Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Sum Dims at Jing Teng

My dear, departed Mother-in-Law was noted for her sometimes quaint exclamations. Once, when expressing frustration at her granddaughter's indecisiveness in choosing a JELL-O flavor, was "Ding bust it, Julie! Make up your mind."

"Ding Bust It, Jing Teng!" Frustration and disappointment were only part of the letdown that we felt on a Saturday morning visit in mid-April to what had been the best dim sum Chinese restaurant in Mexico City. We'd already been there on two occasions in consecutive years, and it had been a delight. No more. This time, it was a sad shadow of its previous glory.

We arrived at about 10:00 a.m. and were puzzled to see almost no other customers. The delightful Ximena was no longer present to serve as go-between, interpreting Chinese named dishes into Spanish.

My palate was disappointed, but my heart is broken. The dim sum that we sampled lacked flavor. Some lacked filling. The Won Ton Soup was an insipid broth. The only saving grace was the weird, gnarly noodle dish with egg and shrimp.

Previously "canelon", now what?
We finished our lackluster meal, and walked two blocks west on Avenida Santa Anita to Ka Won Seng. It is a longer established, full menu Chinese restaurant. You can read about it here.

You can read and weep over my previous posts on Jing Teng, here and here.

RATINGS

Food: 4
Service: 5

Price: cheap.
Rest rooms. Nasty.

Friday, May 06, 2016

This Little Piggy is Rosso


Our friend and former neighbor, Larry, the retired Texas High School Band Director, had been enthusiastically telling us about Porco Rosso BBQ in Colonia Roma. He enjoyed it so much that in one extended weekend, he'd eaten there three times.

Why would anyone want to eat American style barbecue while in Mexico City? There's such a wealth of other interesting cuisines from which to choose, both Mexican and International. (To the best of my knowledge, the first American BBQ restaurant in Mexico City is the somewhat rudely named Pinche Gringo BBQ in Colonia Navarte.

Here's why:
Because it's fun, and above all, delicious!

We finally decided to overcome our own resistance and go there. "We" consisted of our traveling friend Shirley, Sra. Cuevas and me.

Porco Rosso defines informal dining in Colonia Roma. The dining room is like something out of a Texas ranch, with wooden picnic tables and benches on a gravelled floor. The inner buildings are used freight cargo containers. Tables are shared with fellow diners. There will probably be a wait for a table. Our wait was about 35 minutes, but it was a pleasant one, chatting with fellow waitees.


I see by its web site that Porco Rosso calls its food "K.C. BBQ" The kitchen has a massive smoker oven.


Once inside, you place your order and pay at the order "desk" then pick up your drinks at the adjacent bar.
The rest rooms are inside massive steel cargo containers. The hand washing sinks are like horse troughs.


Your order is delivered to your table by a waitress, but not without some glitches. We had at least three incorrect orders brought to our table before the correct orders arrived, incrementally and at different times. But being in a good mood and recognizing the informality of Porco Rosso, we shrugged off the service quirks.

The food is almost a "Giant" version of Texas bbq; everything is over the top and bigger than life.



Take the bbq beans, for example. Isn't it enough to cook up tasty beans in bbq sauce? But at Porco Rosso, the beans are topped with sliced green olives, jalapeños, chopped onion, sour cream and shredded yellow cheese.

The meats are pretty good. Shirley had a very fine looking Pulled Pork Sandwich.


I ordered the "Par de Ases" combo, which gave us a choice of two meats; I chose bacon and brisket, and two sides for $410 pesos, plus a small order of Baby Back Ribs at $135. Our sides were the aforementioned K.C. BBQ Beans and slaw.

The brisket was the best of the meats, although not in the same class as Rudy's BBQ brisket at their Laredo, TX store. The bacon was salty, thick cut but limp. It might have achieved greatness had it been broiled or grilled to some golden crispness. The Baby Back Ribs were o.k.


The slaw, oddly enough, was kind of lean, but that was welcomed as a foil to all the rich, smoky, spicy and fatty fare facing us.

What we were missing was some plain, sliced white bread and some chiles jalapeños. I hailed a passing waitress and ordered pickles (it's an extra) and some bread. The latter was slow in arriving, and when it did finally, it was a miserable, low quality hamburger bun that had been toasted (once again!) and thoroughly dried to inedibility.

On the other hand, the pickles were a Platonic dish. They were home cured, with great, fresh crisp textures and appropriate spicing. In my opinion, it was the best dish that we'd had.

Great pickles!
Porco Rosso excels in the beverage department. The iced tea is exemplary. There are at times unique aguas frescas. The cerveza selection is pretty good, too. I had a Cervecería Colima, Cerveza "Páramo", which I enjoyed. It reminded me of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

RATINGS:

Food: 6-7

Service: 5 The problem lies not with the servers but with the awkward and poorly designed service system.

Ambiance: informal and relaxed. Seating is not very comfortable. Tables are shared.

Cost: $$$ Our bill, apart from Shirley's, was $660 pesos, drinks extra.

La Cuenta
Our friend Larry advises arriving before 2:00 pm. for the least waiting time and the best service. Seems like good advice.

Recommended dishes:
Pulled Pork Sandwich, Brisket, Ribs, pickles!

Summary: I enjoyed the experience although it was somewhat flawed. I might return only occasionally, but at an earlier hour.

Location:
Zacatecas 102, esq. con Orizaba, Col. Roma Norte. México D.F.

Also branches in Condesa and in Coyoacán.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

La Docena Colonia Roma CDMX: A sea voyage in three acts


Not long ago we read of a new seafood restaurant that had originated in Guadalajara and now had come to conquer La Roma.

From reading various descriptive reviews, I felt confident that this new enterprise was not just another hipster clone on the Trend Circuit, developed to sell overpriced cocktails and pseudo American sandwiches, but one that merited at least a tryout. Our good fortune was that it's only a block west of our Hotel Stanza, on Avenida Obregón at the corner of Calle Frontera. (When you see it, there's no danger of confusing it with the one star, old school Taquitos Frontera across the street.)



First, an advance warning: If loud noisy dining rooms bother you, do not go there. Instead, go to a Sanborn's or somewhere else more sedate. Or wear The Cone of Silence. If you arrive at the opening time of 1:30 p.m. on a weekday, it will be más tranquilo. After about 2:30, even on a Monday, the decibels began to ramp up.

Dual Cones of Silence
La Docena, (official and complete name, "La Docena Ostionería y Grill") is already very popular. There may be waiting times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of up to an hour or more to get a table. You can sit at the Oyster Bar, which looks, Janus-like, both fore and aft, but the selection of food is somewhat restricted, and payment must be made separately at the bar from any food or drink consumed later inside.



All these minor annoyances can be forgiven, for the service is smart and attentive, and the food, for the most, is sublime.

During our 6 day stay in La Roma, we ate at La Docena three times. So, don't ask me, "Did you like it? Would you go back?"

This review will be in three acts. The curtain rises for Act One, April 13, 2016.

I had finally come to terms with my fear and loathing of eating raw Mexican oysters. This well founded phobia had held me in thrall since our first trip to Mexico, in 1980. I'd suffered an illness I can never forget.
But from what I'd read, and then seeing the mollusks in the flesh, or rather, in the shell, it was apparent that La Docena took strict measures to protect the health of its customers. So I was ready to liberate myself from my phobias and give rein to unbridled, raw oyster slurping, sea-liquor sipping indulgence.

We had a long wait, so Shirley and I found seats at the street side of the oyster bar proper. She ordered six San Blas and I six Mexican Bluepoints. We swapped an oyster each. I thought the San Blas were nice, but too delicate and small.The Bluepoints looked just like those I've had in Connecticut and elsewhere in the U.S. but plumper, fresher and more flavorful. The presentation was nice, with two little metal cups, one of Sauce Mignonette and the other, pinkish but unidentified. I preferred a few drops of fresh lemon juice, and nothing else. The bottled salsa picante was killer to the oysters' sea savor, especially to the San Blas'.


Eventually we were called and led to a table in the bustling dining room.


The menu is extensive, and we were hard pressed to choose. Besides the printed menu, there are tempting, and mostly expensive specials written on blackboards.

Blackboard specials
A sampling of entradas
I had a Salmoncito, a  version of a gin and tonic, which wasn't bad, but the additional flavors didn't add that much enjoyment.

"Salmoncito"
The drinks are creative, a must in the highly competitive Colonia Roma bar and restaurant scene.

 The drinks menu
We ordered several starters to share amongst the three of us. The Tostadas de Pulpos were good, although I thought the pulpos themselves lacked flavor. My wife disagreed.


Calamares Romano were just o.k. But Ostiones a las Brasa were sublime.

Calamares Romanos "así así".
Ostiones a las Brasa; ajo, perejil, aceite de olivas








I had a blackboard special of ostiones a las brasas, "toro" (raw fatty tuna belly) and bottarga.
Very good also, although the bottarga was elusive.


For a main course, I had an Oyster Po' Boy. Now, this is a dish in which less may be more desirable than more. The sandwich was made on an artisanal baguette. Good bread, but in my opinion, not the best choice of vehicle for the nice fried oysters. The crusty, chewy bread dominated the delicate oysters. They tended to be smushed. But it wasn't bad, you know, just would have been better if the oysters had a chance to shine. On a later visit, I had an unpleasant encounter with the same bread, in another form.

Looks nice, but the killer bread dominates all.
The hand cut French Fries were good.


The bill, for what was essentially a meal consisting of appetizers and a sandwich, plus drinks, was high. But overall, I thought it worth it. After all, La Docena is not Bisquets, Bisquets Obregón, a couple of blocks, and a world away, and there is no INAPAM (senior discount).

La Cuenta
Act One closes.

Act Two opens.
We returned on Friday for yet another go. We'd barely gotten our sea legs on Wednesday previous.

This time, the wait wasn't as long. The blackboard specials had changed, as one would expect.



While we waited, a mango wagon came by.


A few oysters on the half shell were obligatory.


We then moved on to serious platos fuertes.

Shirley got a Shrimp Po' Boy, which she liked. Sra. Cuevas got a huge pescado huauchinango entero.  I ordered a special of Lonja de Pargo Ibérico. Our waiter suggested it be prepared estilo sarandeado.  I agreed, having wanted to try pescado sarandeado for a long time.

We also ordered vegetales al grill to share, a very good choice indeed.

Vegetales al grill, unmissable.
My Lonja de Pargo was small but attractive, yet after about three mouthfuls, I couldn't stand it. There were too many intense adobos, salsas and seasoning. It was a cacophonous conflict of condiments. To make things worse, I requested bread, and after some time, our waiter brought us some of the baguette, toasted, but so hard as to be nearly inedible. The Mexico City riot police would have liked to have it to shoot at and disperse rioters. These were the exceptions, the two worst dishes we'd had in our three visits.

Lonja de Pargo Sarandeado
Baguette Bullets
Sra. Cuevas's Pescado Entero was awesome. It was simply and deliciously prepared. Grilled with oil, possibly a little garlic, salt and lime juice. There was also a lot of it, and I helped her eat it. The lime and, I think, habanero marinated purple onions and parsley were great touches.


It had seemed daunting at first, but we finished it with aplomb. Highly recommended dish.


I didn't get a photo of the check that time.

Act Two Closes.

Act Three Opens. Monday, April 18, 2016
It was just us, the Cuevas couple; Shirley having left on Sunday. We arrived at opening time, 1:30, and were seated almost immediately.

The food was good, although the oyster options were limited to San Blahs, but I had a dozen anyway.
We ordered Vegetales al Grill, which although good, lacked the sublimity of the first time. No asparagus, no tomato and a thick slab of zucchini was barely cooked.

(I had to think for a moment to recall what we ate. I got some memories back now.)
I had a ribeye steak after the dozen San Blas oysters. Fair steak, not in the class of those at Parrilla y Canilla in Morelia. I think Sra. Cuevas had a coctel de camarones y pulpos.
No, she reminded me that she had a Hamburguesa Clásica, which despite its towering Burguer Bar like construction, was very good.


The envelope, please.

RATINGS

Food: 7-8

Service: 7-8

Cost: $$$+

Ambiance: Hip, noisy, trendy, vibrant.

Recommended dishes: Oysters mixed, Pescado Entero, Ostiones a las Brasas, Vegetales al Grill (on better days.)

Would we return? Definitely, yes!

Location:

 Av. Álvaro Obregón 31, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico

Hours: Open today · 1:30PM–1:30AM





An offer I had to refuse

Image from ProgressDaily.com*
Colonia Roma Norte has developed into the hottest, trendiest area in CDMX in the eight or so years that we have been visiting there. So many restaurants, coffee houses, bars and cocktail lounges have opened up, especially along the Avenida Obregón corridor that the scene has been totally transformed. Along Calle Colima and environs, it's a bit more sedate, with more upscale restaurants and fine bakeries. There are more pleasures of the flesh that await the visitor, as you shall read below ...

One Saturday night, on our return from a light meal at Macelleria, and after a walk around Plaza Cabrera, I'd just crossed Av. Obregon at Calle Frontera, and paused. Sra. Cuevas and our friend Shirley were still across the street. This was just past Taquitos Frontera, less than a block from the Hotel Stanza.

A very attractive, very young, dark complected woman, with long curly hair, and nicely dressed, walked up to me and asked, "¿Quieres acompañarme? ¡SEX SEX SEX!"

I will say, she was truly hot. I told her, "No puedo, gracias, porque mi esposa me sigue."
She: "ok."

I told her, "Gracias por la oferta."

My mind reeled and my legs wobbled, but I was able to walk steadily back to the hotel.

It was my first ever offer for commercial sex, and I turned it down. I waited until Sra. Cuevas and I were back in our room to tell her. She took it in her stride.

Although I have no personal knowledge of how such brief contracts are realized, it is obvious that there are several hotels nearby that reputedly cater to the trade. The Bonampak, on Frontera**, the Monarca, on Obregón, across the street from where our brief encounter took place, and the Hotel Colonia Roma , Obregón at Jalapa. Circumstantial evidence suggests also that the Hotel Milán has liberal turn the head admittance policies for temporary guests.

*https://progressdaily.com/description-street-prostitution-mexico-city/

**Google Maps shows the Bonampak as permanently closed. This closing may be due to the increasing sophistication of the Colonia.




The scene of the brief encounter, although the hour was much later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Sixth Stanza Was the Best of the Verses



(A more temperate version of this review will appear on TripAdvisor.)

We had stayed at the Hotel Stanza 5 times previously. For our 6th, most recent stay of six nights total, I had considered other nearby hotels, but in the end, I selected the Stanza. This turned out to be a good decision. 

This time, we chose a larger room on the basis of its size and configuration, not whether or not it faced a street. The windows must be double glazed, because we heard very little noise in our ample room, #222 (really more like a junior suite.) on the second floor, which has a modestly sized window facing Calle Morelia and the Jardin Pushkin.

King bed room
Over the years of traveling in Mexico, we have graduated upward from stays in minimal comfort budget hotels, to family run posadas, to nicer hotels like the Stanza.

There are several outstanding aspects that make the Stanza our hotel of choice when in Mexico City.

1. Location. The location is superb. The hotel is close to the eastern end of Avenida Obregón, the main artery of Colonia Roma Norte,  offering entertainment, restaurants and shops.  A MetroBus station is only a block away, and taxis are plentiful.

2. Comfort and cleanliness. The hotel is meticulously maintained and the rooms are comfortable, the bedding is above average quality, and the bathrooms sparkling clean.
Our bathroom was large, and there was a long countertop. The shower was fine, with plentiful hot water which arrived very quickly. Just a small quibble: the faucets don't have much "throw", or "range", so achieving the desired water temperature can be tricky.
A roomy closet, ample hangers, a dresser in the foyer, plenty of drawers for storage.

AC and heating. The AC was effective and welcome.

The only flaw in our room, #222, was that the wifi signal didn't reach the bedroom. When I sat closer to our door, it was better.

3. Staff service: On previous visits, numerous years ago, I found a few staff members (at the reception desk) to be occasionally supercilious. But that attitude is gone. I found the staff to be outstandingly friendly and helpful.

I am always interested in other TripAdvisor's reviewers' comments about English speaking staff and their degrees of friendliness. Many Stanza staff members speak English. But as Spanish is the official idiom of Mexico, most prefer to speak in their native tongue. As I speak fairly fluent Spanish, I enjoyed chatting with the congenial staff, especially the Bell Staff, which is headed up by Sr. Jesús. He and his crew went out of their way to be of help to us in several instances, in extraordinary matters not directly related to moving luggage in and out of our room. One bellman even went out to a pharmacy at about 11:30 p.m. to buy for me some Electrolit suero oral to help relieve my leg cramps. These gestures were greatly appreciated and, of course, we tipped them for their services. (The Reception Desk staff is almost always busy, and I did not chat much with very them.) They were always courteous, friendly and helpful. So, I'm a bit puzzled by other reviewers' reports of less positive experiences. In fact,if you read other TA reviews, you have to conclude that some of them hadn't actually stayed there.

Here's a sample or two:

“Hotel Stanza - Mexico City”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago
Very clean, great location, good Wifi but the only thing that left a slight bad taste in the mouth was the lack of warmth from the reception staff. Maybe it was due to me not being able to converse in Spanish (hoping that wasn't going to deter me from seeing this beautiful country) but I found the Hotel Stanza didn't have the friendliest of the reception staff. I just found they had an attitude of not really wanting to engage in my needs or even crack a smile. This is a busy hotel, so maybe they are used to seeing people check in and check out every day. Although, if you're working on the reception desk of a hotel, you are effectively the face of the business and I would think should have more PR skills. Maybe because it was in Mexico City and like most of capitals of the world, the people aren't as friendly as the rural areas, which I found to be the case in Oaxaca, where I found the staff in my hotel extremely helpful and willing to please."

And the following:
“Great location terrible service”
2 of 5 starsReviewed January 13, 2016 via mobile
The stanza hotel is located within the best neighborhoods of La Roma. On our stay, the hotel had an awful sewage smell that made it quite unpleasant for sleeping. The concierge lacks basic courtesies and customer service. For the price and location I would recommend this hotel but given that our trip had a business purpose, we did sacrifice the conforms that other hotels in area offer. Consider twice when booking if you're looking for a pleasant hotel experience in Mexico City.
Stayed January 2016
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150800-d154903-r339735325-Hotel_Stanza-Mexico_City_Central_Mexico_and_Gulf_Coast.html#

Stayed April 2016

And what is the opinion of my readers of this?

“Ok for a short break”
3 of 5 starsReviewed August 4, 2015
Starting with the positives, the hotel is clean and well presented and quiet at night so suitable for families. It's location is ok as you are quite close to 'Turibus,' if you are in the city for a few days but it is a bit of a walk to the regular bus stop and even further to the subway. It's not super easy to get around unless you want to use a cab, which are expensive from the lobby of the hotel.
The food is of a good standard but is probably a little expensive. Beware when having breakfast as not every item is included in the one off price as I found out when leaving the restaurant and received another bill. Price tags might have been helpful and fair to myself and other customers. There is a range of items local and international and the service is good and friendly.
The general level of service is good and the staff seemed to be committed to what they are doing. The rooms are cleaned promptly and the building is in good condition. You might stay for a day or two but any longer and you would quickly get bored as there is nothing much in the immediate area."
(Italics by Don Cuevas.)
Stayed July 2015, traveled with family

DC's comments: 5 blocks or less to the nearest Metro underground station, Niñoes Héroes, 1 block to the Jardin Pushkin MetroBus stop on Avenida Cuautéhmoc.

Cabs ordered from hotel lobbies are almost always more expensive than those hailed on the street.

If you can't find something interesting to see or do after a few days in the immediate area, then you might as well go bowling in Peoria.


I'll wrap up this bitch and whine section with this gem from a guest who stayed en famille:

“Clean & comfortable, but item disappeared in halls”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2015
I don't think we will be returning to this hotel. To its credit, the hotel was very convenient because we came to Mexico City last minute during spring break. We usually stay in the area because we like it. The hotel was a little more expensive than we customarily pay, but it was clean and comfortable. The wifi is pretty poor, though.
The reason that we will not return is because we dropped a windbreaker in hall somewhere between the room and the parking garage, and upon returning 5 minutes later, it was gone. We reported it to the front desk, and they said to check back later. When we checked back later, the new staff asked why we hadn't reported it right away and said that it probably wouldn't turn up. The staff had a very unconcerned attitude about the whole affair, despite the loss happening inside their hotel. Overall, it was a very frustrating experience.
Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150800-d154903-r295664255-Hotel_Stanza-Mexico_City_Central_Mexico_and_Gulf_Coast.html#
DC: I'll refrain from replying because if I did, it would be ugly.

4. Restaurant. The previous restaurant, Wings, is gone. In its place is El Maíz y La Oliva, which bills itself as "Mexican Fusion". They may be overstating their new style, but the food is good although not extraordinary, and the service quick and usually accurate. We had a couple of breakfasts, both a la carte and from the buffet, and both were very nice. The hot, butter nut muffins are special. Yes, they are extra cost.

If the hotel restaurant doesn't appeal to you, then are are dozens of choices nearby, on of which, La Docena Ostionería y Grill, a block away, is outstanding, and worth a full review by itself. Coming soon.


Our stays in years past had been good, but this time, we splashed out a bit, and it was well worth it.

Overall Rating:

Room: 8

Cost: variable. Our king bed room was $850 pesos a night, substantially less than the rate posted on the Stanza web site of $1,340 pesos. I have no explanation for this, but we are grateful.

CLeanliness: 10  The friendly, hard working camaristas do a very thorough job.

Service: 10  Probably the best and most generously given service we've had in any hotel, anywhere.

Location: 10

Avenida Álvaro Obregón 13, corner of Calle Morelia, Colonia Roma Norte, México, D.F. (Oops, I mean CDMX.)


Hotel website:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On Meeting Friends For Coffee In Mexico City


Espresso cortado y puro, back in the days when I smoked. Photo taken in Colonia Roma, México, D.F. nearly 8 years ago
We are soon leaving to go to Mexico City, where we are planning to meet old friends. Bob, a professional photographer, lived in Pátzcuaro for a number of years, before moving to el D.F..

Our friend Shirley,  who hails from the Upper Midwest and has lived in Pátzcuaro, Italy and Florida, among various places. Sra. Cuevas and I are hoping to meet Bob and Shirley to chat and enjoy a cup or two of coffee. (Now it is developing into a Full Organic Mexican breakfast)

The question is where, and when?

The following is extracted and slightly edited from my email reply as we begin to unite old friends in a congenial, coffeehouse environment.

We could meet, for example, at Cafe Toscano Roma, a cool place with excellent coffee, also pretty good food, (Quiche, pizzas sandwiches, soups, etc. Yeah, and wine!) about 7 blocks to the NE of the Hotel Stanza, at the corner of Calle Orizaba and Calle Durango,  NE corner of Plaza Río de Janeiro, Colonia Roma Norte, México, D.F.; about a block south of the Sagrada Familia Church, which Bob recently photographed.


Inside Café Toscano Roma
If it is full, —the Toscano, not the church— which is not uncommon, we could go to their new coffeehouse neighbor, 2 doors north, which looks like a Danish Modern Laundromat. If it’s still in business.

(I couldn’t remember the name of the new place, having had an o.k. coffee and a somethingforgettabletoeat there once. I Googled it:
It’s Buna 42! (I thought “Buna” was a sort of synthetic rubber??)


Buna 42 preopening

Here’s what Sprudge says*:

"Buna 42

The owners of Buna are behind three great, different places to drink coffee in Mexico City, and one of these is Buna 42. This is the only place in Mexico with a Modbar, and the cafe also boasts a V60 drip station and four cold brew towers. They also do milkshakes with different delicious ice creams from Taller Nomada, and sell beer in the summer. If you’re looking for a delicious breakfast or lunch, the food menu will not disappoint.


In their coffee shops you will find different coffees from all over Mexico. The Buna team roasts nearby, and makes an effort to negotiate directly with the producers of their coffees. One of their roasters recently won second place at the Mexican Roasting Championship. Buna is one of the coffee companies doing a great job in Mexico’s Third Wave coffee scene.**

Buna 42 is located at Orizaba 42, Colonia Roma Norte. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

End Sprudge quote.

** “Third Wave coffee scene”? I say: Rampant Hipsterism!

*My suggestion of Buna, above, was a joke.

Or, any one of a hundred or so other coffee places within a 2 kilometer radius. I just thought of Bisquets, Bisquets Obregón, a classic Mexican diner chain, sort of like Denny’s in the U.S., but better. It has their famous cafe con leche, and that may be the best, most reliable thing on the menu. There are about 1 1/2 of the Bisquits restaurants within 200 feet. Best of all, the staff doesn’t cop an attitude of “hip”, although the mostly female waitstaff is noted for their often ample hips. 

The ceremonious Pouring and Mixing, from a height, of Leche Caliente with Coffee Concentrate, to your preference, performed in front of you, at the very table where you are seated, is worth a Special Journey to this coffee lover’s Mecca. Be aware, they don't do espresso coffee drinks. Bisquits is so unhip.

In their sturdy Unhipness, the Bisquits restaurants are an important Bulwark of Old Fashioned Values against the seemingly Inexorable Tide of Viral Hipsterism in La Roma.

(By the way, it’s my distinct impression that the older residents call their colonia “Roma”, but the trend-setters call it “La Roma”. Of course, it’s obvious which category in I belong.

There are a few, snooty food bloggers who sneer at Bisquits Obregón as “low brow” or a place to be avoided. I say, if you want low brow, go to a Waffle House in the American South. That’ll give you a better perspective on relative values. Bisquits is better than a Waffle House, even though they don’t do hashed browned potatoes and chili. Bisquits does a mean Fruit Plate, with a generous scoop of snowy white cottage cheese. Avoid the Ensalada del Chef, a boring exposition of blandness. I'm talking strips of yellow American Cheese, and boiled ham.


Zzzz
Here's a tip: the pan dulce  is pretty good, but the pan salado es ordinario.

Breakfasts are a strong point, as one might expect, but for late suppers we also enjoy Bisquits simple but first rate Sopa de Ajo con Huevo. The  Caldo de Pollo Especial Bisquits is a good choice as well.

Here's a rather lurid but tasty Sopa de Tortilla.


Sopa de tortilla
Our plans are shifting even as I write, as the four of us are adjusting to each others' diurnal cycles and activities schedules. It appears that Bob's diurnal cycle is closer to my early morning bakers' hours, although nowhere as extreme.

So now we are considering a late breakfast  or almuerzo at possibly at the warm, intimate Café Toscano or the Purer Than Thou, "I Saw The Light" (but top quality, and expensive) Orígenes Orgánicos Café Roma. Orígenes is where we are now slated to meet, at least for the moment, this coming Thursday morning.

Here's a preview of the menu.


"Plato Sano" breakfast. $110 p
UPDATE: we met at Orígenes Orgánicos, and they had taken out their restaurant service. The place looked oddly shabby, so we went instead to Café Toscano.

One of my favorite breakfast or lunch places, for cheap, tasty food  is Super Tacos de Guisados, but it's not set up for a relaxed conversation among friends, and the seating is not comfortable, to say the least.

Stay tuned. There's much more to come. This is just breakfast, por el amor de Dios.