Thursday, July 30, 2009

Weekend in Roma, Mexico City

Plaza Luis Cabrera, Colonia Roma Norte
Back in late April, we'd planned to stay a few nights in Mexico City, enroute to a visit to parents in New Jersey. However, the swine flu dissuaded us, and instead, we flew out of Morelia.
That non-event left us with two vouchers for tickets on the AutoVías bus lines. Moreover, an old friend in Mexico City had just acquired a new Apple iMac Computer, and asked for tips in making her conversion from Windows P.C.'s. I was very pleased to help.

We arrived Friday, and took the fast Metro ride from Metro Observatorio (just across from the Observatorio Bus Station", and a few minutes later, were looking for the correct exit for Calle Jalapa in the sunken gladiatorial glorieta ring at Metro Insurgentes.)

Our hotel was the perennial
Milán, on Av. Álvaro Obregón. Nice place; modern, clean and very nicely situated in one of the pleasantest areas of the city.

After checking in, we headed out for grilled hamburgers at the now famous
Hamburgesas a la Parrilla stand in Colonia Roma Norte, Mexico City. They were good but not as searingly memorable as on previous occasions, as trade was light and the hamburgers were parcooked when we ordered. Still, the 3 of us managed to eat 5 in all.

Sunday afternoon in Mexico City, our old friend and her 20+ y/o daughter invited us to dine at Parrilla Quilmes, one of many choice Argentine restaurants in Colonia La Condesa. We further satisfied our carnivore lusts with two orders meant for two persons; one of "vacío", a hanger steak like cut; and "bife de lomo", a more compactly grained slab of beef. Both served on wooden cutting boards. Chimichurrí and a picante red sauce, and a bottle of o.k-but-not-great mustard sauce to be added al gusto. We shared a boat of crisp brown papas Francesas and a bowl of salad.

Parrilla Quilmes
We also sampled a couple of Empanadas Argentinas; one extremely good, filled with Roquefort and onions; and one pretty good, with what seemed to be chopped roast beef. We shared a nice bottle of Argentine red wine.

Empanadas at Parrilla Quilmes
Monday, Doña Cuevas and I lunched not far from our hotel at "La Embajada Jarocha", a somewhat funny name for a restaurant (meaning, "the Jarocha Embassy". Jarocha is slang for a woman of Veracruz.)

The distinctive Veracruzana treatment of seafood is famous in Mexico. I started with a bowl of Chilpachole de Jaiba, a spicy crab soup, loaded with crabmeat, already picked from the shell.

La Embajada Jarocha building
Doña Cuevas had a hearty bowl of Arroz a la Tumbada, which in this case, was a Sopa de Mariscos (including slices of abalone) over rice, although they at first forgot to put in the rice.)

It was filling, and she couldn't quite finish her second course of three tostadas with different types of hot (!) seafood on each. However, the saucing and spicing were identical on all, so interest palled after a few bites. Still, not bad, if somewhat over salted (as were the two soups.)

I forged ahead with a filete de mero (grouper) al acuyo (cooked in a leaf of Hoja Santa or Piper Auritum)
, wrapped in aluminum oil and steamed. It was light and clean, yet savory and very good, especially after the spicy soups.

Filete de pescado al acuyo
The restaurant opens at 1:00 p.m. and closes at 2:00 a.m! (Or so says the sign. There appears to be live music at times, including a drum set. Uh-oh.) Decór is fairly minimal, so that it doesn't intrude on the food. We didn't look upstairs.

There was other food, of course, over the weekend, but those three places were the memorable highlights. Breakfasts were usually at
Bisquets, Bisquets, Obregón, at la Mamá de Todos Bisquets. Moderate priced, nice Mexican family fare, brisk service; plus, they give a discount to viejos who carry an INAPAM credencial. The specialties are the house-made pan dulce and the café con leche, served with style, from two metal kettles, with the milk poured from on high.

(Oddly, with such good pan dulce, why is the bread in the baskets so corriente?)

Next to the Hotel Milán is Café Fertíl, a Fair Trade coffehouse serving o.k. breakfasts and terrific coffee. We also enjoyed a couple of soda fountain treats at La Bella Italia, on Calle Orizaba, after a visit to the
Circo Atayde Hermanos, which is another story, but one nicely described on Mexico Cooks! and David Lida's blog. I won't elaborate on it here, except that we really enjoyed the show. (I, for one, was shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, by the scantily clad and lovely female dancers. Mmmm.)

We took an ETN bus home as far as Morelia. We really need to use ETN more often, as it's quite a bit more comfortable than AutoVías, our usual choice, and the included sandwiches weren't too bad. There's also hot water, of a sort, for tea and instant coffee, which you must ask for when you board.

At Morelia, we got a second-class, Purépechas bus, which dropped us off at the intersection of our choice. Second class buses give you opportunities to buy snacks and other stuff from vendors who come on board, but we did not.


Felipe Zapata said...

Good show. Pip, pip. And regarding the transporation, ETN is the only way to go, in my opinion.

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

Don Cuevas,
This post has made me quite hungry! I just wanted to say thank you for the information. I've always wanted to know what Hoja Santa was in English. Muchas Gracias.

Alice said...

Ha! I live in Colonia Roma and haven't been to any of the establishments you went to. BUT, I will now... that vacío looks especially good...

Don Cuevas said...

Alice, you live near la frontera norteña de la Colonia Roma con La Zona Rosa. Maybe you look more northward, but for various reasons, we tend to explore southward and southwestward into Roma Sur and Col. Hipódromo Condesa.

Our limit so far, in recent years has been Metro Insurgentes, but we plan to get over to la Zona Coreana of which you wrote yesterday, when an opportunity arises.

Don Cuevas