We saw a spring and Gloria told us that the water comes up clear as glass. The residents of Uranden are participating in a government-assisted project that includes a fish farm. We learned that carp had previously been introduced to Patzcuaro through another project, and although there were good intentions, it did not have good results. It seems the carp have eaten many of the native fish. The purpose of the farm is to replenish the lake with pescado blanco, the small white fish. Also, they are attempting to reduce the carp census by eliminating young carp before they reproduce. Personally I am not interested in eating fish from the lake due to pollution, but at least they are trying to do something.
There were other less-than-ideal environmental issues, but I try not to be too critical when I am a transplant from another country. There were many egrets and other birds that were quite lovely as were the surrounding marshes. The residents are being taught to grow their own produce and we saw some communal gardens on the island. It is hoped that the residents (all Purepecha) will be less dependent on fish.
I found the climb to the restaurant exhilarating, but someone with serious medical and/or mobility issues might not want to try it. I ate the mole which was tasty. I thought the atmosphere of the restaurant was sweet and a tremendous effort by such a minimally populated island. The view from the large outdoor patio of the surrounding marshes and Janitzio was lovely.
I learned that the women in traditional flower-embroidered blouses are single and the women in the more colonial Spanish- inspired blouses are married. The legend is that the Purepecha women did not like their men paying attention to the Spanish women so they began to sew clothing that imitated the Spanish style with the result being a mixture of cultures (sound familiar?).
I also explored the tiny island a bit. I passed through the campus of a small school and a covered sports field. There was a strong smell of incense as I entered the small, humble church as there was a mass in progress. I saw a woman fanning a large urn of copal. The church included abundant flowers in small vases decorated with the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe. I felt privileged to share a few moments with the many praying rebozo- covered women and humbly dressed indigenous men.
I applaud Gloria, the Patzcuaro library director, for her efforts to not only assist the library, but for her efforts in promoting other smaller and lesser known secrets of Patzcuaro.
Our dining companions had a spicy mole con pollo and rice. My wife and I both had enchiladas con pollo estilo Pátzcuaro. The enchiladas are simply tortillas that have been dipped into a salsa roja, then fried. The chicken came one piece per customer, just fried to a crisp and other wise unadorned, The dish is supposed to come with cooked cubed carrots and potatoes, which I received but my wife did not. The enchiladas are dressed with crema, a sort of creme fraiche popular in Mexico; and a pickled chile jalapeño. The enchilada part was very tasty and the piece of chicken was passable if over fried. We didn't eat the shredded lettuce, a caution due to recent unpleasant effects after eating elsewhere in the region.
A pitcher agua fresca de jamaica (sweetend red hibiscus tea) came with the meal, but we both drank cerveza Bohemia. Extra, but reasonable at $20 pesos each. The Sopa Tarasca ( a light puree of beans in a brown broth, garnished with toasted strips of chile pasilla, fried strips of corn tortilla and more crema) arrived after we finished our main course. It was tepid but tasty.
This was a special combination deal of excursion and dinner, at a very reasonable $100 pesos Mexicanos per person, approximately $7 USD at current exchange rates.
The service was sincere, amiable and helpful, in spite of the newness of the restaurant (open only Saturdays and Sundays other than special events by reservation only.) and the size of the group.
In all it was a pleasant afternoon's outing. We wish them success, which will be challenging, given the isolated location, limited days of operation, and lack of advertising. Rated at 3 out of a possible 5 stars.
An afternoon on the Island of Uranden byTerry Baumgart
Even though the Island of Uranden (say… urh – rhon – DAN) is very close to land, I found the trip interesting. The island is actually more than one island as the livestock are kept on another nearby "island". Therefore, the residents must use their canoes to care for their cattle and such. I think I heard there are 3 bodies of water. For Day of the Dead, I visited Uranden's cemetery which is on the mainland so I am assuming Uranden was once part of the mainland as well.
The home of José Everardo Cristóbal Quirino,
representing Mexico in the 2008 Olympics.
Uraní Restuarant in Uranden by Michael Warshauer
Yesterday we went on an excursion with Los Amigos de La Biblioteca Bocanegra, to benefit improvements in our local library. The excursion involved driving 5 miles west of Pátzcuaro, past Huecorio, to the embarcadero for the Isla Uranden. There we boarded tour boats for a trip around the bucolic island, after which we disembarked, not 100 meters from the shore where our cars were parked.
A set of stairs went up steeply through the well-groomed village to the rather new restaurant, "Uraní". (I hope I got the name right.) The view across Lake Pátzcuaro was very fine. Waitresses in pretty traditional outfits served us. We'd preordered when buying tickets so that the staff could plan for the 60 or so guests. Inevitably, there was some confusion, but easily remedied.
Our table was set with a dish of guacamole and totopos (corn chips) and a bowl of pickled carrots and jícama. They were somewhat overcooked and had no chile. But they weren't bad.
Photo by by Michael Warshauer
Photo by by Michael Warshauer
Photo by by Michael Warshauer