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“Mesas Poblanas” Touts 15 Typical Restaurants

The 2013 Mesas Poblanas Restaurant Guide and gastronomic calendar (in Spanish)Mexican food lovers, take note: The city of Puebla on Dec. 6 unveiled a new program for identifying and recommending local restaurants that serve typically Poblano cuisine.

The Mesas Poblanas (which translates to “Pueblan Tables” in English) distinction is awarded by the office of economic development and tourism to dining establishments “characterized by quality customer service, attention to detail, and a strong local identity.”

The 2013 list comprises 15 restaurants, which are divided into two categories: gourmet and traditional. The former denotes innovation, the latter an adherence to classic recipes. Nearly half of the restaurants in the inaugural group—Casareyna, Casona de la China Poblana, El Sueño, Mesón Sacristía, Royalty, San Leonardo—are located inside downtown hotels. A free, pocket-size booklet describing the eateries and locating them on a handy map is available around town, and you can find links to the restaurants’ websites here. The city plans to update the guide annually.

Each restaurant volunteered to participate in Mesas Poblanas and was visited once by an anonymous reviewer for quality assurance, officials explained during Thursday’s press conference at Casa del Mendrugo in the city’s historic center. “It’s the first quality club in Puebla!” That may be true, but Mesas Poblanas is by no means a definitive guide, and the federal tourism secretary’s quality standards — Distintivo M and Distintivo H — appear to remain in effect.

The guide comes at an auspicious time, given the international press coverage Puebla has received this year, nearly all of which touts Poblano food, and the upcoming Tianguis Turístico trade show, which is set to take place here in March. This is the first time the annual conference, run by the Mexico Tourism Board, is being held in an urban (vs. beach) destination.

Wny is Poblano food such a big deal? “No other city reflects the richness of Mexican cuisine as well as Puebla, a cuisine blending chiles, seeds, spices, mole paste, tortillas, cheese, insects, mescals, and a long list of native products,” the Mesas Poblanas guide boasts. “It was included in the list of Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO [PDF] on November 16, 2010. Puebla’s gastronomy is one of the most representative of Mexican cooking, folled with tradition and fusion, and it has made enormous contributions to the legacy of mankind for the past four centuries.”

To coincide with the Mesas Poblanas announcement, the city also released a “gastronomic calendar” (available only in Spanish) that describes some of Puebla’s seasonal ingredients and dishes, from huauzontles (goosefoot) and escamoles (ant larvae) in the spring to huasmole (goat hip stew) and alfeñiques de azúcar (sugar skulls) in the fall. If you’re interested in trying some of these foods, join us for A Taste of Puebla walking tour, during which we’ll discuss regional produce at traditional market.

—Rebecca Smith Hurd

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5 Responses to ““Mesas Poblanas” Touts 15 Typical Restaurants”

  1. Cool! I like this idea. Too bad the guide wasn’t available when I visited Puebla. I checked your link (which directed me to the sites of some of the restaurants in the list) and made a new list of things to try during my next visit.

  2. Lesley says:

    The calendar sounds neat! How do I get my hands on one?

  3. Rebecca says:

    Hi Ruth and Lesley! The city tourism office on the main square (next to the Palacio Municipal) should have copies of both books now.

  4. Guillermo Duque de Estrada says:

    Hi, Rebecca: there’s something wrong in the page you redirect to (links to the restaurants’ websites here). Once again, great to know about this guide! I’ll go downtown to get one. Thanks.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the heads-up, Guillermo. The city changed its URLs after I wrote this, darn it. But I just updated the post to reflect those changes, so all of the links herein should be working now. ¡Buen provecho!