We were in Mexico City for the weekend, like we say down here "de pisa y corre" but still we had a great time. Reforma was transformed, all covered with bycicles, Marcelo Ebrard´s Domingos Ciclistas. We had breakfast at El Cardenal, the one in front of Bellas Artes, inside Sheraton. We forgot and we arrive late, 9:30, it´s much better to get there earlier, we had to wait for more than 1 hr. Oh! it was so much worth it. The chocolate, so creamy, the huazontles omellete, sheep flautas, pancita, gorditas michoacanas, flor de calabaza omellete with a corn tamal covered with bean sauce, pinapple and celery fresh juice....mmm. Even the conchas, which usually are the cheapest Mexican sweet bread, so comercial and artifiacial ingredients, when i buy them at any bakery or supermarket, they used to taste terrible to me. But last Sunday i got the best concha, soft, fresh, made with real butter, i spread on it a little "nata" (El Cardenal really makes an effort to please their clients, nata is not that common)....i was in heaven. Of course we bought the chocolate to make at home, the waiter told me that the secret was that they use whole milk to make it, "leche bronca", from a ranch the restaurant has in Estado de México....The hostess told us that the secret was evaporated milk, "leche Carnation". I am going to try both....When we left they were preparing the logs to make the restaurant trade mark for lunch: pecho de ternera. After that we visited the Museo Interactivo de Economía, it was a great weekend.
The Sheraton Alameda El Cardenal is one of my favorite Mexico City restaurants. Xacinta is so right: the owner and her staff go out of their way to make every diner's meal a memorable experience. Nata--delicious. "Leche bronca"--raw milk for the hot chocolate, also delicious. Everything, from the botanitas in the molcajete for starters to the desserts, is out of this world.
I took the attached photo in the dining room at El Cardenal Alameda. Mmm...I am missing it now!
We really enjoyed our breakfast a year or so ago at El Cardenal Las Palmas (Centro). (We were standing outside at the door at the 9 a.m. opening.
But the first part of that breakfast, of super rico pan dulce con natas and chocolate was considerably better than the second part. I had huevos con chilorio, my wife had some kind of soupy, cheesey eggs. They were "nice".
Overall, a very pleasant experience. We enjoyed the old fashioned, genteel atmosphere,
A later visit for dinner, at the end of September, 2008, was marred by crowding and a very poorly located table. I blogged that experience here. http://tinyurl.com/68d3mb
That was a reservation for 4 p.m. on a Saturday. The restaurant was exceedingly busy. Some of the genteel polish had worn off. Notwithstanding, the food was excellent.
I am the official orderer in the family. I order for all. What i do is look at the dishes being served and if I can´t figure out reading the menu, ask the waiter what they are. I ask what the side dish is, "guarnición", if i don´t like it ask what are other options. For example, at El Cardenal the guranición for pumpkin flower omelette is corn tamal cover with bean sauce, but for the spinach omelette my son wanted the side dish didn´t sound that apaeling. So I ask if it was possible to change it....If you are ordering meat always tell the waiter how would you like it to be cooked, "a que término quiero mi carne". Because very often they forget and serve everything well done, "bien cocido". When there´s a waiting line ask for a menu, sometimes the hostess can answer questions about the dishes, and you can look discreetly at the food that is being served. I get what i want but in a polite manner, "gracias", "sería posible", "lo molesto con". At El Cardenal they brought the basket with sweet breads, i didnt´see any corn muffin, "pan de elote", I asked and they brought one. Also, it is important to us to ask if it is too hot, "muy picoso". In Zacatecas we couldn´t eat most of the fillings at Gorditas Doña Julia. I told the waiter when i was ordering, my kids don´t eat any chile, and he insisted they were not hot, when i returned most of them we didn´t have to pay for them.
Mmmm... thanks for the detailed report of your meal. We'll be there in less than 2 weeks and we're staying right around the corner from the Sheraton, so hopefully we'll have more than one chance to indulge at El Cardenal. Was your meal (which you ordered after 10:30, I suppose) still considered Breakfast? If we get there at 8, will we be ordering from the same menu as you? And do you remember what time they close in the evening? On the Sheraton website, the hours given are much later (I think 8 pm) than the other El Cardenal locations. I guess this is to satisfy hotel guests.