After our Torta we literally turn 1 street corner and find a vendor heaving like no other. The lure? Freshly cooked corn tortillas. Run by 4 women, this stall had the markings of good old fashioned home cooking. The head chef was clearly the matriarch of the team, and she shaped gorditas to perfection. She takes handfuls of a thick, polenta like mixture from a giant clay pot, makes a ball and expertly shapes it into a perfect circle, a bit thicker than the tortillas used for tacos. It is cooked on the grill until lightly charred, then pared open, filled with minced pork, fresh onions and coriander, then topped with a grated white cheese very similar to the Sicilian salted ricotta. Honestly, you could put anything inside and it wouldn’t matter. The star of the show is the corn tortilla – it is so fresh, and has so much flavor, you’ve got to try it to believe it. And the result of all this street food? No wars to report.
That night we end up at a cheesy nightclub called Envy where you have to buy a bottle of vodka in order to sit down at a table. The good news is, it only cost us $40 and included a personal assistant who poured our drinks all night and even lit my friends’ cigarettes! The bad news is that we woke up with a dodgy headache the next morning… The solution? A big Mexican breakfast! “Sopes Potosinos” hit the mark. Thick corn pancakes, fresh crisp lettuce, slow cooked pulled chicken and a healthy slice of avocado do the trick.
We’re ready to paint the town red again, and this time we start off at a restaurant specializing in Baja cuisine, “Mero Toro” (www.merotoro.com) in Condesa, an upmarket suburb of Mexico City. Although there was a distinct absence of the regional classic fish tacos, this restaurant more than made up for it with it’s modern, fresh and light seafood dishes touched ever-so lightly by the hand of fusion. I loved “trucha al sarten con pure de salsifi y chorizo”, a pan fried local trout with salsify puree and chorizo crumble, but the best dish of the night has to be “Tártara de jurel con caldo ligero de jengibre”, a tartare of cured mackerel with ginger infused consommé. Light, decadent and understated. This dish is utterly unforgettable.
We finish our meal at Merotoro in true Mexican style with a stiff uber-caffeinated drink, a “Carajillo”. This gets the energy up after our feast and we’re right in the mood to go bar hopping with our friend, Joel, lives in Mexico City and proves to be the perfect guide.
Stay tuned for part three in a couple of weeks time.