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50th Birthday in Mexico City!

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foodpro13 Jan 2, 2010 04:23 PM

I'm turning 50 on January 25th, so I'm flying down to Mexico City for a few days (22-25) to celebrate. We're staying near at the Holiday Inn Centro, but will travel anywhere. I've read some reviews of La Tecla that make me think it might the perfect place for the "nice" dinner, but I'd love more ideas on that as well as some of Mexico City's funkier places.

Thanks!

Dennis

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    pammi RE: foodpro13 Jan 3, 2010 06:16 PM

    My husband and I returned from Mexico City today and I have two thoughts for you: Pujol, which could be perfect for you. The room was very elegant,designed with a cool vibe, a nice looking crowd and most especially the food- the kind of Mexican food that is not traditional, but rather an interpretation of Mexican. Also, we went to San Angel Inn for lunch yesterday. We sat in the outdoor patio at lunchtime- the sun was bright,the large patio was white and filled with beautiful trees. Lovely trio playing soft music and great food. So romantic!! They were are two favorite meals there..

    1 Reply
    1. re: pammi
      ChefJune RE: pammi Jan 3, 2010 08:28 PM

      Pammi, were you at the Fonda San Angel? If so, I'm not surprised.

      Pujol is where I would suggest for the OP's special meal. The food is divine and the ambiance warm yet sophisticated.

    2. streetgourmetla RE: foodpro13 Jan 5, 2010 09:09 AM

      Happy birthday. Such a special occasion should be at Pujol, if you're looking to Polanco and Condessa. Pujol is amazing.

      Tecla is a nice place, great staff, but unremarkable food, with fancy plates. The plating isn't unique either.

      I had a fava bean soup that was bland, blown away by a comida corrida at 75 cents the next day. The tuna stuffed piquillo peppers were fine, but I've had better here in town. The steak with sauces of elote and huitlacoche were not complex, nor did they had rustuc home cooking intensity.

      Tecla is not bad food, and it wasn't overpriced, but in that price range, you should be receiving at least a memorable, if not exceptional meal. I ended up there by accident, the first choice was closed and I had little time to get to somewhere else due to a get together in the area. I met some nice people there and tried a dish they had, it was better than the items I had, but still somewhat ordinary. Would not go back.

      Another consideration would be a cantina. I love these places. SOme have amazing regional and national dishes, the more you drink, the more you eat. The complimentary botanas(snacks, like Mexican tapas) come after you've consumed 3 drinks.This is great for a couple or a group, and solo diners can end up at someones table! They are rowdy, fun, and delicious. You are near several. Salon Corona has an incredible taco menu, cod, veal, octopus, etc., and is always packed.

      You're right next to the hotel Canada, which is connected to a great place for juice. It's just to the left of the hotel called Jugos Canada, walking away from the Zocalo on Cinco de Mayo.

      3 Replies
      1. re: streetgourmetla
        Gypsy Jan RE: streetgourmetla Jan 12, 2010 03:23 PM

        Hi SGLA,

        Is visiting a cantina an acceptable activity for a single woman?

        1. re: Gypsy Jan
          streetgourmetla RE: Gypsy Jan Jan 12, 2010 03:43 PM

          Sure it is, but watch out in some of these places. Many cantinas are casual and some are old school. Women are welcome in all, but single women travelers always need to choose ambiance wisely. YEs, perfectly acceptable.

          1. re: Gypsy Jan
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            gomexico RE: Gypsy Jan Jan 13, 2010 05:03 AM

            Depending upon the level of cantina it is, my gut reaction is that, no, it's not socially (traditionally) acceptable for a woman to patronize a cantina alone and to do so invites problems. There are updated versions of cantinas were women patrons frequent, though - in the touristy or modern/commercial developments.

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          pammi RE: foodpro13 Jan 6, 2010 12:13 PM

          It's so nice when everyone agrees! Pujol seemes to be everybody's favorite. We certainly were impressed. Happy Birthday!!

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            bronwen RE: foodpro13 Jan 7, 2010 08:38 AM

            Los Girasoles is very close to you and has very interesting food. A restaurant I love in Mexico City is Meson El Cid tucked away on Humboldt. It is Spanish and very beautiful and would be a special place for your birthday (the paella is fantastic!)

            1. mjs RE: foodpro13 Jan 7, 2010 12:19 PM

              I recommend Pujol, excelent food and setting. San Angel Inn is a beautiful place but the food is not very good (better just to order their lovely margaritas), I would never go to Los Girasoles except for a drink and some of the botanas, maybe. La Tecla is nice but more apt for a businnes lunch or informal dinner (food nice but not great in any way). In the Centro Historico the Alandaluz in calle Mesones, is a great lebanese place, Al Andar, in calle Regina has very good, simple, lunch menu and a good mezcal selection.

              6 Replies
              1. re: mjs
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                kcward RE: mjs Jan 9, 2010 01:02 PM

                I've always had good food and good service at Los Girasoles, but I've seen a couple of folks say less than flattering things--what is the complaint? Sure there are better places, but there is nothing wrong with Girasoles.

                1. re: kcward
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                  gabo1967 RE: kcward Jan 12, 2010 03:09 PM

                  I'd go to Las Mañanitas in Cuernavaca --- 70 miles away.

                  Yes, the food at Pujol is better, no doubt about it. However, LM is a much more Mexican experience. Lunch overlooking that stunning garden and surrounded by that art is heaven. Even better, stay overnight. You won't regret it. That's where I spent the night after getting married a few miles away 13 yrs ago.

                  1. re: gabo1967
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                    foodpro13 RE: gabo1967 Jan 13, 2010 06:15 AM

                    That sounds like a lovely idea, but no time -- I'm doing one day/night in Puebla (1/21-22) before heading into Mexico City for the rest of the trip (1/22-1/25)

                    Thanks.

                  2. re: kcward
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                    bronwen RE: kcward Jan 13, 2010 09:49 AM

                    I agree, it's sort of fashionable to bash it. I think it's because it really does have some very adventurous old Aztec stuff on the menu - things like escamoles (ants eggs), chapulines (grasshoppers), maguey worms etc. - they really should be lauded for having such authentic Mexican fare.

                    1. re: kcward
                      mjs RE: kcward Jan 13, 2010 11:53 AM

                      Friends and myself have found mediocre food preparation (overcooked fish, meat), overly sweet sauces, a salmon tamal that was heavy, dry and bland. I do like their terraza and in a sunny day it's very nice to have a couple of appetizers like little taquitos, sopes, escamoles, etc. and a tequila.

                      1. re: kcward
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                        gringo_puma RE: kcward Jan 13, 2010 04:17 PM

                        Occasionally I eat at Los Girasoles, but the quality of the food has been hit or miss, i.e. not consistent. My favorite dish is the Chile de la Moneda, an ancho chile stuffed with picadillo and fruit. The margaritas are excellent.

                        The food at La Tecla is an excellent value. The last time I was there, nothing on the menu was over 100 pesos. At Ligaya, nothing is under 100 pesos.

                        I agree with the comment of mjs about the San Angel Inn and would also apply the same comment to the Hacienda de los Morales and MP's Taberna de León. The service in all three of these restaurants is perfunctory and rushed. To me they are theme restaurants, similar to the old Mama Leone's in New York.

                        Near the Holiday Inn Centro, I suggest El Cardenal on Palma, between Madero and Cinco de Mayo, for an excellent Mexican breakfast in a nice setting.

                        I agree that the best choice for a 50th birthday celebration is Pujol.

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