|Living La Vida Buena
Streets paved with gelato and fountains spouting espresso drinks; beautiful women walking strange looking dogs, while others at chic cafes nibble gelati or panini while reading "Dios, Patria y Coca Cola" from an elegant book stand.
Meanwhile, I, ever in search of worthy street food and hole-in-the-wall fondas, go to the Hamburguesas A La Parilla* stand, at the corner of Calles Colima and Morelia, at the west side of the Jardin Alejandro Pushkin. This is at the very eastern limits of Colonia Roma, where it becomes Colonia Doctores, not many years ago noted for a high rate of violent crime. Col. Doctores is also the location of the National Baking School of México.
(*Correction: earlier, I thought the stand was called "Hamburguesas al Carbón". That was incorrect.)
I did not "discover" this place. I read about it in the Lonely Planet Mexico book, and, I thought, in the book on eating in Mexico City by Nicholas Gilman. Maybe not the latter. I may be the first to blog it.
At 2:30 p.m. on a Thursday, people lined up for a burger from the sizzling grill. The grill is fueled with gas, but even if so, the results are excellent. They are exemplary hamburguesas del estilo Mexicano. There's a crisp edged quickly cooked thin patty of beef, a sesame seeded bun warmed on the grill, sometimes getting a few charred areas itself, and un montón de verdura y condimentos.
These cheap, fast and tasty hamburger handfuls will satisfy you. They are available as singles ("sencillas"), singles with that white, melting cheese, singles with double cheese, singles with pineapple ring, single with cheese and pineapple ring, single with double cheese and pineapple ring. (By the way, although it's not my favorite, the pineapple adds a mildly sweet juiciness to the medley.) It's easy to eat two, and I guess a double patty option exists. Prices are muy barato: starting at $22 pesos and going up to about $27. It's almost incredible that the full-sized, Jarritos bottled refrescos are only $4 pesos each.
Things to know before you go: Open 8:30 a.m. to about 1 a.m. Condiments available are ketchup, mustard, mayo, onions, sliced jalapeño chiles, lettuce, tomato. Cheese and pineapple slightly extra. No fries, no shakes, no seats. Eat standing or take it to a nearby park bench. Learn to eat the burger in a slightly bent over forward posture so that the juices don't dribble on your clothes.
UPDATE: Of course, the prices have risen a little in the intervening years, but it's still an inexpensive and fun spot for a quick burger or two. And now there are a couple of metal benches to the left side of the stand. But it's more fun to eat standing up.
Hamburguesas a la Parilla Roma:
NOTE: The original video is disabled because Google Video became YouTube. Maybe I can locate my video on the latter site and embed it here. But you can see it still, by clicking the photo slide show window.