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.

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.

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.