Monday, April 30, 2012

Carne de Res (Beef) en Salsa Verde: General Guidelines for the Intuitive Cook

This dish was inspired by the amazing pork in salsa verde that we had for breakfast at Fonda Margarita in Mexico City. I wanted to try and capture that elusive blend of tart and tangy and spicy heat that hit my tongue with each revelatory slurp of sauce. In other words, I had my work cut out for me.

Now, I am not going to try and tell you that my version is just like the dish that inspired it. I think you can only hope to achieve that depth of flavor if you're willing to get up at 1 a.m. to cook bubbling cazuelas of the stuff every single day. And it probably doesn't hurt to have a Mexican mother, grandmother or auntie (or father, grandfather or uncle!) to pass along some family secrets, either. Alas, the extent of my family culinary secrets begins and ends with a cheese sandwich (albeit a really good one).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Street Foods of Mexico City: Don't Be Afraid, Just Eat It.

Ready to devour the tacos al pastor at El Huequito
Most mainstream guidebooks and Web sites about visiting Mexico City contain dire warnings against eating the street food. These admonitions are often panicked in tone: "Do not, under any circumstances, eat anything from a street vendor! Ever! Stay away!"

What a shame.

I cannot imagine walking by all of the glorious stands filled with beautiful tacos, papas, tortas, tlacoyos, and more - and not ever tasting one single thing. And I don't think you can get a true culinary picture of the city and its vibrant culture without experiencing the joys of street eating. Now, I am not suggesting that you eat anything you please, from any stand that strikes your fancy. Just like anywhere else, in Mexico City most food providers adhere to acceptable or even exemplary standards of hygiene, while a minority of others most definitely do not.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fondas, Cocinas, and Cafes: Casual Dining in Mexico City

On top of the world in Mexico City's Centro Historico 
Mexico City is one of the world's great affordable culinary destinations, a mecca for those of us whose voracious appetites and appreciation for fine food are much, much deeper than our wallets. But I must humbly bow my head and admit that, alas, I did not manage to go everywhere, see everything, or eat all of the things I wanted. Not even close. But I tried. Oh believe me, I tried.

And so, after going through the 900-plus photos that  I took, for my first (of many!) trip posts I settled on a recap of the casual sit-down eateries we visited. (Except for one that deserves a post all its own. Later. ) I will try not to be too wordy, as I know that most of you are here to look at the pretty pictures. I totally understand.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sopa Azteca: Another Post About Soup

Here I am, back from Mexico City: exhausted, a little bit flu-ey, besieged by a hacking cough, nearly voiceless, and desperately behind in just about every aspect of my life. Typical post-vacation scenario.

Yes, it was amazing and beautiful and delicious and hectic and kind of overwhelming and wonderful. I have so many thoughts to gather and photos to look at and memories to replay that I am just not up to tackling my first recap post yet, though there will be many forthcoming, I assure you.

So instead, I bring you soup.