Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mexican Food Awesomeness

Just back from Mexico City, where I ate this meal:

Fresh guacamole prepared at the table at excellent Restaurante Nico's. This recipe uses olive oil!

It was not crushed to a paste, but delicately chopped. Awesome.

Goodbye cholesterol diet: tacos de chamorro. Pork shank. Notice the homemade tortillas. I love how they present the taco garnishes here:

Cilantro, chopped white onion and chopped green chiles. Please note the absence of cabbage. That is an American invention. Wimps.

Sopa ranchera de elote: this was an amazing corn soup that had little surprise bits of goat cheese that melted in the mouth.  It really tasted like homemade, but had that fancy touch. I miss soups that are not loaded with cornstarch. Mexican soups are usually not thick and always incredibly flavorful.

The Small Enchilada ordered this vegetable soup.

She also had the Empipianadas de Guajolote: Red pipián enchiladas stuffed with turkey. Pipián is a sauce made with pumpkin seeds. These had fried onions on top and they were a subtle and unusual flavor. Really elegant.

The Enchilado Brother in Law had the sealed tuna with a vinaigrette of xoconostles and some exotic dried chile from Oaxaca with a very complicated name. This was less traditional but very good.

I had the classic Carne Asada a la Tampiqueña, which tasted exactly like the one from my childhood, which is fabulous. The classic garnish for this steak dish is enchiladas verdes, poblano chilies sauteed with cream and onions, guacamole and refried black beans. Heaven.

The Mini Enchiladitos had tortilla soup and chicken with mole. They seemed very happy. 

For dessert, we also had homemade ate de guayaba, excellent guava paste which was not too sweet, with Reblochon cheese from Querétaro. A chocolate mousse with mezcal in the bottom, and dulce de zapote negro, which is a compote of black zapote fruit that is super refreshing and a great end to an enormous meal. I had to have an "anís campechano en las rocas" as a digestif in order to get up from the table.
It's half sweet anise liqueur and half dry on the rocks. I learned this trick from some professional alcoholics in Mexico. It works like a charm.


  1. Love the spoons with the cilantro, onions and chiles! The "chopped" guacamole sounds interesting... the sopa de elote looks yummy. I'm so jealous!

  2. this is indeed a cross over moment into the sacred variations of guacamole- Madonna, Sante .....with olive oil ! .

    Evidently even the Mexican food maestros grow a little bored with same variations on a their own recipes and chopped is always better then mashed with good guacamole, no matter how you spike it .
    Wonder what Nic Gilman would say to this Italo-Mex. blend?

  3. Yes, but fortunately in this restaurant they haven't started inventing fusion monstrosities yet. He used some olive oil to rub in the molcajete stone with salt. Olive oil is used in traditional Mexican food in many recipes with Spanish influence. Don't get too excited, chef Everett!

  4. I feel like such loser stuffing myself with a bagel while reading this mouth watering post! Everything looks like it was delicious. Great pix. You're like the second coming of Gourmet.

  5. I am a quiet reader of your blog, and was wondering about that whole cabbage thing- I thought cabbage was strictly for fish tacos, no? I grew up eating fish tacos in Baja California (so delicious, that soupy cream that is NOT sour cream, spicy salsa to one's taste, and yes, cabbage), but then again, the vicinity of Baja to the U.S. could mean that whole cabbage thing was an anglo invention to begin with.

    I live in New Haven, CT (for educational purposes only) and as a Los Angeles lady with parents from Jalisco, I am disturbed by how many tacos and burritos I've had with cabbage in them...that are not of the seafood variety. Creeps me out!

    p.s. I really do enjoy your musings!