After a 4 hour-delay, I arrived in Mexico City (known to locals as CDMX) with my heart in my hand. In my experience as an immigrant, I often get asked where my accent is from, what my heritage is and where home is.
The thing is that after 17+ years living in Minneapolis, home has become a place in my heart -rather than in a map – and I am grateful that you are joining me in this aventura to discover the Mexico City of today while learning about it’s cuisine’s history.
LET’S BEGIN WITH BREAKFAST!
This morning, my dad traveled from Pachuca to meet me for breakfast and help me get ready for my 5-weeks in CDMX.
So we walked to the corner from my little apartment to a lovely place called Milo’s Bistro where we enjoyed Huevos a la Veracruzana: fresh tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, topped with chorizo, cheese and avocado, Hot Chocolate and a delicious Green Tea Concha.
Not only was the food delicious, but seating outside while enjoying the sunlight and catching up with my dad was very special. And once we had full bellies, it was time to literally find my way to the Escuela de Gastronomia Mexicana (#esgamex).
WHERE IS ESGAMEX?
The Escuela is located on Coahuila street, right in the Condesa neighborhood, 7 blocks from my apartment, and close to a number of unique stores. As I walked into Esgamex, I knew this to be the place to really immerse myself in Mexican history and cooking; french doors opening from the terraces and into high ceiling kitchens, cafe de olla and agua de tamarindo served on the corridor table, Mexican tiles, copper pots, metates (volcanic stone grinding mats), and succulents sitting by the little fountain made me feel en casa.
As I stood by the staircase taking it all in, Yuri de Gortari – one of my professors and a world famous chef – came into the school and welcomed me with a big smile. He also warned me that the days will be long, exhausting, and worth it! In the meantime, I decided to explore the city a little more and get my street smarts back before my commitment to learn how to use a metate begins.
One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is how likely it is that I’ll get lost because the city continues to grow, transportation routes have changed, and there is a new kid-in-town to get you around: el Metrobus.
El Metrobus is similar to an Express bus: it has designated stops, a designated fast lane, and to ride it you need a Metrobus pass. I will not lie, it was love at first ride: the line was short, there was a machine to recharge fares into it in almost every stop, and it took me down to one of my favorite childhood places: the candy section at Liverpool.
LIVERPOOL, MEXICO IS A REAL PLACE
As a child, my parents introduced us to a variety of pastries ad sweets, including pan dulce, crystallized Mexican fruit, and blueberry cheesecake (that’s right, no Tres Leches for me).
But my favorite treats were available in one place: Liverpool Insurgentes, a department store where the greatest pastries in my world awaited for me: Dedos de Novia (also known as Baklava!), not to mention the dozens of baskets filled with crystalized figs, pepitorias, coconut-filled limes, chocolate-covered raisins, y mas!
Oh, it was such a gift to go to Liverpool and today I felt exactly like that 6 year-old girl who couldn’t contain her joy and ran around the candy section not knowing what to get. I think my dad realized how much it mean for me to be there, so he didn’t mind my endless picture taking because I just have to share these with you!
Plus, I got some vegan delights that I will create a recipe for because you deserve authentic, delicious and unique vegan snacks:
Jamaica flowers in chile-syrup, Nopales (cacti) in chile-syrup, and Chile-lime covered Coconut.
IT’S DINNER TIME
To celebrate such an emotion and travel-filled day, we headed to an Italian restaurant called Nonna – again, right by my apartment, which will be a problem because food is e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.
Now, dinner here is served around 3 – 4 pm on weekends, so we got to the place just in time to grab a seat at the bar to toast with red wine and beer , devour a homemade fusilli with a red wine and beef tips gravy, and clean such gravy from our plates with a basket of fresh-baked Italian breads.
Sadly, dessert was not ordered, not because there weren’t any amazing options. We were full, ready for a nap and dad still had to travel 3 hours back to his house in Pachuca. But don’t worry, dessert is in the horizon.
What does home mean to you and how does food relate to it?