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Jan 5, 2014 08:15 PM

help me with these uniquely mex city chow items

hi all - staying in centro near alameda.

review my list and help me find good examples of uniquely mex city chow - tia!

babacoa w/salsa borracha
its the salsa that makes it unique to me and i understand to d.f. - w/chiles and pulque
El Hidalguense?

budin azteca
no idea where, but looking forward to it

caldo tlalpeno
again, where do they make a good version?

pulqueria las duelistas is near where i am staying, any recs on what to order?
i see another pulqueria in xochimilco where i want to visit, anyone know that one?

aside from tacos al pastor and tacos arabe, any other uniquely capitalista chow i should try?

thanks for your recs and suggestions - of course i will report back

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  1. Do you have Gilman's book, "Good Food in Mexico City"? Answers to your questions are there, also on his blog.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MrsPatmore

      yes i have been reading his blog its helpful but a little broad. i only have a week and cant travel hours out to Barbacoa Santiago in Querétaro, great as it looks. i was hoping chowhounders familiar with mex city could chime in with their recs too.

      1. re: mrnyc

        Send him an email through his blog, I'm sure he'd be happy to respond to your specific questions. I hope you have a great trip!

    2. i forgot to add camotes. sounds like a nice snack.

      what about pambozo tortas? are they only available weekly street markets like sullivan or can you get them at places like torta been too?

      2 Replies
      1. re: mrnyc

        Rather than search for specific food sites, I suggest just going for a walk in areas where such foods are offered. You may discover some great new places all on your own.

        One street that is full of inexpensive street food is Calle López, from Metro Salto de Agua north to Calle Ayuntamiento, Centro.

        Another, lesser area for street food stands is Calle Mérida, Colonia Roma Norte, between Avenida Álvaro Obregón and Calle Guanajuato. (Disclaimer: I haven't tried any, but they seem to be very popular)
        Also, scattered but interesting street food stands along Calle de Puebla, Col. Roma Norte, between Calle Orizaba and adjacent streets.

        I have read much about street food possibilities near Metro Chilpancingo, in Colonia Condesa, but haven't explored them.

        Camotes tend to be vended by itinerant, ambulant vendors with carts, in the late afternoon and early evening. You have to listen for the characteristic, weird sound steam whistle to know that camotes are nearby.

        Pambazos are not limited to certain days. They are where you find them.

        El Hidalguense barbacoa is very good, but not necessarily the best. Also, FWIT\W, it's pricier than your average barbacoa. One place to try for some tasty barbacoa de borrego, if you don't mind waiting in a long line, Saturdays and Sundays only, is at Cocina Económica Vianey, on Calle Ernesto Pugibet near the corner of Calle Luis Moya. Vianey is very near Mercado San Juan, also on E. Pugibet.

        To conclude, there's much much more to the Mexico City street food scene than shows up in the media or on the Internet. You can find much all on your own,once you know where to start looking.

        1. re: Anonimo

          El Hidalguense's barbacoa seemed reheated from yesterday, versus the killer tacos carved fresh from a steaming borrego a ten minute walk from the Aeromexico terminal (weekends only):

      2. Is Pulque las Duelistas in Garibaldi Square? That's always a wonderful place to visit with all the pulquerias and mariachis.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bronwen

          Pulquería Las Duelistas is on Calle Arandas, next to Molinera El Progreso (source for seeds, nuts, beans spices etc) and both are just a few yards from Calle Ayuntamiento.

        2. Xochimilco is easy to get to, get the Metro and the light rail.

          1. just got home, thanks for your help everyone. here's the report:

            el maguey for pulque. i had tarro mugs of strawberry and peanut. my first pulque, they were delicious. i had curado style, apparantly they only have fresh pulque sporadically. el maguey is a bar w/great 2nd floor atmosphere w/dj & live rock band playing mex&us pop hits. i had a bolo of tasty dark draft beer too. fun & relaxing on my final night and pulque is definately something you must try in mex city. apparently pulquerias used to be on every corner, but they are rare now.

            la mascota - this is the classic cantina bourdain loved and rightly so. i went on a sunday afternoon, which is perfect, but really anytime is. solo men stand and eat and drink at the bar, while couples, groups, families sit and mariachis stroll in and out. the cantinero just brings on the 8 daily botana specials until you say no mas. i had caldo tlapeno, which was hands down the winner, tostadas de ceviche, veracruz style filete de pescado and a sincronizada and was ready to burst. the owner, cantinero and my new local amigos at the bar chatted me up and we worked it all out in our so-so spanish and english, until drinks were flying around and i had to leave lol! highly recommended. if i had to pick just one place to eat it would easily be here, just a fantastic, friendly and fun atmosphere and serious botanas that change daily. you know its true when even the cooks and staff are smiling and laughing in their work. set meals as well.

            la bipo/pasaguero - i had quesadillas here, machaca con queso and flor de jamaica con queso. they bring out a variety of salsas to dip them in. very tasty when hot.

            las ramblas (across calle motolina from pasaguero) - i had a decent pavo ahumado (smoked turkey) torta here because that is their thing. i really wanted to try one and it was fine, but not amazing or anything.

            centro cafe - was my coffee spot on calle bolivar. tiny, low-key, relaxing, cool staff and fine coffee.

            dona yoli - upstairs in a market bldg, behind the zocalo and near plaza loreto. i had red pozole with pork. you get an absolutely scorching hot salsa sauce on the side to add. they have comida corrida set meals too. absolutely delicious, but you might share one both for two people with tostadas, because after having a bowl solo i didnt eat for the rest of the day!

            el huequito - just excellent tacos al pastor at this mini-chain. in fact wow were they good, especially when compared to our typical middle eastern/greek gyros in ny ha! chorizo was tasty as well. very speedy service. i would say 1-2 tacos are a quick snack and 3 or more a meal. full of locals, huge menu and lots to try.

            next to el huequito (on bolivar) were two other delicious standouts i tried on other nights, a ceviche tostada stand run by a cool guy with various super fresh choices that he adds a little green salsa with a kick to, and a sprinkle of cotija. pretty much the perfect eat and go snack, or you could make a meal of trying several of them and be very very happy.

            the other place was a classic stand nearby called tacos cucuyo. they have all the meat in a huge bubbling caldron, pull out your order, chop it up, dip the tortilla in the pot and warm it up, add some onions and salsa and whoomp there it is. you can add other salsas, radishes, etc yourself and order the grilled onion as well. basically, it a typical, perfect taco stand.

            pharmacies, oxxo or 7/11 convenient stores are all around centro for bottled water, razors, which i forgot to bring, and stuff like that. banks, money exchanges and of course plenty of shopping too.

            teonochtitlan pyramids - i didnt eat here, but on the bus back i saw some interesting stands that i read about, but forgot about. they are outside just left (south) of the northern gate that you could walk down to. they looked shady and relaxing for sure, which you are going to need after your visit. busses come along until 6pm that take you back to indios verde and autobus del norte stations, where you can get the subway, so no reason to feel rushed after hiking all over the pyramids.

            xochimilco - i was able to try a tlapique style tamal here by one of the docks, it was fish and i gad a green salsa. very filling and good, but not as unique as i thought it would be. i had also had pancita at one of the dozen or so competing stands in the market that was just awesome. walking down pancita row was quite an experience, where the proprietors all try to convince you there version is best. frankly, they all looked the best lol! i love my sopas and this was very delicious, in fact i was ready to burst. it's a long ride down to the xochi aztec canal area, but well worth the effort for food fans. the mercado had an eye-opening array of produce, meats, herbs, seasonings, vendors etc., but unlike merced mercado for example, its easily manageable.

            coyoacan - i had a flat oaxaca style chicken breakfast tamal just outside of the train station and it was great. no atole, but they had warm horchada and that hit the spot as i walked.

            coyoacon mercado - i had a couple mixed seafood tostadas here. they have several irresistible ceviche tostada stands to choose from that you will not be able to resist and you shouldnt.

            el jarocho - excellent, historic and atmosphere coffeehouse that roasts right in front of you. they have food too. a must visit after visiting frida kahlo's casa azul and trotsky's abode. save yr sweet tooth for next door > churreria de la republica - for treats like churros azucar and churros rellenos. beware like any donuts, these are addictive when so warm and fresh!

            san angel - i rested up and recharged the iphone at barbacoa de santiago on the plaza san jacinto. its a mini-chain with decent barbacoa and other choices. i just wasnt up to fonda san angel across the street, but i did have a couple margaritas later at the san angel inn after visiting diego y frida's studio. afterward i got coffee at starbucks on altavista. you have to ask for milk they dont have it out. strangely restful as set below the almost american suburban style altavista shopping street.

            condesa - there is only one place as far as i am concerned - tacos hola for veggie tacos. a spinach and nopales mix was my favorite. they open early, so best to go before noon i think. if i am dreaming about one meal on the trip, it was tacos here.

            roma - nonsolo in front of plaza cabrera for a glass of wine and a panini and to recharge the phone. another mini-chain, was nice to rest, great staff, but nothing memorable, including the wine and drink choices.

            later, while waiting for gallerie omr to reopen after their afternoon luchtime siesta, i went to la covadonga, just above plaza rio, and stuffed myself with paella. highly recommended old school spanish place, although it just reminded me of la nacional across the street from my place back home in ny and made me thankful for it lol.

            well thats mostly it. obviously this was just dipping a toe into the mex city food scene, there is so much to see, do and of course eat, i cant wait to go back.