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Blue Heron

Mexico City Dining

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My brother is going to be spending time in Mexico City on business, and would like to know if anyone has any favorite restaurant recommendations?

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¡Hola!

I've spent some time in the D.F. and there are a number of great restaurants to try while in the capital. The cuisine of the first group is, claro, comida mexicana.

I am fond of El Candelero (Insurgentes Sur 1333, ph. 5598-9008). This is a large and beautiful restaurant with a number of attractive rooms. My favorite dish? Try the albondigas!

Another worth trying is the touristy-named but worthy Mexico Lindo Y Que Rico (Colonia Polanco, calle Ejercito).

Big budget splash: try the famous Hacienda de los Morales. Lagos, in Chapultapec Park, can be very good too.

For something completely different (Japanese), try the Restaurante Asociación Mexico Japonesa, calle Fujiyama, Colonia las Aguilas.

¡Provecho!

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Bringing this up again because it looks like I will be visiting Mexico City next month. I'm especially interested in what kinds of good street food we can find. I think we'll only be around for a weekend, and am not sure where we are staying yet. Any tips?

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Bringing this up again because it looks like I will be visiting Mexico City next month. I'm especially interested in what kinds of good street food we can find. I think we'll only be around for a weekend, and am not sure where we are staying yet. Any tips?

I recall pretty extensive markets - street food and trinkets - surrounding and extending east of the Palacio National/Zocalo. If I recall correctly they're there every day - but it's been a few years since I was there. I got hooked on the tlacoyos - large teardrop/ diamond shaped masa (thicker than a garden-variety tortilla, less thick than a gordita) filled with refried beans, and topped with crumbled queso. Had something similar in the Maxwell St. Market in Chicago.

The food markets, especially the giant Merced, the name of which I forget now, a subway stop of two east of the Zocalo, is immense and should provide plenty of opportunities for good street food. I was only there briefly and can't recall whether I ate anything there or not.

Hopefully other will provide better suggestions than I have here, but do report back on what you find!

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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A few years ago I was taken to a resturant called Arroyo (I think) for a typical Mexican "lunch" and a folklorico show. There weren't any tourists in the place. The big deal was leg of lamb slow cooked encased in huge agave leaves in big pits. They also had huge vats of pork fat where they fried chichorones and whole hunks of pork roasts. We arrived at about 1:00 and didn't leave until 4:00. The food was fabulous and it was really fun. (The fools I was with went back to work!) I have no idea where it is but you can ask. I think there are two of them.

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Okay,

Around the Plaza Mayor

Calle Tacuba - the Cafe Tacuba for b'fast or lunch, a favorite haunt of Frida Kahlo; Los Girasoles for lunch or dinner, traditional foods (gusanitos de maguey and escamoles in season), heavenly duck breast in blackberry mole, and tamarind margaritas which, due to their supreme sweet-tart drinkability, will undo you.

Calle Cinco de Mayo - Dulceria de Celaya, a tiny art nouveau framed bonbonnerie which opened during the reign of Porfirio Diaz. Vitrinas loaded with exquisite sweets and streetfront twin bay windows sporting elegant displays of convent confiserie and buzzing, happy bees. Bar la Opera, where Villa watered his comandantes upon their arrival in Mx City. The bullet holes are still in the stamped tin ceiling to prove it. White hex tile floors, a long, well-appointed bar, dark wood, while lace curtains, and St. Louis whorehouse red flocked velvet wallpaper. The ultimate power lunch establishment for the City's old gard, and, of course, the place to take your, ah, secretary or niece for a little quality quiet time. Do not miss the ensalada de berros or the machitos.

Behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Las Sirenas, a bar/restaurant with roof-top

service and a view of the Mexican trifecta: the excavated remains of the Aztec's Templo Mayor, the Palacio del Gobierno, and the Metropolitan Cathedral - the forces which have bent the Mx population forward or backward over the altar stones throughout their history.

Street food: Anything around the Plaza Mayor, especially on Saturdays and Sundays - all freshly made; I've eaten it a thousand times w/out incident.

Calle Uruguay - Panaderia La Ideal, the biggest zoo of pan dulce I've yet to see. All of the whimsical shapes of Mexican sweet breadn (including the caiman, or freshwater alligator for which they are famous), and, on the Diesiseis, a wall of intricately layered red/white/ and green gelatines, for the Indenpendence Day celebrations. It's worth a haul up to the mezzanine to check out the display of mutantly huge and fussily furbelowed wedding and quinceanera cakes.

Leaving La Ideal, turn right and proceed a block or two to its intersection with a huge boulevard (I think it is Lazaro Cardenas). Take a left across Uruguay, and follow the Boulevard about a half block. The blue-glazed-tile facade of the Churreria los Moros should be in front of you. This is probably the last Mexico City chocolate shop still in existence, 24/7 at that, serving freshly made churros and 4 types of hot chocolate. It is heaven. It also has the most beautiful fry vat this cook has ever seen - a blue tile covered thing the size of a proper bathtub, as well as the oldest pair of scissors in the Western Hemisphere, used to snip the rounds of churros before they are sugared and served. This place is on the endangered traditions list, and must be visited.

Zona Rosa: Konditorei (Calle Dinamarca??), good for b'fast, afternoon treats, and people watching. Chalet Suizo for the ensalada de trompa, and Fonda del Refugio, the dama grande of Mx City dining.

Since the recent discovery of Spain (especially the Michelin starred temples in the Basque provinces) by the foodie cognoscenti, and the continuing depreciation of Mexico as region worthy of serious gastronomic investigation, may I offer you a big surprise: Tezka. Juan Mari Arzak, of Arzak in San Sebastian (*** since 1986), is one of the owners of Tezka, a Basque restaurant w/New World flavors. Bruno Oteiza is the chef. Arzak comes to the restaurant several times a year to train and keep watch over it. It is NOT inexpensive, but it is a lovely restaurant, serving exquisite food. You will be exceedingly hard put to trump you dinner, and your dining experience, there.

Polanco: Isidora's, one of the pioneers of the Nueva Cocina Azteca, raised to a haute pitch, and Izote, a relatively new endeavor by Patricia Quintana. Trendy, chic, and quite good.

Some other places - sorry but I am map-challenged at this precise moment! El Bajio, Chef Carmen Ramirez Degollado; Fonda Don Chon, near the Zona Rosa, a temple of traditional, authentic Mexica cuisine, including all manner of entomological delights.

Also Jorge and Alicia Gironella de'Angeli's El Tajin, a balance of traditional ingredients and techniques in a current presentation. They are the gastronomic historians of Mexico, have published several books on the subject, and represent Mexican cuisine internationally. What they learn, they infuse into the flavors of their food. It is elegant, yet it is, truly, authentic.

Buen provecho!

Theabroma

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Wow, thanks for all the responses...especially your encyclopedic post, Theabroma. I'll definitely be printing out this thread and taking it with us. That churros y chocolate place sounds divine...

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Lots of good suggestions. I'd like to add a couple in Centro Historico:

Sanborn's Casa de Azulejos

( http://www.frommers.com/destinations/mored....cfm?h_id=39880 )

Decent food, like a really, really good Denny's of Mexican food, but you should visit it for breakfast just to see the cool place. And really, the food is decent, just nothing special, and a little more expensive than some places. (Sanborn's are an excellent place to find relatively clean public restrooms in Mexico.)

Hosteria de Santo Domingo

( http://www.fodors.com/rants/rrread.cfm?des...&sort=name&pg=2 )

About on the level of Cafe Tacuba, maybe a little nicer and more interesting. A better dinner spot, I'd say. I got my first chiles en nogada here. Yum.

Also, definitely go to Mercado Merced and bring a camera. It's an amazing place. There's more than a full airplane hangar worth of food stuffs. (Beware, this is a dangerous area at night with $5 AIDS hookers, drug dealers, shootings, etc; only made that mistake once.) My favorite thing to eat here are the huaraches. They're like big Mexican pizzas with thick masa tortillas piled with whatever you want.

There's a panaderia in Centro Historico that was extremely cool. Maybe Sharon knows it. I can't remember the name. I only have pics of the inside. It has a lot of pan dulces, but the most interesting thing are the cakes. Lots of huge, magnificent wedding cakes. I just re-read Sharon's post and realized she already mentioned this one, Ideal. Oh well, a second.

There are lots of little windows and small places and street vendors in Mexico City, especially around the streets where all the vendors line the sidewalks. If something looks good and it's busy, I go ahead and buy. Plus, it'll give you a chance to buy cheap software and CDs (don't trust the DVDs, though). You'll get blue corn items and churros that I actually like a little better than the ones at El Morro, though you should definitely go to El Morro and get some chocolate and churros.

If it's bullfighting season, the taco filling options at the bullfights were some of the most interesting I've seen in DF. Also, outside several of the busier, central Metro stations were some great taco places. There was this one that I went way out of my way for. I can't remember where it was, though. Maybe Juarez, Hidalgo, Bellas Artes, or Balderas. But I can't remember which. Fabulous and cheap. The salsas would melt concrete.

If you'll be there on Sunday, go to the park where everything's free and so is packed. Lots of snack foods and fruit cups, but it's just really fun being around all the families.

If I get a chance, I'll scan some photos in sometime.

EDIT: El Bajio, an excellent choice, is hella far away from downtown. We took the metro and then walked *a long ways* to get there. Grab a cab. But use the metro a lot. It's cheap and easy, though stifling inside sometimes.


Edited by ExtraMSG (log)

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Polanco: Isidora's, one of the pioneers of the Nueva Cocina Azteca, raised to a haute pitch, and Izote, a relatively new endeavor by Patricia Quintana.  Trendy, chic, and quite good.

I've been traveling to Mexico City 3-4 times a month on business for the past 15 years and am amazed at the recent surge in very good new restaurants. Isidora's & Isote are 2 of my favorites. Others in Polanco that I would recommend are La Galvia (Nouvelle Mexican), T Cla (Nouvelle Mexican) and Fonda de Santa Clara (Pueblan)

In addition to the other restaurants mentioned a few more recs would be....

Ligaya - Colonia Condesa - Nouvelle Mexican

Ixchal - Colinia Roma - Asian / Mediterranean Fusion

Cicero Centennario - Centro Historico - Traditional

San Angel Inn - Colinia San Angel - Traditional

BTW - where is your brother staying? Suprisingly, many of the hotel restaurants are very good.

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Man, my farewatcher alert for Mexico City went off yesterday. If I had the time and money right now, I would be there, wife or no. I need to hurry up and win the lottery or something.

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Here are some of my food-based pics. I wish I had more and better but I was using those crappy disposable cameras and a whole roll actually failed on me. btw, I've just picked some of the better ones that I scanned in. You can find more here: http://www.portlandfood.org/uploads/mexicocity/

ideal2.jpg

Panaderia Ideal

cebollitas.jpg

Typical little streetside place

nopales.jpg

Nopales in Mercado Merced

fonda.jpg

Typical Merced Fonda

huaraches.jpg

Huaraches and Quesadillas in Merced

fillings.jpg

Toppings options


Edited by ExtraMSG (log)

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I know this is an out of date request, but I thought I woud record my recent DF experience here (since I came here to research places to eat before my trip). Please see the following links for my write-up...

http://gitnyc.blogspot.com/2004/08/distrit...ligaya-los.html

http://gitnyc.blogspot.com/2004/08/distrit...t-1-huevos.html

Jennie

Nice. Mexico is the one country I consistently eat breakfast. I love the things they do with eggs.

I found Girasoles a little....watered down....or something. Like in the pursuit of refinement they removed some of the flavor. Not so much that it wasn't still quite good, but I've had better upscale Mexican in both Mexico and the US, I think. But I'd love to go back. One visit isn't enough. At least it's near the Zocolo.

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I, being a resident of the great D.F., am gathering information for an alternative guidebook and website about Mexico City and would appreciate any feedback and specific suggestions re street/market/fonda food.


Edited by nickarte (log)

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Welcome, nickarte.

It has been a while since I have visited the great DF. My fondest memories of street food are the ears of corn. That corn is corn. Not the insipid sweet corn we get here in the states that everyone raves about. (I am hiding out in this forum on that point. There are a lot of eGulls that think that sweet corn is the big deal. :biggrin: ) I still dream about that corn.

The other thing I remember with fondness is the mangoes that are cut to look like flowers and dusted with chile powder. They are so beautiful and tasty.

And what is the name of those things... the fried dough with the cinnamon sugar... ARG! Senior moment!

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Churros! Churros with cinnamon and sugar, churros stuffed with cajeta, churros--mmmmmmm churros and hot chocolate!

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Another welcome!

And how desperately needed such a guide is. Can we ask if this is in English or Spanish? And who the audience is? Tourists? Locals?

And please keep us posted too. Great cheap places to eat in Mexico City are always worth knowing,

Rachel

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One of the finest things I ate in DF was outside a subway station on a busy street. How's that for specific? I sweet woman was making quesadillas from fresh masa with ingredients to order, on a old steel drum type thing. The smell was so great that I had to try them. And I did again and again. There was a little voice in me that said that one probably shouldn't but the look and smells said to go for it. So she patted away and made such a memorable meal.

Knock wood, I have never been sick in Mexico. I'm careful but not anal and I take lots of lime which I have convinced myself is they key, based on my ignorance!

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Another welcome!

And how desperately needed such a guide is. Can we ask if this is in English or Spanish? And who the audience is? Tourists? Locals?

And please keep us posted too. Great cheap places to eat in Mexico City are always worth knowing,

Rachel

The website would be in both Spanish and English in order to appeal to both locals and turistas (should be in French and Japanese too, I suppose, but I can't do everything!) Will let you know...

In the meantime, there's "El Caguamo", a fantastic seafood stand on the corner of Ayuntamiento and Lopez, in the centro...Their rich, dark 'caldo de camaròn' is not to be believed, and their 'tostadas de seviche' para chupar los dedos...stay tuned!

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CAFE LA BLANCA, 5 de Mayo #40. Just a few blocks from the zocalo on the corner of Isabel la Catolica and Cinco de Mayo. Great place for early morning cafe con leche. I recommend only sitting at the circular counters to watch the regulars and feast on sweet pastries.

Also for afternoon coffee and in the historic centre, I love Sanborns in the Casa de Las Azulejos.

Again, the coffee shop with the horseshoe shaped counters is an inspiring people watching extravaganza. Lots of older eccentric locals/bohemians make this their regular stop to debate politics, art and/or the pan dulce.

More to come ad infinitum.

Shelora

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Oh, boy!

Churreria El Moro - at Uruguay & will have to check a map!

Panaderia La Ideal - Calle Uruguay

Bar La Opera - Cinco de Mayo

Dulceria de Celaya - Cinco de Mayo

Food stalls in La Merced

Las Girasoles

Cafe Tacuba (one of Frida Kahlo's favorites)

More to come ... am in Napa and away from my notes!

Regards & drools,

Theabroma

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Nickarte, I assume you know the book La Cultura del Antojito by José Iturriaga. It came out a number of years ago. But I'm sure some of the but I'm sure some of the taco, torta and tamales y atole stands he mentions are still in business,

Rachel

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Papas con chile, amigo. :biggrin:

I always look for them when I'm in Mexico. Plus, give me tacos al pastor con cebollitas on the side and the little orange drink - Chaparritas - in the short bottle.

And what about tortas ahogadas? Although this is more a Guadalajara thing. Incredible. Mexicans in Guadalajara swear tortas ahogadas are the single best hangover cure on earth.

Finally, I never miss a chance to get aguas frescas, my favorite being horchata de fresa.

¡Buen provecho!


Edited by wordwiseguy (log)

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I am also resurrecting this post because our arrival in D.F., the beauty of its street food came flooding back to me with a simple stroll into the zocolo in the centro historico.

The diversity of the street food in front of the cathedral varies during the day.

I will be posting again on the subject, on my return to D.F. over new years.

The evening in question, I found a few vendors cooking up fresh blue corn huaraches, spread with beans and cheese. The wood fired mobile carts cooking up camote and bananas, served up with sweetened condensed milk - the bananas are my all time favourite, such a smokey flavour from the wood fire. Then there is the curious vendor who makes the tiniest pancakes, suitable for a doll's house.

And of course, the elote sellers, boiled corn slathered with mayo, cheese and chile.

The morning vendors are different and one sticks out in my mind from a past trip. She was set up in front of the subway entrance with a shopping cart. She had numerous boxed cereals tied on to the cart. You could take your pick, which was poured into a styrofoam cup, milk poured on and a plastic spoon added to consume your breakfast. I just loved the convenience of that.

Hasta pronto,

Shelora

Papas con chile, amigo.  :biggrin:

I always look for them when I'm in Mexico. Plus, give me tacos al pastor con cebollitas on the side and the little orange drink - Chaparritas - in the short bottle.

And what about tortas ahogadas? Although this is more a Guadalajara thing. Incredible. Mexicans in Guadalajara swear tortas ahogadas are the single best hangover cure on earth.

Finally, I never miss a chance to get aguas frescas, my favorite being horchata de fresa.

¡Buen provecho!

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