Mexico City was never on my travel bucket list because I heard that it was dangerous and I thought that it would be a large version of Tijuana. (I like Tijuana but I can drive there.) I received an airline voucher and on a whim decided to visit because of a travel tip from a friend and a cousin. What a fantastic trip! Peter and I were wowed by the tree lined streets, the architecture, the variety of food and the art. One of the top cities that I have visited! We loved the city so much that we went twice to celebrate my Birthday.
I am always game for an epic gastro trip and one of my joys is traveling with close friends and family to eat and try new cuisines. One of my best friends, Carmina (aka @thecrazycook_ph) visited San Diego with her family in May. She read about the burgeoning Guadalupe Valley food and wine scene in the and wanted to visit.
We invited Candice, who recommended restaurants and the seven of us drove into Mexico on a beautiful Wednesday in May.
Our first stop was at Doña Sabina Bandera's La Guerrerense in Ensanada, the street mariscos cart made famous by Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations in 2012. I heard lots of great things about their tostadas and was intrigued. I bit into a sea urchin and clam tostada and my first thought was that is is not chilled (most raw food that I eat in the States is refrigerated) followed by the taste of pure fresh seafood deliciousness. The tostada was phenomenal and I can see why they were invited to be a vendor at Anthony Bourdain's Pier 57 food hall opening in New York on August 1, 2017.
Our attempt at a romantic photo remake 😳
Happy Valentine's Day 🌹
We were in Mexico City last June and took an overnight trip to the city of Puebla, a Spanish colonial town established in the 1531 located in East-Central Mexico, whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Mexico's 4th largest city. Believed to have been built with the help of angels, the city was called Puebla de los Angeles or "City of Angels".
We took Uber (our ride of choice in Mexico City) to the TAPO bus terminal then rode the Estrella Roja bus to the Capu bus terminal then hopped on a 20 minute cab ride to our hotel in the historic area of Puebla. The roughly 2 hour ride premier class ticket cost about $12 one way and the bus was clean, comfortable and felt safe.
Our first glimpse of the city was of stunning Baroque and Renaissance architecture painted in vibrant colors and dramatic talavera tiled facades. So beautiful!
We also visited because we heard that they are known for their dishes such as Middle Eastern inspired gyro style taco Arabe which were created by immigrants from Iraq who moved to the area after World War I, mole (one of my favorite dishes) and the cemita poblana, a massive meat, cheese, avocado sandwich in a specialty sesame roll.
In June 2014, we visited Mexico City for the first time and could not get a reservation to Enrique Olvera's Pujol, which is on the list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants. We heard from several friends (strangely all lawyers based in the States) and locals that the food was innovative and different. Instead, we ate at Martha Ortiz's elegant Dulce Patria, also located at the posh Polanco district, where we dined on creative dishes which included seasonal insects. The experience left us fascinated with upscale Mexican cuisine. Although we eat a lot of Mexican food in San Diego (the Americanized versions, street tacos and mariscos trucks, authentic home made dishes), Mexican fine dining is new to us.
This year, we visited Mexico City for my Birthday again (we love the city) and booked dinner at Pujol over a month in advance on Open Table. Voila we had our seat.
One thing that I love about living in San Diego is being able to decide on a whim to have brunch in Mexico. We woke up one Sunday and took an impromptu roadtrip to Valle de Guadalupe aka the Napa of Baja which has been gaining a reputation as a burgeoning food and wine destination.
It was my first visit and we went to Troika and the Vena Cava winery.