I got some better pics of beautiful Oriental vegetables, then went to the Spanish deli stand called "La Suiza", and admired the salamis and cheeses. I got a small section of salami, which was actually produced in Mexico. It's delicious. They also had some nicely packaged soup and stock bases, in large, and very expensive containers, but they were willing to sell me a small sample bag for about $30.
By this time, Doña Cuevas had left the building to sit in the park, pleading ennui, but in reality, unable to face our retirement nest egg dribbling away in mustard spoons.
I forged on, boarding the platform along the length of the three refrigerator cases of "La Holandesa". There, an genial owner, gladly chatted with me about the hanging jamones serranos de bellota, the Queso Manchego Español ($800 a kilo), and other delights. He allowed me to take many photos of what for me were tempting delicacies at unaffordable prices. I did succumb to purchasing a half ball of Queso Provolone Ahumado, at $58! It's terrific, a rare treat in Mexico.
With that, and my head spinning from the elevated prices, I exited to the park and Doña Cuevas, and we resumed our shopping excursion elsewhere.
On our return walk from the Far Eastern Region of the Biblos and the Garment District, we'd stopped for a refresher at Bar Salon Corona, on C/ Bolívar 24, Centro. (There is another one, in a cross street, not far away.)
The Salon and its entrance have been remodeled since this picture was taken, some years ago. Anonymous wrote that that is actually the Bar Salon Corona in San Miguel de Allende. Here's a photo of the exterior of the Cd. México, Bolívar Salon. Since I have a few principles, and of the two, one is not to borrow photos from blogger brethren, so I'll just give a link. Click here.
Salon Corona is noted for its cold draft beer and its tortas. So I had the famous Torta de Bacalao (prepared salt cod and potatoes) and Doña Cuevas the Torta Gringa (carne pastor and melted cheese). The bacalao was pretty good, but I don't see why it's famous. It's a good snack. The beer was fine, the waiter congenial (and English speaking), and the Salon Corona is worth a stop if you are nearby, but it's not destination dining.
Later that Monday afternoon, our friend and former neighbor, Larry W. arrived at the Hotel Pal. After he had time to freshen up, we again set forth on the trek to the mero Centro Histórico, with El Huequito on Bolívar our goal.
We retraced our earlier path through the Barrio San Juan, where, upon emerging from the park, we found the Pulquería Las Duelistas.* I'd read a note recently by Nick Gilman about the pulquería, which has been repainted and revived, and is once again a local hot spot.
*If you can get ahold of a copy of "The People's Guide To Mexico" by Havens, Franz and Rogers, read the section on Cantinas and the one on Pulque. Great stuff.As we approached the Pulquería, we noted the inclusion of a supine male figure on the sidewalk outside, sleeping off an excess of pulque. We thought it was a nice touch to add to the "Real México" ambience.
La Doña was hesitant to go inside, wondering if nice ladies were welcome, so I peeked over the swinging doors and saw several very nice ladies already inside, lifting their tarros of pulque and holding their own with the machos.
"It's ok. Let's go in."
The noise level of some unknown, primeval music was near the audible pain threshhold. That was complemented by by lurid murals in screaming colors of Aztec motifs, mostly on the theme of the Tzompantli. That's the rack where the skulls of sacrificed victims were displayed. (I am not making this up!)
Were the murals the Mexican equivalent of the Surgeon General's Warning on Pulque?
Our amiable host led us to a table which we shared with a young couple already well into a large, plastic pitcher of pulque. We introduced ourselves and exchanged business cards. ;-)
They were helpful in explaining the various "cures" or flavors of pulque available. They were drinking a "Campechana", which is every flavor mixed except for beet. I asked to try "natural", which you already know is pulque without added flavors. Our waiter brought a small glass of the fizzy, slightly cloudy liquid, which was tart and yeasty, just as I remembered it from previous tastings.
Our companions offered us a sip of their cinnamon-flecked pulque, and Larry accepted. When our waiter returned, we ordered, shouting a tarro for two of avena pulque, which is oats with a dash of cinnamon. It was somewhat sweet, and not unpleasant, but not my drink.
I plunged in and ordered the pulque curado con apio, a luminescent, green beverage flavored with celery, a squirt of lime juice and served in a salt-rimmed mug. Mmm! Tart and refreshing.
It was like Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Mexican style, for adults.
We paid our very low cuenta, said our goodbyes and resumed our walk. I could feel a light buzz in in brain and Larry also reported mild effects of borrachismo. We made it in good form to El Huequito.
(Two doors to the left of Las Duelistas is the wonderful spice and condiments shop, "Molinera de Chiles El Progreso", where we bought a few things. They have an extensive price list/catalog to give out and I recommend this place, but I won't describe it here as we didn't buy much. Prices seem reasonable.)
I'll try to make this short and get down to the elements.
Larry and I shared an order of Medallones de Filete de Res Al Limón Inglés. Two tender and juicy filets of beef, French Fries and Guacamole. Very good.
We also ordered a plate of Costillas BBQ, which were o.k., but to us Southern Living Gentlemen, the ribs did not compare with those Down South of the Mason-Dixon Line but North of the Mexican-U.S. Border. But not bad.
Mi Esposa wisely ordered an Ensalada Especial El Huequito, which was all vegetables except for the very good strips of bacon on top.
We also shared two bowls of the excellent Frijoles de La Olla.
I can't remember what we drank. It didn't have alcohol in it. I also can't remember what the meal cost, but somewhere around the mid 500's seems right.
Restrooms: Very clean.
Outside again, it was dark. We eventually hailed a cab and returned to the hotel.
Tuesday morning, we walked the few blocks to Cafetería La Piccolina (our 3rd vist in 4 days) and had full breakfasts. The Huevos Rancheros, Enmoladas and Chilaquiles con Pollo were fine to excellent. The café con leche was a bit less cargado than previously, but still excellent.
I don't recall the total, probably around $260.
I'm going to skip the star ratings this time, saying only that when in that area of Mexico City, La Piccolina will be our coffee and breakfast place from here onward.
Thanks to those of you who lasted this far for your patient attention. I will need to rest and recharge for a few days now before blogging again.