Globe Trekker - Globe Trekker Food Hour: Mexico   View more episodes

Aired at 04:00 AM on Monday, Feb 01, 2010 (2/1/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:36When the spanish first set foot in mexico in the 16th century, one of the world's greatest nary adventures began.
00:00:42Mexico became the major gateway between europe and the americas, with each culture swapping indigenous foods and cooking ideas.
00:00:50The result was the creation of a new cuisine which we know today as mexican food.
00:00:57My mission is to get away from the traditional notions of americanized mexican food and find the real heart and soul of the country's cuisine.
00:01:07Mexican cuisine varies from region to region.
00:01:10In a quest to find some of the country's finest dishes, my journey will start in the vibrant capital of mexico city before hitting the wilds of oaxaca.
00:01:19Next, I'll take in the colonial town of puebla and finish off in the port of veracruz.
00:01:30Mexico city is the nation's capital and culinary melting pot.
00:01:34Here, international influences are prominent, and there's a wide variety of mexican food available, from high-end restaurants to quick and easy street food.
00:01:42The choice is unlimited, but like every other town in mexico, its main source of food comes from the markets and roadside stalls, which, in a city of 20 million inhabitants, makes for some pretty busy street life.
00:02:02When the spanish first landed here, they were amazed to find a whole host of new fruits and vegetables they'd never even seen before, never mind tasted.
00:02:09In fact, a lot of our favorite foods actually originated in mexico.
00:02:15Europe had no idea of what a tomato was until the 16th century, and when spain started colonizing the new world, they discovered that mexico was a major player in the culinary scene, and things they've given to the new world is list you probably take for granted on a day-to-day basis--i mean, things like vanilla, chocolate, pineapple, chilies, avocados, beans, green beans.
00:02:35It goes on and on.
00:02:36Imagine cooking without this little guy.
00:02:39Viva mexico.
00:02:51Tomatoes originally came from the americas and are an essential ingredient in mexican cuisine.
00:02:57A very common side dish is pico de gallo, which are onions, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro.
00:03:06Guacamole is another popular dish you will find on most mexican tables--made with avocadoes, onion, garlic, and chilies and, like everything in mexico, sprinkled with lime.
00:03:16It's served mainly on its own with tortilla chips or to accompany the all-time favorite--tacos.
00:03:33Hola, senor.
00:03:34Dos tacos--uno taco de pollo, uno taco de puerco, por favor.
00:03:38Tacos are the ultimate in mexican street food.
00:03:41They're incredible.
00:03:42You pull up to a little stall like this, and you order a taco, and they have all these great ingredients like pork and chicken and beef, and they're served on tortillas, which is the bread, dish, and spoon in mexico--i am not kidding; they use it on everything--and they also come with these great side ..
00:03:56>> Ok.
00:03:57>> Ah, gracias.
00:04:00Like a little pico de gallo-- which is tomatoes, a little serrano chilies--like onions and cilantro like that, little bit ..
00:04:14Making your mouth water, huh?
00:04:16A little bit of a fresh squeeze of lime, and this is the ultimate in mexican street food.
00:04:22Oh, yeah, cheap, too.
00:04:243 Taco and a beer--about $1.20.
00:04:26Delicious, huh?
00:04:27Papi, una cervesa, por favor.
00:04:29Eso. gracias.
00:04:32Mm, excellent.
00:04:46When spanish conqueror hernan cortes arrived in mexico in 1519, he decided to build the capital of new spain here in mexico city, but being so far away from spain, he missed some of the comforts of home, so on his next trip around, hernan cortes introduced to the new world the common hen so we can have fresh eggs for breakfast.
00:05:03If you like eggs in the morning, you're in luck here.
00:05:06In mexico city, some restaurants specialize in breakfast and have 10 different styles of eggs on the menu.
00:05:17We're here at casa de los azulejos, which is a bit of an institution when it comes to eggs in mexico city.
00:05:22This beautiful colonial mansion has been serving huevos, or eggs, since 1913.
00:05:30I'm here with my buddy paul.
00:05:32He's a local, and he's gonna walk me through 5 of mexico's most classic egg dishes, or huevo dishes.
00:05:37What do we have here?
00:05:38>> Well, this one, for instance, is huevos rancheros.
00:05:41They are very simple, as they are just a very slightly fried tortilla with two eggs sunny side up on top and just bathed with salsa.
00:05:48>> Mm, mm, that tastes like mexico, you know?
00:05:53>> Yeah, yeah.
00:05:54>> The tortilla.
00:05:54You got the corn, the flavor from the eggs, and the yolks are really rich, too.
00:05:57What's that over there?
00:05:58>> It's called huevos de devorciados.
00:05:59>> Oh, devorciados.
00:06:00Why, because they're separated?
00:06:01 you got the refried beans on the side, as usual.
00:06:05>> Mm, love that.
00:06:07All right, so basically now, every breakfast comes with refried beans, right?
00:06:09 beans are pretty much the basic meal in mexico, and it combines very well with eggs, so it's-- >> eggs are creamy.
00:06:17They're nice.
00:06:18That's really hearty, stick to your ribs, huh?
00:06:20They don't believe in the yogurt and granola for breakfast, huh?
00:06:23>> But we have lunch much later.
00:06:2400, so that's why we have big breakfasts.
00:06:27>> All right, paul.
00:06:28This is a very interesting-looking dish.
00:06:30Would you explain this to me?
00:06:31 these are called huevos con manchaca, which is basically just scrambled eggs with dried beef meat with green salsa.
00:06:41>> Paul, that tastes a bit funky, man.
00:06:43I am not gonna lie to you.
00:06:44>> No?
00:06:45>> I am gonna pass.
00:06:45I'm gonna pass on this one, not my favorite.
00:06:47 they probably are an acquired taste.
00:06:48These are called huevos ..
00:06:51>> Motelenos.
00:06:51>> Which I don't really know what it means in english.
00:06:54>> It's good, anyway, right?
00:06:55>> It's just, like, a very hard, dried tortilla.
00:06:57 it has a texture to it, crunchy, and it's almost like it ..
00:07:01>> Yeah, chili peppers, and the eggs are sunny side up on top of them.
00:07:06>> Oh, they're nice.
00:07:08That crunchy tortilla gives it a bit of a texture.
00:07:11It's delicious, man.
00:07:12Actually, these are my favorite, man.
00:07:14You want to switch?
00:07:15>> Yeah.
00:07:15>> Pass it up, dude.
00:07:17Huevos as far as the eye can see.
00:07:24Mercado, or market, is where nearly all locals do their shopping, and in mexico city, each district has its own daily mercado selling fresh fruits and vegetables.
00:07:35The mercado de san juan near the city center is a gourmet market and is visited by many of the city's top chefs.
00:07:42For patricia quintana, one of mexico's best-known cooks, mercado sells the finest, freshest vegetables in the city.
00:07:48She loves cooking with chilies, and this is where she buys her favorites.
00:07:56You know, mexican cooking wouldn't have the same fiery soul without the chili.
00:08:00There are 300 varieties of fresh chilies that grow here and many more dried, and today we're here with one of the matriarchs of mexican cooking, patricia quintana, and she's gonna walk us through this whole chili thing.
00:08:09What do you have today?
00:08:10>> Chilies poblanos.
00:08:11>> Those are beautiful.
00:08:12>> Well, the poblano is a staple to mexican cuisine, and it grows, you know, all year round.
00:08:18>> And so, they're very accessible, and it's also-- hey, guys, check this out.
00:08:21This is really beautiful.
00:08:22The poblano has a large cavity inside, so they're really great for stuffing inside, and you can pretty much stuff anything-- ..
00:08:29>> And seafood and goat cheese.
00:08:32>> But you have to get these little guys out, these little, spicy devils.
00:08:34That's where the heat is.
00:08:37The poblano is one of the milder chilies you'll find in mexico.
00:08:43The general rule is, the smaller the chili, the hotter the flavor.
00:08:48What patricia has just been explaining to me, chilies are measured for heat on a scale called scoville units.
00:08:53Basically, it's a number system that describes how hot a chili really is, compared to other chilies, and if you can think about sort of a richter scale seismic activity but on your tongue, let me give you an example here.
00:09:02Let's just say a lowly jalapeno rates about 2,300 on a richter scale--which is pretty hot, right, very hot--but the daddy, the king daddy of all chilies, the habanero, 300,000.
00:09:17Well, patricia and I just got back from the market, and we're in her house.
00:09:20She helped us pick out the most amazing poblano chilies I've every seen in my entire life, and we're gonna make a really beautiful, very authentic mexican dish, which is a stuffed chilies.
00:09:27First, patricia roasts the chilies--or we know them as peppers--over an open flame for 10 minutes.
00:09:34You definitely do not want to overcook these, right?
00:09:35 you don't have to overcook them.
00:09:37Otherwise, they will become very wilted, and you have to be careful about the flesh of the chili.
00:09:44>> So, you just want to cook it till the skin starts to char and blister, then pull them off immediately, right?
00:09:48>> Exactly, but then you have to really turn, and it has to be cooked all around.
00:09:54>> If you overcook the chili, basically it will start to fall apart when you try to stuff it, so as soon as the skin starts to blister and char, you pull it off and steam it.
00:10:01All right.
00:10:02Now, what we have here is a really good example of what roasted peppers look like.
00:10:05If you can see them, the skin is evenly charred and blistered all the way round the pepper, but it's still firm.
00:10:10You can feel that it's not overcooked.
00:10:12They smell great.
00:10:13This is hypnotic.
00:10:15Once this is done--patricia really had a good idea--cover them up with a damp towel so the skins come off easily.
00:10:20Now, I think this a really amazing process because, if you notice this, the skin peels right off after they've been steamed.
00:10:29And what's the water for?
00:10:31>> Just to put them inside, and then the skin will rub into the water.
00:10:35 if you just dip it in water really quickly, it will get off all the, like, little loose bits that are left on top of that.
00:10:40One little dip, and I have a perfect, clean, roasted pepper.
00:10:44Look at that.
00:10:46Next, we cut open the pepper and remove the seeds, creating a cavity ready to be filled.
00:10:52Now we get to work on the refried beans, right?
00:10:55>> The fantastic refried beans.
00:10:56>> Oh, I'm so excited about watching this, I can't wait.
00:10:58Refried beans are a specialty in mexico.
00:11:00They're black beans boiled with garlic and onions before they're mashed, fried, and served th those are great. look at that.
00:11:07>> Mm.
00:11:08 now, when we're talking about beans, especially for refried--i mean, take a look at this--they are overcooked, all right?
00:11:15They're very, very soft, so they're perfect for mashing and then the refried.
00:11:21All right. those look amazing.
00:11:22Now, what do you want to do?
00:11:23You want to mash them up to paste, right?
00:11:24>> You have to mash them until it's very smooth and it becomes a paste.
00:11:31>> I know what taste will pass it.
00:11:33You got a little black bean paste, mm, and it's so simple, you know?
00:11:41Taste the garlic, taste the onions, and you taste this woman's heart, you know?
00:11:45" I love that, mm.
00:11:47>> Now for the final stage-- frying them with finely chopped onions.
00:11:51Oh, they smell amazing, patricia.
00:11:53Ah, that's dynamite.
00:11:54You can really smell those onions, beautiful.
00:11:55Look at that.
00:11:56Now, why do you call them refried beans if you only fry them once.
00:11:59Wouldn't that be just fried beans?
00:12:00>> Well, because you cook until it really fries.
00:12:03>> Really soft and it kind of melts in your mouth.
00:12:06That's fantastic. look at that.
00:12:09Then let it all simmer for about 10 minutes until it becomes a paste.
00:12:13All right.
00:12:14So, let's see what this guy looks like when you put it together.
00:12:18Take some of the-- >> some of the beans, the refried.
00:12:21Looks like a paste.
00:12:22>> You really mash the paste inside.
00:12:24>> Exactly, and then with both hands, then you close it together, and then you have the chili rellenos, stuffed chili rellenos.
00:12:34>> That is beautiful, and then this is served room temperature, correct?
00:12:37>> Yes.
00:12:38>> It's perfect for summertime.
00:12:39The dish is not complete without that favorite mexican ..
00:12:47That's beautiful, simple, and very, very nice.
00:12:51Delicately finished off with a sprig of cilantro.
00:12:54>> Ok, so we're gonna give this a little taste, see what we got here--beautiful roast peppers, refried beans, salsa verde.
00:13:04Here it goes.
00:13:07Mm, that's perfect.
00:13:08That is so perfect. wow. mm.
00:13:10You know, you get that little tangible heat from the poblano.
00:13:12We didn't wash all of it away.
00:13:14That is spectacular.
00:13:15Thank you very much.
00:13:15>> Thank you.
00:13:16>> Wow.
00:13:37You can't do a show on mexican food and culture and not talk about tequila.
00:13:41It's the country's national drink.
00:13:43Everybody associates mexico with tequila, and everybody has got a horror story out there--i know you do; don't look at me like that--but there's another drink down here that'll get you in a lot of trouble, too.
00:13:51It's called mescal, and this stuff is packing a punch.
00:13:57Mescal is mexico's second national drink, and it's similar to tequila.
00:14:02The most coveted bottles of mescal come with a worm at the bottom, which must be eaten.
00:14:09Worms are also ground down and served with salt and lime as an accompaniment.
00:14:16In mexico, both mescal and tequila are sipped slowly, but if it gets too strong, you just got to throw it back.
00:14:33All right. I did it.
00:14:34You happy? ugh.
00:14:36After a big night out on the, uh, local juice, I wanted to find out more about mescal.
00:14:41Knowing that it comes from the agave cactus, I set out into the heart of the state of oaxaca, where cacti are everywhere and mescal is big business, and the method of making it has changed very little in the last 400 years.
00:14:56Initially, mescal was made illegally by one of the indigenous tribes in the area, the zapotec indians, but today the zapotecs are rated as making the best mescal in the country.
00:15:07This is a friend of mine, rafa, and he's a connoisseur of all things mescal, so armed with a few deadly weapons and a band of desperados, we're gonna get to the root to the whole matter and go harvest agave.
00:15:26Hey, rafa, how old are one of these agave plants?
00:15:28>> Well, these plants are between 7 years or 12 years old.
00:15:31 how do you know when they're ready to harvest?
00:15:33>> Well, they're ready when you see the quiote.
00:15:36It's that stick that grows in the middle.
00:15:37When they have that, you chop it off, and then the plant is ready.
00:15:41>> Oh, that thing that looks like a prehistoric asparagus.
00:15:43>> Yeah. it is. it looks like.
00:15:46>> How much do they weigh?
00:15:47They look huge.
00:15:48>> Oh, well, it can be between 100 kilos to 200 kilos.
00:15:52That would be, like, 400 pounds.
00:15:54>> About 400 pounds, massive, and after we get this thing out of the ground, what's next?
00:16:01>> Well, after we have it there, then we take it to the factory, and we chop it with an ax, and we have all the slices and then put them into the oven.
00:16:08>> Ever seen me chop wood before?
00:16:10>> Yeah.
00:16:11>> I'm pretty handy with an ax.
00:16:11>> Ok, if you can do it.
00:16:14>> Making mescal is no easy trade, hard work for a strong drink.
00:16:20All right.
00:16:21Well, there's no such thing as a free drink, so here it goes.
00:16:23These guys are going to make me cut one of these huge agave plants in half, and they weigh about 250 pounds.
00:16:30Whew. this is rough.
00:16:36You know, these little guys are laughing at me someplace.
00:16:39I know they are.
00:16:41I'm gonna do this. phew. whew.
00:16:49Did you every hear the old saying "don't quit your day job"?
00:16:52I'll stick to cooking.
00:16:55This is why mescal is such a far superior product to tequila, because the art and passion that goes behind this, and once the agave plants are split, the pinas, or the hearts, are tossed into this pit of practically molten lava rocks.
00:17:07Now, the temperature of this lava oven has reached about 1,000 degrees before the cooking process starts and, depending on how much agave they have to cook, could go somewhere between 3 to 5 days.
00:17:18I'm really actually very lucky to watch this because, as tradition has it, no one with gringos, are allowed to watch the cooking process.
00:17:27So, they say I could stay but only if I put my shades on.
00:17:40The baking plants are completely covered with dried agave wood and soil.
00:17:46Then a tarp is secured over top, and they're kept like this for up to 5 days.
00:17:53Then the plants are ground down to a pulp before being distilled, then fermented.
00:18:01In mescal, you can almost smell the agave cactus and the sweat of the farmer's toil.
00:18:06[Blades hacking] after a long day at the agave harvest, it's traditional to toast a little fruits of your labor with a big shot of mescal, but before we toast each other, we toast mother earth, and we give a little back to the future harvest, right, and then we turn it back ourselves.
00:18:30Salud, everybody.
00:18:31Salud, everybody! whoo!
00:18:35Mm, oh, delicious.
00:18:43In the heart of mescal country is the principle city oaxaca.
00:18:47Here, indigenous traditions are still very strong, and most of the state's 3 million inhabitants don't speak spanish as a first language.
00:19:01There are over 16 different ethnic groups represented in oaxaca.
00:19:05Over 200 different dialects are spoken, and almost 500 traditional costumes are worn, so if you want to get a good idea of what food was like in mexico in pre-hispanic times, then this is the place to come, but be warned.
00:19:25Insects are featured heavily on the menu here, and they consume them by the sackloads.
00:19:37Mexicans have considered insects a delicacy since aztec times, and here in oaxaca, which is very indigenous, they consider roasted grasshoppers an everyday common snack, a lot like popcorn, and what they do is, they boil them, and then they sort of dry roast them with chilies, salt, and lemon, and-- permiso.
00:19:53May I have one of these?
00:19:55This is new for me, so I'm gonna give this a shot, roasted grasshoppers.
00:19:58Well, what I do for television, huh?
00:20:02You know, that is completely indescribable.
00:20:04I've never really had anything like that before.
00:20:06It's sort of like shrimp shells, but it tastes like a grasshopper.
00:20:10I can't really describe it as anything else.
00:20:12That's very interesting.
00:20:13Look at this guy.
00:20:14Huh. mm. oh, well.
00:20:15What the hell? delicious.
00:20:24The abasto mercado is oaxaca city's main market where all food provisions can be brought.
00:20:31A common and plentiful food found here is the cactus, and the most popular dish from that is called nopales, which is usually served fried.
00:20:41Now, this is something completely unusual.
00:20:44I've never seen this stuff before.
00:20:46The trippy thing about mexican food, it always looks really strange, but it's probably really fresh ingredients.
00:20:50¿¿Que eso esta?
00:20:51>> Buenos tardes.
00:20:52[Speaks spanish] >> so it's--calabaza.
00:20:55I think she's saying it's some kind of pumpkin.
00:20:56Sopa de-- >> [speaks spanish] >> I'm loosely translating this, but I think she said it's pumpkin soup, but it looks much thinner than pumpkin soup, almost like a pumpkin water, but it looks very refreshing.
00:21:07>> [Speaks spanish] >> maize, like a corn.
00:21:10She's got like hominy, big, fat hominy corn.
00:21:13>> [Speaks spanish] >> I have no idea what she's saying, but I'm guessing here.
00:21:16Ok. all right. fantastic.
00:21:18This looks really beautiful.
00:21:19So, here we go.
00:21:20Here's to unusual food in mexico that looks really beautiful, calabaza soup.
00:21:28Mm, that's quite good, actually.
00:21:31It's very fresh and very light.
00:21:32It tastes like a deep pumpkin flavor, but it tastes like a big glass of water at the same time, very nice, and the crunchy corn, mm.
00:21:40That's a nice afternoon snack, right there.
00:21:41Delicioso. muchas gracias. mm.
00:21:45If novel and varied dishes are not on your agenda, you can always rely on the fact that there are good, old-fashioned tortillas around nearly every corner.
00:21:55You know, a lot of people think that tortillas come prewrapped in plastic from a grocery store, but here at the oaxaca market, we're about to get a lesson on the real deal.
00:22:01Now, what she has here is masa dough, and I'll show you a little bit of this.
00:22:05Masa dough is basically dried, ground corn, and it's mixed with a little bit of a pork lard.
00:22:10I know what you're thinking, but still, it tastes really good, and what she's doing, she's rolling it in a little ball, and she puts it into a press, and she flattens them out like that.
00:22:20Now, what she's making is an authentic mexican quesadilla.
00:22:23Now, it's not what you think about traditionally when you think of quesadillas because the ingredients are really interesting.
00:22:28She's spreading little bit of pork fat to give it a little bit of flavor on the base of the toasted tortilla at this point, and then she's adding a couple of really interesting ingredients, which is espazote which is a sort of a basily mint, herbaceous flavor--it's really interesting--and she's also adding zucchini flowers, zucchini blossoms, which are delicious--they're very sort of springlike; they have a nice flavor to them--and then she's adding for the cheese, she's adding oaxacan cheese, which is sort of like a very stringy mozzarella.
00:22:57It's really excellent.
00:22:58It's good stuff.
00:23:00Wow, it's dynamite.
00:23:02And then what she is gonna do, basically, let it toast on one side and then flip it over, let it toast for a couple of seconds, and this is what it looks like.
00:23:10Little bit of hot sauce, and this is mexico, baby.
00:23:12Look at that. oh, man. mm.
00:23:19Mm, it goes on forever.
00:23:22Mm, delicious.
00:23:34But you don't have to always be bold and fearless to eat in oaxaca because this city also specializes in one ingredient which the world has got to thank mexico for.
00:23:44Take a look at this.
00:23:45This is a dried cacao fruit, and inside are these little guys, which are cocoa beans, which happens to be the nucleus of the most important culinary contribution that mexico made to the world--you know where I'm going with this--chocolate, and here in oaxaca, they're crazy about it.
00:24:01As a matter of fact, each person eats 5 1/2 pounds of chocolate a year.
00:24:05I'm gonna warn you, if you happen to be a chocoholic, you may find the following scenes disturbing.
00:24:12Chocolate has been around in mexico for over 2,000 years and has a rich legacy.
00:24:17Montezuma even used chocolate as money, and as a liquid, it was also refereed to as the drink of the gods.
00:24:26This handsome fella right here, his name is salvador, and he owns the chocolate shop, the mayordomo chocolate shop, here in oaxaca, and he was just giving me an explanation on the first step of chocolate making, which is actually dry roasting and crushing cocoa beans.
00:24:39>> Yeah.
00:24:40>> I'm really excited about this.
00:24:42It looks beautiful.
00:24:44That is the most intoxicating chocolate smell I have ever experienced in my entire life.
00:24:47That is beautiful.
00:24:48Look at this guy.
00:24:49Look at that smile, huh?
00:24:49He's happy to be here.
00:24:50That's nice. look at that. mm.
00:25:03Salvador shows me how to make the perfect bar of mexican chocolate.
00:25:07Cocoa beans, cinnamon, and almonds are all added together and then ground down into a pulp.
00:25:12Once it reaches a thick, gooey consistency, sugar is added.
00:25:20Here at his shop, customers get to chose what quantities of each ingredient they want so they can have their own customized chocolate.
00:25:32In downtown oaxaca, there are hundreds of chocolate shops, and there is no better place to get your fix.
00:25:40>> El mejor chocolate de mundo para ti.
00:25:42>> He said, "this is the best chocolate in the world," and this is what it looks like when it comes out of the machine.
00:25:46The chocolate is all hot and gooey, and I can still feel the heat radiating out of this bin.
00:25:50My friend, that looks beautiful.
00:25:51I'm gonna get a nice, big scoop of this.
00:25:53Don't mind if I do, salvador, my friend.
00:25:55>> [Speaks spanish] >> that is crazy, mm.
00:25:59You know, it's not as smooth as the european chocolate, but it tastes so much better because you really get the cinnamon and the almonds in my mouth, like completely full as right now, but that is incredible, my friend.
00:26:08Look at that. mm, this is good.
00:26:10I'll never look at a candy bar the same way again.
00:26:39Oaxacans aren't the only mexicans that are completely infatuated with chocolate.
00:26:43I'm now here in puebla, and the people of this little town have quite a serious sweet tooth themselves, and not only do they like chocolate in their deserts.
00:26:50They also seem to like it with chicken and turkey.
00:26:53Puebla has an amazing claim to fame, as well.
00:26:55They've invented the national dish of mexico--mole poblano.
00:27:01Mole starts off as a paste which is made out of 16 different ingredients, including chocolate and chilies.
00:27:08It was invented in puebla in the 17th century by a nun named sister andrea.
00:27:13She was asked to cook a special meal for a visiting bishop who arrived unexpectedly.
00:27:18Unprepared, the nun simply raided her cupboard for all of its ingredients and produced a sauce she called mole which she then poured all over roasted turkey.
00:27:27Much to her surprise, the bishop loved it, and it quickly became a national dish.
00:27:32Traditionally in mexican cultural, women always make the mole sauce.
00:27:35I found this beautiful women here, lilia, who's gonna walk me through the whole process of actually making a mole.
00:27:40Now, what we're gonna start off with first is her mole paste.
00:27:43First thing lilia does is turn the mole paste into a sauce by frying it in oil and adding turkey broth.
00:27:51You add just enough to loosen it up because you want the sauce to be nice and thick.
00:27:55Lilia is gonna concentrate on her sauce while I prepare the turkey.
00:27:59All right.
00:28:00Now, what we're gonna do actually today is, we're gonna make mole poblano, and traditionally, you can either make it with turkey or make it with chicken, and today I have these really beautiful turkey breasts I'm gonna do this with.
00:28:08What we're gonna do, just take a pan.
00:28:11I'm gonna use a technique called pan roast.
00:28:14Ok, so I've got a little bit of vegetable oil in my pan here.
00:28:17Swirl it around.
00:28:18Make it nice and hot, all right, and then I'm gonna season my turkey breasts very simply with salt and a little bit of pepper, all right, sort of work it in.
00:28:31 now, when I get a slight smoke off my oil here, it's at the proper temperature to sear.
00:28:39I'm gonna sear them skin side down first because you want a really beautiful golden color like that.
00:28:48While the turkey is cooking, I'll chop a garnish of radish, onion, and cilantro.
00:28:57Meanwhile, lilia adds the finishing touch to the mole sauce.
00:29:11Now the turkey is crisp, golden, and ready.
00:29:16Slice this guy up.
00:29:21Oh, it's beautiful, perfect.
00:29:24I love turkey.
00:29:26It's gorgeous, right?
00:29:27It's gonna go on a plate here-- couple nice, beautiful slices-- and then lilia here is gonna hit it with a little of her beautiful mole right on top.
00:29:39Ah, that is nice.
00:29:45Gorgeous. all right.
00:29:46Now we're gonna hit it with a little bit of garnish, all right, sesame seeds, traditional, right on top, and this is the national dish of mexico.
00:29:56Some radish slices, couple of good sprigs of cilantro.
00:30:03Tuck in. what do you think?
00:30:07>> [Speaks spanish] >> well?
00:30:12>> Bueno.
00:30:12>> Nice, right?
00:30:13>> Bueno. si.
00:30:14>> I think she likes it.
00:30:15I don't know.
00:30:23The national dish of mexico-- mole poblano.
00:30:30Well, puebla is also famous for another first, and this time, it's a cocktail.
00:30:36Now, legend has it that in the 1930s, THE MARGARITA WAS Invented here by a guy named danny negrete.
00:30:42Now, he made this drink in honor for his girlfriend, and--you guessed it--her name was margarita, and the reason being is that the local tequila here was just a little too strong a drink by itself, so a little tequila, cointreau, and fresh lime juice later, the man created a legend, and however the legend goes, I am always up for trying one.
00:31:00Well, well. muchas gracias.
00:31:05Mm, delicious.
00:31:10I am heading to the state of veracruz, where vanilla is grown.
00:31:23Mexico is the birthplace of vanilla.
00:31:26It was the totonacs, a local indigenous tribe, that discovered the orchid that produces the vanilla pod, and to this day at harvest time, they celebrate these prized pods in a very unique way.
00:31:50That is insane. look at that.
00:31:51Those mad flyers above me are known as voladores, and they are the native totonac people of veracruz.
00:31:56They're kicking off a 7-day festival celebrating the vanilla bean.
00:32:01Look at that.
00:32:043 Times a day for the week-long festival, the voladores take their life into their own hands suspended from a twisting, falling rope for up to 15 minutes.
00:32:19The totonacs developed the painstaking process of curing the vanilla pods, a secret they guarded for centuries.
00:32:27Those little, black flecks you find inside your vanilla ice cream are called vanilla beans, and they come from this guy, which is the whole vanilla pod.
00:32:33Now, vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world behind saffron.
00:32:38As a matter of fact, this guy would probably go for about $10 50 here, so I'm definitely gonna snag a few, but this sticky smell of this thing, it's like the best scoop of vanilla ice cream you've ever had in your entire life times 10.
00:32:53What do you have?
00:32:54This stuff looks really interesting.
00:32:56 we have the vanilla liqueur.
00:32:58This is an after-meal drink.
00:32:59It's really sweet, a nice taste.
00:33:00You want to try some?
00:33:00>> Yeah, absolutely. ok.
00:33:03It's got that gorgeous color to it.
00:33:04Look at that. that's beautiful.
00:33:06>> It's nice and tasty after a meal.
00:33:08>> Oh.
00:33:10Mm, that is outstanding, my friend, delicious, mm.
00:33:14I am gonna get a bottle of that to go.
00:33:33I've taken a break from the heat of the vanilla festival and met this really good cook, esperanza, and her husband owns a vanilla plantation, so she really knows her product, and she promised me that she'd make one of my favorite deserts in the world, which is a traditional mexican flan.
00:33:46Now, you probably know it as a creme caramel, so what are we gonna make today?
00:33:50 we're gonna make a flan with vanilla and lime.
00:33:53>> Vanilla and lime.
00:33:54Now look at the size of this vanilla pod.
00:33:56It looks like a cigar.
00:33:57Thing is huge.
00:33:58These lime smell really good, too, like, very fragrant, huh?
00:34:00>> Good.
00:34:01>> Those are gonna be nice.
00:34:02All right, so what do we have to do first?
00:34:04 we want to make the caramel.
00:34:06>> The caramel is made up of half a cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of water so it melts evenly, then heated gently over the stove for 10 minutes.
00:34:14Esperanza, what's the next thing?
00:34:16>> Ok, tyler.
00:34:17We're gonna make the base.
00:34:22>> So, the base starts off with two cans of condensed milk and then equal parts whole milk.
00:34:30>> Very clean.
00:34:31>> Next, we peel the zest of 3 limes.
00:34:33So, you just peal the skin off in very thin strips, right?
00:34:35 smell the-- >> it smells very nice, really fragrant.
00:34:42>> Ok, tyler, and now the secret of the flan.
00:34:45>> The secret of the flan is the vanilla, of course.
00:34:47Can I show them how to do this?
00:34:48>> Ok.
00:34:49>> All right.
00:34:50What you want to do first is just take a knife and run it along the entire length of the vanilla bean, splitting it in half.
00:34:56Then you take the edge of your knife, and you want to scrape out those yummy, black vanilla pods, those vanilla seeds, and sort of swirl them around inside your mix.
00:35:05Those little, black flecks in your vanilla ice cream are vanilla beans.
00:35:08Now just drop the whole thing in there.
00:35:10So, you want to simmer this slowly for about 15 minutes.
00:35:12>> Of course.
00:35:13>> Definitely let the flavors infuse--that vanilla, that lime--sort of like you're making a tea.
00:35:18Meanwhile, the caramel is ready.
00:35:19That sugar looks beautiful.
00:35:21All right.
00:35:22Now, what she's doing now, she's gonna pour the caramelized sugar once it reaches a really dark amber into a simple cake pan, and this is gonna be the top layer, that really beautiful caramel sauce, for our flan.
00:35:33Once the dark amber caramel goes into the cake pan, you basically want to roll it around so it evenly coats the bottom of the cake pan.
00:35:40>> Delicious.
00:35:41>> Nice. ok.
00:35:42 it's time to crack the eggs >> how many eggs are we gonna crack?
00:35:46>> 6 Eggs.
00:35:47>> 6 Eggs. ok.
00:35:48>> Ok, and be careful. no shell.
00:35:49>> All right.
00:35:50I'm on my best behavior here.
00:35:58All this stuff smells amazing.
00:36:00[Sniffs] ahh.
00:36:01>> Ok, tyler. try.
00:36:02>> All right.
00:36:03This is the base for the flan mixture.
00:36:05There we go. that is insane.
00:36:09You can taste the vanilla.
00:36:10You get this sort of clean flavor from the lime, incredible, incredible.
00:36:14All right. what do you do now?
00:36:17Now, the whole idea about pouring hot milk into cold eggs is, you want to temper it first, and what I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna pour a little bit, ok, because this stuff is hot, and then we're gonna whisk the in.
00:36:27The idea is to raise the temperature of the eggs so they don't scramble, and then you can just pour the rest in.
00:36:42Next, pour the mixture into the cake pan on top of the caramel.
00:36:48The best way to cook a flan-- this is esperanza's idea--is to use a water bath, and i completely agree with her.
00:36:53Place the cake tin inside a larger pan and add water halfway up the side.
00:36:58>> Ok.
00:36:59>> All right. fantastic.
00:36:59This will go in the oven, 300 degrees fahrenheit for about 45 minutes.
00:37:02Could be an hour, but you definitely want to check after 45.
00:37:08Once it's ready, put it in the fridge for 4 hours.
00:37:12Esperanza and I have both made many a flan in our day, and i can tell you from one vanilla lover to the next, this is never an easy moment.
00:37:19Am I right?
00:37:20>> Right.
00:37:21 I've never really done this on camera before, so I am a little nervous.
00:37:24I am not gonna lie to you.
00:37:25Are you sure I'm ok to do this?
00:37:26>> Yes. you can, but be careful.
00:37:29>> Por favor.
00:37:30>> Cuidado, por favor.
00:37:31>> Yeah. you're telling me.
00:37:32All right.
00:37:33This is the way it goes.
00:37:34You put a plate right on top, just like this.
00:37:35You cross your fingers.
00:37:36>> Ok.
00:37:37>> Cross your fingers.
00:37:38Are you ready? all right.
00:37:38And then you just-- ha ha ha!
00:37:50>> All right!
00:38:02>> That's delicious.
00:38:04>> Fantastic.
00:38:04>> Esperanza, thank you very much.
00:38:06That is the most beautiful recipe and the most beautiful flan I have ever seen in my entire life.
00:38:10You know, it's all about the ingredients--really perfect vanilla, really fresh limes--and a lady who knows what she's doing.
00:38:15Thank you very much.
00:38:16That is outstanding.
00:38:17>> De nada.
00:38:18>> Mm, "de nada." mm, wow.
00:38:27The final leg of my journey takes me to the port of veracruz on mexico's eastern cost.
00:38:32It's the first place the spanish landed when they conquered mexico.
00:38:36Today the economy revolves around the sea, and--you guessed it--it has some of the best seafood in mexico.
00:38:43Want to see what I got?
00:38:46Nothing. better luck next time.
00:38:51I'm now here in the beautiful port city of veracruz, which is much different to the rest of interior mexico.
00:38:57Gracias. muchas gracias.
00:38:59It has sort of an old-world caribbean vibe to it--a lot like, say, havana--and the food definitely reflects that, a lot of caribbean influences, a lot of fresh fish and lot of beautiful seafood, and one of the famous dishes here in the port is vuelve a la vida, which in translation means "back to life," and it's sort of a hodgepodge of different fresh fish, like shrimp and octopus and crab, and a spicy tomato sauce with avocado and cilantro, and I'm assuming with a name like back to life, it's some sort of local hangover remedy because veracruz, from what i understand, is quite the party town.
00:39:31Bueno. mm, that's outstanding.
00:39:38Seafood is on every menu in veracruz, and fish cocktail bars are almost on every street corner.
00:39:51Since the city sits on the gulf of mexico, boats bring in fresh fish daily to veracruz.
00:39:57The city is so known for fresh seafood, it even has its own recipe named after it which features a rich sauce of olives, capers, tomatoes, and chilies.
00:40:12Pardinos has the best seafood kitchen in the area.
00:40:15Their fantastic chef emilio has offered to take some time out of his busy schedule to show me some tricks of the trade.
00:40:24I promise you, one of the tastiest things you'll ever find in mexico is a dish called huachinango a la veracruz, and basically it's incredibly fresh gulf coast snapper simmered in a beautiful sauce of tomato puree with pungent lime and salty bits of olive and caper.
00:40:37It's extraordinary.
00:40:38My friend emilio here is one of the top chefs in the area.
00:40:41He's gonna walk me through this whole process.
00:40:43Look how fresh that is.
00:40:44This thing was swimming about two hours ago, and it smells just like the ocean.
00:40:48It's incredible.
00:40:49All right. there you go.
00:40:51First, score the fish with a sharp knife.
00:40:54This allows the marinate to penetrate all the way through the flesh.
00:40:59This marinate is really fascinating.
00:41:01When he started to describe the ingredients, I couldn't really believe it.
00:41:03Basically, it's garlic, water, lime juice, a little bit of clove, and a little bit of black pepper blended together, and this stuff has got a lot of garlic in it.
00:41:12It'll really knock your socks off.
00:41:14Emilio sets the fish aside for 10 minutes as he starts to work on the sauce.
00:41:19Emilio first adds a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, as we are gonna sear the fish on both sides.
00:41:29Ok. I'll tell you what.
00:41:31Once that garlic hits that pan, man, the whole room just explodes with this garlic cloud.
00:41:35Wow, that smells nice.
00:41:42And then he pours in some broth and sprinkles over a few slices of onions.
00:41:47What's next?
00:41:48>> [Speaks spanish] >> ¿¿aqui?
00:41:50>> [Speaks spanish] oh, laurel. oh, bay leaves.
00:41:55Oh, ok.
00:41:57Muy poquito espanol, my friend, so please be patient, man.
00:42:00After the bay leaves, add two pinches of oregano for flavor.
00:42:04Now, the really important thing here is to add fresh tomato puree, not canned.
00:42:09All right.
00:42:10Then we're gonna add whole tomatoes.
00:42:12Now, theses are just plum tomatoes that have been cut into thin strips.
00:42:14That's amazing. beautiful, huh?
00:42:16>> Si.
00:42:16>> Nice, nice.
00:42:17>> Bueno.
00:42:18>> Bueno. ok.
00:42:19>> The chili.
00:42:19>> Chili? ok. I know chilies.
00:42:20Chilies are here.
00:42:21So, we got some pickled chilies here.
00:42:25Ok. it's got little briny bits.
00:42:27>> Ok. aceituna molida.
00:42:29>> Aceituna mol-- >> yes. molida.
00:42:31>> All right.
00:42:32Let's play the "tyler doesn't speak spanish" guessing game here.
00:42:34All right.
00:42:35>> Aceituna molida.
00:42:35>> Oh, molida. ok, ok.
00:42:36Green olives. ok.
00:42:37So, we got some mashed up green olives in there, too.
00:42:39It's like a mad picasso painting, very beautiful.
00:42:42Finally, add a generous sprinkling of capers and a pinch of salt.
00:42:46I am dying of hunger.
00:42:47That's beautiful. look at that.
00:42:48>> Excellent.
00:42:49>> Gorgeous.
00:42:50Then emilio is gonna finish the dish with a few whole green olives and a little splash of parsley.
00:42:55Now, you are a flavor genius.
00:42:57That's beautiful, my friend.
00:43:13Going in for the big bite.
00:43:16Oh, can't wait to try this.
00:43:17>> Mm.
00:43:20>> Emilio, that is incredible.
00:43:22If you can think up one perfect dish in your entire life, for me, it's this.
00:43:25Thank you very much.
00:43:26>> Ok.
00:43:27>> That's worth the price of an airline ticket by itself.
00:43:29Mm, delicious.
00:43:30[Harp and guitars playing] what an unbelievable way to wrap up my trip in mexico than hanging out by the beach, watching the sun set, and enjoying some tradition music from veracruz, and me and my chef buddy emilio, we got a couple of beers.
00:43:50We got a full belly, and I've got a bunch of new recipes to add to my list, and emilio here is one of the great chefs that's given me, a chef from new york, a much clearer picture of about the brilliant flavors mexico has to offer, from chocolate to chilies and mescal to mole sauce.
00:44:04The people, the sunshine, and cuisine of mexico is a blast.
00:44:07Viva la comida mexicana.
00:44:09>> Viva la comida mexicana.
00:44:10>> Viva la veracruz.
00:44:11>> Viva veracruz.
00:44:12>> Hit it, boys.
00:44:13>> [Speaks spanish] >> I've had so many new experiences here, it's hard to pin down what exactly has been the best, but my top 3 have to be chocolate in oaxaca--it's the best I have ever tasted--mescal, more for the cool way it's produced than the way it tastes; and, of course, tortillas in every gooey shape and form.
00:44:47>> [Speaks spanish] >> stay tuned for a special "globe trekker" extra.
00:45:25>> Funding for this program is provided by subaru.
00:45:29>> At subaru, we build vehicles like the rugged subaru outback, with symmetrical all-wheel drive, for people who are always geared for adventure, and love that anywhere is right around the corner.
00:45:41Subaru, a proud sponsor of " >> you can find out more about this series on our web site.
00:45:47Programs from the "globe trekker" series are available on dvd and now on demand from
00:45:55Music from the series is available on cd.
00:45:58You can also order the new "globe trekker" annual, featuring information on festivals, events, and outdoor activities.
00:46:04To order "globe trekker" products, call 888-565-0361 or visit the web site,
00:46:31>> Perched high above the lake 5 hours' drive from mexico city is the traditional indian village of patzcuaro.
00:46:38Nothing much happens here, except once a year, this sleepy, little town wakes up to a very special visitor.
00:46:47She's got the most unforgettable face, and out here, she goes by many different names.
00:46:53They call her the fancy one.
00:46:55They call her the skinny lady.
00:46:56They called her the baldy bone face.
00:47:00[Thunder] mexicans, they chase after her.
00:47:03They lust after her.
00:47:05They mock her, and they even sleep with her.
00:47:08Also, she's their favorite plaything and the most ..
00:47:14[Thunder] death.
00:47:22Every year, on the first of november, mexico celebrates the day of the dead, a ritual with roots deep in a pagan past.
00:47:31Oi. hola.
00:47:35Offerings are taken to cemeteries by friends and relatives of the family.
00:47:40If you're gonna hold a big celebration in a graveyard or a cemetery, then you really need to go to town because when the spirits come down to earth, they're not gonna abe satisfied with, like, little sausages on cocktail sticks or pineapple cheeks.
00:47:53They want a big spread.
00:47:55The most popular offerings are sugared sweets.
00:47:58Look at these. these are great.
00:48:00What you've got is chocolate skulls, sugar skulls.
00:48:04It's all sweet stuff because, apparently, the spirits have got a really sweet tooth.
00:48:08I'll have 4 of them, 3 of them, and 12 coffins.
00:48:13What it is is, on the skulls, you have to put your name on or the name of the person that's died or the person that you want to commemorate, or apparently, it's good luck to put your own name on it.
00:48:24I don't think it is myself.
00:48:25I'm not going to put me own name on the skull and then, you know--ooh.
00:48:29Put "gran," yeah?
00:48:30>> Muy bien. perfecto.
00:48:32>> Oh, fantastic. look at that.
00:48:35That is wonderful.
00:48:37>> Ha ha ha!
00:48:38>> Thanks very much. lovely.
00:48:41Hey, look at that. mwah!
00:48:43I love it. oh. stop it!
00:48:47[Bell tolls] >> I come to patzcuaro this time of year for the celebration, the day of the dead.
00:48:55Tonight it will be very busy and very great in the cemeteries, all the candles and the lights and watching the indians celebrate the spirits of their relatives.
00:49:05>> In comparison to where i come from, their attitude is much, much sort of lighter, you know, the masks.
00:49:12You know, it's sort of in happiness.
00:49:14In maine, where I'm from, it's more of a morbid thing, and it's nice.
00:49:18It's a nice change.
00:49:26>> The day of the dead is strongly observed in patzcuaro, with its large indian population.
00:49:32I'm on my way to the island of lapacanda to visit the cemetery with one of the families.
00:49:54Hola. ¿¿coma esta? how you doing?
00:49:57>> Bienvenido. yeah.
00:49:58>> Oh--ha ha!
00:50:00>> Este es tu nombre.
00:50:01>> Has that got my name?
00:50:02Look. oh, no.
00:50:03I've got a skull with my name on already.
00:50:05Ooh, ooh!
00:50:07Someone's been eating it.
00:50:09Who's been eating that?
00:50:10Have you been eat-- >> no, not me.
00:50:12>> Look. it's around his mouth.
00:50:13 it's all around your mouth.
00:50:15>> Tengo un poquito de hambre.
00:50:15>> One family. that's brilliant.
00:50:17>> [Speaking spanish] >> ok. fantastic.
00:50:20>> Come on.
00:50:21>> We're off.
00:50:24We have such a different idea of death in this whole western world.
00:50:28What is the idea out here in mexico?
00:50:30>> Everybody is going to die.
00:50:31It's natural, and if you are remembered with care, with love, with the things you liked-- >> so, it's a happy celebration?
00:50:41It's not mourning, like-- >> oh, no, no, no.
00:50:44[Music playing] >> where does the traditions come from?
00:50:47>> I think it's partly indian.
00:50:49Indians believe in the afterlife.
00:50:52>> Yeah.
00:50:52>> And also catholic, so we have a mixture.
00:50:57>> So, when does the actual celebrations start today?
00:50:59>> At midnight, the souls of the dead come into the cemetery.
00:51:05[Bell tolling] >> before midnight, people from the different islands make their way to the cemetery by boat or on foot.
00:51:21This is it.
00:51:23We're making our way to the cemetery now with all the goodies.
00:51:27>> [Speaking spanish] >> we're about half an hour late, so I hope the spirits are gonna, like, hang around.
00:51:34Wow, this is the entrance, yeah?
00:51:43The day of the dead is one of the biggest festivals in mexico, but it is also one of the most quiet and personal.
00:51:51Cor, it's amazing because all the different families, they're all in their own little graves and that, so you've got lots of little groups with candles giving offerings.
00:52:00This one is our member of the family who died about 3 years ago.
00:52:06Tradition has it that spirits come out of their graves to commune with the living.
00:52:22Families sit by the graves with their ancestors all through the night eating and praying.
00:52:38At the end of the night, the ghosts of the dead return to where they came from, and the living relatives go back to their homes until the same time next year.
00:52:50The belief that the living walk hand in hand with the dead isn't just confined to the day of the dead celebrations.
00:53:04This is how I understand it, right?
00:53:07If one of your relatives dies and you got a bit of money, you can buy a tomb here in the cemetery and put them in, but if you can't make the yearly payments, they come here, take the body out, and chuck it away.
00:53:19What happens is, they took some of the bodies out, but for some bizarre reason, they found that they were mummified, and then they put them in a glass cage, and now they're in the museum of mummies.
00:53:39What bright spark came up with the idea of thinking, "hey, let's get the mummies.
00:53:44Whoa, let's put them in a museum"?
00:53:46>> Well, the reason is because many years ago, the church prohibit to cremate the body.
00:53:58>> Yeah?
00:53:59>> And 4 heads.
00:54:01>> To me--because it's, like, a different slant on death and that--it's all a bit spooky.
00:54:05>> Yeah.
00:54:06>> But you love it, don't you?
00:54:07>> Yeah.
00:54:08>> You love it.
00:54:09>> Yeah.
00:54:12>> Oh, my, they're everywhere.
00:54:15Oh, no. what's happening here?
00:54:18This is hideous.
00:54:19What's this one about?
00:54:21>> This woman, she was buried alive.
00:54:26>> Don't look at me like that.
00:54:28You love it, don't you?
00:54:29You're just looking for my reaction.
00:54:31You're beginning to scare me.
00:54:35>> Her family, they trust then she was dead.
00:54:38Then she was buried.
00:54:45>> Right.
00:54:46>> And never--yeah.
00:54:48She tried to get out, but she couldn't.
00:54:52This is the only woman body that she was buried alive and we have in this exhibition.
00:54:57>> I'll bet you're disappointed about that, aren't you?
00:54:59You're gutted, aren't you?
00:55:00"Oh, I wish there was more " after the visit to the museum of the mummies, I couldn't help thinking that they'd taken this death thing a little bit too far.