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Mexico City Eating and Walking, Puebla too!

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Hi all,
I'm a Seattle Chowhound coming down at the end of this week to do some hardcore eating in Mexico City, Puebla and San Juan del Rio, though the latter will be with friends that live there.

Our usual method for exploring giant foreign cities is to research a few local specialties, a few restaurants and then just wander about, get lost and make sure to walk at least as many miles as we have food stops (often as much as 12/day). We've got a total of 5 days in D.F. (though at least one is lost to the pyramids and maybe one more to the canals)

I'd love if people have guidance (either specific restaurants or just neighborhoods/streets that are great for wandering). We'll be two people and I spoke fluent Spanish at some point in my life, so I'm assuming it will return when we get there, so I'm not overly concerned about safety (though I've lived in Latin America and know enough to not be stupid).

So where is your favorite food? Best markets for eating or for buying things to bring home?

I've done some research and have the list below, which you should feel free to comment on. We'll be staying in Condesa but obviously visiting various areas, including the Zocalo. Is there a place that's further out that's worth the trip? Or are we better off just wandering near by?

Tacos Don Güero
La Abuela,
Izote
Villa Maria
Fonda el Refugio
Focolare
Restaurante Arroyo
Mero Toro
El Hidalguense
La Veracruzana
Pablo el Erizo
El Cardenal
Sanborns Los Azulejos
Caravanserai
Place in front of Parque Morena..
cochinita pibil spot in Colonia Narvarte
best quesadillas ever, stand on Museo
El Huequito.
Tacos El Güero
La Castellana
Azul

We're open to any budget, but since we like to get a bite or two at each place to fully sample, we don't tend to do super fancy places unless they're truly unique and unforgettable (we're leaning toward Mero Toro fitting that)

Thanks in advance for your help, and I look forward to updating you guys through the trip and after!

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  1. The Centro is great for walking but stay over on the Cinco de Mayo side as the other side of the Zocolo is terribly crowded, also San Angel and Coyoacan are lovely, there are tons of great restaurants in the Coyoacan zocolo and you can visit Frieda Kahlo's house too.

    1. All of Puebla is very easy to walk around, again their zocolo has tons of great restaurants and lots of places that sell their beloved milanese sandwiches. The Camino Real and Holiday Inn are both beautiful places to have a drink. There's a good Italian place in the zocolo with white leather sofas outside and a fantastic coffee shop which has the best hot chocolate in the world.

      1. I would say Izote is a do-not-miss, truly out of the ordinary.

        El Cardenal for sure, but go to the one at the Sheraton rather than the one on Palmas.

        Azul/Condesa yes, by all means. The octopus appetizer, the enchiladas de mole negro, the buñuelos de pato (also with mole negro), etc etc.

        Add to your list the following: a Sunday comida at the Azcapotzalco original location of El Bajío and a Saturday at neighboring restaurant Nico's.

        Dulce Patria! Dulce Patria! GO!

        Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

        4 Replies
        1. re: cristina

          Thank you so much! This is great advice, will make sure we get to all of these!

          1. re: cristina

            Thanks guys! So far we hit
            mero toro- great food, but not that different than what get at home, so sort of disappointing
            azul condesa- amazing, must do, one of the best meals in my life, drinks too!
            El hidalguense- the barbacoa of my dreams
            Flor de lis- great tamales
            La bodega- good music and ambience

            Today and tomorrow we are still in df, but we are hitting the edge of our budget, so any suggestions on the cheaper side are welcome. We are also back in df at the end of the week. Thanks for the advice! Y'all are great!

            1. re: dagoose

              Sunday comida at El Bajío at the original location in Azcapotzalco in the northern part of the DF--not expensive, truly traditional, and absolutely delicious. I recommend the infladitas, the empanadas de plátano, the...well, see here: http://mexicocooks.typepad.com/mexico....

              Are you staying in La Condesa? That's where I live...want to have a coffee or a drink? patalarga@baddog.com.

              Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

              1. re: dagoose

                I really love Fonda el Refugio, their chicken tacos and rice pudding are out of this world and it's not expensive.

            2. Not sure if you are still in town, but we ate yesterday at Rosetta - fabulous Italian restaurant...and today at Osteria 8 in Roma Norte...also Italian..great pizza, wonderful owners and staff (and not destined to break the budget). We would go back to both anytime.

              1. Hi! Thanks all for the suggestions, we had a great trip, ate very well and managed to walk enough that I didn't gain a ton of of weight! I consider that incredibly successful.

                Izote was definitely the highlight of the trip, and while expensive, in reality it came out to about $125, with drinks, for the two of us. Considering what we pay for food at home and the caliber, it was completely worth it and not that expensive.

                Azul Condessa was cheaper and also completely great.

                We spent a lot of time eating whatever we found on the street--it becomes extremely clear, when there is a crowd of 10-15 stands around a subway stop and one has a line 15 deep and none of the others do, which one to eat at.

                In Mexico city, at the corner of Querataro and...one block south of Zacatecas, I can't remember the street, (Roma) we found the motherlode of great drinking: La Graciela, a brewpub with great microbrews from around Mexico (our favorites were from Minerva, in Guadalajara), La Botica for your mezcal education and La Nuclear, a fabulous pulqueria, where the owner was making the pulques for the evening, showed us around, it's sort of old/folklorish, with out being too corny. Worth a stop if Pulque interests you.

                In Puebla, we didn't eat anywhere that stands out too much, though did have a fabulous comida corrida (quick lunch, set menu) at a place not far from the zocalo called Fonda Santa Lucia, I believe. Cemitas la Poblana, in the Mercado del Carmen were also definitely worth it.

                If you're looking for a higher end meal in Puebla, we loved the Cabrito that was available at Hostal las Brisas, on the far side of town. Also, La Pasita bar was fairly fun, chatting with the bartender and downing slightly sweet shots of local alcohols made from raisins, almonds, limes or whatever else.

                I'll update the thread again when I've started posting things on my blog (www.thegastrognome.com) so people can get a better idea, but I wanted to report back and thank everyone for the help!

                4 Replies
                1. re: dagoose

                  For a recap of a recent and fabulous Izote tasting menu, see here:
                  http://mexicocooks.typepad.com/mexico... Wow.

                  Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                  1. re: dagoose

                    Is Hostal las Brisas in Puebla in the Zona Dorada area but just off on a side street? If so I have been there three times for cabrito over the years ...outstanding

                    1. re: peterjwilliams51

                      Is the zona Dorada down avenida juarez, to the west of the tourist district? It's right off Avenida Juarez down there...

                      1. re: dagoose

                        That is the place, thanks for posting the name, I could never remember it. Ay que rico el cabrito!