puebla part 2: cholula y micheladas

Cholula is a tiny dream: a pueblo magico speckled with vibrant pink, green, and dandelion houses, 365 churches (one for every day of the year, logically), and lots and lots and lots of restaurants. Don’t put off lunch; nearly every food space will close for siesta after 3 p.m. So get to a resto-bar, pronto.

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Cholula is a short 30-minute, 8-peso bus ride from Puebla. Food is similar to that of the neighboring metropolis: cemitas, molotes, pelonas, y pozoles. But if we’re being honest, we’re really here to drink.

Micheladas are available on the street, in liter-sized paper cups lined with chile. Walking and drinking is encouraged but difficult; am I only one prone to wearing my beer down the front of my shirt?  I ran off with my roommate, Vivien, and opted to order a chilada in a bar. (Que fresa, I know.)

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I’d progressed three months into life in Mexico, and I hadn’t yet had a true michelada. Or at least that’s what my old roommate would say, a mexicana who shared an apartment with me in Medellin last year. She hated the lime-and-cerveza “micheladas” in Colombia, which are always rimmed with salt. Le falta la salsa, she’d told me, scrunching up her face when I’d served her a light, limey beer. The micheladas in Cholula are just as she’d suggested: darker, redder, and flavored with tomato and chile. Todo con chile. It’s a rule I can abide by. When paired with a beany take on sopa azteca, the afternoon wasn’t looking too bad.

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On a Sunday in Cholula, families gather in the zócalo (the pueblo’s central plaza), rent battery-powered kids’ cars, eat churros, sample creamas de mezcal, and listen to live music – banda, typically.  At first it all feels so predictable. Is Mexico a caricature of itself, I wonder, with all of its  elote stands, floral blouses, striped ponchos, and marijuana bowls?  But then I realize, this is just Sunday life. Daytrippers and locals alike searching for a treat before Monday strikes again.

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It’s hard to say no to helado on a hot afternoon in a magic town. This one was maiz azul – blue corn flavored. It’s sweet and light, with a slightly grainy texture. A little odd, pleasantly surprising, and beyond agradable. 

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