Get In My Belly!

thumbnail-5It seemed like no sooner than we returned home from Guaymas for the Christmas Parade, we turned around and went back.  This time we were there for El Festival del Camarón, the Shrimp Festival.  Guaymas is a shrimp fishing port and very well known for the abundance of and the size of shrimp caught in the waters of the Sea of Cortez along its coast.  The season typically begins in September, and its length is determined by the government, so as not to deplete the supply.  Throughout the fall, many men leave their “day jobs” for the opportunity to earn some fast cash.  Fishermen appear in the parking lots of area grocery stores and on street corners selling their shrimp.  The stalls along the main street in Empalme and fish markets in Guaymas are filled with fresh shrimp catches.  This is definitely a good time for a shrimp eater in Sonora!

So, of course, there is a festival to celebrate not only shrimp, but also the fisherman who bring it to us.  The Visitors Center in San Carlos arranged for a shuttle to take hungry, shrimp loving folks like us to the malecón in Guaymas for the hoopla.  Steve and I had never taken a shuttle with the Center before, and I have to admit it was very nice to not have to worry about traffic or parking downtown.  We were able to buy our shrimp tasting tickets on the bus.  This meant no standing in line for them once we arrived.  We jumped off the bus and started sampling immediately!

There were about six local restaurants participating and even a cooking school!  Anything that could be made with shrimp was available for tasting.  We sampled chile rellenos with shrimp, empanadas, machaca, shrimp lasagna, ceviche, and fresh, made right in front of us, corn tortillas overflowing with shrimp, cheese, and vegetables.  (I feel a little bit like Bubba from the Forest Gump movie.)  I discovered a new to me restaurant and found myself in line for their creation more than once.  One restaurant even included rice, salad, and a dinner roll with its offering.  Needless to say, our eyes were bigger then our stomachs, and we passed on some of our extra tickets to a vender, who had just happened to sell us a beautiful handmade basket earlier in the day.

Musicians entertained the crowd from a center stage.  The highlight, however, was the folkloric thumbnail-1dancers.  Wow!  Wearing traditional, brightly colored dresses women were spun across the dance “floor” by their partners.  It was impossible to hold still during the energetic displays.  The audience was caught up in the excitement, clapping, stomping, and trilling.  Even the festival characters dressed in salsa bottle costumes got into the act, dancing with the onlookers.  For a moment I forgot that I was in the middle of a bustling city, imaging myself at a boda del campo, or country wedding, instead.

Venders mingled amongst the crowd selling cotton candy, chamoy apples, churros, elote, and other festival favorites- -just in case you were there for something other than shrimp.  (And yes, I was seriously tempted by the churros but passed this time.)  Children begged parents for balloons and other popular festival toys available.  There were blankets, baskets, embroidered blouses, and other typical handicrafts for sale.  Steve and I visited the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations displayed on the malecón without the overwhelming crowds from the night before.  This also gave us ample opportunity to walk off our lunch!

thumbnailAll too soon it was time to board the bus for our return home.  It is no secret that San Carlos is an expat retirement community.  Therefore, many of its residents are just a wee bit older than the two of us.  We had barely left the parking lot when Steve and I noticed that many of our fellow passengers had nodded off, revealing just one more benefit of taking the shuttle!

A Festival for the Living on The Day of the Dead

I had been looking forward to Saturday all week—maybe all month even.  October 28 was the opening day of the Festival de la Calaca in Guaymas.  My relationship with festivals in Guaymas has been spotty at best, leaving me feeling a bit underwhelmed most of the time.  The Posada last December was mostly a raffle for bicycles.  And a free hot dog.  El Día de los Tres Reyes Magos involved standing in line for a piece of Rosca de Reyes, or King Cake.  My son was so disappointed by both events, he told me that I was on my own from here on out.  No worries.  I rallied a new group of festival goers, who had no idea of past fails.

thumbnail-2The festival was organized by Casa de Cultura, a government sponsored organization that promotes Mexican Arts and Culture.  In the week leading up to the  celebration, the center sponsored several workshops including the art of paper flower making, skull painting, and traditional Catrina make-up.  I surprised myself by  stepping outside of my comfort zone, attending the workshop on make-up- -ALONE!  The workshop was well crowded, and I quickly made a new friend.  I call her a friend because I believe that once you have used your fingers to apply white paint to a stranger’s face and lips, a certain level of intimacy has been achieved.

Props to both Steve and Brad, who did not bat an eye, upon seeing Patty and me in our
Catrina makeup on Saturday afternoon.  We both got a “you look great” and then “I’m going to try and pretend there is nothing weird about this”.  Small children, however, were fascinated by the two gringas in face paint.  We got a lot of stares (okay, I am assuming it was fascination here), shy smiles, tentative waves, and whispered “holas”.

Our first stop was Plaza 13 de Julio.  Colorful papel picado was strung from the thumbnail-1thumbnail-1thumbnail
lampposts above us.  Floral wreaths hung on the posts and the center kiosk as well.  Venders sold tamales, Cheetos and chamoy, totopos, raspados, aqua de jamaica and horchata.  There were carts full of children’s toys, jewelry, paintings, instruments, and crafts for sale.  There were balloons and blow-up toys on sticks.  They were so bright and colorful, I was looking for any excuse to buy one.  A band played lively music.  Catrinas, standing 12 feet tall, overlooked the festivities from their corner posts.

We then headed over to Plaza de la Pistola where the ofrendas were displayed.  Most were sponsored by universities and high schools and honored important  Mexicans of the past and present like Cantiflas, Nezahualcoyoti, and La Cruz Roja.    I nearly cried at the ofrenda of a young boy; it included special touches like his school books and favorite snacks.   I wondered if he had been a student at the school that designed his altar.  There were incredible sawdust carpets in front of many of the altars, some of which look longer than a week to make.  These lead the soul to the ofrenda and help minimize the contact it makes with the earth.

We walked over to the parade route.  It was scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm.  With our bags of churros in hand, we found a seat on the curb and waited.  And waited. And waited a little more.  Cars kept coming down the parade route.  We weren’t entirely sure how road closures for events like this were handled in guaymas.  We could see the lights of the lead police vehicle and hear the band, but still the cars kept coming.  The sidewalks were IMG_4580lined with people on both sides.  No one seemed to mind the delay.  They visited with one another and enjoyed treats like paletas, algodón de azúcar, and chamoy apples.

Finally, at 6:45 we caught our first glimpse of the parade.  There were two marching bands, baton twirlers, dance troupes, and floats- -that were pushed by hand!  Parents walked alongside the parade, keeping watchful eyes on their children who were participating and/or directing them back into proper position.  Yaqui Deer Dancer Catrinas threw candy to children along the route.  Everyone clapped in time to the music and even sang along when the band played Despacito!  There was a long line of cars (those that had apparently just missed the ambiguous cutoff time) crawling behind the parade down Avenida Serdán.

thumbnail-6After the parade, we headed back to the Plaza for one last loop.  Things were really happening now.  Colorful lights blinked on and off.  The music was louder, as was the crowd.  A movie screen featured children’s cartoons starring Catrinas.  There were arts and crafts for the kiddos.  People were lining up to have their faces painted. Candles had been lit at each of the altars.  Everyone was eating or drinking something yummy!

This was not a festival of death.  This was a festival of life.   Thethumbnail serious business will take place Tuesday and Wednesday nights in homes across the city.  This night was about embracing the living and discovering joy in spite of the sadness.  Casa de Cultura created a marvelous spectacle for all and taught us something about one of Mexico’s most important cultural traditions at the same time.  I am certain that even Caleb would have loved it!

 

 

Offerings of Love

Who does not love a good festival?  Great food, music, displays, and handicrafts…  They offer a little something for everyone and a lot of opportunity to learn more about local customs and traditions.  And while many towns and cities throughout Mexico are finalizing months worth of plans for community Día de Muertos celebrations, the most important and meaningful of these preparations take place at home.

It is believed that at midnight on October 31, and again, on November 1, the gates of heaven open for a 24 hour period.  At this time, the souls of the departed may return to visit with their loved ones here earth.  There is a belief that the dead provide their families protection, good luck, and wisdom from beyond the grave.  Therefore, souls are welcomed home in grand fashion.  Families erect altars in honor of the deceased.  These altars are not shrines, rather, they are ofrendas, or offerings, designed to lead the spirits home.

There is rich symbolism in each of the items included in the ofrenda.  These vary regionally, depending on the local customs, traditions, and/or the availability of special foods, drinks, and flowers.  Cost even factors in; some families may spend two month’s worth of earnings!

Ofrendas  have two, three, or seven levels, representing earth, heaven, purgatory, and/or the steps necessary to reach

thumbnail-2
Ofrenda welcoming the soul of Buz, by his wife, Patty
thumbnail-6
The ofrenda displayed in my home

heaven.  Photographs of the deceased are prominently featured.  Flowers, whose strong scents and bright colors are believed to guide the way, are arranged on the ofrendas.  Some people, use petals from the flowers to create pathways from the door to the altar, extra insurance that loved ones do not lose their way.    Baby’s Breath is often used on altars of children; symbolizing innocence and purity.  Cempasuchil, orange marigolds, are another popular choice.   These flowers are native to Mexico and were used by the Aztecs during funeral ceremonies.  Other popular flowers include cockscombs, hoary stock, chrysanthemums, and gladiolas.  Copal incense is burned, providing another sweet fragrance, and candles illuminate the way.

Papel picado, or chiseled paper, is a folk art that originated in the town of Puebla.  Artists used papel de China (tissue paper) to create paper ornaments, lamp shades, and other artworks.  By the 1920’s, artisans were displaying and distributing paper flags they made by “chiseling” designs on the tissue paper.  Papel picado is used for numerous special occasions today, including Día de Muertos.  Ofrendas include papel picado flags decorated with Catrinas, skeletons, and other religious icons.

 

Families often include water (to quench the thirst of the soul after its long journey), salt (it acts as a purifier), personal items of the deceased (tools, books, cigarettes), crosses, statues of La Virgin de Guadalupe and other patron saints, and decorations like incense burners, figurines of skeletons or skulls, and candy skulls made of sugar or chocolate.  These items personalize the altar for the person being remembered and help each soul feel welcomed and calm.

thumbnail-7
Ofrenda in honor of Frida Kahlo, designed by students at Secundaria de La Manga

In the early evening hours, preceding the midnight return, foods (served only on very special occasions due to cost) and drinks are added to the offrendas.  Turkey with mole sauce, tamales, tortillas, hot chocolate, tequila, fruits, and pan de muerto, a sweet bread baked as an offering to the dead, are arranged on the altars.  The soul’s journey from heaven is long, and the food and drink provide nourishment upon its arrival.  After the soul has enjoyed the “essence” of the meal, family members share the treats.  Sometimes entire communities come together to share and celebrate together.

November 2 is spent at the cemetery.  The majority in Mexico are public, meaning there are no caretakers to maintain the grounds and keep the areas tidy.  Families gather to clean the gravesite by pulling weeds, planting flowers, and cutting back grasses.  After the hard work is over, they enjoy a picnic style meal together, often to the music of mariachi bands.

Cemeteries and death are not seen as scary, dark, or creepy.  The bright colors, loud music, pleasing smells, and delicious food evoke feelings of happiness, love and togetherness.  Día de Muertos is my very favorite of all Mexican celebrations for this reason.  I can not help but be filled with excitement over the idea of a bonus visit from my grandparents and father-in-law.

And in true “teacher fashion” I have gone on much too long.  Surely, it is time for “recess”.  Or a shot of that tequila sitting on the altar!

The “After” Party

thumbnailIt seems odd to see jack-o-lanterns, spider webs, black cats, and witches’ hats on display in the stores and restaurants throughout Guaymas and San Carlos.  Día de Muertos, is Mexico’s most popular holiday, and I fully expected that it would have more influence in my little town than it seems to.  I have learned, however, that due to Sonora’s proximity to the U.S. border, and greater access to images via television and social media, Halloween has become increasingly popular.  Residents in our state, as well as those in many border states, adopt more American traditions  There are more Halloween costumes and treat bags on sale at the local Walmart than calaveras, Catrinas, and candles.  Día de Muertos is still widely celebrated in the central and southern states of Mexico where there is a greater indigenous presence, and less American influence.

In 2003, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) proclaimed Día de Muertos as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  Intangible Cultural Heritage refers to traditions that are passed down through the generations via arts, storytelling, performance, and rituals associated with nature and the universe.  I was determined to ignore the Halloween trappings (especially the chocolate) and focus on learning more about and celebrating Día de Muertos.

Hundreds of years ago, the Aztecs celebrated a festival during August in honor of
Mictecacihuatl, a goddess who served as guardian of the dead.  After Spanish colonization and due to the influence of the Catholic Church, ancient religious traditions were combined with Catholic ones.  Today, the festival coincides with All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.  It is believed that at midnight on October 31 (Día de los Angelitos), the gates of heaven open so that the souls of deceased children come down from above and reunite with their families for a 24 hour period.  At midnight on November 1, the souls of deceased adults  rejoin their loved ones.

Día de Muertos is not a sad, scary time.  The tradition is described beautifully by Christina Preiss when she says, “The first death you die is when you stop breathing, the second when you are buried in the earth, the third is when the last person here forgets you. So this traditions ensures you never die the third death and your family member comes back and is always with you.”  Families remember the best of times and the very best of the people they have lost with bright colors, beautiful flowers, candles, incense, music, and favorite foods, drinks, and toys.  Many families spend the equivalent of more than two month of their salaries on preparations for this holiday, decorating altars and planning celebrations at grave sites.

One of the most recognizable figures in Día de Muertos festivities is La Catrina.thumbnail-17.jpeg  Designed by José Guadalupe Posada in 1910, La Calavera Catrina, became the symbol of the Mexican Revolution and “death” of the privileged class.  Today she represents the idea that everyone is equal in death.   Catrina Parades and/or Festivales de las Calacas are held in many cities and towns throughout Mexico.  By dressing up, participants hope to ward off death, tricking her into believing they are already dead.

And fortunately, in spite of all the Halloween excitement, Guaymas is hosting a Festival de la Calaca this coming weekend!  I will continue with this same theme in my next article, sharing information about the elaborate atlars and gravesite visits.  But for now, I need to add the finishing touches to my Catrina costume!

 

A Fairytale Birthday with Wishes for a Happy Ever After

Our son, Caleb, turns 23 this Sunday.  Not the most exciting of ages, for sure.  He will likely spend the day in the law library or with his study group preparing for the busy week ahead. Hopefully there will be cake at some point.  Caleb preferred small, family parties when he was younger, as opposed to big bashes with lots of friends.  We marked some of the most significant birthdays with annoying themes.  When he turned sixteen, everyone brought him a Matchbox car to unwrap.  (I think he is still mad about that one.)  We celebrated his eighteenth with the Stars and Stripes, in honor of his registering with Selective Services and being eligible to vote.  At twenty-one he received shot glasses.  For the most part, these were quiet affairs, celebrated at home, with the people he was closest to.

IMG_4354
Felicidades Presa Family!

So I could not have been more thrilled when our friend, Alfredo, invited us to attend his daughter’s Quinceañera.  This was going to be the party of the century!  A Quinceañera is a special celebration throughout Latin America (and today in the United States) held in honor of a girl’s fifteenth birthday, similar to a Debutante Ball or Sweet Sixteen, something a boy mom does not get to experience.  In Mexico, during Aztec and Mayan times, a young woman was presented to her community for marriage at this age.  Today, a Quinceañera commemorates the transition of a girl from her childhood to young womanhood, combining the traditions of ancient cultures and the Catholic Church, minus the being ready to marry part.  (Which I am certain Alfredo appreciated.)

The church is where most quince celebrations begin.  In a special mass for the young IMG_4361woman, her quince court, parents, padrinos, (godparents), and other family members stand witness as the birthday girl reconfirms her commitment to God and receives a special blessing from the priest.  The young woman may wear a tiara at this time, symbolizing her morality.  She leaves a bouquet of flowers, a token of her purity, at the alter or near the statue of Mexico’s patron saint, la Virgen de Guadalupe.

After the more private church ceremony, friends and family gathered at the Casino Naval in Guaymas, located on a peninsula in the Sea of Cortez   Mind you, this all started about the time I usually get ready to go to bed!  From this venue, guests were afforded stunning views of the city, sea, and mountains.  But not one of those views compared to the beauty of Esther on her day.  She positively glowed in her full length princess dress.

When she was not on the arm of her father, who radiated nothing but pride, she was attended to by her court of damas and chambelanes.  The court is selected by the birthday girl and numbers from as many as 28 male and female attendees to as few as one male attendant.  The most important role the court plays in the Quinceañera is participation in the Baile Sopresa, a surprise dance, that some courts spend up to six months learning and practicing.

Before there was any dancing, we enjoyed numerous Quinceañera traditions.  Esther’s father removed her tennis shoes and replaced them with her first pair of high heels.  Alfredo created new traditions for the two of them as well, giving Esther sentimental gifts that reminded him of different times the two shared as she was growing up.  For example, as a baby and small child, Esther often woke up at night wanting cereal.  This was a bonding time for the two of them, and Alfredo presented Esther with a gift of the same cereal that  the pair snacked on late at night.

And then the dancing!  Alfredo and Esther enjoyed a father-daughter waltz that brought many to tears.  Esther also danced with her mother.  If you were not crying after her dance with dad, you were for sure as she danced with mom!  Surrounded by her friends on the dance floor, Esther tossed a doll into the group.  This tradition symbolizes the moving away from childlike playthings and embracing more grown up pursuits and interests.  After a waltz with her padrinos, other family members, and her court, we were treated to the Baile Sopresa.  As a klutz with absolutely no musical talent, this alone would have caused me to strongly consider skipping the entire quince, even if there was a princess dress involved!  Kudos to the young dancers for their wonderful performance.

At least a hundred tables surrounded a circular dance floor.  Each was decorated in Esther’s “colors”.  Bowls of totopitos, salsas, and nuts were continuously filled.  Treats of vegetables, salchichas, and queso kept us energized as we danced to music provided by Spectrum, a mobile DJ company.  Disco lights, big screens, and smoke added to the festive atmosphere.  A special toast was made in Ester’s honor and partygoers enjoyed delicious cake that looked almost too pretty to eat.

thumbnailToddlers and small children outlasted me!  We made our way home around 1:30 in the morning.  When we left, there was no sign of the party stopping any time soon.  Food and drink continued to flow, dance music pounded from the speakers, friends and family laughed and danced.

It was an honor to have been invited to Esther’s Quinceañera and celebrate with her family and friends.  I had done quite a bit of research before the big day, and I am glad I did.  It was much more meaningful for me knowing the history of this rite of passage.  But the studying in no way prepared me for the magic that unfolded each step of the way.  And I could not help feeling a little guilty about the Matchbox prank, especially after experiencing this!  Wow!  And so many low key birthday parties…  Um, maybe 23 will be a big deal after all!

(Photos courtesy of Spectrum Disco Móvil and the Presa Family)

 

The Mask Makes the Man

I have stumbled upon many of my passions by looking into topics that will interest my students, only to end up more invested in them myself.  Just ask my son.  We spent several weeks one summer riding buses and trains from the Kenai Peninsula past the Arctic Circle after I developed a standards based unit on Alaska and the Iditarod.  One summer I drug him across the western United States following the same route Sal and her grandparents took in Sharon Creech’s novel, Walk Two Moons.  I even cried, just like Gram, when Old Faithful erupted.  On a trip to Gettysburg and Philadelphia, I most likely bought more souvenirs, ahem,  “for my classroom” than for him.

A couple of weeks ago, while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, an advertisement for a Lucha Libre match in Guaymas popped up on one of the news sites I follow.  I knew a little bit about Lucha Libre from a blog article written for Spanish teachers that I had read a year or so ago.  It had looked like a great way to engage students in Mexican culture- – something a little bit different than soccer or baseball.  Unfortunately, I never got around to creating the unit for my kindergarteners before we moved.  There most definitely would have been stretchy bodysuits, acrobatics, and yelling involved, so it was probably for the best anyway.  Principals tend to frown on that sort of stuff.

Lucha Libre (free fighting) originated in the early 1900’s during the days of the Mexican Revolution.  These were no holds barred, hand-to-hand battles whose sole purpose was to distract the audience from the realities of war (with fighting, go figure).  The sport evolved in in the late 1920’s when Salvador González, a Mexican businessman, traveled to the U.S.A. and was captivated by the sport of professional wrestling.  Well, the sport and the outlandish personalities of the wrestlers.  He brought the idea back to Mexico, and with his partner, Francisco Ahumada, founded Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre in Mexico City.  They were selling out their 5,000 seat arena every time, within the first year!  The rest, they say, is history.  Now called Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, it is the longest running professional sports promotion company in the world.

thumbnail-6
Lucha Libre masks for sale at a local souvenir shop

There are two main differences between American wrestling and Lucha Libre.  The first is that luchadores (fighters) in the lighter weight class are the most popular in Mexico.  They are much more agile than American wrestlers.  Therefore, matches are centered on highflying aerobatics that boost a wrestler’s power as he catapults himself from the ropes.  The pace of a lighter weight class match is frantic, even dizzying.  The second major difference is that all Lucha Libre wrestlers wear masks (máscaras), protecting their identities from one another and the audience.  This aspect of the sport is taken very seriously.  A wrestler can be disqualified if he removes the mask of an opponent during a match.  Many luchadores even wear their masks in public.  El Santo, the most popular luchador of all time, was buried in his.

And here I was with the opportunity to see the real deal.  One night after dinner, I casually mentioned to Steve that there was a Lucha Libre match in Guaymas on October 17.  He looked at me like I had two heads.  Then he proceeded to break my heart by telling me that date was no good for him.  There was a big audit going on at work, and he had to focus on that.  He would be entertaining visitors on that night anyway.  He was not at all amused when I suggested we entertain them together at the Lucha Libre match.  Apparently, he did not think I was taking this audit seriously enough.

By the time I found a friend willing to go with me, the ad had disappeared from Facebook, replaced with one for some famous clown who would be appearing in November.  No worries.  After a little detective work, I am now following Lucha Libre Triple A en Guaymas and will be among the first to know when tickets for the next match go on sale.  Plus, I have time to choose a favorite luchador, find and buy his mask, and improve my Spanish trash talk- – which I am told is just as important as the match itself.

Hot Diggity Dog

We are a baseball family.  Often, as our son was growing up, we planned our summer vacations around the Major League Baseball schedule.  A trip to South Carolina meant a stop in Atlanta to see the Braves play.  We opted to drive to a family vacation in Delaware so we could catch games in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.  Eventually, our grand plan of hitting every ballpark in America fizzled out.  Yet, while moving Caleb to Oregon this past summer for law school, he and I went well out of our way to make a game in San Francisco.

Fall means baseball playoff time.  Even in San Carlos, Mexico.  Especially in San Carlos, Mexico!  Baseball in more popular than soccer in the northern state of Sonora.  In fact, the first baseball game played in Mexico took place in the port of Guaymas in 1877.  Today, there are three teams representing Sonora in the Mexican Pacific League, a winter league, whose season runs from October through January.  Estadio Sonora, in the capital city,  is home to the Hermosillo Naranjeros.  It is one of the largest baseball stadiums in all of Latin American, boasting a capacity of 16,000.

thumbnail

It is difficult for my husband to be a Cubs fan during this current series, as many of our friends and neighbors are rooting for the Dodgers.  Fernando Valenzuela, the Dodgers’ 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award winner was born in Navajoa, Sonora. 

I no longer have that one favorite team.  I get a lot of ribbing from my son for my “fair weather fanishness”.  I am a fan of the game these days.  I am a fan of the experience.  I am a fan of the nostalgia of ballparks, and the feelings stirred up by the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, and the smells of popcorn and peanuts.  So while a Cubs’ victory in the series would definitely make my husband happy, and ultimately my life happier,  it just does not really matter to me who wins.  What I am more excited by is an excuse to indulge in the most famous ballpark treat of them all; a hot dog.  And it just so happens that Sonora has me covered!

thumbnail-2Sonoran hot dogs, or Estilo Sonora hot dogs, got their start in Hermosillo 30 to 40 years ago.  They were sold from carts by venders known as “dogueros”.  For the most part, they are still sold this way today.  The hot dogs have spread throughout the state and even jumped the border.  The Sonoran hot dog is the star of the menu at all three El Güero Canelo restaurants, located in Tucson, Arizona.  The delicious treat has even been featured on the Food Network and Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel.

The hot dog is first wrapped in bacon and then grilled.  It is
served in a baguette style bun, called a bolillo, a bread that was introduced by the Spanish in the 1860’s.  Next, the bacon wrapped dog is slathered with pinto beans, grilled onions, tomatoes, mustard, mayonnaise, and a guacamole thumbnail-1purée.  Jalapeños are served on the side.  I do not care for tomatoes, but I make an exception for the Sonoran hot dog, always ordering mine “completo”.  There is a wide variety of extra sauces that can be added as well, including plain old ketchup.  The combination of flavors and textures is incredible!  And there is absolutely nothing better to wash this treat down with than an ice cold Coke- – in a bottle!

Just as friends trash talk with one another about teams and players, Sonoran hot dogs cause their share of drama too.  Heated debates about where to find the very best ensue whenever the topic comes up.  This is a contest I am more than happy to lose, as long as there is taste testing involved.  But to be honest, when Sonoran hot dogs are involved, everyone is a winner!