It’s 3 pm. I just finished lunch two hours ago (beef in a spicy green tomatillo chili sauce) and I am already planning dinner. Sick, right?

Last night I did beef ribs that I finished up in a fresh rosemary tomato sauce that I served over black beans.

The night before I think I did my friend, Ramon’s longaniza sausage paired with pasta in a fresh tomato/spinach sauce flavored with chilies, onions, and bay leaves.

Tonight it’s going to be leftover ribs with something. That something is what I am thinking over at the moment.

I am presently flavor obsessed with anchovies, tomatoes, cumin, capers, bay leaf, chicken, beef, and pig parts.

I do carnitas for lunch a couple of times a week at my friend, Beto’s tiny fonda in the Mercado. And while it used to be that I favored the gelatinous snout, I am now trending towards his fried pig ears. Topped with some guacamole and a habanero salad with vinegar, chopped cucumbers, and onion; it’s a crunchy winner that pushes all the flavor buttons.

And all this food is so impossibly fresh. Just 24 hours earlier the beef ribs were still part of an ambulatory animal. Pigs and chickens are the same. Nothing is typically over a day old. Consequently nothing gets refrigerated. I’ll bet this small city supports a hundred butchers minimum. There are no processing plants here my friend.

The vegetables are all fresh and grown within a 60 mile radius of here. Fresh tropical fruits are trucked in daily from the both coasts. And we only serve Mexican coffee in this house. A place in town sells fresh roasted beans from all over Mexico: Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz and Michoacan.

I was talking to my daughter this morning who lives up in Oregon. She’s coming for a visit in June and we got to talking about this Mercado versus some northern cousins like the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle or Washington, DC’s Eastern Market in my old neighborhood on Capitol Hill.

Fresh food in one of those places are expensive luxuries. Here in dusty old Michoacan it’s just another affordable part of daily life.

PS – Reading this post, it sounds like I eat a lot of meat. Not true. The fact is I am a vegetable guy and use meat to add flavor and texture to a dish. I still follow a dietary regime that I learned in Asia (thanks Duriz!) whereby on average I eat only 3-5 ounces of meat per day.

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