We passed a glorious gourmandizing weekend in Mexico City. Afterward, back home, it was difficult at first to organize the information in a meaningful way, without boring my readers with excess details.
I think I've got my plan sorted out now. Our stay at the Hotel Pal I'll describe on Surviving La Vida Buena .
The small eats and taquerías I'll cover briefly. Three significant restaurants, El Huequito, Casino Español and Boca del Río will be covered in more detail.
Here's a simple list of the highlights of our visit:
• Hotel y Villas Pal Yes; that description of our hotel will be on Surviving La Vida Buena
• Tacos Xotepingo, our first meal on arrival.
• Panificadora "Las Palmas"... a modest bakery just down the street from the Hotel.
• Cafetería "Doña Bárbara... quirky coffehouse around the block on Calle Luis Moya.
• Cafetería "La Piccolina"...a cozy little coffee house a few blocks up Luis Moya, across from the Hotel San Diego.
•Cocina "Vianey", on Calle Ernesto Pugibet, a half a block west of Mercado San Juan. (Barbacoa y consomé los sábados y los domingos)
• Mercado San Juan de Especialidades; the nucleus of our interests.
• The "Coffee Corner", Aranda and Ayuntamiento, with 3 coffeehouses/roasters, and another 2 blocks away, at Mercado San Juan.
• Pulquería "Las Duelistas", on Aranda, for a wild and crazy taste of pulque in an hallucinatory environment.
• Vinos y deli "La Europea"; fine wines and liquors and delicacies.
• Molinera de Chiles (and other spices) "El Progreso".
• Restaurante "El Huequito", the big brother sit-down restaurant to the original "hole-in-the wall" taco stand on Ayuntamiento, in the La Europea building.
• Casino Español (the big splurge); a grand edifice on Calle Isabel La Católica, with high ceilinged halls leading to a surpringly pleasant and conservative dining room.
• Café "Jekimir"; a Lebanese style coffee house, on Calle Isabel near Calle Regina.
• "Biblos", tienda chica de comida Libanés; the one to which we were directed is in the garment district, on Calle El Salvador, east of Pino Súarez and just past Calle Correo Mayor. I had genetic flashbacks to New York's Lower East Side while walking that area in Mexico City's Centro.
• Bar "Salon Corona", the original one on Bolívar, Centro.
• Restaurante "Boca del Río"; the original, huge seafood eating hall on Ribera San Cosme, Colonia San Rafael.
Admittedly, it's impossible for any one person to cover all of the Mexico City eating opportunities in a short time. You'd run out of money, or die trying. So, I decided to focus on the area I'm calling the "Barrio San Juan", whose boundaries I define as Avenida Júarez on the north, Av Balderas to the west, Eje Central 3 (San Juan de Letrán) to the east, and Av Arcos de Belén as the south area. We confined our selves mostly to the southern and central areas, plus forays eastward into the true Centro Histórico.
Here's a draggable, interactive map of the area to which I refer. Our hotel, the Pal, is in the southwestern corner, just east of Metro Balderas.
Click "View Mexico City, D.f. in a larger map" and you shall receive.
View Mexico City, D.f. in a larger map
We ate a lot, shopped some, and fortunately, walked more. In general, it was a very satisfactory visit. In Part 2, I'll briefly describe some of the smaller places we enjoyed. Part 3 will review the big deal dinners. The rest will develop as it will.
Bulletin! "StreetgourmetLa", on Chowhound.com, describes the "Ricos Tacos Toluca, in the same general area as we were exploring.