Over 140 years ago, the Guizar family opened a small candy shop in the heart of Mexico City’s historic downtown. Dulcería de Celaya was located on Plateros Street, which is now Madero, a rarity in Mexico’s downtown core because it is only open to pedestrians. Today, the dulcería is located on Cinco de Mayo Street. This dulcería is like a hidden jewelry store that sells some of the tastiest and most delicate candy in the city.
Maracuyá, also known as passion fruit in English, is one of the many exotic fruits of Mexico. It is grown in the tropical and semi-tropical regions of Mexico, like Oaxaca and the Yucatán Península. It is native to South America, originating in Brazil, and there are different varieties. In Mexico, the yellow- or purple-skinned varieties are the most typical.
Seven years ago, bread maker Hugo González opened up what is known to be one of the best bakeries in Mexico. As you walk along Chihuahua Street in Colonia Roma, a vibrant and historic neighborhood, the strong aroma of freshly baked bread will lure you over. Hugo studied culinary arts at Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, a highly esteemed culinary school in the south of Mexico City and completed his thesis on bread fermentation…
What to do with a couple cans of sardines? Do what the people from landlocked Aguascalientes do: make the tastiest empanadas. Over the past dozen years, I have been amazed by so many things, as I’ve ventured into a deep exploration of Mexico’s cuisine to share it with the world – or whoever will listen. Its richness, its diversity, its depth, its accessibility, its generosity… One thing that has also stood out, everywhere, is the resourcefulness of its people.
My grandpa was the first person to introduce me to this 50-year-old fonda. I’m not super keen on waking up at 5:00 in the morning, yet will wake up without a problem just thinking that I’ll soon be wrapping a fresh tortilla around all the different guisados. They open at 5:30AM and that’s when everything is the freshest. This early in the morning you’ll be bound to encounter people who sneak in a quick breakfast before work…
I don’t know if I have shared this with you before, but I am obsessed with eggs. I just love them. In fact, many of my dear childhood memories have eggs in them. Like sitting next to my mom before she left for work, so many mornings, as she ate her usual scrambled eggs with ham, always cooked until tender, along with a piece of black toast with a thin spread of honey.
Now-a-days, pan francés (French toast) is commonly said in Mexico City’s culinary neighborhoods thanks to Chef Eduardo García, one of Mexico’s most creative and admired chefs, highly known for his product-focused philosophy. Lalo (Eduardo’s nickname in Spanish) grew up as a migrant worker in the US, he gained valuable kitchen experience from Chef Eric Ripert in New York.
My first formal job, after switching careers from political analysis to cooking, was as chef and cooking instructor of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC. This was 2007. A year before, I had created a curriculum that aimed to open, one class at a time, a window into Mexican cuisine, history and culture for anybody living north of the border. What I didn’t know, when I began preparing it, was that classes were to be for a crowd of 100 people…
Large clay casseroles filled with some of the tastiest guisados in Mexico City crowd this tiny taco shop on one of Colonia Condesa’s major avenues, Amsterdam. Small and narrow, with only a refrigerator to grab a cold drink and a small table outside, Tacos HOLA is the most popular taco shop in the area. Since 1968, Tacos HOLA has been making traditional guisados, which are delicious stews that can be made with different types of meat, fresh vegetables, grains or any combination of the three with one or another kind of salsa.
A cuisine as rich and diverse as Mexico’s needs for us to make an effort to preserve what has been passed on. But, you also have to keep an open mind to new ideas that may in turn become classics. In that sense, I find the kitchen to be one of the most humbling places because food is always growing and evolving and taking you along, if you let it. You get to constantly learn, apply what you learn, share it, and then start all over again. Take tamales for example. I have made countless kinds from all regions of Mexico and from different historical times.