Story and photos by Carol Canter.
El Profe puts the hamlet of Coacoyul on the map every Thursday afternoon from 2 p.m. when the restaurant opens to serve pozole, the hearty hominy-based soup that is the weekly culinary tradition in much of Mexico, especially in the state of Guerrero.
The late Pablo Obregon Velez, a retired teacher of history in Zihuatanejo, was El Profe. Now his son Alberto presides, as his father once did, over the restaurant that draws families and friends from neighboring Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Barra de Potosi and Playa Blanca, and farther south to the city of Petatlan. Foodies from Michoacan to Michigan, Canada to California have been counted as patrons of El Profe. Enterprising young boys guide the Thursday influx of cars to parking spaces on Avenida Hidalgo, the non-descript street sought out by first timers to El Profe. The boys “guard” your car for small change.
Colorful piñatas hang from the ceiling, and recorded music from rousing rancheras to lyrical boleros keep the mood festive. Bands are often hired to serenade groups celebrating an occasion with live music. The vibe is always welcoming. Men in lightweight guayabera shirts, accompanied by women in colorful tropical dresses, offer a nod and a “buen provecho!” (good appetite, enjoy your meal) as they pass your table. It’s a most pleasant way to while away an afternoon with friends and share in the time-honored pozole tradition.
The soup can be ordered verde o blanco, large or medium and with pork or chicken. Though huge, the grande costs only pennies more and yields yummy leftovers the next day. The verde gets its green color from pumpkin seeds that are roasted and ground, as well as from herbs like epazote. The pozole is served with small bowls of powdered oregano, red chili powder, chopped onions, chopped green Serrano chilis, salt and limes. It’s traditional to drink shots of mezcal, served in tiny ceramic cups with lime and orange slices, though some prefer their pozole with an icy beer to cool down the spice. Plates of queso fresco and sliced avocado may be ordered to add to the soup. The steaming, satisfying late afternoon meal comes to $10 or $15 for two, a bargain for the ultimate Thursday feast.
IF YOU GO:
Visit Last Best Beach www.playablancamexico.com/ to learn more about nearby Barra de Potosi and Playa Blanca Mexico.
For more on Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa, check out www.visitmexico.com/en/ixtapa-zihuatanejo.