The most charming destination on my recent trip to Sinaloa was the rural town of El Quelite located 25 miles northeast of Mazatlán. Named after the milkweed that grows throughout the area, the colonial village hasn’t changed too much over the years, aside from the fresh coat of paint that every home and business receives during the holidays. The heart of the town is Restaurante El Meson De Los Laureanos, where we enjoyed a spectacular breakfast spread of regional specialties.
The soul of the operation is Dr. Marcos Gabriel Osuna, also known as “El Padre del Turismo Rural en Sinaloa.” Dr. Osuna’s steadfast commitment to promoting rural tourism in the area has put El Quelite on the map and increased the economic vitality of inhabitants. It was incredible meeting Dr. Osuna toward the end of our meal and hearing about his passion for the region’s culture, traditions, and people.
Born and raised in the house that the restaurant is located in, Dr. Osuna has transformed and expanded the building room by room over the years into a wonderland of art and food.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by beautiful murals telling the history of the region painted by Jorge Larreta, a famous Sinaloan painter.
Since it was such a gorgeous morning, we opted to sit on the patio amidst shady trees crawling with iguanas and colorful parrots.
To start we were served bowls of fresh fruit and a selection of handmade cheeses made from the milk of local cows. There were wedges of mildly-flavored queso fresco, curdled cottage cheese-like natas, smooth and tangy jocoque, and crumbly curds of el requesón.
Next up were savory gorditas, one for each of us so that we didn’t have to share. Atop the corn cake was a thick and rich slathering of zurrapa, the porky, oily bits found at the bottom of the pot after frying chicharones, and plenty of melted cheese. This breakfast “pizza” perked us up quite nicely.
We also sampled sweet gorditas that tasted like shortbread cookies.
Mexican pancakes, adorably called pancakies, also made an appearance at the breakfast table. The thin pancakes were rolled tightly and served with preserves and butter. Our tour guide Jesus couldn’t keep his hands away from these sweet things.
To round out our meal, we each ordered a main course from the menu. Taking Jesus’ lead, I selected the lengua en salsa roja, one of the restaurant’s original and most popular dishes. The tongue was incredibly tender, while the broth was spicy and tangy. Fresh lime juice brightened the entire platter.
And last but certainly not least was a tremendous dessert spread. Check out my previous post on “Cinco Sensational Sinoloan Sweets” for all the delightful details.
Following breakfast at Restaurante El Meson De Los Laureanos, we walked around El Quelite to explore a bit further. Imposing and colorful archways like the one pictured above are found throughout the region separating one town from the next.
The facade of El Quelite’s church.
A peak inside the church.
And finally, we visited the statue of an athlete playing the town’s beloved sport. Ulama is an ancient Aztec game still played in El Quelite. It is the oldest known game utilizing a rubber ball.
There’s no doubt I left a piece of my heart in El Quelite.
Restaurante El Meson De Los Laureanos
Francisco Bernal SN
El Quelite, 82350
Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico
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