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  • Post #31 - September 17th, 2007, 2:43 pm
    Post #31 - September 17th, 2007, 2:43 pm Post #31 - September 17th, 2007, 2:43 pm
    Two that haven't been discussed so far (in addition to Izote, which I love):

    Villa Maria http://www.villamaria.com.mx in Polanco, is a favorite of the Mexican Jewish population (which is larger than you might think). My eyes were opened to the joys of fried chicken-skin tacos here. The owners have compiled a very good, almost ethnographic, collection of local sayings and wisdom in a book they sell at the counter. Prices are very reasonable and atmosphere is fantastic (dark, calm, good live music).

    Los Girasoles http://www.restaurantelosgirasoles.com in the centro historico, a Bayless favorite with juicy turkey carnitas and huitlacoche sopes, beautiful outdoor dining area.
    Last edited by Santander on September 18th, 2007, 11:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #32 - September 17th, 2007, 3:07 pm
    Post #32 - September 17th, 2007, 3:07 pm Post #32 - September 17th, 2007, 3:07 pm
    I really don't like Girasoles. I've been there twice and both were a big disappointment. Here's what I wrote on my last visit:

    http://www.extramsg.com/modules.php?nam ... le&sid=894

    Girasoles is one of the few alta cocina restaurants in the Centro Historico. It's also the only upscale restaurant I'd been to before. It was the last night before we left for Oaxaca and we needed something easy and close to our hotel in the Centro Historico. I gave my wife the choice between several places, including traditional restaurants like Santo Domingo. She chose Girasoles because of its proximity, though I warned her that on my previous trip I left underwhelmed. Then again, my palate had developed since that trip and I might be more open to non-traditional Mexican. My palate wasn't my problem, though. My original impression was correct: the food at Girasoles just isn't that good.

    The menu sounds interesting with both original and traditional dishes not found elsewhere. Like a few other midscale restaurants in Mexico City, the serve various insect dishes, including escamoles (ant roe), chapulines (grasshoppers), and gusanos (larvae). We stayed away from the Fear Factor dishes.

    I started with the sopa de pistache, a cream of pistachio soup garnished with rose petals. It was the best dish of the night, mildly sweet and creamy with a subtle nuttiness and an almost imperceptible floral flavor. My wife got the enchiladitas de jamaica, a dish allegedly from the coast of Guerrero. Tortillas were wrapped around hibiscus flowers, coated with melted manchego, and laid in a pool of salsa verde. In the middle of the six little enchiladas, a pile of fried jamaica and huanzontles (a green/herb that was in seasons while we were in Mexico) garnished the plate. It was an interesting dish, but the flavors didn't meld that well. The sum of the parts seemed more than the whole.

    In an effort to show that I'm doomed to repeat my mistakes, I ordered the mole de tamarindo con pavo, the dish I believe I ordered on my first trip to Girasoles. The turkey breast was a little dry and the sweet and tangy sauce had little complexity. The dish seemed very basic and was served with white rice. Blue corn tortillas came in a basket for making tacos.

    My wife ordered the filete de huachinango empanizado en huanzontles: snapper covered with a crust of the herb and sitting in a pool of squash blossom sauce. A small pile of fried jamaica garnished the plate. The fish was fishy and all the other flavors were too muted. The herb crust was too thick and tasted a little burnt.

    The biggest mistake of the night, though, was ordering dessert after such a mediocre meal. We got the pay de petalos de rosa. The nearly solid pie filling tasted of nothing but sugar. Even the garnishes of rose and strawberries were flavorless, as was the jamaica coulis. It was as if someone had replaced the dessert with a wax facsimile. It did look pretty, however.

    Adding insult to injury, the next evening in Oaxaca, both my wife and I received the worst case of Montezuma's Revenge in recorded history. Well, our recorded history. My wife even passed out in the shower and threw up on herself. We believe that Girasoles was the cause since we both started feeling ill on the bus.
  • Post #33 - September 18th, 2007, 8:30 am
    Post #33 - September 18th, 2007, 8:30 am Post #33 - September 18th, 2007, 8:30 am
    extramsg wrote:My wife even passed out in the shower and threw up on herself.

    :shock:
  • Post #34 - September 18th, 2007, 5:04 pm
    Post #34 - September 18th, 2007, 5:04 pm Post #34 - September 18th, 2007, 5:04 pm
    I could not disagree more on Girasoles, except for the fact that the sopa de pistache is delicious, which you seem to admit yourself. We did do the more adventurous side of the menu, and the chapulines were better tasting (and no doubt more sanitary) than those from street vendors in the south of the country. Homemade tortillas, fresh huitlacoche, succulent turkey, perfect views of the historic center, good service.

    A story: since this is (or was, not sure how he feels about it currently given the other wonderful new places popping up) a Bayless recommendation, I had my wife take pictures of me holding up the colorful plates of food as they arrived on the table, while I pointed to them and made a simpering Baylessian grin and sideways headshake (with stoner intonation, Oklahoma-edged Mexican Spanish, and Cosby-esque emphasis on each syllable of "chi-po-tle pep-pers"). One of the hostesses saw me doing this, pulled a nearby co-worker over, and shouted "Rick!" (more like eRRick, with an initial schwa and rolled r). She knew exactly what the American food dork was doing. If I can find the picture, I'll post it - I even had facial hair at the time that looked Fronteresque.

    Who knows how long it takes M's revenge to hit; it could have been Girasoles, a street naranjada, or even food from your flight down. I sympathize, and understand that brilliant restaurants can have bad nights. I won't urge you to go back there, but the same way we can't attribute getting sick to an American restaurant on this board, I think people should be able to make up their own minds about international places as well.
  • Post #35 - September 18th, 2007, 8:00 pm
    Post #35 - September 18th, 2007, 8:00 pm Post #35 - September 18th, 2007, 8:00 pm
    It was pretty easy to narrow it to Girasoles since my wife and I usually eat different stuff. Girasoles was an exception. Could it have been elsewhere? Sure. But Girasoles was by far the most likely culprit.

    And I don't have your trust in hidden kitchens. Higher prices don't improve sanitation. And more complex food requires more things to be made ahead, which sit around and develop bacteria. And fancier kitchens require more hands on the food. Hands spread bugs. The cases of the revenge that my wife or I have gotten have all been most likely the result of higher end places. Give me street foods cooked ala minute any day.
  • Post #36 - September 20th, 2007, 8:29 am
    Post #36 - September 20th, 2007, 8:29 am Post #36 - September 20th, 2007, 8:29 am
    Santander wrote:I pointed to them and made a simpering Baylessian grin and sideways headshake (with stoner intonation, Oklahoma-edged Mexican Spanish, and Cosby-esque emphasis on each syllable of "chi-po-tle pep-pers").

    Brilliant!
    :lol:
  • Post #37 - October 6th, 2007, 11:16 pm
    Post #37 - October 6th, 2007, 11:16 pm Post #37 - October 6th, 2007, 11:16 pm
    I somehow forgot to post about one more memorable meal Mrs. JiLS and I enjoyed in Mexico City. This was at La Nueva Opera Bar, hangout of Pancho Villa (I craned my neck prodigiously but couldn't find the bullet hole he supposedly put in the ceiling ... ah, well, I've never been able to find the storied bullet hole at The Green Mill, either). Touristy? Yes. Overpriced? An understatement; maybe 2.5 times what spots within a block would charge for the same meal. But, worth it for a one-time tourist stop? Indeed.

    Mrs. JiLS enjoyed a nice soup and enchiladas. Top notch, just not worth what they charged for it, but hey, it's Opera! I ventured deeper into the menu and, as happened more than once during this trip, got a "gringo check" from the waiter in response to my order. Waiter's lips went grey, his brow broke a sweat, I swear I saw his his hand start to twitch. Trouble. Here, it was a rabbit loin I wanted. I knew I needed to prove to the waiter that no, I did not just point at the menu and have my finger fall on "conejo" and no, I would not be sending it back with disgust. I knew what was needed. A smile and "Little Rabbit Foo-Foo" with my right hand. Meanwhile, with the assist, Mrs. JiLS with hands on head, fingers up in a perfect bunny bit (she is a professional actor, with certain standards). Well, waiter got it and we were all smiles from there on. And, most important, the rabbit was delicious. Moist, very meaty, didn't' taste at all like chicken (OK, it tasted like chicken). Smothered in a mild red sauce. That was it: rabbit on a plate. Very nice.

    And THAT is the end of my reports from Mexico City.
    JiLS
  • Post #38 - January 23rd, 2008, 9:01 pm
    Post #38 - January 23rd, 2008, 9:01 pm Post #38 - January 23rd, 2008, 9:01 pm
    A crosslink to some nice new pictures (and one especially for you, SCUBAchef):

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=17450
  • Post #39 - July 14th, 2009, 10:36 pm
    Post #39 - July 14th, 2009, 10:36 pm Post #39 - July 14th, 2009, 10:36 pm
    They couldn't keep us away. Mrs. JiLS and I will be spending a too-brief vacation in Mexico City August 14 - 17, which gives us three lunches, three dinners and three breakfasts to slate. I'm already inclined to go back to Elago, which is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere (based on one spectacular visit) and I'm very interested in Pujol. Given the current insanely exuberant exchange rate of 14 pesos to the dollar, I can afford these follies. But, I need to fill another dinner, and lunches, etc. We will return to Angus Butcher House only if Mrs. JiLS gets Mickey Finned or we somehow get separated immediately prior to the dinner hour. Also, we'll be stationed in Polanco, but we love, love, LOVE riding the Mexico Metro at 2 pesos a crack, and therefore, el D.F. is our ostión. Please deliberate, expatiate, but don't equivocate. Thanks, LTH.
    JiLS
  • Post #40 - April 2nd, 2010, 9:53 pm
    Post #40 - April 2nd, 2010, 9:53 pm Post #40 - April 2nd, 2010, 9:53 pm
    Any updates on Mexico City? I've read through about a half dozen old posts.
    We are staying in the Condesa district.
    On our list thus far...
    Upscale:
    Pujol
    Izote

    Traditional:
    El Bajio
    Fonda El Refugio

    Breakfasts:
    Sanborn's
    We'd like to go to some good bakeries

    We'll definitely be going to the Bazar Sabado and Mercado la Merced.

    Any suggestions/critique of our itinerary?
    Thanks
  • Post #41 - April 3rd, 2010, 5:16 am
    Post #41 - April 3rd, 2010, 5:16 am Post #41 - April 3rd, 2010, 5:16 am
    thaiobsessed wrote:Any updates on Mexico City? I've read through about a half dozen old posts.
    We are staying in the Condesa district.
    On our list thus far...
    Upscale:
    Pujol
    Izote

    Traditional:
    El Bajio
    Fonda El Refugio

    Breakfasts:
    Sanborn's
    We'd like to go to some good bakeries

    We'll definitely be going to the Bazar Sabado and Mercado la Merced.

    Any suggestions/critique of our itinerary?
    Thanks


    Itinerary looks good. Right in Condesa is Litoral, a terrific mid-scale restaurant with a seafood focus. I highly recommend it. Re. Izote, I went too, pretty much because everyone from America goes there on account of every guide book and foodie website saying we should. It was one of the bigger disappointments of the trip. Re. Mercado de la Merced, bring your own fruit-cutting knife and napkins. It can be a messy experience.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #42 - April 4th, 2010, 11:43 pm
    Post #42 - April 4th, 2010, 11:43 pm Post #42 - April 4th, 2010, 11:43 pm
    thaiobsessed wrote:Any updates on Mexico City? I've read through about a half dozen old posts.
    We are staying in the Condesa district.


    In Condesa, Mrs. JiLS and I stopped into Restaurante Matisse on Amsterdam on our trip in August 2009. We were just hungry, it was about to rain, Matisse was open, and it was a fun little look at the way this place that opened in 1996 reflects the (much older) Jewish culture of Mexico City, of which Condesa/Hipódromo have been an epicenter over the years. Good matzoh ball soup, decent sandwiches. It's charming and it's right there when your feet hurt from walking through Condesa and Roma and Hipódromo. I am sure someone will now brand me a Philistine twit for liking this place, but I, Mrs. JiLS, the two large families with various celebrations that were occupying the upstairs private dining rooms. and a horde of other guests were all having a blast on a rainy August afternoon in this little blue enclave.

    I have to assume you'll get to Centro Historico, and there you should visit my favorite lunch counter (like I've tried them all, but anyway): Café La Blanca. Best chilaquiles I've had anywhere, fantastic soups, and also the cheapest (but very good) chile en nogada. They have a businessman's lunch special that is ridiculously affordable. They will try to sell you an extra plate of bread you don't need, but even that's so cheap, why not? You might also want to hunt down one of the many places in the Centro that specialize in roast turkey. There's a whole block full of them I've walked past several times, just inside the western end of the Centro, but I've always been just a bit too full too partake at those times. The Aztecs loved turkey, so even though I'm sure from what I've observed in the windows this is the Mexican equivalent of a Butterball, it's a culturally significant experience you should relish (even though I have not). And the carving of the turkeys is easy walking distance from where the Aztecs carved the hearts from their screaming victims in the thousands. So, you've got that going for you.

    Go to Alameda Park, and find the huge helado stands near the music/dance stage at the north side of the park, where Hidalgo (street bordering the north of the park) meets Trujano. It's great stuff, and at least on the weekends, it's like a permanent State Fair. There are folkloric dancers, rock bands, Mexican bands, pickpockets, guys selling drain traps, miraculous shoe shines that last six months (I can attest to this), unashamed PDA's (old school meaning of that acronym), cheesy overpriced crap trinkets for the gringos and the feebleminded, hamburguesas for those with a death wish, utter chaos and fun galore. Plus, while in the area, you can check out one of the world's few museums that exhibit just one work of art (if you don't count the little rotating exhibits of local, contemporary art stuck in the vestibule of the main gallery, and I do not). At Balderas and Colón.

    And of course, there is always Angus Butcher House (Official Website of Angus Butcher House; set speakers to "high")

    Matisse Restaurante - Condesa
    Amsterdam 260
    Colonia Condesa

    Café La Blanca
    5 de Mayo 40
    Colonia Centro

    Museo Mural Diego Rivera
    Plaza de la Solidaridad (at Balderas and Colón)

    (Angus you will need to find for yourself!)
    JiLS
  • Post #43 - April 6th, 2010, 6:28 pm
    Post #43 - April 6th, 2010, 6:28 pm Post #43 - April 6th, 2010, 6:28 pm
    Kennyz wrote:Re. Izote, I went too, pretty much because everyone from America goes there on account of every guide book and foodie website saying we should. It was one of the bigger disappointments of the trip


    We're a little on the fence about this one--the board seems to be split. I still haven't decided.

    JiLS, we will definitely check out Cafe La Blanca--I love chilaquiles.
    Not so sure about the matzoh ball soup (given I get that here and Passover is just recently over) but will make a mental note about Matisse. Sounds like it would be a nice lunch spot.

    Thanks for the recs.
  • Post #44 - April 7th, 2010, 5:38 pm
    Post #44 - April 7th, 2010, 5:38 pm Post #44 - April 7th, 2010, 5:38 pm
    Bill/SFNM wrote:Near the Zocalo is one of my favorite restaurants in the world: El Danubio - for mariscos.

    Bill/SFNM

    I'm from DF and that use to be great 50 years ago the Langostinos were the best
  • Post #45 - April 7th, 2010, 5:41 pm
    Post #45 - April 7th, 2010, 5:41 pm Post #45 - April 7th, 2010, 5:41 pm
    JimInLoganSquare wrote:
    thaiobsessed wrote:Any updates on Mexico City? I've read through about a half dozen old posts.
    We are staying in the Condesa district.


    In Condesa, Mrs. JiLS and I stopped into Restaurante Matisse on Amsterdam on our trip in August 2009. We were just hungry, it was about to rain, Matisse was open, and it was a fun little look at the way this place that opened in 1996 reflects the (much older) Jewish culture of Mexico City, of which Condesa/Hipódromo have been an epicenter over the years. Good matzoh ball soup, decent sandwiches. It's charming and it's right there when your feet hurt from walking through Condesa and Roma and Hipódromo. I am sure someone will now brand me a Philistine twit for liking this place, but I, Mrs. JiLS, the two large families with various celebrations that were occupying the upstairs private dining rooms. and a horde of other guests were all having a blast on a rainy August afternoon in this little blue enclave.

    I have to assume you'll get to Centro Historico, and there you should visit my favorite lunch counter (like I've tried them all, but anyway): Café La Blanca. Best chilaquiles I've had anywhere, fantastic soups, and also the cheapest (but very good) chile en nogada. They have a businessman's lunch special that is ridiculously affordable. They will try to sell you an extra plate of bread you don't need, but even that's so cheap, why not? You might also want to hunt down one of the many places in the Centro that specialize in roast turkey. There's a whole block full of them I've walked past several times, just inside the western end of the Centro, but I've always been just a bit too full too partake at those times. The Aztecs loved turkey, so even though I'm sure from what I've observed in the windows this is the Mexican equivalent of a Butterball, it's a culturally significant experience you should relish (even though I have not). And the carving of the turkeys is easy walking distance from where the Aztecs carved the hearts from their screaming victims in the thousands. So, you've got that going for you.

    Go to Alameda Park, and find the huge helado stands near the music/dance stage at the north side of the park, where Hidalgo (street bordering the north of the park) meets Trujano. It's great stuff, and at least on the weekends, it's like a permanent State Fair. There are folkloric dancers, rock bands, Mexican bands, pickpockets, guys selling drain traps, miraculous shoe shines that last six months (I can attest to this), unashamed PDA's (old school meaning of that acronym), cheesy overpriced crap trinkets for the gringos and the feebleminded, hamburguesas for those with a death wish, utter chaos and fun galore. Plus, while in the area, you can check out one of the world's few museums that exhibit just one work of art (if you don't count the little rotating exhibits of local, contemporary art stuck in the vestibule of the main gallery, and I do not). At Balderas and Colón.

    And of course, there is always Angus Butcher House (Official Website of Angus Butcher House; set speakers to "high")

    Matisse Restaurante - Condesa
    Amsterdam 260
    Colonia Condesa

    Café La Blanca
    5 de Mayo 40
    Colonia Centro

    Museo Mural Diego Rivera
    Plaza de la Solidaridad (at Balderas and Colón)

    (Angus you will need to find for yourself!)

    go to the Palacio Nacional and check out Diego Rivera's murals the best!!!!!!!!!
  • Post #46 - April 26th, 2010, 8:21 am
    Post #46 - April 26th, 2010, 8:21 am Post #46 - April 26th, 2010, 8:21 am
    We just returned from a long weekend in D.F. With great advice from LTHers, the website for Chilango, perusing the internet and the folks at our B & B, we found some terrific spots. Thanks for the great posts everyone. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time or stomach space to hit all the spots we wanted.

    We stayed in the Condesa neighborhood at The Red Tree House (Casa del Arbol Rojo) and I can’t say enough good things about the place. I know LTH is not a travel/hotel website but the folks who run this adorable place couldn’t be more helpful/welcoming. The neighborhood is charming, tranquil and safe with some great food spots nearby. I highly, highly recommend this place for anyone traveling to DF.


    Inspired by Jefe’s post, we hit a bunch of neighborhood spots for a ‘taco crawl’

    First up was Tacos Hola (Amsterdam and Michoacan, Condesa) recommended by Jefe and the Red Tree House owners. This stand is very popular and we were advised to get there by about 1pm. They had a table set up on the sidewalk but most people were eating their tacos while standing. Their specialty is tacos guisados (literally 'stewed tacos' but actually a variety of pre-cooked fillings). We split a chorizo and papas taco with queso fresco and frijoles and a nopales taco with queso fresco and crema. Both were excellent and we contemplated ordering a few more but decided to save room.

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    Next up was El Tizoncito. This place is a chain and they recommended the outpost at Tamaulipas 122 at our hotel. The pastor was terrific. The cone (with onions below, pineapple on top) is cooked by hot coals housed in a metal box behind the meat. The tortillas are also passed over a brazier with hot coals. We loved the pastor here (and had a return visit for standard tacos de la bola and tacos gringos (on flour tortillas with chihuaha cheese). The cebollitas were good, too. I almost took a video of the taco preparation--it was very fun watching these guys in action sending a piece of the pineapple flying and catching it in mid-air.

    Image

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    We also visited El Califa (they have a few outposts—we went to the one in Condesa at Altata 22), a very popular, shiny sit-down spot where we had bistek and chuleta tacos. These were very simple—essentially just great tortillas with a thin, grilled piece of meat with several salsas to top them off. They are also known for chicharron de queso (not actually chicharrones but a thin sheet of cheese)—which looked great but we were too full to partake.

    Image

    We wanted to go to El Greco, a taco stand on Michoacan around the corner from Tacos Hola (apparently owned by a Hungarian woman). They feature al pastor tacos without achiote/chile paste seasoning. But when we stopped by they were still setting up and we never had a chance to get back there. Their hours are supposedly 3p-10pm (roughly).

    We also enjoyed the tacos at El Gato Voleador (a stand near the corner of Insurgentes sur and Obregon)

    Image

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    The stand next to El Gato Voleador looked good, too.


    Image

    I'll post on other aspect of the trip a little later.
  • Post #47 - April 26th, 2010, 10:30 am
    Post #47 - April 26th, 2010, 10:30 am Post #47 - April 26th, 2010, 10:30 am
    Alta Cocina (haute cuisine) in the Polanco neighborhood.

    After reading various reviews on LTH and other sites, we were on the fence about going to Izote de Patricia Quintana. We made a reservation there but after running it by a few folks staying at ourhotel who had been, we cancelled it and made a reservation at Jaso. The consensus was that Izote is not quite as good as it used to be.

    Jaso (88 Newton, Polanco)

    The name Jaso is a fusion of the names Jared and Sonia, the husband and wife chef/pastry chef team. Apparently the couple met a the CIA—he is American, she is from D.F. After working in the kitchens of some prominent American restaurants, they decided to open a place in DF. Chilango (I think it’s sort of the DF equivalent of Chicago magazine) named it the top restaurant over 600 pesos (about $50 US)/person in DF.
    The space is gorgeous, very sleek and modern—about half the seating is on an open-air/rooftop patio. Unfortunately, the lighting was not conducive to taking food pictures (I snapped a pic of one dish with the scant remaining daylight).

    Image

    Bread Service was pretty good—they had great variety (olive, parmesan, zucchini, wheat, French) of which the parmesan and zucchini were particularly tasty (the others we tried were just O.K.). I can’t remember all the details of the amuse but it featured salmon, a gelee of strawberry and watermelon, pieces of pineapple and a lemon mint sorbet. We had a calamari salad with grapefruit, cashews, chiles and Thai dressing, which was fabulous.

    Image

    We also enjoyed the Huachinango (red snapper) with black truffle, corn, spring pea broth. The short ribs with cacao and potato puree was solid (but paled in comparison with a similar dish at Pujol). The dessert was delicious—a spectacular brownie with chocolate mousse and hazelnut ice cream. The warm Madelines presented at the end of the meal were also terrific. We wished we had more room to do the full dessert tasting menu. Overall, we enjoyed our meal there but not nearly as much as we liked Pujol.

    Pujol (Petrarca 254 in the Polanco neighborhood)

    Pujol has also received wide acclaim in both the US and Mexican press.
    It’s near Jaso and Izote in the upscale Polanco neighborhood.
    The space is subdued, in greys and blacks with pendant lighting. We were fortunate to have a pendant right above our table so the food pics turned out.

    The amuse was an ‘agua gringa’, a shot of soup topped with queso foam. The description was quickly spoken in Spanish and I didn’t catch all the details but there was corn and a hint of chile (poblano maybe?). It was delicious in any case.

    Bread service was preceded by the placement of hot stones on the table to keep the bread warm. The breads were terrific and served with cow butter, goat butter and a chile sauce.

    Image

    We started with the aguachile de pulpo—octopus sashimi in a citrusy broth with chiles and avocado. It was hands-down the best octopus I’ve ever had (which is kind of funny because the octopus at Lampuga 24 hours earlier made me think the same thing).

    Image

    We also had the “Ravioli” de camarones—thin pieces of avocado which sandwiched shrimp topped with chili aioli.

    Image

    Our entrees were beef ribs in mole de olla—cooked 20 hours and sea bass wrapped in hoja santa with pimiento, tomatoes, onions, wrapped in plantains. I thought the sea bass was exquisite (my dining companion thought it too subtle but was over-the-moon about the short ribs so that worked out).

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    Dessert was a chocolate lava cake with cajeta, cajeta ice cream and ground pecans, quite good. We really enjoyed the additional petit fours: Chocolate with pop rocks, fruit pate (mamey?, can’t remember), chocolate filled with passion fruit, marzepan (oops, I ate a couple pieces before snapping the pic)

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    We were impressed with the service at basically every sit-down restaurant we were at. Service was professional and attentive virtually everywhere. But at Pujol, it was truly stellar. This was our favorite meal of the trip.

    I have more to post on Condesa, markets but I'll save that for later.
  • Post #48 - April 26th, 2010, 7:48 pm
    Post #48 - April 26th, 2010, 7:48 pm Post #48 - April 26th, 2010, 7:48 pm
    Centro Historico
    So, on the plane to Mexico City, I was working on a Sudoku (I can’t do those things worth a d*&^) and the gentleman next to me sensed my frustration and began helping me. We struck up a conversation and when I asked him for dining advice, he laughed and said “I own a restaurant. Actually, I have three. But you have to go to the one near Centro Historico—it’s exquisite! And it’s cheaper than Pujol!” (I had mentioned Pujol was on the list. Now, he seemed to be a very nice chap but when someone tells me they own a restaurant, I take their recommendation for that place with a grain of salt (actually I took it with two grains when he told me one of the restaurants he owns is in the airport). But, he was very charming and we found ourselves hungry near the zocalo the following day and decided to try the place:

    Aguila Real (Mesones 87 at 5 febrero—open for lunch at 1 pm).
    The restaurant is set in a charming colonial building with seating in the central courtyard. The centro historico is beautiful and interesting but also crowded/congested and this was a perfect retreat. We started with complementary salsa prepared table-side in a molcajete with roasted garlic, tomatoes, serranos plus lime and onion and served with chips (which we had to wait for a minute because they were being made). At this point, I realized that we had found a little gem and we ordered tortilla soup (with classic acoutrements—chicharron, crema, avocado, dried toasted chiles, queso), panuchos de cochinita, camerones al mojo de ajo and sea bass tacos. Everything was fantastic, made from scratch with excellent ingredients. The dessert tray looked great but we didn't want to fill up before our Pujol dinner. The clientele was nearly all Mexican business men in suits who arrived to fill the place as we were leaving. I would put this really high on the list for classic Mexican in a terrific setting, especially as a respite after seeing the sites in the center. Service was absolutely perfect(it may have helped that I threw the owner’s name around rather liberally, but it seemed very attentive for other parties as well).

    Aguila Real
    Image

    Courtyard seating area
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    Tableside salsa prep
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    Cochinita panuchos
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    Tortilla soup
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    Shrimp in mojo de ajo sauce
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    Sea bass tacos
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  • Post #49 - April 26th, 2010, 8:01 pm
    Post #49 - April 26th, 2010, 8:01 pm Post #49 - April 26th, 2010, 8:01 pm
    Of all the pictures above, that tortilla soup is the one that literally made my mouth water.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #50 - April 26th, 2010, 8:07 pm
    Post #50 - April 26th, 2010, 8:07 pm Post #50 - April 26th, 2010, 8:07 pm
    Here are some places we really enjoyed in the Condesa area

    Lampuga (Ometusco 1, Condesa)
    The owners of the hotel listed a seafood restaurant called Lampuga as their favorite restaurant in the area. We had a great meal there. The highlight was the tuna tostadas (the memory of which nagged at me the whole trip in the form of a little voice saying ‘go back for more of those…’ but we had a tight eating schedule). The grilled octopus with paprika, olive oil and arugula was also terrific.
    Tuna toasts from the small Tapas section and a steak sandwich with carmelized onion were also solid. We learned later that their ceviche is one of their specialties. Ah well, next trip. The lighting wasn’t conducive to photos here either. I would definitely go back to this place if staying in the Condesa (or even if staying elsewhere). Service was close to that at Pujol but this was a more moderately priced place (about $80 for two with a half carafe of wine).

    C25 at Citlaltépetl 25, Condesa
    This restaurant is a not-for-profit venture that raises money for exiled writers. We enjoyed our meal here quite a bit, however, we had so many great meals that this one suffered a little in comparison (what’s the opposite of ‘damning with faint praise’?). There was one particularly notable dish though—a mixed ceviche with coconut milk and a cucumber granita was absolutely delicious. I am definitely going to be trying a knock-off of this soon. We also had tomato soup with fine herbes and bacon, duck breast with lentils and a carrot cake (kind of like a gratin—really delicious) and spaghetti with shrimp chorizo and goat cheese. The outdoor fountain-side setting was gorgeous. I would definitely go back to this place for lunch (they are only open for dinner Fri/Sat).

    Image


    Delirio cafe (Monterrey and Obregon in La Roma)
    This was a really cool café/gourmet deli. We made a brunch out of their sandwiches (on terrific baguettes) and cappuccinos on the day we were leaving. The chef Monica Patiño also sells house-made preserves, seasonings, dressings.

    Image

    Delirio interior
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    Delirio menu
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    Top: prosciutto, tomato, pesto sandwich, bottom: sun-dried tomato and mozzarella sanwich
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    I'm going to post my Xochimilco market pics separately (there are a lot of them and I don't want to clutter up the main thread).

    In summary, I highly recommend DF a destination. I really think it’s one of the most underrated travel destinations—it’s got everything: history, architecture, art, food, friendly people, great public transportation (JiLS, I hate to be the one to break this to you but it now costs 3 pesos to ride the metro), good weather, nice parks…
    ...and great chefs
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  • Post #51 - April 26th, 2010, 8:18 pm
    Post #51 - April 26th, 2010, 8:18 pm Post #51 - April 26th, 2010, 8:18 pm
    thaiobsessed wrote:Next up was El Tizoncito. This place is a chain and they recommended the outpost at Tamaulipas 122 at our hotel. The pastor was terrific. The cone (with onions below, pineapple on top) is cooked by hot coals housed in a metal box behind the meat. The tortillas are also passed over a brazier with hot coals. We loved the pastor here (and had a return visit for standard tacos de la bola and tacos gringos (on flour tortillas with chihuaha cheese). The cebollitas were good, too. I almost took a video of the taco preparation--it was very fun watching these guys in action sending a piece of the pineapple flying and catching it in mid-air.


    Thanks for the memory. The tacos al pastor at that very same El Tizoncito changed my idea of what they could be. I've never tasted a version half as good as those.

    Thanks, also, for all the rest of the terrific photos and reports.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #52 - April 28th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    Post #52 - April 28th, 2010, 4:41 pm Post #52 - April 28th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    Kennyz wrote:The tacos al pastor at that very same El Tizoncito changed my idea of what they could be. I've never tasted a version half as good as those.


    Agreed. I've been thinking about how I might approximate these at home. I was thinking about marinating sliced pork butt or shoulder in a citrus/achiote paste, skewering the sliced together and grilling the whole mess. I think it's the charcoal that really makes a difference. I'll post if my experiments yield something tasty.

    Also wanted to add that the churro stands in Coyoacan (one of DF's 16 delegaciones/boroughs and location of the Frida Kahlo museum) were terrific. I had mine filled with cajeta although I was tempted to try on of the 'Philadelphia" (as in cream cheese) combos. We really enjoyed walking around the park and market in Coyoacan as well.

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  • Post #53 - September 6th, 2010, 10:03 pm
    Post #53 - September 6th, 2010, 10:03 pm Post #53 - September 6th, 2010, 10:03 pm
    I need to bump this thread to give a shout-out to Pujol. Just had a really wonderful dinner there, and I thought I'd be the first to post about it until I found this thread :-)

    If I get my act together over the next week, I'll be sure to post about it. But for anybody checking into this thread, here's another thumbs up for Pujol on the upper end of the spectrum.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #54 - May 6th, 2011, 12:48 pm
    Post #54 - May 6th, 2011, 12:48 pm Post #54 - May 6th, 2011, 12:48 pm
    Some quick hits from my trip to Mexico City late last year.

    Mercado Merced
    Pictured: Mountains of Mole
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    We stopped by Mercado Merced one afternoon. It's a huge market with lots of interesting fruits and food stalls, though the food stalls are kind of spread throughout the market. We enjoyed a zucchini flower (flor de calabaza) taco and a chicarron gordita from one of the vendors in front of the market. If you're looking for an authentic Mexican market experience, Merced is definitely the place to go. We picked up a kilo of mole to bring back as well, great stuff!

    Mercado Xochimilco
    Pictured: Tripe Taco (I think)
    Image

    Even more impressive than Merced was the market at Xochimilco. It's a 45 minute trip from the city to Xochimilco, and most people make the trip to take the boats out onto the canals, but do yourself a favor and stop off at the market beforehand. The market is smaller than Merced, but the food stalls are all concentrated together on the end and the options are impressive. We started off our feast with a tamale mole and tamale verde. The tamales were a little sweet and full of creamy corn flavor, easily the best I've ever had. We followed that up with a huitlacoche taco, tripa taco, and a languiza taco. All were excellent, particularly the tripe taco that was fried so the outside was crispy. To wash it all down we enjoyed some piping hot atole which is a thick masa-based drink. Afterward we stopped off at a fruit stall where they were handing out samples of mamey, guyabanas, and other local fruits. We picked up a couple fruits for the road (they sell them partially peeled) and set off on a tour of the canals.

    El Moro
    Pictured: Churros and Cafe con Leche
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    El Moro is a solid spot to pick up freshly fried churros and a cup of cafe con leche. They’re open 24 hours and seemingly always busy with customers. This is the kind of place that’s so busy that you’re always guaranteed to get freshly fried churros, a big plus in my book.

    El Moro
    Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas 42

    Ideal Bakery
    Pictured: Buttered Bread?
    Image

    Around the corner from El Moro is the bustling Ideal Bakery. It’s self service so you pick up a tray, a pair of tongs, and choose from a huge array of Mexican pastries and desserts. In particular they have a very impressive and colorful variety of gelatinas. My personal favorite were the spongy slices of bread covered in a creamy, sugary butter spread. Anytime we drive by a Mexico pastry shop in Chicago we pop in hoping to find it, but I haven’t been able to yet. The search continues.

    http://www.pasteleriaideal.com.mx/

    Plaza Garibaldi
    Pictured: Buenelos
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    No trip to Mexico City would be complete without a trip to Plaza Garibaldi to see the mariachi bands. There’s a big food court there we didn’t get to try, but it looked pretty good. We did get to try the bunuelos that were served at the food stalls on the far side of the plaza though. They have a nice crunchy texture though little flavor. They’re covered in a sweet syrup made with loquats (you can see them floating in the dark syrup) that had a complex caramel flavor, though a little sweet for my taste. It’s a fun stop.

    El Tizoncito
    Pictured: Al pastor
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    We were hanging out in Condesa one night, so we popped into El Tizoncito. They invented tacos al pastor, so our expectations were pretty high. The location in Condesa was surprisingly modern and very popular. Seating was hard to come by so they seated us at the cash register, but that didn’t bother us since the tacos they were serving looked spectacular. And they were. They serve it with chunks of roasted pineapple and lots of lime to counterbalance the assertively spiced and beautifully charred meat. Though the vibe was more Big Star than Tierra Caliente, the food was the best of both worlds.

    http://www.eltizoncito.com.mx/

    Cantina el Centenario

    At the corner of Michoacan and Tamaulipas, in Condesa, sits Cantina Centenario. It kinds of sticks out as out-of-place in a neighborhood filled with sushi bars and swanky lounges, yet it was exactly the experience we were looking for. The cantina walls are covered in tiles which makes it remarkably loud even though no music was playing. The local residents come there to munch on simple bar snacks and sip mezcal while watching soccer. Everything including the bar peanuts are spritzed with sweet Mexican limes which you could just eat like an orange. We ended up at Cantina Centernario because it was the first decent mezcal selection I could find in the area. Turns out one of Mexico City’s best mezcal bars, La Botica, was just down the street. Definitely keeping that in mind for the next trip.

    Cantina el Centenario
    Vicente Suárez 42

    La Botica
    Campeche 396

    Now moving onto restaurants.

    Cafe de Tacuba

    It’s definitely something of a tourist trap but the interior is worth seeing. The food was pretty good but nothing particularly memorable. We had the chilaquiles, enchilades verde, and pozole all of which were solid renditions but we can get better in Chicago.

    http://www.cafedetacuba.com.mx/

    El Cardenal
    Pictured: Omelet with ant eggs and cactus paddles.
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    Its location would lead you to think this was also a tourist trap, but the clientele was Mexican families and the food was pretty good. The line to get in was an hour and a half on Sunday morning, which I think was too long for above average Mexican food, but the experience was pleasant overall. The most memorable dish was the omelet with ant eggs (escamoles) and cactus paddles (nopalitos), though the ant eggs really didn’t impart much flavor on the dish.

    http://www.restauranteelcardenal.com/

    Contramar
    Pictured: Smelt taco and kingfish sope
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    My only complaint about Contramar is that it closes at 6pm, otherwise it was spectacular. It was absolutely packed at 5:00 when we got there and it’s surprisingly elegant for a lunch spot. It’s a seafood restaurant, and all their seafood offerings were impeccably fresh. We started off with a smelt taco and kingfish sope. The smelts were crunchy and salty, perfect with a spritz of lime and some cilantro. The kingfish was covered in a spicy but bright sauce that underscored without overwhelming the fish. For an entree we split the red fish/green fish which was a full fish, split in half, grilled, and served half with a cilantro based sauce and the other half with a red chile sauce. The fish was moist with great grilled flavor and the sauces were once again in balance. For dessert we split a puree made from sapote which is a Mexican fruit. It was black with a deep fruity flavor though not overly sweet. It was a wonderful way to cap off a nice seafood meal.

    http://www.contramar.com.mx/

    El Bajio
    Pictured: Huanzontle stuffed with cheese
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    I was pretty excited about the menu at El Bajio since they offer so many interesting Mexican dishes. While the food was good, nothing was particularly memorable. Certainly everything was well prepared, but it just lacked the big flavors I associate with a great Mexican meal. We started off with the guacamole stuffed gordita and the cheese stuffed huanzontle. The guacamole was interesting since they included avocado leaves that provided a mild, but pleasant anise flavor. Huanzontle is a broccoli-like vegetable that they lightly breaded, stuffed with cheese and topped with tomato sauce. It was a good dish, but tasted a lot like eggplant parmesan, kind of uninteresting. For an entree we split an order of the much-lauded carnitas which were tender but otherwise forgettable. The restaurant was less than half full on a Friday night so I have to wonder if perhaps their best days are behind them. Nonetheless it was a good meal, but fell short of the expectations set by Fernan Adria when he called it the best Mexican restaurant he has ever eaten in.

    http://www.carnitaselbajio.com.mx/

    Pujol

    On the other end of the spectrum, we were completely blown away by Pujol. I don’t have much to add to what’s been written here about Pujol, but I am not at all surprised to see that they’ve cracked Pellgrino’s top 50. Our first course was a pristine zucchini blossom that was stuffed with huitlacoche. I think that typified what they’re going for. The food is at the same time classic Mexican and modern, we loved it. Also they offer a number of different drink pairing options. My wife thoroughly enjoyed the non-alcoholic pairings that showed a lot of variety between sweet, tart, and spicy. I ordered the pairings that included cocktails, beer, and wine. I don’t have much good to write about Mexican craft beers (the porter was an unbalanced mess), but I appreciated the effort. They served a mezcal cocktail that was served with ground up dried worms from the bottle. Very cool.

    http://www.pujol.com.mx/
    Last edited by turkob on July 4th, 2011, 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #55 - May 6th, 2011, 3:01 pm
    Post #55 - May 6th, 2011, 3:01 pm Post #55 - May 6th, 2011, 3:01 pm
    Mexico City – early April 2011

    I spent 8 days in DF a few weeks back, armed with information in this thread, suggestions from Rick Bayless’ travel guides and a few guidebooks. I have friends who live in Polanco so I can’t comment on hotels/lodging (other than to suggest you make friends with my friends – great hosts and great people!). In general, I had a completely amazing, stupendous time – once I got past the altitude and omni-present sun (no such thing as too much sunscreen), I really enjoyed myself. Some of my personal highlights included Chapultepec Castle, Xochimilco, Museo Dolores Olmedo Patino, Museo de Arte Moderno and the Teatro Bellas Artes.

    I had the full benefit of my friends in the evening and on weekends (they have lived there for a while now and are very comfortable navigating the city – even in their car), which definitely made things easier than they would have been otherwise. During the mornings and afternoons I was on my own and I felt very safe and comfortable (maybe a solo woman would feel otherwise). While it wasn’t nearly as English-friendly as I would have thought, I have plenty of experience with Mexican ingredients/menu items so I was able to order food without too much trouble. I also got really good at saying ‘Esta bien’ and ‘Estoy bien’.

    The Metro was easy to use, took me to where I wanted to go and was very, very cheap (3 pesos per ride) and I only felt uncomfortable when a young man got on my car and proceeded to smash his elbows in broken glass for money (I’ve seen a lot of things on the L, but nothing like that). Cabs from a sitio were also very cheap. The exchange rate was pretty favorable – about 12 pesos/dollar and it was sunny and warm every day (mid-80’s). I made it in just before the rainy season is set to begin, from what I understand

    It’s barely 3.5 hours direct from Chicago and I’m already looking forward to a return visit.

    Anyway, on to the food! Below are restaurants where I got some of my favorite meals. I’m never good at taking pictures of food, so I don’t have any to share. Next time, though!

    Monte Cristo
    Insurgentes Norte 1980; http://www.rmontecristo.com/english/montecristo.htm
    Rick Bayless really talked this place up in his travel guides and I had lunch there immediately after landing at the airport. It was not easy to get to and Bayless’ [=urlhttp://www.rickbayless.com/travel/view?articleID=25]instructions[/url] only helped so much. We found it, though, and it was delicious. We ordered the sangria service which was unorthodox in including Sprite but also since the waiter used a full-size, wooden baseball bat to muddle everything together. I went with a lamb roasted in banana leaves and found it to be well-seasoned, moist and very tender. The black beans and rice that came with were standouts, as well. I started with squash blossom fritters in a strong, assertive huitlacoche sauce. I probably should not have tossed back so much sangria so soon after landing (altitude!) because I wasn’t able to eat even half my order before feeling a little woozy. Entrees were 190-250 pesos, I think, and the space was very beautiful (though it was also next to very audible the quasi-expressway).

    La Nacional
    Orizaba (@ Querétaro), Roma
    This was one of my favorite amongst favorites and I’m sad I only made it there once. It’s more a bar than restaurant but the food was certainly worthwhile (we had the guacamole with chincharrones, chicken wings, steak tacos and a torta ahogada). There was also a nice list of beer that I can only assume is Mexico’s attempt at craft styles. I had a few types of Minerva and they were all solid (I saw Duff brand beer but decided it would not have been worth it). Their selection of mescal, though, was the real draw. Most glasses were in the 65-90 peso range and included the full array of accoutrement of orange wedges, sal de gusano and even some carrot and jicama sticks for good measure. My favorites were the Murcielago as well as one from Nuaca (sp??). La Nacional is also next to an outpost of the small chain of mescalerias, La Botica, for those who want to make a 1-2 combination out of it.

    Café Azul y Oro
    UNAM campus
    There might be an outpost of this restaurant in Polanco, and I’d suggest going to that one first unless you’re with someone who knows how to navigate UNAM (Mexico City’s largest university). Located near that contemporary art museum on campus, this place looks like a cafeteria but the food is very good. We were there just as mango season started and there was a mango-centric menu available. Other than an agua mango, I stuck with the normal menu and ordered a squash blossom soup and cochinita pibil. The soup was nice but suffered a little from using completely raw squash blossoms as garnish. The pibil had great flavor and came with blue corn tortillas but the actual meat somehow came out a touch dry. I suspect that the pork was lean to begin with. We were there on a Sunday, so maybe they had already used up the good stuff. My friends had skirt steak, which came out perfectly cooked and well-seasoned.

    Corazon de Maguey
    Centenario 9 (on the Jardin Centenario), Coyoacan
    Sitting on one of the big squares in Coyoacan, this little mescaleria was decent. Most glasses ran 85-120 pesos, though they also offered flights. I think I would have liked it more if the prices were in line with La Nacional, but we were sitting on a square and it makes sense that prices would reflect that. For a mescaleria, though, we had to specifically request their list of mescals. This list was not well laid out – though maybe that was my unfamiliarity with the language at work.

    El Huequito
    Simon Bolívar 58 (b/w Republica de Uruguay & Republica del Salvador), Centro Historico
    This was my first solo lunch and I am proud to say I handled everything nicely! Known for their pastor, I opted for the ‘pastor especial’ – a mound of pastor with 6-7 tortillas (I also got cheese – I wouldn’t recommend it, though). Generally, this was good – I was there on the early side for lunch and I suspect the pastor had not had a lot of time on the spit. Still, there was nice flavor and the whole thing may have cost 75 pesos. I started with a tortilla soup and this was the best I have ever had. There’s a very deep, smoky flavor and it was nicely spiced. The array of salsas available was also very impressive. Despite being near the Centro, this was obviously a favorite amongst locals judging by the number of old men playing dominoes.

    Café Dumas
    Alejandro Dumas 125 (@ Presidente Masaryk), Polanco
    I stopped here for breakfast on my way to Chapultepec and found it very, very pleasant. It’s more of a European style bakery with a variety of scones, croissants and breads. In addition to a small sandwich counter, there was a case of characuterie and assorted salads and prepared foods. There’s a quiet courtyard in the back, filled with folks from the next door Egyptian embassy.

    El Farolito
    Newton 130 (@Horacio), Polanco
    Easily, the best al pastor tacos I had. I started with two, as well as an order of steak tacos with chincharrones and just had to order two more al pastor before I left. Nice amount of char, perfect balance of onion, cilantro and pineapple, I did not mind gorging myself in the least. Ordering was a little odd, at first – when you sit down, you’re presented with a menu/checklist and just mark off what you like. It was easy enough for me to order more as I went along, but either leave the list there the whole time or don’t bother. I understand that there are several locations and suspect that with El Tizoncito (below), quality may vary with location.

    El Tizoncito
    Campeche 362 (@Cholula), Condesa
    I loved their grilled knob onions, though we ordered their ‘special’ version which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend (it wasn’t bad but didn’t exactly add anything to the dish, either). We also started with a chicharron de queso and holy crap… delicious, crispy, salty cheese – I don’t know why we didn’t order two. I opted for an al pastor hurrache, thinking I should change things up a little. It was fine - the pastor was great the flavor was a little overwhelmed with the black beans and lettuce. The standard line-up salsas were very good but the real stand-out was a warm pinto bean spread. My friends had visited an outpost in Polanco and were seriously underwhelmed. I told them that LTH suggested this outpost and convinced them to give it a try – they were glad to find out that El Tizoncito can be great, even if it means heading to Condesa.

    Pujol
    Petrarca 254, Polanco
    Now the 49th best restaurant in the world (second best in Mexico), I was blown away with my meal here. Guests can order ala carte or a tasting menu – I was surprised that the table didn’t have to agree what to order (ie. one could go ala carte and the others with a tasting menu). As it was, we opted for the 8-course meat-centric tasting menu (there was also a 6-course menu focused on seafood). I think the cost was just under 900 pesos (an absolute steal!) and we split a very good bottle of red that ran about 1000. The initial pacing was way off, though – not long after we sat down, we got menus. Then we got a 3-part amuse (amazing, amazing bites consisting of refined takes on street food (preparing us for the rest of the menu) – my favorite was a miniature elote with a coffee-spiked mayo). Then the sommelier came over even though we hadn’t placed our order with our waiter. Finally, we were able to order a round of cocktails and our dinner and from that point on, everything was smooth sailing. Really, though, the meal was every bit as satisfying as I could have hoped for – lots of soul-satisfying, homey flavors but in thoroughly modern and contemporary presentations and executions. I think my total cost was US$130 – a tremendous value compared to what we see in Chicago for the quality and inventiveness of the food.
    best,
    dan
  • Post #56 - May 15th, 2011, 2:12 pm
    Post #56 - May 15th, 2011, 2:12 pm Post #56 - May 15th, 2011, 2:12 pm
    My sister has lived in DF for the past 14 years, and I forwarded her this discussion as I thought she would find it interesting. Here was her response:

    I read this whole blog and these are my thoughts.

    One should NEVER stay in or near the Zona Rosa. It is seedy and cheesy and I don't think it will ever return to the glory it enjoyed during its heyday. The only place worth going there is La Fonda el Refugio for amazing authentic Mexican, which was mentioned (you have been here) and then cross over to go to the Insurgentes Silver market. Why these people came to eat in Mexico, and ended up eating at some Chinese place in la Zona Rosa is beyond me??

    The places to stay would be in Polanco or Condesa. Polanco is more ritzy but you can walk everywhere and there are tons of amazing restaurants to choose from. Polanco is also close to all of the museums. Condesa is very bohemian and I agree, it is like Greenwich village. Lots of young people, outdoor cafes, and you can walk everywhere. There is a famous street that it is built around called Amsterdam which used to be a horse race track so it is a huge circle with cafe's shops and bars. I love going to eat there on friday or saturday. You can also rent an eco bike for the day (there are many stands all over).

    San Angel, as you know, is a great place to spend the day. They mention Bazaar de Sabado, but neither San Angel Inn to have lunch, or Diego Rivera's house where you can see his studio. You cannot come to San Angel and not do the latter 2 things as well.

    Coyoacan was mentioned and it is a nice place to spend the day and see the Casa Azul, and Trotsky's home. Nice place to walk as well and great cafes.

    In the Centro, Danubio is great for seafood, especially langostinos al mojo de ajo, but this place is old and the waiters have been there just as long. So if you go there, do your research on the place and order quickly and efficiently. It is always packed and the waiters are in a hurry. Cafe Tacuba (you have been there also) is great for authentic mexican.

    Top of the line restaurants would be Pujol which is listed as one of the best restaurants in the world (we took you all there when you came for Thanksgiving one year) or Shu (no explanation needed here).

    Izote and El Bahio were mentioned as well and while they are both pretty good, they would not be my first choices by any means.

    Good taco joints would be El Farolito, el Tizoncito, or El Califa.

    ......... And those are my thoughts ; )
  • Post #57 - September 13th, 2011, 8:45 pm
    Post #57 - September 13th, 2011, 8:45 pm Post #57 - September 13th, 2011, 8:45 pm
    Hi, LTH. Mrs. JiLS and I are returning to Mexico City late October/early November for Day of the Dead. Would appreciate any updates or thoughts you may have. Will be eating Chinese with rmtraut's sister the first evening there, so please, no Chinese recommendations. Thanks!
    JiLS
  • Post #58 - January 12th, 2014, 8:44 pm
    Post #58 - January 12th, 2014, 8:44 pm Post #58 - January 12th, 2014, 8:44 pm
    I'm surprised there's no thread for Mexico City so I may as well start it(apologies if it's buried in the dank dark caverns of LTH).

    We spent 3 nights just after Christmas and had some very good eating.

    Our 1st dinner was Christmas Night and many restaurants not in hotels were closed but we found Porfirio’s Polanco and it was a gem. It’s billed as Mexican with a contemporary twist. The décor is hip and the service polished. Prices are moderate.

    http://www.porfirios.com.mx/

    Walking around the Polanco the next day Casa Portuguesa looked interesting so we tried it and had an enjoyable meal. We shared taquitos with bean sauce, rajas, chorizo and cheese and an order of sopes pollo. Dinner was at Azul Condesa, another contemporary Mexican restaurant and we liked it a lot. They have a great tortilla soup. Entrees were Duck Buneulos with a fantastic mole and fish Tixin Xic(don’t ask).

    http://www.azulrestaurantes.com/

    The next day it was raining and cool and next to one of the hop on off tour buses was a pizza place with an inviting wood fired oven called Cancino. Wild mushroom and parmagiano cheese pizza was thin, crispy, and delicious. Very close in style to pizzas we had in Naples Italy. Dinner was at Pujol, ranked 17th in the world of the San Pellegrini poll. The cooking is a combination of molecular and creative Mexican cuisine and is a fixed price 10 course meal. The chef is truly gifted. For Mexico it’s very expensive but ½ the price of a comparable meal at a restaurant like French Laundry or the Michelin 3 stars in Spain. Dinner was $340 but we neglected to ask the price of the Ruinart pink champagne offered when we sat down. It was $30/glass and I probably would’ve taken a pass.

    http://www.pujol.com.mx/

    Churros are ubiquitious but the Cafe du Monde of Mexico City is El Moro and it didn't dissapoint. They are open 24 hours and the churros are cooked to order, coming out light and delicate. They didn't bring back fond memories of Comiskey Park. For lunch, someone had mentioned the food trucks adjacent to the 4 Seasons Hotel as being very good. We did a bit of a taco tortas crawl and dined on some delicious street food joined by some of the cooks and staff of the hotel. Our final dinner was La Pescadaria, a few blocks from the St. Regis hotel on Rio Lerma. Prices are moderate and the seafood pristine. We started with a seafood cocktail and then had fish tacos with incredibly crispy fried fish and also a very good snapper with garlic. Fig tart was a wonderful finish to our Mexico City culinary journey.
    Last edited by RevrendAndy on January 13th, 2014, 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Frank Sinatra
  • Post #59 - January 12th, 2014, 8:47 pm
    Post #59 - January 12th, 2014, 8:47 pm Post #59 - January 12th, 2014, 8:47 pm
    RevrendAndy wrote:I'm surprised there's no thread for Mexico City so I may as well start it (apologies if it's buried in the dank dark caverns of LTH).

    No apologies necessary. Threads merged. :)

    Carry on,

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #60 - February 13th, 2014, 11:13 am
    Post #60 - February 13th, 2014, 11:13 am Post #60 - February 13th, 2014, 11:13 am
    Found myself in Mexico City for a few weeks for work, happily using the valuable recommendations above and those of my Mexican co-workers.

    Just went to Pujol, it was excellent and though pricey for Mexico City (around $120 after tax and tip, a few drinks), it was reasonable for the experience, especially in comparison to similar US restaurants. Every dish was quite good and there were a few stand-outs. I can't say it was mind-blowing (ie for me, it was no Alinea), but definitely worth it. There were 10 courses overall and 3 courses with options, but I was with a group of 6 so I managed to snap a (poor iPhone) picture of each.

    1. Raspado de hinojo, enebro y lima

    Scraped ice of fennel, juniper and lemon

    Image
    Image

    ___________________________

    2. Botanas
    Elote con mayonesa de hormiga chicatana, café y chile costeño
    Aguachile de semilla de chía y aguacate, sal de gusano
    Tostada de maíz azul, chile mixe y rábano
    Chicharrón de col rizada

    Bites/Snacks
    Corn with mayonnaise of chicatana ant, coffee and chile
    Chia seed with avocado, worm salt
    Blue corn tostada, chile and radish (I think this dish was replaced - we received a dish of tuna on a cracker)
    Fried kale

    Image
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    ___________________________

    3. Escabeche de zanahoria y mariscos

    Pickled carrot and seafood

    Image

    ___________________________

    4. Coliflor, romanesco, col rizada y mole de brócoli

    Cauliflower, romanesco, kale and broccoli mole

    Image

    Poor picture, but this dish was fantastic... each element came together perfectly and the broccoli mole was especially flavorful.

    ___________________________

    5. Taco de ceviche de pescado, frijol y hoja santa
    o
    Taco de barbacoa, aguacate, chícharo, cacao y chile poblano

    Fish ceviche taco, beans, hoja santa
    or
    Barbacoa taco, avocado, peas, cocoa and chile poblano

    Image
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    The tacos were outstanding, better than any others I've had her so far. We all agreed we would have a full plate of them and some to take with us if we could :)

    ___________________________

    6. Chilacayota nixtamalizada, salsa de jitomate-chile de agua, albahaca
    o
    Panza de cerdo frita, verdolagas, salsa verde y papa
    o
    Pesca del día, berenjena, lima y habanero

    Chilacayota (type of squash/pumpkin), tomato-chile sauce, basil
    or
    Fried pork belly, purslane, green sauce and potato
    or
    Fish of the day (sailfish), eggplant, lime and habanero

    Image
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    ___________________________

    7. Mole madre

    Mother's mole, served with tortillas

    Image
    ___________________________

    8. Dulce de guayaba y camote quemado

    Guava (candy/candied?) and burnt sweet potato

    Image

    Melt-in-your-mouth goodness, with a creamy but firm texture that surprised me. Though small, a great dish.
    ___________________________

    9.Papaya nixtamalizada, yogurt, helado de miel, limón cristalizado
    o
    Manzanas, espuma de cerveza, trigo y nuez
    o
    Brioche, queso, mermelada de tomatillo-menta, frutas

    Papaya, yogurt, honey ice cream, crystallized lime
    or
    Apples with a beer foam, wheat and nuts
    or
    Brioche, cheese, tomato-mint jam, fruits

    Image
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    Each of the desserts were great in their own rite. The honey ice cream in particular was incredible.
    ___________________________

    10. Infusión de pelos de elote, lima y anís estrella

    Infusion of corn hair, lemon and star anise

    Image

    ___________________________

    One more restaurant to report back on - I tried to eat at only Mexican restaurants while in Mexico city, but staying at the Hyatt in Polanco, I did check out the Japanese restaurant Yoshimi which had quite good reviews. I have to say, I had an outstanding lunch there and while my ~$40 lunch was a bit excessive (I'm sure dinner is quite a bit more there), I thought it was well worth it. I believe they are known for their 2+ person hot pots, but have a large menu. I can't find their menu online, so I can only say that I ordered a prix fixe lunch that had an appetizer, tempura (squash blossom!), an assorted fresh fish with seaweed and rice dish, beef udon, pickled vegetables, and a dessert, and I couldn't have been happier. I found everything to be delicious and of the highest quality. If you spend enough time in Mexico City to have your fill of the Mexican food, this is worth a try.

    Image

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