Sunday, July 15, 2012

Roma Holiday

We returned twice again, dear readers, to Colonia Roma Norte, Mexico City. It's our favorite area of Mexico City in which to stay.

This time we lodged at the Hotel Stanza, which is somewhat above our usual budget, but we used some frequent flyer miles to pay. The Stanza is a busy, full service hotel, with bellhops, wifi throughout, a large restaurant: "Wings"; hotel taxis, business center and a gymnasium. (Naturally, we didn't visit the latter.) Rooms vary a lot in size, so look first before settling in. We enjoyed two nights both coming and going, and I recommend it to you. Rooms vary greatly in size, so look at a couple before settling in. Avenida Álvaro Obregón 13, Colonia Roma Norte, México, D.F.

As to Wings, the restaurant: I usually follow a policy of not eating in the restaurants of the hotels in which we stay. There are some exceptions. For example, if our departure is imminent and the hotel restaurant is most convenient. We have only breakfasted twice at Wings, and it's serviceable. They offer a breakfast buffet for $90 pesos of which Señora Cuevas sampled.

This is their menu page. It's one of those slower loading, virtual menues with images. Have fun!

On our second visit, I had Huevos Veracruzano ($90); eggs scrambled with tomato and onion and rolled in tortillas, bathed in a smooth sauce of frijoles negros and sprinkled with crumbled chorizo. Naturally there was also the obligatory  crema and queso. I did have to send it back as it was tepid, but that was cheerfully carried out. This is an above average dish.

The highlight of breakfast are the creamy, custardy panes de elote, $12 pesos each. Served warm, and I recommend them.

The low point of any meal at Wings are the dreadful bread rolls served in a basket, for which each person is assessed $12 P. It would be best to refuse the bread before it is brought to you. We didn't try the pan dulce.

The coffee is weak, but they bring lots, depending on how busy they are. At peak times, the restaurant is somewhat hectic and service lags. But when not very busy, the waitresses are friendly and chatty.

Conclusion: pricey for mediocre food. They will give you a senior discount if you present an INAPAM credential.

We prefer Bisquets, Bisquets de Obregón for casual, diner type meals. There are two locations close by, on Av. Álvaro Obregón 60, corner of  Calle Mérida. Breakfasts are the best meal, but you can do all right with supper. The aguas frescas are above average. The café con leche is justifiably famous. The pan dulce, made in-house, is very good, but the plain bread rolls very poor. The prices are substantially lower than those at Wings, and overall, it's a better, if cozier place. Again, INAPAM discounts for the qualified.

Moving now, up the price ladder, to Sobrino's, where we went for dinner. This was  our second visit. Sobrino's is part of a triad of restaurants in el D.F. It was preceded by Primo's and Tío's. Be aware that these are hip restaurants serving expensive food. The kitchen has creative ambitions which sometimes, but not always hit their mark.

Sobrino's is located on Avenida Álvaro Obregón at the corner of Calle Orizaba. This is the heart of Nuevo Hip Roma. (El Diez Parrilla Argentina is across the street on Orizaba.)

The ambience of the restaurant is bistro like, and the menu is international with Mexican flourishes. At busy times, it is very noisy, in part due to the tiled floors plus background music.

Suggestions of the day
At this meal, Sra. Cuevas had a Sopa de Lentejas con Salchichas. Very satisfying, just like home made, only more expensive. She followed that with Dorado en Hoja Santa con Frijoles Negros y Queso Panela. She enjoyed that as she loves hoja santa.

Dorado en Hoja Santa, etc.
I had the unjustifiably famed Torta Ahogada de Pato, $120 pesos. This was very disappointing. It's served on a length of baguette. The sauce was sweet-hot. The sweetness and thickness of the tomato based sauce was inappropriate for this dish. The duck was undistinguished. It comes unaccompanied, so I ordered some Papas Fritas. Although pricey at $60 pesos, I recommend them.

Torta Ahogada de Pato
Still hungry, I then ordered an Ensalada de Berros con Manzana y Tocino y Queso. This was the high point of my meal. It's totally delicious, especially the light dressing  and soft, mild, feta-like goat cheese on top; and it all works very well together. If I recall correctly, it was $80 pesos.

Ensalada de Berros (previous visit)
In passing, I saw some tostadas de ceviche that were very attractive. The seafood part of the extensive menu seems to be hidden but the offerings, although expensive, look great.

(I should add that a Sobrino's hamburger, served on a non-traditional length of baguette, is one of the best I've had in el D.F. and a relative bargain. And, it comes with papas fritas included.)

RATINGS (Sobrino's)

Food: ***1/2

Service: ****  Almost too well attended. We were asked by at least three different members of serving staff if we'd care to order something to drink; all within about 5 minutes. However, once we put in an order, service was swift and efficient.

Price: $$$ Our bill, for the above mentioned food, one agua mineral y una cerveza Bohemia Oscura was about $600 pesos, before tip.

Ambience: "Bistrot"; crowded, noisy but overall, handsome.

Rest room: small but clean, "Retro" look.


Steve Cotton said...

The cost of eating out in large Mexican cities seems to be about as expensive as dining in The States.  I re-discovered that fact on my trip to Puerto Vallarta. Dinner for two was $800 (MX).

DonCuevas said...

One can eat much, much cheaply. For example, at least an entire block of Calle Mérida running south of Álvaro Obregón is devoted to food stands. Unfortunately, time limitations and bad lighting prevented me from photographing them. Look here for a similar scene on Avenida Puebla, also Colonia Roma Norte. Slightly fewer and more helter skelter than the food stall row on Calle Mérida: But I am sure one can eat cheaply in these. It's usually cheaper to eat Mexican food than International or worse, Author Cuisine. Mostly though, if you move away from the Hipster areas and into the barrios, you can find deals on meals.Also, if you read my previous post on El Hidalguense, you'll see that the cost of meals for four was less than the cost for two at Sobrino's.Saludos, Don Cuevas 

Tancho said...

leave it to a retired master baker to critique the bread..., of course it will never be as tasty as your home made delicious rolls.....
The fries looked very good, mnot the usually soggy, pr frozen things we normally ge tossed onto a plate.......

DonCuevas said...

Tancho, if there were a contest for worst bread, this bread would win  the grand prize.
The fries at Sobrinos have a light seasoned salt on them and are served in a cool, hip paper cone nested in a metal cylinder.

Saludos, Don Cuevas 

tancho said...

Mexico is paramount for street food, hands down. The US is also getting a lot of street food trucks that dish out some super vittles. A lot of the talent simply cannot afford a brick and mortars establishment, insurance, staff, etc etc etc.
Mexico has some great talent especially in the coastal towns, when the boat bring in the fresh seafood every day. Can't wait to  our next trek to the coast.....
A nice dinner for two including couple of brewkski will usually set you back about 200 to 300 pesos max. And that's with a  lot of food, an appetizer or two included.