Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mexico City: Just In Time For Comida

Mexico City is a food lovers paradise. I am one of them. Like many others, my life revolves around food. I'm just glad I was in Mexico City the first time I realized this.

Just ask anyone who has spent a fair amount of time in the city and they can rattle off at least a dozen or more places where they had a great meal recently ... and that's without thinking. Food just doesn't get any better than this.

Some of the best food I've eaten has been on the street. I had a plate of off-the-chart Tacos Al Pastor the other day and spent 30 pesos or the equalivent of $2.40.

But I would also not dismiss the food I ate at Azul Condesa or Pujol last year where I was taken back by both the quality and affordability of the meals. They would cost at least four times more back in the states.

I for one love the Roma neighborhood. This is the second time I've stayed in Roma where the restaurant scene is lively and more alluring every time I return.

And on this trip, Maximo Bistrot, Delirio and Rosetta were all within walking distance of one another. Maximo Bistrot was planned. Delirio and Rosetta were accidental finds. That's what I love about walking.

I happened to be staying 2 blocks away from Rosetta. I showed up on their doorstep my first night hungry, tired and not wanting to wander too far from home. They were fully reserved but somehow took me in and found a table where I enjoyed one of the best meals I've had in Mexico City. They were all so nice I could hardly thank the staff enough when I left.

This experience was an unexpected and treasured moment in my food diary...and I've had many in Mexico City.

The Wall Street Journal calls Mexico's capital “the least-appreciated great food city in the world". And it is…and within three and a half hours of my doorstep, I can get my food fix almost any time I want. 


With a little AM planning, I can even be there in time for comida.

Buen Apetito!


Maximo Bistrot
Tonalá 133, Esq. Zacatecas, (3 blocks south of Alvaro Obregón) Colonia Roma

Chef Eduardo Garciá never studied gastronomy but developed his skills in the kitchens of Mexico City’s famous Pujol and Le Bernardin in New York.

Le Bernardin specializes in classic Eurocentric cuisine. Pujol has evolved as a restaurant that pushes traditional Mexican cuisine to the limit and creates new dishes based on old techniques.

It was no surprise then that the Chef's special lunch for me was every bit as good as his credentials.

I had sweetbreads; the pancreas and thymus glands of sheep and cattle. I know. It sounds awful but they are favored by chefs because of their interesting flavor and texture.

People seldom fix them at home. They take a fair amount of time and fuss as there is a thick membrane that needs to be peeled away...more of an art form than a technique.

Delirio
Monterrey 116-B, Esq. Álvaro Obregón, Colonia Roma

Mónica Patiño is one of the most popular chefs in Mexico.

Delirio is a deli-market that cranks out great tortas every day for hundreds of tourists and locals.

What's to love about this deli? This ham spent years of slow curing and has now produced beautiful, rich meat with deep, multi-level flavors.

A patron of slow and local foods, Patiño offers products in the restaurant that are Mexican-made and organic as well.

Rosetta
Colima 166, Colonia Roma

Chef Elena Reygadas turned this old historic mansion into an Italian restaurant. It is one of the most beautiful restaurants I've dined in.

She was actually here in San Miguel at Patio 3 for Mesa Abierta while I was in Mexico City.

Rosetta serves outstanding pastas but her real masterpiece: Old world bread. In fact, once you taste this bread you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

She has cooked under world-renowned chefs Nieves Barragan of Fino and Georgio Locatelli of Locanda Locatelli. During her years under Locatelli she discovered a true passion for classic Italian cuisine.

Oft times, her menu changes according to the weather and she works with seasonal ingredients - some of them rare - which come from the Mexican countryside. 

She sources more than 80% of her principal ingredients from small-scale vendors in Mexico.

I had scallops in a lemon wine sauce. The dish was magnificent. Too dark fophotos!

The restaurant also offers a wide variety of sparkling red, white, and pink wines. In fact, when you come into this restaurant, you're immediately inclined to sit down and order a glass of Franciacorta or Prosecco- the Italian Champagnes.

Who hangs out here? Legions of authentic Italian foodies and those who are looking for a perfect, romantic dinner.

Or the see-and-be-seen crowd. If you're lucky, you can sit on the patio and feast your eyes on many of the telenovela stars who frequent this place.


This is perhaps one of the best meals I've had in Mexico City.

SMA Shorts


The most important kitchen staple to have on hand these days?

A Wi-Fi connection.


Oaxaca Times

Since 1988, the Oaxaca Times has been connecting English tourists and locals with the culture of Oaxaca. It is the only English language newspaper in Oaxaca.

They liked our article Oaxaca: This Side of Food Heaven so much they will be publishing it.

Stay tuned for the link.

Gazpacho: Lavanda v Provecho

This was really no contest once I tasted Provecho's bowl of garden-fresh Gazpacho. It was made in the traditional style and was very chunky which is just the way I like it.

Lavanda's Gazpacho is made with large pieces of watermelon and although the concept is good, it just didn't have the depth of flavor that Provecho's did.

One of the things I like about Provecho's Gazpacho? The flavors are not immediately apparent and sneak up on you slowly as you are eating it.

An artful combination of tomatoes, onions, green pepper, olives, avocado, creama, bacon, and croutons are mixed with other in-house ingredients to give it that unique somewhat subtle but spicy taste.

It reminded me that although I can easily cook this recipe at home, it would be weeks before I could come close to making it taste this good.

I'll leave the Gazpacho to Chef Joanna whose unlikely special the day I went in was Jamaican Jerk Chicken.

Her mother, a lovely Irish woman named Siobhan, was tending to the fresh flowers on each table. An avid gardener, she also contracts for new art shows in the back of the restaurant. She also happens to be one of the nicest restaurant owners in San Miguel.

I followed up lunch with a refreshing bowl of homemade Helado de Sandia.

Provecho just got their liquor license today and will soon be serving Margaritas.

Perhaps they'll use some of the sandia for a signature Margarita.

Watermelon Margaritas

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 1/2 cups seeded, cubed watermelon
3/4 cup tequila blanco
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
Crushed ice

Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool.

Process watermelon in a blender until smooth.

Combine the ingredients and shake well.

Provecho
Ancha de San Antonio 10A

We can't wait to try what's brewing in our kitchen right now:

Tequila Hot Sauce

1/4 tsp. whole allspice
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1 pint tequila blanco
3—5 fresh or dried red Thai chiles, smashed with side of a knife

Heat allspice, peppercorns, and cumin in an 8″ skillet over medium heat and cook, swirling skillet, until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Remove pan from heat; set aside.

Take a swig of tequila, or pour off an inch of the spirit to make room for the other ingredients; add toasted spices, and chiles.

Add to pour spout or screw top bottle . Let the hot sauce sit for a week before using.

Hangover Help: Pickle Juice:

The sour liquid contains vinegar, salt, and water, which can help rehydrate and replenish electrolyte and sodium levels.

Sip two ounces before hitting the bars and another two ounces in the morning.




Delicious Low-Calorie, Healthy Breakfast: Mocha Java

Place 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk, 1 1/2 cups plain fat-free Greek yogurt, and 2 tablespoons instant espresso granules in a blender; process until smooth.

Combine 2 tablespoons fat-free chocolate syrup and 1/8 teaspoon instant espresso granules in a small bowl, stirring well.

Using a spoon, drizzle syrup mixture around inside rim of 2 small narrow glasses.

Pour 1 cup yogurt mixture into each of 2 glasses. You might also want to add a small touch of sugar to the yogurt mixture.

Serve immediately. Granola is also good on top.

My favorite drink for a summer party:

Oswego Grill's Mojito

Muddle: 1 lime, 1 mint leave and 1 sugar cube (or ½ tsp. sugar)

Add Ice and Shake

Add:
2 oz Bacardi Lemon
½ Oz Triple Sec
Splash of both sour and soda
Put ice in again and shake

I poured into a glass filled with ice and then filled to the brim with soda.

Santos Crudoteca
Callejon de Los Suspiros 7
12 to 12 closed Tuesdays

If you’re dying for a plate of Poutine like I was, drop in at Santos Crudoteca on Callejon de Los Suspiros 7.

This little bar had plenty of personality, great music and super friendly owners.

Drowned in a dark gravy and plenty of Oaxacan cheese, it will satisfy anyone who drank a bit too much tequila or doesn't want to make the trip back to Canada to get a fix.

They also boast Aguachile, Chicken Wings and the Best Fish Tacos in Town.

The most expensive thing on the menu is $95 pesos.

New: Chucho's Pitas

Like a lot of new restaurants, I find out about them on the Civil List, walking around town or in an email someone sends to make sure I try it.

Having lived in Chicago, Greektown was just a train ride away when it came to getting a great Gyro. Now you can get one in San Miguel.

Chucho's Gyros is in a lot just below Ten Ten Pie on Sterling Dickenson. From Noon to 4PM, they serve up Chicago style Gyros for just 30 pesos each.

The recipe is a combination of real beef and lamb roasted on a spit. The pita bread is also homemade. It is served with fries and the standard cucumber sauce with a lot of genuine hometown pride. Many of you know Chucho as the popular waiter at Cafe Firenze.

Missing ingredient: Horseradish - the REAL stuff!
luna de Queso Deli has been out for 2 month and has no ETA date.
Costco does not carry it.
Anyone know where I can buy it?
Bloody Mary's not the same without it.

Civil List Post of the Week:

[Civil_SMA] pizza dough

I go to the bakery in Mega and ask for unbaked bolillos, roll it out at home.

¡Provecho!
Anke

Observant? Guess Where This Is?

Our Lady of Sorrows

This past Friday, San Miguel's families and business owners made altars dedicated to the sorrow of the Virgin Mary.

It was a beautiful night filled with the joy of children who all waited eagerly in lines for the traditional treats: Ice Cream and Popsicles.


Goodbye Don Day

A parting "last supper" for SMA food blogger Don Day and his wife Sharon who return to Canada but will be back in SMA again this December.

Part of the Canadian Rat Pack was still here for the feast- Costco Steaks cooked over charcoal. Good? I know I ate more than my fair share.

Wasn't this a clever use of a "cargo pocket" to transport the wine to the roof?

You can look for Don Day's hilarious and descriptive write-ups while I am looking for a seat at Mrs. Don Day's table. She's one of the best cooks in town!


Miss you guys already!

Best pastries in SMA: Cumpano.

Cakes...not so much.

Loving:

The Chandeliers at Calenda Restaurant and Bar in the Hotel Nena, San Miguel.

Colorful San Miguel.

Wanting:

BVM Boots

Old bowls and utensils from La Bottega di Casa in Fabrica La Aurora

Missing:

My Gold Standard - Kendall-Jackson

My kitchen, my cow, my Kitchen Aid...how about everything from my kitchen

The Beach

Lakefront runs


Lilly of the Valley bouquets from my garden.

Abrazos
Zacateros 24

I searched all over town for a small but meanful gift for a friend.

Impossible? Little gifts are hard to come by in San Miguel but Abrazos came to my rescue.

All of Abrazos treasures remind you of Mexico. Their designs are fun, colorful and festive.

They don't call Owner Patrice Wynne the Fiesta Queen for nothing. She brings new things to your table all the time. Don't you love this one called San Miguel?

I bought this little zippered pouch and tucked it full of the one thing I crave the most in San Miguel: Dark Chocolate.

Under 100 pesos.


Buen Apetito!