes, if the chunks are cut small so we can tell they are cooked through, we buy chicharrónes (deep fried pork rinds), greasy but good.
Tianguis means itinerant. Most of these vendors come from Navojoa, but there are also local people and seasonal vendors from farther south. Booths offer a few handmade crafts, flashy costume jewelry, silver milagros, garden plants and an assortment of everything else.
Sundays and Holidays on the Plaza de Las Armas (1) Look for ladies selling tostadas and slices of cake.
The taco stand is good with picnic table seating. There are tables selling candy. During holidays, more vendors set up. Occasionally a child or the ladies are selling homemade tamales from a plastic bucket or ice chest: carne (beef), piña (pineapple) and elote (green corn) in season.
In the winter, look for champurro, a thick drink made from atole (cornmeal), cinnamon and chocolate or for rompope, an alcoholic eggnog.
On the west side of the Plaza, the small cafe has ice cream for sale. It's nice to sit on the portal, the steps or the park benches and watch the events in the Plaza and at the church.
Vendors also set up at the cemetery on the east side of town for Day of the Dead and at other locations when a carnival or other special event comes to town.
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