Dinner at Palacio – Apr 5, 2015

After our giant breakfast buffet on Easter Sunday, I was filled to the brim. I skipped lunch because the thought of more food was upsetting. Eventually, thanks to digestion, I felt ready to eat again, but not yet ready for a full, hearty meal. My husband felt the same and suggested Palacio because he was craving some healthy chicken soup. I was planning to also order the chicken soup, but when we arrived they were advertising pozole, and I’m a sucker for a good pozole. I got married in Puerto Vallarta and tried pozole for the first time at the resort. It was fine, but nothing special. Then I had homemade pozole, made by my sister-in-law, and was blown away! It was so flavourful and hearty and delicious that I decided to learn how to cook it back home in Canada. The first problem I encountered was finding the ingredients – specifically, hominy – which took a bit of research and the discovery of a great latin market in Calgary. The second problem was the same problem I tend to have with every new recipe I try to make; I don’t prep the ingredients in advance, so I find myself overcooking an ingredient in step 1, while I’m peeling and/or chopping (or mincing, or dicing, etc.) the ingredient for step 2. So my first attempt at pozole was edible, but mediocre. A quick ‘thank you’ to my husband who deals with a lot of my mediocre ‘new’ meals. I did get back on the pozole horse, armed with a new recipe and a fierce desire to get it right…which I did the second time around. Even better, it was a slow cooker recipe, which requires way less attention! Whoa, I went off on a bit of a tangent there! Back to the pozole at Palacio…I waited with anticipation for my meal which – thankfully – arrived quickly. And – also thankfully – it was excellent. It arrived with all the fixins on the side, so that you can adjust it to your liking (lettuce/cabbage, onion, and lime). It’s a very filling soup, and very inexpensive. I’d highly recommend Palacio’s pozole anytime!

Ratings (on a scale of 1-5):
Food taste: 4.5
Food portion size: 5
Food health: 4.5
Service: 3.5
Value: 5
Décor: 2.5
Ambiance: 3
Music: 4.5 (lots of 90’s classic hits – I felt like I was in some kind of wonderful time warp)

Breakfast Buffet at Rulfo – Apr 5, 2015

Oh man, I really should have written this a long time ago! I’ll write about everything I remember and forgive me if I forget something…I’d better also preface this by letting you know I’m not a huge fan of buffets. On the one hand, I love to eat and I love having the opportunity to try a lot of different foods, but on the other hand I tend to overeat at buffets to the point where I don’t feel well for the next 20 or so hours. I know what you’re thinking, “Why don’t you just eat less at a buffet?” And that’s a fair question, but it’s a deep-seated problem because buffet meals are usually more expensive than an à la Carte meal, and therefore I feel the need to eat more to “get my money’s worth.” In the case of Rulfo, it didn’t help that they have A LOT of good food to choose from. They have an amazing selection of fruits, including bananas, papaya, pineapple, cantaloupe, guava, mamey, coconut, watermelon, chicozapote, and golden passion fruit. There’s also a cereal/yogurt bar that has various kinds of cereal, milk, and yogurt, and toppings such as granola, fresh berries, dried fruit, honeys, seeds, and nuts. Furthermore, there’s a bread and charcuterie section, with 3-4 kinds of cheeses, 3-4 kinds of meats (including the delicacy jamón ibérico), and various breads. But don’t fill up on all of these, as the hot food station has some mouth-watering local and international specialties. My favourite Mexican dishes were the chilaquiles, tamales, and refried beans. And my all-time favourite breakfasts were available here, too: eggs benedict and Belgian waffles, which were both fantastic. There was also a delicious cooked cheese prepared with pink peppercorns (although I forget what it was called). And if you’re a fan of eggs, don’t skip the omelette station, where you can get your eggs cooked in your favourite style, freshly prepared on the spot. And they have the brekkie staples of bacon and sausages, but the bacon was dry and overcooked, and the sausage wasn’t very flavourful. And in keeping with the incredible variety, to drink you can have coffee in pretty much any form, or various tea flavours, and 4 different kinds of freshly pressed fruit juices. I’m partial to the green juice. For the most part the food is fresh and tasty, and there’s definitely a ton of options, but it is pricey, as you might expect, so I really can’t see myself returning. It’s nice to try it once or if you want to go for a special occasion, but I wouldn’t recommend it on a regular basis.

Ratings (on a scale of 1-5):
Food taste: 3.5
Food portion size: n/a (if I eat too much, that’s my own fault)
Food health: 2.5 (most of the options are heavy, fatty, and indulgent)
Service: 4
Value: n/a (this is the whole reason I’m biased against buffets)
Décor: 3.5 (the Hyatt décor is great, but the seats aren’t very comfortable)
Ambiance: 4
Music: 4

Lunch and Afternoon Tea (not really) at Meridiem Restaurant in Museo Nacional de Antropología – Apr 4, 2015

During our first weekend in Mexico City we decided to play tourist. We went to the Museo Nacional de Antropología first thing on Saturday morning to beat the crowds, and also because the museum is so large and covers such a huge time span, that we wanted as much time as possible to see it all. We did somehow manage to see the entire museum in a day, and stopped to eat in the museum’s restaurant, Meridiem, twice. For lunch I had the arrachera a la tampiqueña, which is a skirt steak (a long and flat piece of meat prized for its flavour rather than its tenderness). And it was extremely flavourful. It was a beautiful meal, complete with sides of guacamole and vegetables. It was delicious & filling, and it was also a great value. This was a happy surprise, considering that most food options inside of an attraction tend to be pricier. Anyway, after lunch we checked out the second half of the museum. It’s an incredibly interesting place and Mexico has a long and fascinating history. So before we were finished we needed a snack to keep us going. We went back to Meridiem and had queso fundido with chorizo. A light, healthy snack, it was not. But it was delicious. Very delicious. Hubby and I nearly fought over the last bites! If you’re not sure what this dish is, it’s cheese and little bits of chorizo fried in a skillet until it’s one gooey, yummy substance. Then it’s served in the cast iron skillet it was cooked in, to keep the cheese warm and melted for as long as possible. It was served with homemade tortilla chips. I can’t get over how ubiquitous the homemade tortilla chips are here. Why are we stuck with prepackaged stuff in Canada?? If you want the good stuff (i.e. homemade), you have to really seek it out and that usually includes a substantial drive. But I digress. We ate on the patio both times; we were coming off of a Calgary winter – albeit a relatively mild one – so we jumped at any chance to be out in the warm, Mexican sun. The cute little squirrels hanging out in the patio trees were clearly used to getting some tourist’s leftovers. They didn’t seem to have any fear of people…not even the little brat that was throwing sticks and rocks at them (don’t get me started on that one…let’s just say he was a poster boy for the need for spanking). Anywho, the queso fundido snack gave us the energy we needed to finish viewing the museum. I’m proud to say that we saw the entire museum that day, which wouldn’t have been possible without Meridiem restaurant.

Ratings (on a scale of 1-5):
Food taste: 4.5
Food portion size: 5
Food health: 3 (the arrachera dish is a 4, but the queso fundido is a 2)
Service: 2 (the server forgot about us during lunch, and it took a while to get a server the second time)
Value: 4
Décor: 3.5 (speaking only of the patio)
Ambiance: 3.5
Music: n/a (I don’t remember hearing any music on the patio)

 DSC_6584_The museum courtyard

2015-04-04 Meridiam IMG_5552The Meridiem patio (google image, not my photo)

DSC_6494_One of the bold squirrels looking for a handout (get a job, ya lazy squirrel!)

DSC_6523_

I was there, too! 🙂

DSC_6429_

One of the amazing pieces inside the museum.

Dinner at Porfirio’s – Apr 3, 2015

After watching Furious 7 our friends took us to Porfirio’s in San Ángel for dinner. From the moment we walk in I was impressed. The furniture, the lighting, and the DJ behind the bar (I’ve noticed many restaurants with in-house DJ’s) all had a hip (but definitely not hipster) vibe. We started off with some guacamole for the table. It was freshly and perfectly prepared. I had to demonstrate heaps of restraint to not consume more than my fair share of it! Next we got the tacos sudados surtidos to share among us, which are traditional canasta-steamed tacos. The cilantro and onion were served separately to prepare the taco to your liking. I highly recommend adding some guacamole to your tacos. For my main course I ordered the camarón gigante al carbón (giant charbroiled shrimp); I was debating between those and the camarón diabla, but was worried the diabla would be too spicy for me. I definitely made the right decision, since someone else at the table got the diabla and they were loaded with spicy seasoning. My shrimp, while nearly unseasoned, was incredibly flavourful and delectable. My husband ordered the pulpo a la parilla (grilled octopus) and it was enormous, so I tried some. It was prepared very simply (it seemed to have no seasoning other than salt) and grilled to perfection. And I’m not sure how I made room for dessert, but we ordered churros to share. I was really excited since I hadn’t had churros in years. They arrived in a mini food cart (like the kind you see on the streets here) and with 4 sauces – crème Anglais, chocolate syrup, strawberry sauce, and cajeta (a Mexican confection of caramelized milk). I cannot say enough good things about this desert. The churros were warm and sugary. All 4 of the sauces were incredibly luscious, although I did prefer the crème Anglais; and the combination of the freshly made churros with the sweet sauces was extravagantly sinful. And if all of this decadence weren’t enough, they brought obleas to the table when they brought the bill. I had never tried, seen, nor heard of obleas before. They’re almost like gigantic communion wafers folded in half with a thin layer of cajeta in the middle. Like a sweet, holy taco. And they’re coloured in lovely pastels. Thank goodness they’re so light and thin, or I never could have managed to try them. I was insanely full by the end of this meal, but everything was so amazing, I would happily do it all over again!

Ratings (on a scale of 1-5):
Food taste: 5
Food portion size: 4.5
Food health: 4 (I would’ve given a 5, but churros are fried dough, and delicious as they are, they cannot be deemed healthy)
Service: 4.5
Value: 4
Décor: 4
Ambiance: 5
Music: 4

2015-04-03 Porfirios IMG_5538Camarón gigante al carbón (google image)

2015-04-03 Porfirios IMG_5540Pulpo a la parilla (google image)

2015-04-03 Porfirios IMG_5537The incredible churro cart (google image)

2015-04-03 Porfirios IMG_4359_

Our pretty obleas

Furious 7 at Cinemex VIP Cuicuilco – Apr 3, 2015

After our late brunch at Le Pain Quotidien on Good Friday, we decided to catch a movie. Because of my limited language skills, the group’s choices were limited to English movies with Spanish subtitles (many movies here are dubbed in Spanish). The big opener that weekend was Furious 7. I’ve never seen any of the Fast and Furious franchise films (try saying that 3 times quickly) and I normally would have been opposed to seeing it (especially in a theatre, which means financially supporting it). But thanks to the How Did This Get Made podcast (which I started listening to about 6 months ago), I was a little more willing to watch the movie and try to enjoy it for what it is: pure ridiculousness. I also figured that How Did This Get Made would eventually do an episode on this movie and it’s always more fun to listen to the podcast when you’ve seen the film. So we went to a big multiplex that was playing the movie on several screens and they were all sold out for the matinee showings starting anytime from 3 to 5:30pm! So we called Cinemex Cuicuilco and found a few tickets in their VIP theatre. As far as I know there are no VIP theatres in Calgary, but I tend to go to the older theatres, so I might be wrong. But this was an impressive experience. There were maybe 100 seats in the whole theatre and they were all leather club chairs, each with a little glass tray table to put you food and drink on. And if that weren’t awesome enough, they have servers who come to your seat and take your food and drink order, then bring it to you! And if THAT weren’t awesome enough, you can order wine and beer! Hubby and I decided a couple of beers would help us enjoy the movie. Well, they helped, but not enough. I cannot count how many times I said out loud, “Oh, brother.” This just isn’t my kind of movie. Although I will say that I was impressed with the Paul Walker CGI footage. They had already filmed some scenes with him before his untimely demise, but for the rest of the movie they used his 2 brothers as body doubles and CGI’d his face and managed to add his voice. Except for one scene, in which I felt it was obviously CGI’d, it was really well done and I am not sure which scenes were filmed with Paul Walker vs. which ones were filmed with his brothers. Anyway, the film is action-packed and filled with crazy stunts. I may not have liked it, but I can say that it was not boring. And if I had to watch it, at least I was comfortably reclined in my club chair, happily drinking my beer!

Breakfast and brunch at Le Pain Quotidien – Apr 3, 2015

We had brunch plans for Good Friday, but knew we had to have a small brekkie beforehand, since Mexican meal times are much later than we’re accustomed to. We wandered around and saw a nice outdoor patio for Le Pain Quotidien. We had been to this restaurant once before, in New York City and actually had a very bad experience (bad customer service; they charged us for oatmeal and then didn’t have any, so they got mad at us for wanting our money back, as if it were our fault!), but decided to try it in Mexico City. I had a freshly made green juice and a pain au chocolat (or pan de chocolate as it’s called here) and both were good. Little did we know that our family friends wanted to take us to the very same place for brunch! We returned a couple of hours later and this time I had an open faced sandwich with jamón Serrano, pesto, and fresh mozzarella. The ingredients were fresh, flavourful, and tasty. The meal was both light and filling, and still left me room for dessert, which you don’t want to skip at this bakery. I had a rich, chocolatey tart that I’d highly recommend, except that I don’t know what it’s called. Our family friends simply asked for a variety of pastries and desserts to be brought to our table and we selected from a big tray. I’m pleased to have had a good experience at this famous café after the negative experience in New York. I’d recommend Le Pain Quotidien if you like sweets or if you want a fairly light, simple meal.

Ratings (on a scale of 1-5):
Food taste: 3.5
Food portion size: 4
Food health: 3.5
Service: 3.5
Value: 3.5
Décor: 3 (we ate on the patio)
Ambiance: 3 (not bad, but not especially good)
Music: n/a (not sure if they play music inside, but we couldn’t hear any on the patio)

Dinner at Los Almendros – Apr 2, 2015

We were wandering around looking for a place to have supper when we came upon Los Almendros. My husband had been before and liked it, so I gave it a try. The moment we entered I was impressed with the high ceilings, colourful walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows, making it feel as though we were outdoors (except that outdoors it was raining and we were nice and dry). It just got better from there. Our server was amazing – attentive, friendly, and 100% on top of things. The restaurant specializes in food from the Yucatán. We ordered some tamalitos en salsa de axiote to start and while we waited for them our server brought us a sample of their delicious tacos cochinita. The tamalitos were flavourful with a little spicy kick. I ordered myself a mango margarita and it was freshly made and rimmed with tamarind. I wish that I could have that combination of flavours in my mouth forever! It was so delicious, but also dangerous because I could hardly taste the tequila. I did have a second one, but had to force myself to stop there. As my main course I ordered the pescado Tikin-xic Yucatán because I’m a huge fan of fish and seafood, and there are all kinds of amazing new dishes and even new kinds of fish I’ve never tried. So I’m actually not sure what kind of fish this was (“pescado” just means “fish”), but according to tradition it was most likely in the Grouper or Halibut family. The Tikin-xic sauce that the fish is marinated in is made of axiote, garlic, chiles, spices, lime, and orange, and then it’s wrapped in banana leaves. A nice touch at Los Almendros is that the fish is served still in the banana leaf. It was very traditional and authentic, not to mention delectable! Overall, this has been one of my favourite restaurants so far (and as of this writing I’ve tried about 20)!

Ratings (on a scale of 1-5):
Food taste: 5
Food portion size: 5
Food health: 4.5
Service: 5
Value: 4.5
Décor: 5
Ambiance: 5
Music: 4 (I was told that the music was all from the Yucatán region)

2015-04-02 Los Almendros IMG_4344
(
The amazing mango margarita!)

2015-04-02 Los Almendros IMG_4839
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This is a google image of pescado Tikin-xic, as I devoured mine without taking a photo first)