Puebla: Arrival and breakfast

All the conference participants are staying in Puebla’s Hotel Camino Real, which is very nice—stupendous when you include the breakfast. But more on that in a second. I have to note that Puebla, with 3 million inhabitants, is Mexico’s fourth largest city, and a famous colonial town with a lovely old cathedral.

When we arrived Thursday at the small Puebla airport on a 75-seater jet from Houston, and after an interminable wait to get through customs, we were met by the always-efficient staff of the Cuidad de Las Ideas conference, which is always organized like clockwork.  On the other side of Customs I was given a large paddle with my name on it so I could be collected and directed to the van that took us to the hotel. When I got to my room, I couldn’t resist a selfie:

The view from my room, with some of the surrounding mountains in the distance (there’s a big volcano in the other direction which I believe I posted the last time I went to Puebla).

And my room: comfortable and well appointed:

But what is spectacular here is the breakfast. In fact, I’ve never had a better hotel breakfast in my life. Besides Yankee food like an omelet bar, where they make omelets to your specifications, and bacon, there’s a full complement of Mexican food. And of course I ate the local stuff, but even there were too many different things to sample! There were trays of homemade tamales, heated dishes of birria (goat stew), trays of tortillas, and more stuff that I didn’t photograph because I was shy. But I did take a few snaps, some of which are out of focus because of low light and a 1/5 second shutter speed.

Chilaquiles, my favorite Mexican breakfast dish. It’s made from fried tortillas which are then stewed with chicken, onions, cheese, mole, and hot sauce. I could eat this stuff forever:

The makings of fajitas, which I believe is a Tex-Mex dish:

I’m not sure what this is. Readers?

Chuletas, Mexican pork chops in sauce:

Mexican scrambled eggs with nopales, or cactus:


Birria (goat):

Platanos (fried bananas) on one side, fat sausages on the other. I took the platanos:

I don’t know what “tutties” are, and I didn’t try them, nor can I find them on the Internet. A Mexican reader’s help is needed!

The black bean station with queso fresco (fresh cheese) and tortilla chips:

Mexican breakfast pastries. I am quite fond of the soft, sweet rolls in the foreground, which went well with the strong house coffee:

Jugos, or fruit juices, are varied. On Friday I had the one on the right, which turned out to be grapefruit juice. Tomorrow I’ll try the jugo verde. The best juice, however, was in the speaker’s Green Room: a mixture of pineapple and lemon. The Green Room was stocked with the most amazing variety of foods I’ve ever seen at such an event, and I’ll have photos of that tomorrow.

Update: This morning’s (Saturday’s) breakfast with the jugo verde, which had a pleasant herbaceous flavor, though I still don’t know what’s in it. My well-filled plate:

And fruit with tamale containing cornmeal and raisins:

Pinkah eating breakfast (he spoke Friday morning and then flew off to a meeting in Chicago):


  1. Juan
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you are enjoying Puebla
    I believe the unidentified dish may be flor de calabaza

    • Juan
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      On sevond thought they may be tortitas de carne en caldillo

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Don’t usually think about that assortment for breakfast, however, when in Rome…

    Posted November 18, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Not bananas… plantains

  4. Posted November 18, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Oh man, that all looks really good. Whenever I am in Mexico I look for the drink known as horchata. Some places in the U.S. can have it too, but I have not seen it in a long time. Its very sweet, but I could totally murder a tall glass of it right now.

    • Posted November 18, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      It’s available ad lib in the green room, and it’s great. I’ll take a photo today.

  5. Posted November 18, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Oh that really looks very good – I devoured everything with my eyes

  6. dabertini
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    What a spread! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Heather Hastie
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    What an amazing lot of food! I’d be very happy with a selection like that for dinner!

  8. Christopher
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Scrambled eggs with nopales?! I’m gonna have to make that! And that pink raisin tamale? Wow! Anyone got a recipe? I’m so hungry…and jealous.

    • Rita
      Posted November 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink


  9. Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jerry. I hope you´re still enjoying my hometown -tried to go and meet you but work made it impossible.
    The dish you ask about may be some kind of “tinga” or “tortitas rellenas”, but I really can´t tell… And I have never heard of “tutties”! Maybe it´s a “house dish”. “Fajitas” is, in fact, a Tex-Mex dish.
    Puebla´s finest are food and the volcanoes. No doubt. Followed by colonial architecture. The versatile beauty of the volcanoes (Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl, the conical one and the second highest in México) can be seen here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/138328836@N06/albums/72157667928943394

  10. Posted November 18, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I found this in a review of a different hotel in Puebla: “Prueben los tutties en el desayuno (breakfast food), son buenerrimos!!!!” Rough translation: “Try the tutties for breakfast, they’re gr-r-reat!!!!” (With apologies to Tony.)

  11. GBJames
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    If I remember correctly, the mountain in the distance on the left is Iztaccihuatl. On the right La Malinche, named for the woman who became Cortez’ mistress (as well as translator, etc.).

    But it was long ago that I was in grad school and working in nearby Cholula. I should go back sometime.

    • Posted November 19, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Neither the Iztaccíhuatl nor the Malinche are in the picture. What you are seeing is part of the surrounding sierra. The Iztaccíhuatl, which is accompanied by the Popocatépetl, is behind Jerry´s room or in front of the hotel entrance. The Malinche is -from that perspective- many kilometers to their right.

      • GBJames
        Posted November 19, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        So much for memory fogged by the decades.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    The fasting thing must be workin’ out for ya, boss. In the selfie ya look like a lean, mean boot-wearin’ machine.

  13. Bernie Hernandez
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know about “tutties” (I guess they’re local), but I can tell you the pastries you enjoyed are called “conchas” and, altogether, we call them “pan dulce” (sweet bread).

  14. Posted November 18, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Regional Mexican food can be so wonderful. What a spread! Mexican breads, pastries, desserts (such as flan and Tres Leches Cake) are fantastic, as are the jugos. But, the fresh tree or vine ripened fruits are exceptional. In all our travels in Mexico I had fruit plates every morning for breakfast (without papaya. I discovered I didn’t like the taste of Mexican papaya, although I do like Hawaiian papaya.) And, of course, avocado.

    In Oaxaca, try one or more of the many moles (a sauce made with numerous and various ingredients, usually including some chocolate.)

    Not all Mexican hotels put on a breakfast like this, so thanks for spreading the good news about this one. There’s a hotel in Peru outside Lima (can’t remember the name) that has a similarly magnificent breakfast. And, they’re around the block from a small restaurant that serves excellently prepared Argentine beef.

  15. Posted November 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Many years ago I stayed at the Puebla Camino Real.
    We were at the front desk one morning when a guest arrived, very upset, saying he was checking out in advance because that place was haunted. Something, someone, shook his bed all night. No way was he spending there another night.
    As soon as he left, the guy at the front desk turned to us and said: “I am a skeptic but I am not surprised. It’s happened before. In that same room”.
    Sorry, Jerry, I can’t remember the room number. But I wish you luck.

  16. Brujo Feo
    Posted November 19, 2017 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Jerry–the green juice is *jugo de nopal*–cactus juice. The locals often mix it half and half with orange juice, but I love it so much that I always drink it straight.

  17. David Coxill
    Posted November 19, 2017 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Did you reverse the photo of you with the paddle ,seeing as your name is the right way round.

  18. Posted November 19, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    That looks so amazingly delicious! I’m jealous. I stayed there once. It was a phenomenal experience.

  19. Posted November 21, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Wonderful. I really must try cactuses at some point.

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