La Flor de Michoacan. Indeed! The flower of Michoacan. You've been to Lindo Michoacan. Ok, we get that. If you understand that eating at Lindo Michoacan is like eating at a Mexican Applebee's, then you'll be eager to step outside of the rice and bean combination plates and move on to something more true to Mexico. This is where La Flor comes in. La Flor features things gringos have never seen or heard of before. Even though, you may not have seen it before, once you taste it, you'll regret the decades of your life you've missed out on it. In Japan, they call some of these flavors "umeboshi". In Spanish, it's called CHABOCHO! An exuberant cry of delicious, tasty, awesome and all that's good in the world. Except the Mexicans take it one step further than just salty and pickled. They add sour, sweet, bitter and spicy to the mix for a true rocket ride. You'll be screaming CHABOCHO in no time yourself.
Despite its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Michoacan, Mexico and more specifically, the capital city of Morelia's cuisine are relatively unknown by any of us. It's an incredibly playful and distinct cuisine built around vibrant colors and textures and flavors. If you look at your plate at a Mexican restaurant and it's all a varying shade of greyish-brown, it's time to scram. Your food should be as colorful as your life. And here is where La Flor succeeds in serving the most colorful, festive, absolutely fantastic combination of foods in the city.
La Flor de Michoacan serves Mexican food true to the state of Michoacan with a heavy emphasis on the menu toward Morelia and a century old ice cream recipe from nearby Patzcuaro called nieve de pasta (no pasta in this ice cream, only the name). Consider yourself sucked in through a wormhole straight to the streets of Morelia via Lake Mead Boulevard. You're not sure how it happened, though you're mighty darn glad it did!
In Morelia, life is lived on the streets and outdoors. It's simply too pretty to stay inside. The food is created on the streets in stalls, stands and roving carts. We created our menu with the heart and spirit of Morelia and Michoacan in mind even though we'll be seated inside.
From the state of Michoacan - Morelia and nearby Patzcuaro - our dinner menu:
Appetizer: The Locos:
Tostilocos - (or Cueritos Locos con Pepino - pork rind similarly prepared with cucumbers or Durolocos - giant wheat basket prepared the same way - table choice, if you love duros, the little wheat pinwheels, choose Durolocos) There is no dainty way to describe this over the top Frito Pie inspired beast. Take tostitos (only the salsa verde flavor), slice the bag on its side and then dress it with cucumber, pickled pork skin, cabbage, tomato, lime and chamoy (pickled plum/apricot/mango juice) - it's the most wildly addictive, totally out-of-control, unhinged bag of chips you've ever come across. You'll be oddly attracted to it and then want to sit up straight, take a deep breath and PLOW RIGHT INTO IT! The taste can only be described as a mack truck coming at you full speed from all directions. Wild! Fun! A phenomenon throughout Mexico and a huge hit in some U.S. states. No, seriously. They don't call it loco for nothing. It's the serious loco!
Can you handle one of these monsters?
Birria - goat stew, prepared specifically Michoacan style with a little ginger, cinnamon and laurel leaves
Cemita Poblana - on a round, plump, puffy, sesame seed egg roll. The fresh-baked cemita roll is the star here. The Lebanese are rumored to have introduced this particular bread into Mexico. Lebanese origin or not, this sandwich packed full of milanesa beef and hearty slices of avocado plays very nicely with panela, a melty mozzarella type cheese tucked into that outrageously good cemita roll.
Puebla deserves its own shout out on this menu, if only for defeating the French army in 1862 even though they were outnumbered two to one. We still celebrate this David-Goliath style victory every Cinco de Mayo. !Viva Mexico!
Chupale Pichon (can be switched to the Titanico dog IF YOU DARE) - racy! "Suck It"! An ostentatious display of everything you could do to a hot dog to make it beg for mercy. Grilled footlong topped with grilled onions and red peppers, chili, beans, bacon, and cheese. Don't be afraid of it, embrace it. For those who like grilled meat, this is your dog. For those who believe more is more, this is your dog!!
Nieve de Pasta - been to Luv-It Custard yet? Fan of frozen custard? Dreaming of the day you'd find something better or never thought it possible? Nieve de Pasta comes to us from Patzcuaro (near Morelia), a thick, creamy, indulgent and handcrafted ice cream from a closely guarded recipe over a century old. Many have tried to make it themselves and many have failed (gasp!). Nieve de Pasta is one of those rare treats you may only get to try once in a lifetime while you're sunburned on vacation. Now, you know where to get it and it's as good as we remember it to be. Each Adventures in Dining table will choose a flavor to share (individual cups). Daily flavors vary from plain, tequila, cheese, strawberry, peanut, pistachio, date, vanilla and more. If you absolutely can't come to a consensus on which flavor to try, you may try a flavor selected by a neighboring table.
Recommended drinks (cash basis, separate):
Alfalfa agua fresca - more sugar than alfalfa which makes alfalfa taste delightfully green and sweet.
Mamey licuado shake - when pumpkin and cherry make love, you get a sapote or sapodilla fruit (mamey). Creamy consistency akin to avocado with a sweet potato pie topped with maraschino flavor. LOVE IT!
Barley Water - you know, some things are best left experienced yourself :)
Mexican coke in a bottle - the sugar and glass makes it taste better.
Recommended additional appetizers (cash basis, separate):
Clamatukos Clamato shrimp cocktail - all prepared a little differently. Everything from the marinero (the "sailor") to the minituko (a smaller version of the cocktail).
Gaspachos - very Morelia! All over morelia! Chopped seasonal tropical fruit (jicama, mango, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe) and cucumber topped with onion, cheese, orange juice, lime juice, jalapeno, chili powder. It tastes about seven trillion pesos better than it sounds. Refreshing and tangy.
Elotes - corn, prepared Mexican style.
Salchipulpos - frankfurters served up with french fries, prepared. Everything here is "prepararado" which means beefed up and dressed to the high heavens.
Papas a la Mexicana - same thing, french fries on steroids! Animal style french fries don't stand a chance against these bad boys.
Recommended additional desserts (cash basis, separate):
Chamango - a sweet, sour, salty combination of mango with pickled plum/mango/apricot juice (chamoy) over shaved ice. An exotic snow-cone, to be sure! Real chunks of mango, the straw is dipped in sweet and spicy chili powder. A sight to see!
Mangoneada - the word in Spanish means to pummel, essentially. A very powerful one-two punch of mango popsicle style drink with an intense, sweet, bitter, spicy, sour flavor. Expect chili powder, lime, salt and sugar. Big time.
Chamoyada - if only the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine you had as a child lived up to the hype, you might have come up with something like the chamoyada. Sweet, salty, spicy and ice-cold - a snow-cone slushee with an attitude. Chamoy is the base here.
Fresas con Crema - strawberries in fresh cream. Not a shrinking violet - a very bold preparation of big, beautiful strawberries in cream topped with a rainbow of candy sprinkles.
FORMAT: $20 cash when you arrive includes an appetizer, three main entrees to give you a good range of the cuisine, dessert, tax and tip . Table choice on appetizer and dessert. Drinks and any additional items ordered on a cash basis.
La Flor de Michoacan ain't on Yelp, ain't on Meetup (until now), has virtually no web presence at all. This is about as off-the-beaten path, off the radar, authentic and festive as you can get.
We may play some Mexican games after dinner if we're still drunk off the tostilocos!
This write-up is an original creative work. You may not reproduce any of it, in part or whole, without express written permission from me, Poly Arcos. In other words, stop stealing my intellectual property, fools!! Think of your own stuff to say about this wondrous place.