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Mexico City Trip Report

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I spent a wonderful week in Mexico City during Semana Santa, and I am finally getting around to posting notes of my travels. I ate SO much good food on my trip (with one exception), and I had a lot of helpful advice and suggestions from this board. The trip was part vacation and part business (though not with an expense account!).

First of all, on this trip I ate TONS of street food -- mostly tacos, quesadillas & huaraches. It was mostly all excellent, and I didn't get sick once. Even if you don't like to eat on the street, try to at least have some juice. It is so wonderful. My favorite is a combination of naranja and toronja (orange and grapefruit) -- so sweet and tangy at the same time.

Here are my comments on some of the restaurants we visited:

Fantastic, amazing, highly recommended spots:

Flor de Lis, in Condesa: Visited on recommendation from this board and well worth the trip. We had a variety of tamales, all were excellent. Lots of great ingredients like huitlacoche and flor de calabaza. Also, killer chilaquiles verdes. We wanted to go back again but it was a long walk from our hotel, and we didn't have time.

Contramar: On our last day I had a great seafood lunch here. It doesn't open until 1:30 and it seems it is open for dinner, contrary to reports on this board. The seafood was excellent, especially a Peruvian-style ceviche, which was incredible. We had the famous tuna tostadas as well -- also very good. Our least favorite were fish tacos al pastor - but I think an unfair comparison because we already eaten so many pork tacos al pastor on this trip - the flavors were finally beginning to wear a bit thin. Still, this was in my top three for the trip. The food was excellent, and I will definitely go back.

Tacos El Tizoncito: We went on a Saturday night to the one in Coyoacan. Wow! These were incredible tacos. They might have been the best tacos I've ever had. We had tacos al pastor, veggie ones with mushrooms, poblanos & nopales, and chorizo. All were extraordinary. They come with lots of fun salsas. And also don't forget to order cibollitos -- incredible grilled little onions. Coyoacan is so festive and fun on a Saturday night.

Taqueria Tlaquepaque -- also had good tacos, al pastor were the best. Not quite as good as El Tizoncito though.

If you go to Teotihuacan, I have a fantastic lunch recommendation. Don't let them take you to the tourist trap places next to the park. Walk into the town of Teotihuacan and go to El Porton on Avenida de Septiembre. This is the only place on the main strip that seems to be open for a full comida. This is Mexican home cooking at its best, everything prepared lovingly by two hardworking senoras. We had a wonderful chicken soup to start, and lunch dishes included rabbit in chile sauce, chicken in mole rojo, chicken enchiladas verdes, nice quesadillas for the vegetarians in the group, and there were many other lovely options. Highly recommended. Might have been the best meal of our trip, and a classic Mexican small town experience.

Panaderia around the corner from La Habana: I don't remember what this place is called, but it is around the corner from La Habana, a few doors down from the HSBC, and it is quite large. This is an excellent panaderia with really good pan dulce. The conchas are my favorite. They also have a cheesecake sort of thing, which is very good.

Other spots:

Cafe Popular: Standard breakfast spot next to the Zocalo. It was adequate. I recommend the chilaquiles verdes. That was the best thing out of the four dishes we ordered.

La Habana: Nice atmosphere, and the closest breakfast spot to our hotel, so we went here quite a bit. The coffee is not good, in my opinion. The food is so-so. The yogurt fruit cup is actually pretty good; it was my favorite thing that I tried there.

Cafe Tacuba: We went here for a big group dinner; they agreed to make special meals for the vegetarians in our group. The atmosphere is fun, they can accommodate a large group. The food is so-so. It is miles better than Los Girasoles.

Los Girasoles: AVOID AT ALL COSTS. This was by far the worst meal I had in Mexico and it was also the most expensive. Tourist trap garbage, all the flavors were off. Restaurant was almost empty. Should have known by the weird feeling i got when I walked in that it was not going to be good.

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  1. Thanks for the useful and informative report.

    1. Thanks, also - for the great report.

      Congratulations on maneuvering the logistics of the street vendor scene so that you didn't get sick.

      I'm particularly careful with the juice vendors, after encountering so many who "cut" the juice with water. Many/most of the vendors have already squeezed/poured the juice before you walk up to a stand that it's difficult to ascertain what's inside the glass. So, what I do - is to ask the person to freshly squeeze my order - in front of me. Some vendors grumble, others comply without a comment. I don't recall eating at one of the Tacos El Tizoncito locations, but I have been to Taqueria Tlaquepaque - about which my opinion is neutral; don't like, don't dislike.

      I've had some good breakfasts at Cafe Popular, but I read comments of others that are negative. I've enjoyed La Habana, but I'm not much of a coffee drinker - so it's not on my list of places to visit anymore. Cafe Tacuba is a strong favorite of mine, in particular for the house rendition (made at the restaurant) of Mole Poblano smothering one of the restaurant's typically huge breasts of chicken. Cafe Tacuba has great atmosphere and I've always found it a good place to 'people watch,' particularly so in the evening when many of the city's 'well heeled' upper crust show-up for coffee and something light to eat. Los Girasoles is one of the city's most over-rated restaurants, IMO - and I don't recommend it to people I care about.

      Again, thanks for the excellent report.

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      My photos of Cuetzalan, Puebla: http://tinyurl.com/62ubvg