What We Ate in Mexico City!
Our brief three day visit to Mexico City was filled with wonderful neighborhood strolls, incredible architecture and a general feeling that this is somewhere we wanted to spend more time. We also tried some great food and drink and although we ran out of time (and stomach volume!) to experience everything on our wishlist, we did try enough to warrant a blog post.
Our first restaurant stop was in Zona Rosa at Barro Negro - a restaurant specializing in traditional mexico foods. We started with a couple of Mezcaltinis (more on Mezcal in a bit). That gave us enough courage to order a traditional appetizer the recommended by our waiter. Much of the world eats insects - but for some reason in the US and UK we are a little squeamish about them. Iain and I try not to be too precious with what we eat and we are game to give most things a go (Kate's exception is intestines, Iain's is animal faces). In Puebla we had already crunched on some Chapulines (little fried grasshoppers) so when our waiter suggested Escamoles they didn't seem all that gross. This local delicacy is made with ant larvae harvested from agave roots. They are typically served roasted and in our case were presented on top of tiny tortitas, The taste was buttery and actually quite delicious. By far our most favorite insects tasted so far in our lives!
Our next gastronomic stops was The Museum of Tequila and Mezcal. We are big fans of Tequila; not the over-hyped Patron and Don Julio. We prefer to seek out local Mexican bargains not easily found in the US. But it seems that Tequila is so last year and Mezcal is what the cool kids are drinking these days. Mezcal tends to be made in smaller batches and in a more artisanal way than the large scale industrialized methods employed for Tequila. The traditional method of baking the agave heads in fire pits imparts a smoky flavor to Mezcal not found in Tequila. The liquor is distilled from a variety of agave plants while Tequila come solely from blue agave. I have to say I am a little undecided. While Mezcals have very complex flavors, the clean, crisp simplicity of Tequila is something that I really love. I guess I don't have to pick a favorite. I can love both.
There is a strong cafe culture which was evident in the Mexico City neighborhoods we explored (La Condesa, Zona Rosa, Coyoacán and Roma Norte). We stopped on our second morning at a delightful cafe for a simple breakfast of toast & jam with tea & coffee. Sitting at a table in a peaceful, leafy suburb on a weekend morning as the city was waking up was actually one of our favorite culinary experiences during our visit.
We enjoyed a couple of other stops at great restaurants, Iain had a wonderful steak, we both had great seafood but our favorite meal was at MOG in Roma Norte. We loved how lively and bustling this hipster neighborhood was and this restaurant was no exception. MOG serves a variety of Asian dishes in funky, vintage surroundings. And even though they spanned a wide range of cuisines we were delighted with our Thai, Japanese, Korean dishes accompanied by Mexican beer and Argentinian wine.
Although Mexico City is famous for street food we didn't get the opportunity to partake too much on this trip. However we did find time to stop by a few of its fabulous markets. We jostled our way through the aisles to take up seats at a popular food vendor in Mercado de Coyoacán to have delicious tostadas for lunch. We love visiting markets, there is such a wealth of food on display and we have found it one of the best places to get quick and tasty eats on previous visits to Latin America. Street food will have to wait until our next visit which, given how much we loved this city, will not be too long.