Happy New Year! I’m taking a little break from my usual blog posting about Jewish life and style to share some of our photos and highlights of our recent Mexico City trip. We all had such a great time and were surprised by how much we loved this city. (The New York Times just selected Mexico City as the top travel destination for 2016!)
Our first day in Mexico City began with a street food tour led by the lovely Victor from Eat Mexico. (They can easily modify the tour for vegetarians). The freshly made corn tortillas sprinkled with salt were probably the highlight for me. I never knew corn tortillas could taste so good. I also loved the cut fruit with freshly squeezed lime and chili salt (which is now a new favorite after-school snack).
Lesley Téllez co-founded Eat Mexico in 2010. She has been published in Food & Wine, The Los Angeles Times, American Way, Spenser, The Kitchn, and other publications. She’s the author of the award-winning food and travel blog The Mija Chronicles and her cookbook, Eat Mexico, is currently a bestseller. Lesley shares her fabulous guacamole recipe below.
We all enjoyed visiting Frida Kahlo’s house, but we had the most fun that day riding in a colorful boat at the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. Mariachi bands play along the route for the tourists, and many locals on the boats were celebrating the New Year holiday with festive picnics and dancing. We also spent time that afternoon roaming around the Mercado de Coyoacan—a spectacle of colors and smells like I’ve never seen.
Our one fancy meal was a decadent New Year’s Eve lunch at Pujol. We indulged in a seven-course tasting menu. I tried the baby corn with smoked ant powder (it was surprisingly delicious), and one of the kids was brave enough to eat this very pretty egg and bean dish with grasshoppers. (I don’t think ants and grasshoppers are exactly kosher.)
We spent hours at the Anthropology Museum, the most visited museum in Mexico. It’s filled with thousands of archeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico’s pre-Colombian heritage. And who knew Mexico City has one of the tallest pyramids in the world—The Pyramid of the Sun—built in 100 C.E.
Guacamole de Molcajete
Recipe courtesy of Lesley Téllez
Lesley’s note: “The two key elements to good guacamole are the avocados and tomatoes. In Mexico, the avocados are so buttery and spoonable, it’s practically impossible to make a bad batch. (Unless you add too much lime juice and onion.) Pick soft avocados that don’t feel mushy. For tomatoes, the fresher they are, the better. A molcajete, in my opinion, helps create an ideal consistency for the guacamole — you end up with these half-ground bits of tomato and mashed onion. Plus it makes for an attractive serving bowl. If you don’t have a molcajete, you can make it in any other bowl and the flavor won’t differ wildly. Just make sure you chop your onions and tomatoes well.”
1/4-piece of a small onion, chopped (this equals about 1.5 oz/31 g)
1 fresh roma tomato, chopped
1 serrano chile, seeded or not (depending on how hot you like it), and chopped
2 lbs/900 g avocados, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Add the onion, tomato and serrano to the molcajete, along with some salt to taste. Grind them together until the tomato bits have fallen apart slightly, and the mixture looks wet and smells aromatic. Spoon the avocados into the molcajete and grind some more, until the mixture is mostly smooth, with a few avocado chunks here and there. Add your cilantro and lime juice, and a little more salt. Stir to taste. Add more salt and lime juice if needed. Serve with tortilla chips.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year. XO