Some food notes from Mexico City

My favorite sandwich (ever) is the Hawaiiana, at “Tortas Chapultepec,” turn left out of the front of Hotel Camino Real in Polanco, and it is on the corner at Victor Hugo and Mariano Escobedo.  They usually are open by 9:30 and I suspect they close fairly early.

Pujol does wonderful things with vegetables and is perhaps the best fancy place to try; I recommend the Menu de la Tierra.

They have done away with the food stalls at the Zócalo.  In Mexico City calorie-counting menus are common and gelato is being replaced by frozen yogurt (!).

Tres Marias is a “food village” right off the highway on the way to Cuernavaca.  Look for the place on the southbound side which specializes in green chilaquiles and also chorizo tacos, but in general standards along that strip are remarkably high.

Here is the most important food advice for Mexico.

Overall, Mexico City is becoming a safer city, and compared to four years ago one sees many signs of economic progress.

Comments

If you are not counting calories, and are still in Mexico City, try "Churreria El Moro" just across from the Alameda Central and Palacio de Bellas Artes. (Eje Central Lázaro Cardenas #42)
I recommend to have a Chocolate Especial, and that you dip your Churros in an extra cup of Chocolate Español.
Or take a look at @ChurreriaElMoro on Twitter. They always give great advice of where to go and where to eat while walking the streets of downtown Mexico City.

The food advice tweet is equally valid for Spain. Roadside restaurants at the edges of medium cities or small towns have a much higher quality than average. Savvy locals plan their trips so that they will be near the right town come lunch time. The best of them are almost legendary, and will serve food that has nothing to do with what passes for Spanish food abroad.

Equally valid for India as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhaba

"many signs of economic progress" - just in time for the elections.

As a young mexican guy I politely disagree with your twitter food advice =)

Your recommendation is along with my elder family. What happens here is a deep bucolic nostalgia rooted in middle-aged & middle class mexicans. It is almost a mandatory weekend custom for all the urbanites to leave "big city" and eat at those roadside food places. Yes, food is great but I'd not say the "best". So, many local recommendations are biased cause of this, people remember the whole day experience as rewarding. Relaxed driving, sightseeing, the forest, the lake.....all those beautiful things can make a not so great food taste the best.

There are some spots in the cities, like the tortas you mentioned, that are way better than roadside restaurants. Also, upscale restaurants like Pujol are worth the money spent. I'm so happy cause this kind of restaurants are flourishing around the whole country.

Also, before you do further commentary on "mexican food" make sure you have some knowledge and experience with local food from Merida (Yucatán) and Mazatlán (Sinaloa). Merida food is way more tasty and refined than chilaquiles and chorizo and the pacific coast cuisine is based on seafood.

You can read spanish, I think this guy writes better than me. He's explaining the "mexican food" concept: http://www.msemanal.com/node/5096

Best Comment Ever on MR

Not sure if it is the best comment ever on MR, but "deep bucolic nostalgia" is very good, poetic.

actually I was talking about the middle-aged part.

Very good observation about the better experience of eating on those outskirts restaurants, after I had found myself agreeing that they in fact tend to be better.

Now that link to msemanal.com I cannot really agree with. One could say basically the same about any other country's cuisine, it's a cop-out. Surely there's great variety to mexican food as there is a definitely a distinctive identity to it.

the mexicans used to always ask me: "¿te gusta la comida mexicana?"

my reply: "todo depende del cocinero".

the food in the yucatan is very, very different. sure, some ingredients are common with the altiplano (corn!), but both americans and chinese eat lots of wheat based products and....

This is very unfair. I will never make it to the Tortas Chapultepec restaurant, but I do enjoy a good sandwich. Can't you tell us what is in the Hawaiiana sandwich and what makes it so great? Maybe a thoughtful reader can send a link to a recipe?

"Restaurant" would not be the right word. These are mobile food stands that typically open for one meal, usually lunch from 1-5 or so.

The important factor in a torta is a torpedo shaped loaf of dry crunch French bread - sandwich sized. Mayonnaise is typically applied liberally. A Hawaiiana has ham, pineapple, and quesillo - fresh, young cheese similar to American string cheese in consistency, but saltier, softer, and pretty outstanding when fresh.

As a vegetarian, I can't comment on the particular sandwich, but the torta is hugely popular here and you can get some really fantastic versions for ridiculously cheap prices. Unfortunately, the cheese is going to be the "killer app" for rolling your own - fresh cotija, quesillo, oaxaca, real manchego...sorry Americans, the imports you get are the absolute worst varieties.

Best Mexico City Food Blog--http://goodfoodmexicocity.blogspot.com/

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