After seeing the Olmec heads and the Museo de Antropologia in Xalapa, we were off to Villahermosa and La Venta Park to learn more about the Olmecs.
Along the way, we made a quick pit stop and then a second stop for lunch. Both included foods that are very traditional for that region of Mexico.
A Roadside Pineapple Plantation
The highway heading toward Villahermosa is dotted with Pineapple plantations. We took a quick break to visit one located on the road outside of the town of Isla.
It was a small one-person roadside stand at the edge of the Pineapple field. The man was selling whole fresh Pineapples and gave us all a few slices. It was sweet and delicious.
He was also selling Pineapple Tamales wrapped in Corn Husks, not the kind with Banana leaves like we find in the Yucatan. They were filled with creamy Corn Masa and chunks of fresh Pineapple.
Truthfully, we expected more, but we also knew it was peasant food in a rural area. We all discussed how roasting the Pineapple with a little Canela (Cinnamon) and Sugar would have made them AMAZING. I’m sure homemade Roasted Pineapple Tamales are in our future for home experiments.
Additionally, the man was selling small jugs of Tepache, also known as Pineapple Beer. This beverage is made from the rind of the Pineapple mixed with Raw Sugar and Canela. It’s then fermented for a few days, strained, and served cold. Several people from our group tried some and enjoyed it.
Traditional Mexican Barbacoa
Barbacoa from the region to the east of Mexico City is made with whole roasted Lamb or Mutton wrapped in Agave leaves and cooked underground.
So Mark, because Chuck doesn’t eat Lamb, was over the moon when he heard traditional Barbacoa was on the menu for today’s lunch stop. It’s not something we cook at home.
We visited El Triunfo Barbacoa y Restaurante near the town of Agua Dulce, Veracruz.
The restaurant was surprisingly large, with several side dining rooms, outdoor gardens, and play areas for kids.
As with many of our lunch breaks, we preordered meals from a short list of options, and our tour manager called ahead with the order. It helped with keeping us on schedule and not having to wait for people to decide and prepare the food.
We were seated in a private dining room with fantastic air conditioning. The room had one long table for our group set with the traditional tortilla chips and beans and several salsas ranging from hot to very hot. (by American standards). It’s not bad at all for us as we live in the region of Habaneros.
Drink orders were taken and appeared right away. Passing on the beer selection, we opted for Jamaica, a Hibiscus Flower drink, and Sandia, a refreshing Watermelon Agua Fresca.
Chuck chose a combination platter for his entree that included thinly sliced Grilled Beef and Enchiladas with Mole. It was served with Fries, Fried Plantain, and a small Salad with Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado, and Fresh Cheese. It was a tasty, filling option.
Mark absolutely went with the Barbacoa option. We were served a small foil-wrapped parcel of moist, tender Barbacoa, a bowl of very flavorful Broth, and some fresh, warm Tortillas. It was HEAVEN!
For dessert, we were all treated to a cheesecake-like dessert with a Dulce de Leche topping, the perfect end to a delicious lunch.
After lunch and a bathroom break, we returned to our motor coach and headed off to Villahermosa!