In the colonial times she was the White City, and before that the Maya gave her the name, “Face of Infinity.” Merida is most famous for its beautiful central plaza. White stone benches with seats facing opposite directions allow sweethearts to sit with one another without breaking the taboo of sitting side by side. It’s that kind of place, with a history going back millennia.
On Sunday nights, bands play and couples dance in the square. It’s a night market for artisanal goods and the gooey goodness known as marquesitas. The shape of the churros we serve at Xoco in Chicago is inspired by those on the square; the crispy fried dough is elegantly folded back together, the two ends of the churro are like two lovers joined at a white bench in the Plaza Grande.