Current Music: Paco de Lucia- Mediterranean Sundance
The news had been flooded with Mexican cartel treachery when my parents told me we were going to my cousins wedding in Arandas, Mexico; a small little town two hours from the nearest city of Guadalajara. With El Chapo out and Trump threatening to build “The Great Wall of Mexico” it was obvious to say there weren’t many tourists heading across the border, but that didn’t stop us! As we drove into the town, I was amazed at the splashes of color on old architecture and large blue agaves lining the road. Centrally located in the middle of Mexicos famous Tequila district of Jalisco, the town seemed to have enough tequila to supply the state of Texas and I planned on taking major advantage of this. What I did not expect to find, was a german inspired treasure among the open shops of the locals.
After getting settled in at our hotel, we were recommended a small pub located among a side road, tucked away in what we later learned was an old house Bruha house. We stumbled upon it by mistake due to the garden being a fantasy for my camera and I. And like a moth to a flame, we found MULLENBACH PUB.
Surrounded by fresh lavender, colorful flowers and various herbs, the smell itself was enough to put you in a calm trance. Immediately, we were greeted by the owners and made to feel at home with a tour of the fantasy inspired backyard.
With glass bottles hung from branches, hammocks swinging from the trees and lights surrounding the fence line, it’s safe to say I had the perfect setting to wait for the sunset with a glass *or bottle* of wine and a good book. Alas, my tummy was grumbling and it was time to have a seat inside (it had been raining all day and we weren’t about to risk a disruption especially if the food was as good as the place looked).
We were sat near a huge open window near the front and immediately surrounded by the scent of fresh bread and mouth watering aromatics. The owner formally introduced himself and led us through the menu which made ordering simple. He explained that his wife had trained in Europe (Spain) and had not only created the menu, but makes everything from scratch, including the breads, with high influence of the former pub she trained at.
Mains arrived and we were all brimming with anticipation to dive in. I had ordered the carne asada on an herb wheat bun with spiced chips and homeade tomato sauce. It specially made for me (not on the menu) and while it looked simple… holy shit.
It was amazing to see spanish cooking intertwined with traditional mexican techniques and topped with a fragrant blast of independent initiative. The aesthetic had us intrigued, but it was the compilation of flavor blends that blew us out of the water. Fresh Thyme, Basil, Dill, Oregano, tomatoes… all pulled straight from the garden out front. Silverware meticulously wrapped with fresh lavender (also grown out front) for scent and decor. I was impressed to say the least. Stuffed to the brim, we were content, yet our pallets ached for more! A delightful finish to the evening calls for Desert and Tequila!
Just as we finished off our postres and the moon shown it’s face, we had come to terms with the end of our time here at Mullenbach Pub. Leisurely spending hours wining and dining had brought us to 5 hours spent and it was time to walk, or be rolled, back to our hotel. But one more treat before we go. A quick tour of the rest of the house with one room in particularly special… The Romance Room. With Aphrodite inspired paintings and dim lighting, it was lovely, but with a nudge and a pull, a bookcase was opened and VOILA…
In all honesty, I never anticipated finding a secret treasure such as this one in such a small, remote town. But we have to remember, although a place may be small, it doesn’t mean the people will be as well. As we choose to travel, we never forget our roots. As we choose to extend a foot through new opportunity, you never forget where you come from. Lucky for this lovely family, they have come back to where they started in order to bring a small bit of travel to the town that they love. So if you ever visit Arandas on your tequila tours or explorations, be sure to stop on in the MULLENBACH PUB and say hello to the family of faces that will bring your sunshine, comfort and joy….
Love & Light,