Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Monthly Mazatlán Round-Up

MazReal's monthly round-up of local news comes at a time when this fine city is at it's fullest with our delightful friends the expats. Swooningly handsome Jim 'Knees' MacTavish and our stunningly beautiful Nigellisima talk food, cheeky Nate Slapper takes you to Cuba and adventurous explorer dangerman Dick 'Dangerman' van Dyck risks his neck riding our delighful public transport.

RESTAURANTS - The All-You-Can-Eat Craze

Sushi from The 貪欲な

There are a number of things that bother people who eat at restaurants. The main being that you can never get enough. But that problem has been eliminated by "All-You-Can-Eat Restaurants' popping up all over the place where everyone that encounters the problematic 'lack-of-food-on-your-plate problem' can swing by and eat until you throw up then eat some more.

Sushi generally comes in such tiny proportions that it can be very frustrating when the steep bill comes and you realize that that was it! So you take the fastest pulmonia over to MucDonalds in NoMa and fill the gaps in your stomach that the tiny portions of sushi failed to fill with the  salty crap they serve there. 

In Japanese society the making of sushi is generally considered to be an art form that combines visual presentation with flavour hence the high prices. But here in Mazatlán that problem of eating practical and functional art has also been eliminated in bypassing the visual delights of colour and form and filling your table with long thin pink and grey things chopped into bite size chunks. 

The latest is a sushi restaurant called THE貪欲な豚 near the Plaza Dominguez.  THE貪欲な豚 is a well kept secret because the members of the shadowy あなたがクラブを食べることができるすべてのhave kept it so secret and dark that only they know where it is. The door is black and the wall is black and at night it is invisible.

THE 貪欲な豚 is an intimate joint run by a good friend of mine Yohei Hanaya Jnr. great grandson of the famous sushi maker from the 18th century. Yohei or YoHey to his friends used to be big in the Tokyo branch of the Yakuzi (Jacuzzi bathing gangsters) where he was bath attendant. YoHey escaped Japan by the skin of his teeth after boiling alive five gangsters when he went outside for a cigarette after forgetting to switch on the heat thermostat for the jacuzzi. He found his way to the docks after befriending a gang of sailors he picked up at Vitrolas' Japanese branch in the Tokyo docks and worked his passage on a Mazatlán shrimp boat that had got lost and found its way to Japan. On the return crossing he learned the art of serving shrimp sushi to the Mexican shrimp sailors and also had a part time job as a rent boy serving the hunky seafarers. They befriended him and helped him set up THE 貪欲な豚 with shrimp cartel money, it is said. But don't mention it because the shadowy あなたがクラブを食べることができるすべての have ears everywhere.

This is not the actual restaurant. But it will serve food kind of similar to this in a different kind of restaurant that is not as clean as this one in Singapore.

THE貪欲な豚 is small and has the gloomy mystique of an East Asian backstreet brothel and opium den with it's blood stained ceiling, floor and walls, bare-flamed Angor Wat wall candles, bare-arsed Malay waiters and a 52 inch flat screen TV and video pumping out ear-bleeding music and unintelligible classic Japanese 日本映画 movies. Heavy Mediaeval furniture and refectory tables are scattered haphazardly around and the atmosphere alludes to a private bawdy London East End Victorian slum pub except in one corner where a burbling tank filled with gurgling fish alludes to a Beijing street market for it is from this bubbling, ganurdeling tank that your meal will sometimes originate. (That is if you order the baby crocodile sushi)

But hey we are getting diverted with inane chit chat - we are forgetting the food. If, like me, you and me have a dose of cold turkey for want of food, any food, since visiting the all-you-can-eat breakfast at Hotel Freeman an hour back, then you, like me, like you, we and me are in luck. Because once you settle in, your table is soon groaning with stuff. Stuff that looks like sushi, and maybe is, or maybe not, but probably is because this is a sushi joint. 

It's soooo much fun because it has now become a guessing game and you may be eating anything including delicate slices of glistening raw horse meat recently shipped in from France sitting on a bed of sea cucumbers and Galapagos puffer fish livers or rice wrapped in salivating  Easter Island sea weed, Chilian sea urchin tongues and veal just shipped in from Tuscany. Or it may be big chunks of pink gleaming Firth-Of-Forth farmed SalmonTrout literally slathered in a mouth-watering fricassee of Thames River eel and Cod roe recently shipped in from the Great Barrier Reef in StraliaLand all served on a pristine mountain of heavenly steamed rice recently picked grain by grain by galley slaves from YokoOnoLand. 

Who knows what the hell it is that is passing into your salivating, gaping jaws, but my God is it good. So good in fact that it has turned hardened atheists into God fearing, bible punching Moonies.

So if you are low in funds and feel a yen for a belly full of 'sushi' and are passing by a black door on Calle Capitan y Tennille, why not slip in and get involved in the ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT fashion at THE貪欲な豚*

Small Print
Receptacles are handily provided to throw up in.
There is no cast iron guarantee that this is actually a 'sushi' restaurant.
* see Google Translate

Smaller Print.
This restaurant does not exist except in the mind of our 'food writer' Jim 'Knees'' MacTavish. So no suing MazREal when you cannot find it in your craze to locate food to fill your stomach.

More articles after the jump

TRAVEL - The Banana Republic Experience by globe trotter Nate 'Fat' Slapper

Cuba Revisited

Man, I'm off to Cuba and as the poster suggests I am in for some serious fun 'n gambling, mojitos and music and Hemingway, baseball and cigars, eye hospitals and Buena Vista Social Club. 

What a man that fascist dictator Fulgenio Batista is, enticing us all down there to party and spend dollars in his holiday isle of the tropics. That great man whose corrupt and repressive regime systematically profited from the exploitation of Cuba's commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with the American mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large multinational American corporations that had invested considerable amounts of money in Cuba and other naughty shenanigans.

Hang on, wait a moment. He's dead and Raul Castro is running the joint and the place has gone to the dogs. It's a Banana Republic film set. Old American cars with Hyundai engines and Skoda big ends and run-down buildings, mojitos and music and women earning a fast buck from drunk gringos. What's changed then, not much it seems, except we all get to see that sweaty colourful down-at-heal Latin American Caribbean island we all saw in that James Bond movie. Or was that that other sweaty down-at-heal Caribbean country Haiti? Who knows?

Anyway we took the plunge and after getting a professional medical service for combating our hyper-anxiety attacks and heart palpitations at the thought of visiting a Socialist country, we headed to the airport after getting professional advice for combatting the hyper-tension and stress involved at the thought of boarding a Russian-made jet. Not long after an extensive inspection to see if the aircraft had wings and a engine and was piloted by humans and not Chimpanzees, we took to the air. The flight attendants who may or may not have been dirty communists or may or may not have been male or female (it was difficult to tell), explained how to use the rip-cord on our parachutes in the case of being blown out the air by American missiles who may or may not recognise us as being American citizens on a communist airplane. I looked out the window to make sure no Patriot missiles were following us and was pleasantly surprised we were still in one piece on leaving US airspace and settled back in my hammock.

After the spontaneous celebratory party on having arrived intact, I staggered drunk, dosed up to the eyeballs and blindfolded off the old crate straight into the back of a beautiful fire-engine red 1955 communist-made Bucik prison bus that propelled me at speed to a place I found out later after the effects of the in-flight drugged Mojitos had worn off, was a Socialist sugar cane hostelry. With horror I found out that on boarding that damn left wing commie plane we were now at the mercy of those nasty Socialists and were now forced to cut sugar cane for ten days on the collective sugar cane plantation. 

As it turned out I had had a memorable experience because the food and booze on the farm were so cheap, the camaraderie with our fellow Socialist revolutionary workers was excellent, the rousing sing-a-longs to the Communist Third World political anthems while we cut acres of cane were unforgettable and the nightly whippings and mind-altering re-education into the ideals of helping our fellow men was truly inspirational. So much so that when I was released at the end of my ten day vacation I was adamant that I would, when returning to Mazatlán, I would definitely vote for Obama at the next election. 

Our ten day forced labour camp re-education and slave labouring was absolutely delightful and I would highly recommend it to all my fellow card carrying communists out there. We had fun and enjoyed cutting cane where world famous revolutionaries like Che Guevara, Fidel and his brother Raul Castro, Camilio Cienfuegos, Raul Martinez Araras, Ramos Latour, Rene Latour, Rolando Cubela and Roberto Rodriguez had cut cane during the first half of the twentieth century and had more fun smoking cigars and swopping revolutionary yarns on the steps of the Moncado Barracks where our July of 26th Movement comrades had suffered casualties in the fight against those Yankee puppet dogs of the Baptista regime.

Luckily the Commies at Havana don't stamp your passport so there is no worry about being banged up in Guantanamo Bay on your return Stateside but instead the delightful chaps give you a tattoo of that classic Che Guevara image on the back of your head. How thoughtful of them and what fun we had.

©Nate Slapper 2013


RECIPES from MazReal's new stunningly beautiful kitchen Goddess and commentator Nigellissima Lawsoniini

MENUDO or Cow's Guts

"Imagine my ecstasy when I  relocated myself and my vassals to Mexico and discovered that eating Cow's Guts was politically correct and even a socialist activity..............."
Growing up as a child we always had the staff to spoon feed us. We would gayly lean back, and laughingly open our mouths and they would delicately place the food in our mouths. When I was 17 I decided to be Italian and worked as a toilet cleaner for the Contessa Flavia Fangorgini in her Milanotuscanoni palazzo, Flav Darling (as we jokingly refer to her now) has since become an old family friend and regularly holidays at my Piedmontese Palazzo and million acre Mexican Ranchero in the foothills of the Sierra Padre. She brings her own toilet and cleaner now I am happy to say. 

I learned to cook while at Oxford (the famous university that is) - naturally - and I am not just a pretty face as I read Dante in SerboCroat and translation and have always felt that Mexico is my real home but make no apologies for any of these recipes being authentically Mexican or even original.

Cow insides before Nigellisima got her delicate hands on it..............

My father was a man of simple appetites..........most definitely vodka and the ridiculously expensive Almas Beluga caviar from Iran caught by naughty Socialists but my mother was always trying to get the servants to upgrade to gourmet goose and duck Foie Gras Lafitte and Kobe and Wagyu steak which he took to well but it only aggravated his gout, Nile disease and scrofula. 

I, however, have tried to bring more variety to my diet and have taken to eating cow stomach, grasshoppers from the Serengeti and sea slugs from the Caspian and imagine my ecstasy when I relocated myself and my vassals from my Italian palazzo, my Russian Dacha, my South African vineyard, my Fijian tree house and my Stralian sheep ranch to my humble 60 room casita in Mazatlán and discovered that cow stomach or in local parlance - Menudo - was not only plentiful and cheap but celebrated as a breakfast delicacy and hangover cure in all the restaurants on the Plaza Mitchum and every other shabeen and street corner taco joint in town. 

Laughingly I hired some famous menudo chefs from D.F. to teach me the art of boiling cow's guts in water and this really simple boiling procedure appealed to my childlike palate. Cow's internals, especially those from the celebrated heather-fed Scottish Aberdeen Angus beasts also has the depth of complexity and varied tastes that by adding swine sniffed-out Alba truffles from Piedmont heightens the experience to a level that appeals to my adult palate.

After the delicate Nigellisima got her  hands on it..............

One of my favourite Mexican dishes is Quick Calabrian Menudo Lasagne

Take 500g of finest quality cow's stomach - I always pop out to my favourite organic butcher at the Saturday organic market on Zaragosa, but you could get there by limo or sedan chair, I suppose -  and brown with shallots. Then lay out lasagne as strips before stuffing it down the throats of your 300 closest friends.

Squid Prawns with Chillies Zuchininnies and Menudo and Marjoram is another tasty Mex meal

Toss and toss and toss again the squid and your long thick erect zuchininnies in one of your 40 or so pans, add six bottles of Viño Maipo from Napa Valley Tierra del Fuego while helping yourself to a bottle or two of estate bottled Veuve Cliquot champagne before keeling over in your rose and herb garden.

My variety of Chocolate Menudo originally made by the nuns of Zacatattackus for the Bishop of Teocuahalitosi when he visited the village and burned at the stake all the non-believers during the Great Mexican Inquisition of circa 11.

For this recipe beat twenty eggs very, very hard till they become really stiff and stiffen into a white peak. Oh yes .Then place the menudo on top  - my preferred position being under actually ever since those halcyon days I spent under and on top of Keats and Shelley in Siena - before rolling out the mixture into a long, thin log and placing it in the oven at any heat you fancy. Remove the dripping chocolatey menudo after an hour and place it into your wide mouth, wider, wider, Mmmnn that's better. Then swallow. Gosh!

I haven't a clue where these recipes come from but they will guarantee to satisfy your most ardent ItalianoMexican teenage construction worker lover and will have people literally dying for seconds and demanding you call an ambulance for a hasty stomach pump.


 The Delights of Public Transport from MazReal war correspondent Dick 'Dangerman' Van Dyke

Mazatlán is known for its really hot and sticky summers when all the Sno Birds escape back to their ranches somewhere to the north where the weather is always idyllic. What better way to celebrate that summer than an exciting and more often than not hair-raising ride in a bus.

When you feel your old ticking heart needs a boost of adrenaline, these six-wheeled (and sometimes 2 wheeled when the others fall off .....hahaha!) deathtraps are the conveyance to seek out. For only 4.90 pesos you can defibrillate and boost your ticker into high powered Italian sports car mode that will give you such an injection of pure ecstasy you will think you are a teenager once more high on amphetamines and barbiturates dancing in a field at midnight under a glowing moon.

The town bus started out as a donkey cart. In circa 12 the businessman, gangster and wrestler El Chippo (he liked to feed rivals through a wood chipper) bought three and replaced the donkeys with mules for a smoother ride. Borrowing money against his chain of brothels he further upgraded to three-wheeled horse drawn traps and when he figured out that 4 wheels was probably more stable and comfortable, undaunted he duly borrowed money against his illicit gambling dens and rent boy parlours and put an extra wheel on.

Undaunted again he travelled to the Argentinean pampus' where he successfully strong-armed the gauchos to give him 100 high speed pampus horses which he hitched to his now streamlined metal trams that he purchased in Idaho from a terrified tram maker after he threatened to kill all his family and torch his house.

As Mazatlán grew and the internal combustion engine had been around for over one hundred years he eventually decided to sell his horses to the local glue factory and purchased a fleet of Mercedes buses after hocking his illegal tequila distilleries to the Japanese Yakuza. Since then he has never looked back and the noisy, smoke belching, dangerously fast and uninsured buses can be seen on all our wonderful roads in and around Mazatlán.

Most drivers in the tourist areas are a surly bunch of buggers who refuse to speak English when we all know they are fluent in all the major tourist languages and Finnish. The easiest way to communicate your destination or enquiry is to shout loudly in English, repeating the word a dozen times and he will get the drift. Be sure to hand him the correct change otherwise his stubborn refusal to give you change for a 20 will begin to rile those passengers piling up behind you into a full scaled riot.

It is a delightful way to explore the colonials when you loose all sense of direction not knowing where the hell you are at and you can gain some useful experience in self defence  and war wound first aid when he drops you off in the middle of Urias at midnight outside his house and you have to make your way on foot back to your apartment in NoMa. It may cost a little less than those open aired funky death trap Pulmonias but the exhilaration of defying a potential case of gunshot wounding is definately worth the adventure and you will have a great time stemming the flow of blood from your multiple wounds.

©2013 MazReal Productions

Thanks to other Mazatlán monthlies for inspiration


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