When we arrived at the Great House in San Miguel Chapultepec, we were tired, so for a simple supper, we ate nearby at La Poblanita de Tacubaya, on Calle Vieyra 12 near Avenida Revolucíon. (Click for map.) La Poblanita is a popular, classic, old line Mexican restaurant specializing in mole. But we had Caldo de Gallina, an especially sabroso variant of chicken soup. The bowls were laden with chicken meat, rice and garbanzos. Ordering a plate of flautas, three chicken filled, crisp tacos dorados, was an error. The flautas were buried under a blanket of lettuce, tomato, crema and cheese. Service on that visit was desultory.
On another visit a few days later, Doña Cuevas ordered Sopa de Tortilla, which was almost a pudding of fried tortilla strips drowned in caldo, covered with an obscene amount of cheese, avocado and chicharrón. I got Sopa de Hongos, a much simpler soup loaded with thickly sliced mushrooms, but I couldn't finish it due to an excess of salt. The service at that busier time was much more responsive, yes, and cheerful.
|Sopa de tortilla
Of course not. But I think I got a feel for the place, so here goes.
Ambience: Faded Fiesta Poblana
Our next venture was at the cool, hip, Baja style seafood bistro Pablo El Erizo, at Fernando Montes de Oca #6, Colonia Condesa. The big player in hip seafood is, of course, Contramar. But I had memories of a very noisy dining room and very high prices, so I chose the newer, smaller and more intimate Pablo El Erizo. I'm sure that the clever name played a big part in my choice.
I immediately liked the small, well lighted dining room with its non stereotypical decor, free of flotsam and jetsam.
We were served a basket of variety breads which were better than the usual dull stuff in restaurant baskets.
We began with an order of Tostaditas de Atún Sellado, Estilo Ophelia. Very good.
|Tostaditas de Atún. The strips are fried tortilla strips and crispy leeks
An order of Camarones a la Plancha was different from the usual with a light salsa, and a chipotle mayonnaise on the side.
In fact, the quartet of table salsas was distinguished.
Me, I'm a sucker for octopus, so I had Pulpo a la Parrilla. It was very plain and, let's face it: quickly boring, accompanied by a bowl of frijoles negros de olla. Now I recall that I'd had an almost identical octopus dish at Sobrino's, on Álvaro Obregón, Colonia Roma.
We ordered a somewhat redundant Filete de Atún en Costra de Pistache for la Señora, good but not especially distinguished. The snow peas were a nice touch, but the shredded white ¿potato? was tasteless. The small bowl held a sweet, somewhat gooey teriyaki type sauce. But it was addictive, and even enhanced my octopus.
I drank a couple of glasses of a medium dry Altozano Vino Blanco ($70 pesos each!) and la Señora had agua mineral or limonada.
I finished with a cafe express (good!) and a Panna Cotta dessert. It was a work of art, and tasted almost as good as it looked.
The bill came to over $1000 pesos, including tip. Was it worth it? For the experience to satisfy my curiosity, yes. For a return visit, probably not. Of course, one could order more modestly.
Ambience: Sea froth
Rest rooms: Good
We alternated big deal meals with simple, local suppers.
On another evening, we decided to try La Piazzetta, on Calle Verendi at Avenida Parque Lira, Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec. It was within walking distance of our lodgings.
It's a tiny place, with six tables; up a few steps at the corner of curving Calle Verendi, which gives it a picturesque European charm.
Pasta, panini and pizzas are on the menu, but we had a Prosciutto and Mushroom pizza, and a couple of pretty good salads.
The salads were o.k. but the pizza was distinguished by its very thin and crisp crust. The sauce and toppings were decent, and we were very satisfied with our simple meal.
Service: *** Leisurely, but what's your hurry?
Ambience: Cozy, neighborly.
Restrooms: Clean and serviceable
Escarapela Bodegón Argentino, Colonia Condesa.
This cellar like boite at Avenida Nuevo Laredo # 62, Colonia Condesa, was our biggest dining disappointment. We arrived early in the afternoon, so the restaurant wasn't crowded, even on a Sunday. That was a good thing, as the tables are set very closely together and the room gets crowded later in the afternoon.
We were quickly served the obligatory chimichurrí and a spicy, emulsified mustard based (?) sauce.
We began with a pair of the popular empanadas; one of hand chopped beef, the other of "Roquefort". Both were decent. I liked the Roquefort better. Both could have been hotter.
|Chopped beef, left; Roquefort, right
Doña Cuevas ordered a generous Ensalada Caprese , of thickly sliced (but essentially tasteless) tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. It was garnished with wisps of dried tomato and dressed with a fresh basil vinaigrette. It was a relative highlight of our meal.
Our main courses were wildly variable in quality. La Señora ordered a cut of vacío, which was very good looking, but still quivering, so she sent it back for further cooking. It came back a satisfactory medium rare. This was a decent piece of beef.
On the other hand, my bife de chorizo was a pathetic, undersized specimen, flabby, luke warm, and without char or sear. I sent mine back as well, and it returned slightly warmer and passably edible. This bife de chorizo was undoubtedly Worst of its Class, compared to the those I have enjoyed previously elsewhere.
I drank a Bohemia Clara and a café Americano (very good, too!)
Our bill was $581 before tip, a reasonable price in my estimation. If only the food quality had been more consistent.
Ambience: Bohemian wine cellar, caricatures and posters on the walls.
Rest room: very small, just functional, but clean.
Mojing Comida China
Located at the corner of Calles Humboldt and Artículo 123, Colonia Centro.
We had visited Mojing Comida China a few years ago with our friend Ron. It is one of the very few "authentic" Chinese restaurants in Mexico City. Since our earlier visit, it had closed, then reopened under the name "Dalian", then reverted to the name Mojing, again under the original owners. We saw significant changes in the menu and the service. Service: there are now Spanish speaking waiters, which makes communication much easier for us. The menu has been extensively revised, with most entries having a photo and a Spanish caption as well as in Chinese characters.
A notable enhancement to the neighborhood is that the colony of homeless men that was across Artículo 123 is gone, replaced by an EcoBici rack and a freshly painted wall.
Because we were only two diners, our options were more limited than if we'd had dining companions. But we did quite well nevertheless.
We asked for "Raviolis Chinos al Vapor" (jiao-tse) but they were not ready yet. So we ordered the "small", $82 peso Sopa de Mariscos Agri-picante.
|Seafood Soup for two
For our second course, we had Camarones con Sal y Ajo. This was a great way to prepare large shrimps in the shell. There was a thin, crunchy coating of what may have been egg white and cornstarch, binding the salt and chopped garlic to the crispy shells. We were tempted to eat all the shells, but knew better that we'd suffer for it, so we limited our nibbling to the tiny legs.
We also ordered bowls of steamed white rice to go with the shrimp. At the end of the meal, we had leftovers of every course to take back to our guest house for a light supper.
Later, as I reviewed my photos, I realized we'd ordered the same shrimp dish on our earlier visit. But the two versions were very different.
|Earlier version. Apparently a mistake.
Ambience: Chinoiserie favorites. This was the largest dining room of restaurants we visited. They have buffets at certain times, probably on weekends. Daily combination specials at lower prices during the week.
Rest rooms: Clean and functional
We look forward to eating there again.