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Posts posted by nickarte

  1. So what did you eat at Izote? Inquiring minds want to know...

    "Muese Geule" (sp?): the 3 salsas with dry corn tostada, like flatbread- straight from the Aztecs - you could live on this alone.

    Appetizers (for 3 people):

    1. The 3 ceviches: Pacific coast style with Huachinago (a grapefruit juice marinade), A sweetish one with Sierra, and the Asiany one with a soya marinade and scallops, our least favorite.

    2. "Dzick" de Venado (who knows what dzick means), a little rich adobo, room temp. of venison to make little tacos. Yucatecan style, achiote marinade. Enjoyed by all...

    3. The Guacamole with smoked salmon on top and infused vanilla oil - this is just about the best thing she does, four star, we dream about this.

    Platos fuertes:

    1. Duck with mole negro - dark, simple, almost burnt tasting mole, complements the duck (which I think was a boned thigh). Memorable...

    2. A pasta with 'flor de calabaza' and cream -sounds good, but was a yawn, although if you made it at home you'd be perfectly happy.

    3. Filet of huachinango with cream, flor de calabaza, epazote sauce - a special not on the menu - rich but subtle and well prepared.

    A side of ensalada de nopales, which she "gussies up" in a nice way, chopped smaller than usual and dressed beautifully.

    A GOOD Mexican wine, a Santo Tomas Barberra for about $30 US, good value for its quality.

    The Marzipan, white chocolate with orange sauce dessert....

    Bill was about $50 per person. we are never dissapointed...

    "She" wasn't there and the crowd was light, Mexico City being empty, like Paris, in August.

    The great thing to know, for 'northerners', is that, since dinner is not such a big deal in Mexico, you can almost always get a reservation for the same day...sometimes comida time is what is booked up, especially on Friday which is a big comida day due to "TGIF" celebrating....

  2. weird food confession, burnt food category:

    I LOVE burnt popcorn. I always  make popcorn using a little bit of olive oil in a heavy pan or wok, and always let it cook just that little bit beyond perfection so that the bottom gets scorched. i adore the popcorns that have a burnt edge to them.

    sick, i know. but i can't help myself! (salt on it, yes. butter: no! not good with the burnt flavour).


    I love burnt popcorn too!, always let it go way beyond done. In fact as a kid my favorite was burnt Jiffy Pop (wonder if that still exists). I always thought it was like a wierd fetish, like being into feet or something. I'm glad you came out of the closet, Marlena, it helps others like me who have been suffering in "The Well of Loneliness".

  3. This restaurant, near the World Trade Center (in Mexico City, that is) is doing its annual "Festival de Hongos Silvestres" ie. wild mushroom fest. It was fabulous last year when I went. We plan to go next week so I will report on the menu, which of course, has nothing to do with anything Mexican other than the ingredients. There are very few restaurants that take advantage of the wild mushroom season here, which is stupid, and there isn't much written about the culture of them, although I think Diana Kennedy wrote something about them in one of her recent books, didn't she?

    Costa Vasca

    Lousiana #16, col. Nápoles.

    H: Lu-Do de 13 a 00 hrs.

    Tel. 5687 4123 Comida vasco-francesa.

    H: S a Mi, 13 a 19 hrs; J y V, 13 a 23 hrs.

    I buy all kinds at the San Juan market or wherever else I see them. Besides the blue ones, I once bought some red ones, and I mean RED! Last week we got some of the yellow ones which resemble French cepes and just made a sort of braised chicken with them as they are very mild and mustn't be overwhelmed by other ingredients. Sometimes I use them in a risotto. The scary black crinkly ones I don't really like, to be honest, they're terribly strong. Whenever I ask in the market what to do with them, they always seem to say the same thing, ie to the effect of "make a sofrito and cook 'em up". So I go with our French cook friend Fabienne and do what seems natural according to the qualities of the mushrooms.

  4. I've only seen the above mentioned. One is always told to be so careful NOT to burn the (dried) chiles.

    I do have a recipe I invented recently for

    Burnt Mexican Lentil Soup:

    put lentils in a pot with water, cook on a low flame.

    Go take a nap in your hammock until you wake up and smell a funny odor coming from the kitchen. Throw in the compost pile.

    serves 0

  5. I think the potatoes here in Mexico are great, just not for baking. I love the little tiny ones and the big shiny thin skinned ones (which are probebly big versions of the same thing). I find them firm and flavorful. I'm assuming, as I buy them from the market, that they are fairly local and not imported from the USA. I would hope that imported stuff goes either to industrial things like chips or to Walmarts.

    There are scary billboards around Mexico City promoting "USA meat" with a red, white 'n blue logo - Besides the fact that importing this lower priced stuff puts small Mexican farmers out of business, the quality of industrially grown USA product is invariably inferior. We have the last couple of presidents on both sides of the border and their free trade to thank for all this. The same is going on in Europe, I guess.

    I have asked where the meat comes from in the usual places I buy it, and have always been told it's local. Once again, I think the imported stuff goes more to the big-time users.

  6. Well...'El Caguero' is a pet name for Nick's favorite taco stand.  Its real name is...you tell him, Nick.  I'm laughing too hard.

    It's really "El Caguamo" which is a slang term for litre bottles of beer. It's a great "open-air" seafood restaurant (ie. puesto) in Mexico City's historic center, on the corner of Lopez and Ayuntamiento, near the San Juan market a few blocks south of the Alameda.

    As for the joke, ask your mother to explain it, I'm busy right now.....

  7. The wonderful Tianguis del Sol is in Guadalajara.

    Nick, next time I'm in the DF we'll go to the tianguis in Condesa...and to El Caguero.  I still laugh at that...remember?

    Yes, let me know next time you come, and visa versa...

    PS just went to "El Caguero" recently, and it's as good as ever...

  8. As for day-tripping to Mexico, always an option, but rarely with DH, as he spent his adolescence in El Paso, and is a bit worried about boarder towns.  We just went to (south) South Padre for the first time together.   I will certainly write for  tips to Progreso.

    Just don't rent the film Touch of Evil before you go!

    DO rent Touch of Evil -then you'll know what to expect!!!

  9. Where? Where? Where is your tianguis del sol??? Is it in el DF?

    My favorite is the Tuesday tianguis on Pachuca/Veracruz, near the Edificio Condesa in the Condesa, D.F. (near metro Chapultepec) It has all the qualities you describe, everything presented beautifully, unusual things like arugala, as well as a couple of indiginous ladies from the campo who bring odd things like izotes, wild mushrooms, and chickens from their own home. For you out of towner foodies, this market is really worth a visit, and there are great quesadillas, flautas, mixiotes and cocteles de camaron in the "food court" area...

    Oh and I confess, I buy my cotton khaki pants at Walmart, 150 pesos...it's true, ya gotta get 'em somewhere...

  10. Walmart!!!!!! Sam's!!!!! AAAAHHHHH!!! It's back to the tianguis for me, girls!!!

    PS The Covadonga is very good for what it is, but no replacement for Arborio or Valenciano. I've never seen a rice in Mexico (or US for that matter) other than Italian Arborio that is appropriate to use for risotto or Paella-type Spanish arroz dishes. Valencianos would use other than 'arroz valenciano' over their dead bodies, but I WAS told by a Spanish chef (from Madrid) that Arborio is OK if you cant get the "real" kind. Most "Paella" you see here in Mexico is made with regular Mexican rice, so it is really, as we say about alot of pseudo things here, "tipo- paella".

  11. Um, not to rain on your parade, but have you checked Customs regulations about importing some of that stuff ?  :sad: I'd hate to see your good money in the airport trash can...

    Although I think he was talking about Arizona so customs isn't an issue, I have brought a lot of things from Mexico (where I am fortunate to live) to the USA:

    jamaica and dried chiles, for example, are no problem, nor would be fresh tortillas.

    I even brought all the ingredients for sopes once, ie. the fresh sope shells from the market, the salsa, the queso fresco (OK I hid it in my bag) etc.

    And while I'm confessing, I also bring stuff from Europe - had a few sausages from Lyon in my bag at Kennedy and that infernal beagle didn't sniff 'em! But there one is taking a risk...

    God only knows what the rules are these days between mad cow and terrorists...

  12. Please see my previous contributions, as I (and other members) have talked about street food, markets, etc.

    A redisvoery, not previously mentioned by anybody, is the old Restaurante Lincoln on calle Revillagigedo #24, about 2 blocks south of the Alemeda. It had been there since the 1940's; I hadn't been for probebly 15 years, but we decided to have comeda there for old times sake and were very pleased with the basically mexican seafood oriented menu. This is an "old time" businessman type place with boothes and funky '50's murals- nothing "hip", bowl of raw vegetables and salsa served when you sit down, a style that is dissapearing here. I had a fabulous "calamares rellenos" and an excellent traditional ceviche. Add it to the list!

  13. Near the San Juan market is a store that has a wonderful selection of moles in both powder and paste form. We bought the powder form because the maid prefers to make her own mole, and I had her make me a green mole with reduced sugar/sweetener, and I liked it tremendously, although I am not a fan of mole. However, when the sugar is reduced, the mole tastes much better to me, although Michelle told me that it is not mole if it is not sweet.

    Green mole is not sweetened at all, and other moles vary widely in their sweetness. I think it a matter of preference, but the traditional mole poblano is usually a little sweet. I've had it deserty-sweet which I don't like. The Oaxaca ones are less sweet.

    There is a great stand in the center of the Medellin market (between Medellin and Monterrey at Coahuila, colonia Roma) which is the market most convenient to most of Condesa, which sells moles in paste and powder form. The pastes are better, but need to be wrapped very carefully if you are traveling with them as the oil tends to seep out no matter how many bags you wrap it in. When you buy a paste, they will add a dollop of sesame and/or peanut paste to the lump for extra flavor. I'm not sure why it needs to be done this way.

  14. There is only one supermarket in La Condesa, where I live, the Superama. It is rather upscale, a la a New York supermarket such as Gristede's, yuppie in clientele, and a good place to meet a boy/girlfriend. Unfortunately, the Superama chain is owned by.......Walmart! Ni modo....

  15. Just a practical note:

    Instead of going to Indios Verdes metro and catching a local bus, it is much more practical to go to the Central de Autobuses del Norte (which can also be reached by metro: "autobuses Nte.") and take the bus from there to Teotihuacan. they are all the way on the left as you enter the station. They leave every 20 minutes, are non-stop and only cost $25 pesos!

    The restaurant that Rachel describes is good- the food is like that of Cafe Tacuba and the 'ambiente' can't be beat- really wierd. I believe it is near exit 5 of the pyramids and called something like "Las Grutas".

  16. What do you call a capon (I'm thinking of a castrated male chicken) in Spanish?

    Capon in Spanish is "un capòn". It is not very common in Mexico, in fact I´ve never seen one here, but I think they sell them in the San Juan Market in Mexico City.

  17. Glad it sounds as good as it tasted. I am just closing down my computer to go to Texas for a month. When I return I will work on the recipes. But for now, I am toying with an idea. There are so many skilled cooks in the Mexican provinces. some would like to make some money. Is there any way of setting up a way of putting them in touch with visitors who would love nothing better than a chance to experience fine home cooking? Of course, most could not open for just one or two people. Any ideas?


    This is a brilliant idea- we should look into it- a friend has gone on small-group tours of Asia where a home meal in the house of real people was included....everybody could benefit!

  18. I agree with Rachel that shopping in el Bajio (ie. Guanajuato-San Miguel de Allende) can be challenging. We are in the desert, hours from the capital, and often vegetables are sad, fish unspeakable and variety limited. Much of the foreign and elite classes of San Miguel go to Costco-type places in Queretaro, an hour away and return with nice salmon, lamb chops etc.. As I live part of the time in Mexico City, I never do: I commute with a thermos bag full of fish, wild mushrooms, greens etc. But is it any better for seasoned/spoiled cityfolk used to high quality, living in any provincial place in the world?

    Meanwhile, in el D.F., there are many more options: slightly more upscale supermarkets as well as "nicer" traditional markets and tianguises (street markets). And there is Walmart. I hate Walmart for many reasons- and I'm sure many eGullet members are aware of the labor dispute issues in the USA, but here's another distressing fact: prices at Walmart in Mexico are HIGHER than those, for the same items, in the USA! It's ugly. But many middle-class Mexicans like to go because many shops, the cleaners, the pharmacy etc. are under the same roof, there is parking, I don't know why else. A year or two ago I saw an item in the paper saying that sales in traditional markets in the city had fallen off 25% in the last several years, mainly due to competition from supermarkets. It's the way of the world. I suppose the situation is similar in Europe.

    Meanwhile, out in Teotihuacan the situation is this: there is a large working/middle class, and there are no other supermarkets (ie. Commercial Mexicana, Gigante) in the area, and they WANT the Walmart! I'm afraid to tell you, folks, that it is already there, on the edge of the ruins, although, apparently not within sight of them, and, I think, open for business. So there's nothing we can do. You may remember that recently artist Francisco Toledo led a successful protest campaign in Oaxaca to keep a McD...(I don't write out dirty words in this forum) from opening there. He was involved with other intellectuals to protest the Teotihuacan Walmart as well, but the issues were different and, it being more of an intellectual fight than a practical one, they/we lost. Some of us here in Mexico do our best to support national companies, but, since NAFTA started, it's been an uphill battle. And you won't catch me buying Bimbo either! As we say here, "Ni modo..."

  19. I would buy (or peruse) the following when you arrive (in Sanborn's, for example):

    magazines: Tiempo Libre (which comes out on Thursdays)




    La Reforma (Friday's issue has food section)

    El Universal

    In these you might be lucky enough to find a listing of open restaurants. If I find anything before next week I will post it.


  20. [

    nickarte, I would appreciate what those "silly inaccuracies" are, por favor. When I was reading the LA Times article, I was intrigued by what was going on, as per the LA Times. Mind you, I wanted to make sure what the LAT was writing was accurate. So, I posted this thread. I figured that eGullet members would have the "real scoop" on what's going on in the D.F. Is LAT sensationalizing on the "it's not my grandmother's cooking"-type of Mexican cuisine? Do you find that these new chefs are trying to find their niche by "experimenting" or doing a culinary "hit-and-miss?" I don't know the answers. Perhaps I'm not asking the right questions.

    So, please, nickarte and others, help me out! Gracias.

    Well, I did not dwell on the "silly inaccuracies" because most of them are irrelevent to the point of the article, but such statements as Condesa/Roma being "built at the turn of the last century" (Condesa was developed separately beginning in the late 1920's, and has always been very different from Roma- it was the first Jewish area, and was and is an intellectual enclave, more like NY's upper West Side in the 1970's), and worse, that it was "all but abandoned" after the earthquake of 1985: Roma declined after the 1940's mainly because fewer people were able to live in huge mansions, and Condesa never declined at all remaining solidly middle class until this day. The comment about "upper-class young Mexicans, {being} better educated and more worldly than their parents" is subjective and distorted and Rachel has a better comment about that below. And nobody is " tearing down rickety mid-century buildings"- we are in fact trying as much as possible to restore them: unlike in the USA, mid-century, ie. 1940's to 1960's, architecture here was imaginative and well designed. It's the later stuff that we WISH was being torn down. So OK, none of this has much to do with food, but for me, colors the article with an obvious lack of knowledge and insight on the part of the author. Meanwhile, I think there is some truth to the reporting on the nuevo fusion etc. scene, but as is usually the case in these articles, everything is exagerated. There is definitely a happening new restaurant scene, and it is true that traditionally, the best Mexican food was found in private homes, but the Upper End vs. tacos-on-the-street polemic is definitely an exageration- there are middle category places that have been there all along serving regional, traditional and wonderful food and in fact the majority of the new restaurants in Polanco and Condesa are not Mexican at all. Unfortunately, I could say that an element of "Malinchismo" or the rejecting of the national in favor of things foreign, still pervades contemporary Mexican culture, and this invades the restaurant world, which is plagued with poor imitations of other genres, ie. "Bistros" which seem more a copy of a New York idea of a bistro than of a Parisian one. But hat's off to the wonderful chefs and jefas who are doing their best to keep this vibrant culinary culture not only alive but growing. And, to be positive, I have noticed some general improvement in quality accross the board.

  21. The LA Times article was filled with silly inaccuracies on every level....I won't even get into it... There is no reason for a cuisine not to evolve, but sometimes "fusion" can be an ill-used concept producing stupid, thoughtless, provincial ideas in food for the sake of pretension, "new" for the sake of "new". Diana Kennedy is a traditionalist, keeper of the flame, and we should forgive her opinionated-ness. Some of the food, chefs and restaurants that they mention and write about are great, and the revival of interest in Mexican food as a cuisine, here in Mexico, is healthy and thriving. See Rachel Laudan's wonderful piece about the Mexican Culinary establishment in our archives. And I've also had awful, ill-conceived dishes here - I mean oysters with chipotle blah blah...FEH! oysters shouldn't be smothered with anything strong like that! (sound opinionated?)

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