I will be the first to admit I get spring fever all year round. I just love to go see new places. I’ve got a pretty full schedule coming up in the next few months, so when I had an mopportunity to take a quick trip to Mexico City, I jumped on it! Surprisingly, in spite of my love for good Mexican food, I’ve never been to Mexico City. I had an amazing time and even better, had some absolutely amazing food.
Polanco, Mexico City
I stayed in Polanco, which is an upscale neighborhood in Mexico City. I didn’t realize how nice it really is, but it is a beautiful neighborhood with lots of parks and shopping (very upscale shopping, so if you’re looking for more authentic stores you’ll have to get out of the neighborhood.) Polanco is home to some of the best restaurants in Mexico and the world, and though I didn’t try the highly rated Quintonil, I did have a food tour in Polanco that was just amazing.
The Food Tours I took and Loved
Whenever I visit a new city, I always book a food tour. Not only are you gaining local knowledge and a flavor for the city, but you’ll also learn your way around. For Polanco, we took a a tour with Mexican Food Tours, and Victor was a great and knowledgeable guide. However, too much delicious food! If you’re heading to Mexico City, do yourself a favor and book with them.
For Puebla, we booked with Tip Tours. They arranged for a driver from our hotel to Puebla where we met Alejandra, our guide for the day. A wonderful trip through the city showed us beautiful churches, local art, and of course, amazing food.
Eating Polanco, Mexico City
We started with an amazing bowl of tortilla soup- robust, flavorful, slightly spicy, and earthy. Probably the best I’ve had. From there we had a version of sopas, with refried beans, cheese, and a delicious salsa verde. An amazing cochonita pibil taco followed at Taqueria El Turix, a very unassuming, tiny restaurant. Utterly amazing, with the hottest, best salsa I have ever had. Then, it was on to an authentic Oaxacan restaurant, Guzina Oaxaca, with table-side made molcajete salsa, and a different version of sopas with freshly-made, thick tortillas.
As if that was not enough to overwhelm us, we finished with a really good Al Pastor taco, marinated to a bright orange then rotisserie roasted, sliced, and served with pineapple. Also served by the restaurant was a taco al negro (my guess is that it was their version of the Taco Arabé, but it really paled in the comparison to the one we had in Pueblo.) It also didn’t nearly come up to the flavor of the traditional al pastor taco.
Day 2, a bit of a slow down
Both my husband and I were a bit under the weather on the next day, so we kept it rather sedate. We were so impressed by Guzina Oaxaca, we returned for a light snack for a late lunch. There, we ordered a sampler platter of Oaxacan dishes, which included grasshoppers! Yes, I tried them, and they tasted of lime. We also went to a wonderful local restaurant, Rosa Negra, for dinner. Though we ordered light, everything was delicious. The table beside us ordered a table-side tomahawk flambé, so that was an adventure to watch. A ceviche assortment was also wonderful and fresh, along with some amazing short rib tacos.
A Day Trip to Puebla
Day three took us to on a day trip to Puebla, one of Mexico’s food capitals. Puebla (along with Oaxaca) is known for their mole sauces, and I am in love with them. We had tried some really, really good molé sauces at Guzman Oaxaca (an Oaxacan restaurant in Mexico City) on Monday, and I was looking forward to trying more. I wasn’t disappointed!
Our first stop was in the market in Puebla. We tried a hand made quesadilla, with delicious Oaxaca cheese, mushrooms, and zucchini flowers. So good and fresh. Then, a trip to a local restaurant with truly three delicious molé sauces. My favorite was the absolutely enchanting chocolate molé, but my husbands was the pepian molè with a nutty, multi-faceted flavor. We finished our trip with a hand-made moletes, which are filled, fried tortillas, filled with potatoes and local cheese, and dressed in salsas.
Taco, Tacos, Tacos
My main goal on my trip was tacos, in my humble opinion, the perfect food. Along with some amazing sauces and the aforementioned cochinita pibil taco, we tried several Tacos al Pastor, and a delicious Tacos Arabes in Puebla. This was the first time I had tried a taco Arabes, and really loved it. The Al Pastor taco is actually a Mexico City evolvement of the taco Arabes, which originated in Puebla. The Arabes comes from Lebanese or Iraqi immigrants who cooked Shwarma, which is normally made with lamb. Since pork is king in Mexico, the “poblanos” developed their own, delicious version using pork marinated with oregano, cumin, lime, and garlic.
With Al Pastor tacos, generally the meat is served on the tortilla (with roasted pineapple,) and then you garnish the taco with onions, cilantro, etc. With tacos Arabes, the layers of meat are interspersed with onions, garlic, and parsley to create an all-in-one taco, no additions needed (well, except for a spicy chipotle sauce.)
Wrapping up a Quick Trip To Mexico City
I certainly didn’t have enough time for a deep dive into Mexican food culture, but I did eat some amazing food, and I will certainly return soon. Mexico City, along with Puebla, Oaxaca, and the Yucatan, is one of the four pillars of Mexican cuisine. I still have a trip to Oaxaca to go on, and have to spend more time exploring the food cultures in other areas as well. In short, a whirlwind, delicious trip that leaves me wanting more.
As always, I hope you enjoy. Now, get out there and eat the world!