Dispatch, Mazatlan: Buen provecho


 Gay Nagle Myers visited Mazatlan, in the state of Sinaloa on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Her second and final dispatch follows. Click to read Gay's first dispatch.

Mazatlan is a foodie heaven, especially when it comes to seafood. It’s called the shrimp capital of the world, but has no shortage of every creature in the sea. From mussels to marlin, they are caught, cooked, served and devoured.

Tour guide Victor Urrea explained that Sinaloa is known for its food, and “our visitors are rewarded from the first mouthful.”

Urrea is a proud third-generation Mazatleco, a person born and bred in Mazatlan.

“I feel fortunate to be born here,” he told me.

He also knows his camarones a la diabla (very spicy shrimp) as well as his tortillas and tacos.

Two hours after my arrival, at Los Arcos restaurant I was dining on octopus surrounded by baby shrimp, raw scallops and smoked fish seasoned with olive oil, onions and chili.

That was just the appetizer.

Next came platters of tortillas filled with chopped shrimp, cheese and chili followed by ranchero shrimp, shrimp with orange sections and grilled shrimp.

When the dessert cart was rolled out, Victor selected a large piece of cake for me.

“You must have this. It’s pastel de tres leches (three milk cake,) another specialty,” he said. “You will like.”

I did. Moist, sweet, delicious and fattening.

Driving along Mazatlan’s Avenida del Mar (Ocean Avenue) that parallels the seven-mile-long malecon (wide seafront boardwalk), we passed open-air fish markets on the beach and large bronze monuments celebrating fishermen, sea lions and frolicking dolphins.

During my short stay in Mazatlan, which means Land of the Deer (I didn’t see any of them), Victor offered up historical facts on the city, the region and the country as well as anecdotes, antidotes and advice.

“Eat a mango a day. It’s paradise fruit. The tomato is the symbol of Sinaloa. It’s on all license plates. Our baseball team is called the Tomato Boys. We have great beer. My favorite is Negra Modelo.”

My final culinary adventure was a slice of Mexican pizza in the small town of El Quelite, about an hour northeast of Mazatlan.

Smaller than our pizza slices and round, not triangular, it was topped with something dark.

I later learned it was pork rind.

At the airport in Houston the next day during my layover, I had a slice of U.S. pizza.

I have to say that Domino’s won out over the Mazatlan version, but in all other regards, Mazatlan, the city and its cuisine, was muy bueno.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.

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