Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hieronymous Gherkin Exposed

I come from a family of picklers. My Mother is a pickler, my Uncle Irwin is a pickler; I'm a pickler too. We come from a long line of picklers stretching back across the Atlantic to the shtetl.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our First Time...

Our First Time... México was a crazy road trip, with 3 of us crammed into a Datsun King Cab pickup, in March, 1980. 
This post is about caves, but it's also about food, but most of all, about our first vist to the impressive area of Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico.

We motored down over several days from Mountain View, Arkansas, to join up with cavers renting a mouse infested house in the traditional Sierra Norte town of Cuetzalan, Puebla. The rent per person per day was 50¢ US. Or maybe that was for the two of us.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Remembrances of Things Karst

For those of you interested in the esoterica of cave explorations, I have started a blog, "We Once Were Cavers." The introduction, The Adventure Begins has been posted, with remembrances of things karst soon to follow.

There will be limited references to food, but they do occur.

 Don Cuevas

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Return to La Mesa de Blanca

La Mesa de Blanca July 11, 2010

Seven of us went in two vehicles to the Mesa de Blanca in Ziracuarétiro.
We left Pátzcuaro in a downpour. For Doña Cuevas and I, this was our second visit; the first was in March.

On passing the Ziracuarétiro toll station, the skies were clearing.

When we drove into the restaurant parking lot, David’s car found the special broken Coke bottle waiting for his brand new tire, which blew out in an explosive rush.

We entered the restaurant, and the line of lovely waitresses waiting arose in greeting. I felt I should ask one for the honor of a dance.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Fabulous Asian-Mexican Fusion Food Fiesta

A few of us, Camille, Peter and I, among others who frequent the Mexican Kitchen Forum of were chatting about this and that some months ago. "Sergio Gómez" started the topic of "Fusion food". We then got the idea to get together in the Pátzcuaro area this summer when Camille was visiting, and cook and enjoy some Asian dishes.

The challenge is to make the dishes with the available local, Mexican ingredients. I'd promote the idea of finding common ground in both Mexcan and Asian dishes, that would would fuse in a harmonious way. Obviously, this approach is not for purists nor traditionalists. We just wanted to have fun and eat some delicious foods together.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Visitamos La Ciudad de México a Las 42 Años. Parte 3

Well, amigos, it's time for the Mexico City wrap-up.

 We stayed over an extra night a the Hotel Milán, so that Doña Cuevas could rest and recover from her lingering illness.

She was eating Bimbo toast and drinking KaoPectate and Pedialyte, but I had an appetite.

Fortunately, there are many dining options close by.

A recent addition is El Diez, an Argentinean style steak house and sports bar, located on the corner of Álvaro Obregón and Orizaba, Colonia Roma Norte.

The Big Fútbol match was in progress on the several big TV screens inside, so to escape the pervasive bbbbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!, I sat at a sidewalk table.

Ordering was simple. I chose a 300 gram Bife de Chorizo, $199 MXN, which is a nice, juicy cut of beef.  Other cuts, such as vacio or arrachera, were considerably less. It came with a simple salad, already dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette. There were small bowls of chimichurrí and a spicier red sauce in two small bowls. Decent bread was served, but one bolillo at a time. It was hard to get my harried young waiter's attention. I had a nice glass of a red wine, but can't for the life of me recall the oeniphiliac details. I'm a failure at Wine Appreciation 101. Maybe it was a Malbec or Merlot. I also had an agua mineral.

The steak was excellent and perfectly cooked to my taste, the salad fine, but I wished that they had thrown on some Papas Francesas. But that was an extra, at a whopping $45 pesos Mexicanos. At La Parilla Argentina, Calle Manzanillo # 81, Colonia Roma Sur, the PFs are included, but the meat is much less tender. It's also a far calmer place, also. But it's a 30 minute walk from the Hotel Milán, so El Diez was nearly perfect.

A couple of street kids wandered by and asked if they could have a piece of my steak. I decided to give them some, wrapped in doubled napkins, but I supplemented my meal with an Empanada de Carne, filled with picadillo. It was just "o.k." but not recommendable. (The best empanadas de carne, although considerably smaller, are from Alejandro the Roving Pastry Man in Pátzcuaro.)

The street scene was entertaing, including a two man band playing (somebody's) favorites, and great looking chicas walking by and some sitting at a table near me.

So, in the end, the meal was $314 or so, for one, and that put it in the $$$ category. But, you could also get a big hamburger for under $60, or some Argentine pizza, sold by the meter and half meter.

El Diez Col. Roma, one of several branches of the small chain, is a casual fun spot for a meal. It can get very crowded at times, especially on the weekend.
(Sorry, no pictures because no camera.)

My Ratings:
Food: *** 1/2

Service: *** 1/2

Price: $-$$$$

Ambience: Buzzzzzzzzzzing; sports bar.

El Racó, Mexico City

El Racó, a Catalán restaurant, located at the north end of Parque México in the lovely Colonia Hipódromo-Condesa, was the dining highlight of our recent visit to Mexico City.

I'd spent some time studying the online menus of what it bills as "cuina del mar y muntanya". I incline more to mar than muntanya, so I was attracted by the fish specialties, notably the signature "Huauchinago a la Sal". It's a a brilliantly simple dish, depending on the freshness of the fish for its success rather than complex sauces. But back on the muntanya, there was tempting Magret de Pato en Salsa de Chocolate". What to think of rare duck breast in a sauce of chocolate? Our friend, Ron, was to find out.