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"Eat Mexico" Culinary Tours in Mexico City

Chris Hennes

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Over in the Cooking with "Eat Mexico" topic I've posted a about things I've made from Lesley Téllez's recently-published book about street food in Mexico City. I finally had time to go down to "CDMX" (as they are now trying to rebrand themselves) this weekend and went on two of the Eat Mexico food tours. On Friday we went on the street food tour, and on Saturday on the San Juan market tour. The pope was also in town this weekend which made the city crazier than usual and drove the tour selections as we tried to not be where he was, with limited success.


Street Food Tour

I have limited photos of this one because our hands were usually full! There are ten "normal" stops on the tour plus a couple of optional ones. One of the vendors was closed for the day, but we definitely had no shortage of food. I think the tour lasted something like four hours, and we were basically eating the whole time. Most of it was standing and walking, but we did stop into a local coffee shop and sit down for a short time. Our guide, Arturo, was excellent. He is from the city, has attended culinary school, and is very well versed in both the local street food culture as well as Mexican cuisine overall. 


While the tour was mostly eating, we did walk through one small neighborhood market just to get the feel for the thing, and we stopped at one local tortilleria:




The classic tortilla-delivery vehicle:



We chatted up a local store owner who was making "antojitos" ("little cravings") for breakfast:



Ate some tamales, walked a bit, then had some tlacoyos: here are the condiments...



We also had some fresh juices. They really like their pseudo-medicinal juices.. we had the one that was "anti-flu" (and delicious):



For the tlacoyos I had a huitlacoche and my wife has the chicken tinga. The huitlacoche was disappointingly non-descript. The remedy, of course, was to douse it in salsa, which fixes everything. A few blocks down we had carnitas tacos:



And then some mango and watermelon with chile powder:



Arturo tried to ply us with more food at the nearby burreria, but at this point we were on the verge of exploding:



So we stopped for some locally-roasted coffee:



Then on to a burrito place (of all things!) -- the guy running the burrito place was hilarious, and totally frank about stealing the burrito thing from Texas and then "fixing it." He's had the stand for something like 20 years. We split a squash blossom burrito (squash blossoms, onions, salsa, and cheese are the only ingredients, no rice or beans) which he makes on the griddle and then covers in a cheese blend and fries until the cheese browns and crisps. Definitely an improved burrito! Yeah, no photos there. Second to last was an absolutely terrific octopus tostada:



And then a final stop for dessert (which we took back to the hotel rather than eating it there):




ETA: A couple more photos. Also, there was a turkey and pork sandwich of some kind that I have no photos of and can't quite remember where it fit into the tour. Just in case you were worried about us starving.



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Chris Hennes
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San Juan Market Tour

Normally when you think of markets in the city you first think of Merced -- alas, due to the pope basically cutting off half of the city, we did San Juan instead. I guess I'll have to go back. It's a tough life...


So the San Juan tour is officially eight stops, except that one of those stops in the market itself, which was really a half dozen stops in one. So, lots of food on this one too, but in smaller portions than yesterday, and we also knew to pace ourselves better and shared everything.


Hey look, it's the pope! Oh, false alarm...



A local coffee roaster:



First dish of the day: a hangover cure of shrimp soup:



Then quesadillas. Which apparently in Mexico City don't actually necessarily contain cheese: ours were seafood, and were deep-fried.



Then on to another sandwich place, this time a turkey leg cooked confit style in pork fat (of course...): here's the pot it cooks in...



Now onto the market part of the market tour: mmm, bugs...



And produce:



We stopped at a fruit stand for about twenty minutes while the owner started slicing stuff up for us to try. I had no idea there were so many varieties of mango. Tons of citrus with no good English translation, and some really interesting looking things (it all tasted great, of course):








On to the dried chiles:



We got a sample of the chile seller's homemade mole paste:



And then it was on to the meat section:



Brief interlude for bugs:





Then more meat:



And seafood, of course:






Finally, we got to actually eat some bugs instead of talking about them. Chapulines (crickets) are great, actually, and come in different sizes and varying spice levels:



Then a bit unexpectedly a cheese shop, with some fresh cheeses, but also some European-style aged cheeses:



And coffee, of course:



Then onto a place I would definitely not have set foot into without a tour guide (and even with him it was a bit sketchy!) -- the Pulqueria:



Then we went to a place specializing in mole: it was fabulous, much better than any I have ever made. I guess I need more practice...



Clearly, we need more food at this point, so now it's on to tlayudas and a style of quesadilla that does actually have cheese in it:




I got a couple videos of the tlayuda-making process:



Roasted pig snout, anyone?



And a tortilleria:


We ended with a place where we had Tacos Campechanos, which was fun because that's one of the recipes I've actually made from the book. Theirs were better than mine. Guess I better work on that one, too!

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Chris Hennes
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10 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

We stopped at a fruit stand for about twenty minutes while the owner started slicing stuff up for us to try. I had no idea there were so many varieties of mango. Tons of citrus with no good English translation, and some really interesting looking things (it all tasted great, of course):



Chris (or anyone else), any clue what this fruit is? What did it taste like?


Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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Thanks very much for this tour, Chris.  It looks like a lot of fun.  Two questions (at present):


In this photo of yours



 it looks like the tortillas are mechanically cut - as in, stamped - but I don't see where or how.  Where did that happen?  Did the worker just reknead and reuse the dough cut out from the margins that he's gathering here?  In other words - can you describe more of the process?


Next question: are you now inspired to try making some new Mexican food at home that you hadn't tried before?  If so, what?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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5 hours ago, Smithy said:

it looks like the tortillas are mechanically cut - as in, stamped - but I don't see where or how.  Where did that happen?  Did the worker just reknead and reuse the dough cut out from the margins that he's gathering here?  In other words - can you describe more of the process?

You can't see the die in that photo, it's an interchangeable roller at the back of the machine. You can actually see it in the video at the end of the post (at a different tortilleria, but basically the same setup). They have a bunch of different die sizes, these are your standard tortilla. And yes, the guy in the purple shirt was working very quickly to both prep a new batch of masa off to the side, and to scoop of any scraps and imperfect tortillas and re-feed them into the roller.


5 hours ago, Smithy said:

Next question: are you now inspired to try making some new Mexican food at home that you hadn't tried before?  If so, what?

I have made most of this at home before, but I was reminded how much I love Mexican food, as well as reassured that the recipes I am using are indeed pretty close to what you actually get on the streets of Mexico City. Their tortillas are better than mine :) .

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Chris Hennes
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