How does one come up with 10 on a four day trip? Its complicated. The long explanation starts with my childhood, and requires lying down on an old couch to tell the story. It has to be an old couch, preferably beige. The short version is that’s how we roll, especially on a food focused trip as such. I can actually come up with 10 items in just one of the days. That’s Mexico City for you.
Green Chorizo Taco at Mercado de Jamaica
I think Eva Longoria made a mistake here. This is a life altering taco that didnt require any salsa to enhance the flavor. But on Eva’s Searching for Mexico show on CNN, while I was delighted to see her visit the same place we did, I was terrified by the amount of salsa she added on this delicate beauty. This jewel was part of a tour with Eat Like a Local.
Pescado a la Talla at Contramar
Imagine opening a restaurant that evolves around a dish that eventually becomes a national treasure. And before you know it, you are the food consultant to the president. Thats exactly what happened to Gabriela Cámara, and her famous two color snapper. I’ve had wonderful fish with one of those colors before that is a bore fest compared to this experience, where you essentially make the fish tacos of your dreams.
Suadero Taco at Tacos El Güero (San Rafael)
Rule number one of fight club: Aim for tacos outside the gentrified areas, or in this case, areas that refuse to gentrify. Not only you’ll find them at a fraction of the cost, but quite tastier as well. Suadero, sadly rarely seen in NYC, is essentially the beef (brisket) version of Carnitas. Here you’ll find them just fatty enough, crispy, and quite tender. And you’ll most likely be the only tourist, but dont get intimidated. And dont skip on the sick pastor as well.
Chile en Nogada at Angelopolitano
Yet another rarity in the USA, and once you see and taste it you’ll understand why. It looks like a dish typically made once a year on a special holiday, and for some it is in Mexico (Independence Day). But at Angelopolitano, you’ll find it year round, even when pomegranate is not in season. Its a hearty combination of meat, candied and dried fruit stuffed in poblano chile, and topped with walnut cream sauce, and pomegranate. Typically served room temperature.
Pibil Tacos at El Turix
At the glamorous Polanco, you can either dine with ladies who lunch across the street at Maque, or sit on the sidewalk with construction workers at El Turix. We did both, for research of course. And the construction workers got it right. An outstanding Cochinita Pibil wrapped in a deliciouso soft tortilla from this busy hole in the wall. And you may also see many munching on the fine Panuchos (fried tortillas stuffed with beans, topped with shredded chicken)
Lengua Tostada – Amatista Tostadas (Coyoacán)
This is another one of those if you know, you know type place in the foody paradise Coyoacán. Popular with tour guides, other locals, and tourists alike. They dish all sorts of delights like a fine Aztec soup, and fancier Tostadas like Octopus and tuna. But that Lengua Tostada, covered with an intense but pleasant dark 7 chili sauce was the eye opener. A fiesta in your mouth. Try to go when they open or prepare to wait a little, especially if a tour occupies the entire second room.
“Veracruzanos” at La Cocina de mi Mamá (Coyoacán Market)
While most tourists head to the insta-heavy Tostadas Coyoacán, the locals sneak to the back of the market for this literally hidden gem. We had to ask another vendor who was very happy to bring us there, but its probably more fun to find on your own. This dish is exhibit A why Mexicans take their breakfasts very seriously. Tortillas filled with eggs, bathed in bean sauce, chorizo, onions, cheese and peppers. Sensational to say the least.
Taco course at Quintonil
Its hard to pick a dish from a meal full of standouts. Every dish played a role, but perhaps none bigger than the extravagant Taco course. There were charred avocado with Escamoles (insect caviar), smoked cactus salad, Oyster mushrooms, pureed beans from Oaxaca, nutty Crottin cheese, chorizo with oats, and more. It could have been a fine meal in itself, but at Quintonil its just another course.
Lengua Taco at Tacos “El Betin”
I think the term ‘hole in the wall’ was invented here. This was our first stop on a taco crawl in San Rafael. Great pastor, but the Lengua was like a smack in the face. Just about the most delicate, tender Lengua I ever had. Just like other spots in San Rafael, you may find yourself surrounded by locals, or a food tour.
Grandma’s Flan at La Casa de Toño
Come for the hearty pozole, the specialty at this American-like mini chain, but stay for Grandmas Flan. Nothing really out of the ordinary here. Just a solid flan, Caramel freaks like me, crave and enjoy. La Casa de Toño is one of a few good options open Sunday night, popular among locals too. You’ll get a number and wait to be called or displayed on the screen.