Guadalajara, Mexico Part II (Plus The Pan American Games)
This is the second installment of my blog post about Guadalajara, Mexico, the site of the 2011 Pan American Games. Much to my relief, my husband Tony and his USA teammates ended up winning the Gold Medal and therefore qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. Tony was also asked to be the flag bearer for the USA during the Closing Ceremonies, which was quite an honor. My parents and I went to watch in person and I was really impressed with the show they put on.
The next day Tony needed some serious relaxation and some good Mexican culture, so we headed to Tlaquepaque which is about 20 minutes from the centro. My Mom was excited to go because Tlaquepaque is one of the best known areas in Mexico for shopping for artesania (traditional handicraft).
We all set out walking down the main avenue Independencia, which is a pleasant pedestrian-only street lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. We stopped in a few places (my favorite is the Sergio Bustamante jewelry store) but soon felt in need of a cold drink, so we stopped for micheladas at a little outdoor cafe (micheladas are made by filling a mug with ice and fresh lime juice and then adding beer and clamato juice-- the rim is lined with salt and chile).
Little by little we made our way down the main avenue, stopping to peek in stores and admiring items we might one day buy for our future home. My Mom ended up purchasing a big iron hanging shaped like the branches of a tree. You can either use it to hold many small candles, glass figurines or just line it with white lights. She ended up hanging it on her outdoor patio above the barbeque where it looks great!
As she continued to do some serious shopping, Tony, my Dad and I stopped off for a quick queso fundido (melted cheese and spicy chorizo served with warm tortillas) at Casa Fuerte, where we sat in the back patio admiring the magnificent old tree growing in the middle of everything. We also later stopped for a margarita at El Patio, where they have an all-female mariachi band in the afternoons.
Dinner was at Mariscos Progreso, an unassuming seafood restaurant a few blocks away from Avenida Independencia. You sit at simple tables surrounding a giant open grill and kitchen in the middle, and the food is fantastic. I ordered a molcajete of shrimp(a molcajete is the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle) and it came steaming hot topped in cheese and super-spicy. Delicious!