I am so lucky to have met this lovely lady ! Isabel owns a small food cart on a Main Street in Tulum, she makes everything by hand, fresh, every day and serves it to the hungry men and women, children and the occasional lucky tourist of the pueblo of Tulum.
She agreed to spend a night with me, teaching, explaining, eating (a lot, well at least I did..) and sharing her love of food.
She has been doping tis for many years, at least 7 or 8, set up around 7 pm, cook the night away, usually until 3 or 4 am, then clean up and pack. she rarely goes to bed before 7am, only to wake up by noon and start preppering for the next night at work. she does this 6 days a week.
We started with sopes, which happens to be my favorite thing on her menu, she grabs a piece of her hand made dough (word from her mom, it takes about 40 minutes to hand mix) and shapes a flat disc, place it on the plancha with a bit of pork fat and waits. You will see when it's time to flip it, she says, and so it is, the edges soon start to change color. Few more minutes on the other side and she takes it out, now comes the fun part, she quickly pinches it around while simultaneously turning it around to creat a well like shape, that can hold all that's coming next. Mind you, this little piece of dough is really really hot, straight off the comal, covered with hot oil, it's no joke, since she makes it look so easy I attempt to do the next one... I always thought I had high tolerance to heat when it comes to cooking but this experience showed me a different level. Isabel do wasn't even blink when she grabs them, I was making all kind of uncontrollable noises..
Next step is the goodies that fills this beauty up, start with puréed frijoles (black beans) and then raw diced cabbage, meat of choice, avocado, tomato and pickled onions. With a little drizzle of crema and a whole lot of love.
More on my adventure with Isabel soon...