I ate at Pujol and then listened to Mariachi

My vacation to Mexico is almost over, but I thought I should write a quick status update. We are here are on the eve of the Mexican Independence Day celebrations. This has made the city very crowded, very festive, and nearly impossible to hang near the Zócalo. I’ve already seen it, so that doesn’t feel much like a loss to me.

We’ve been using our time to explore the city, relax at the apartment, and eat more delicious food than I can describe. We had tacos arabes at the hole in the wall place called El Greco one night. Yesterday, we went to Polanco to eat at world famous restaurant Pujol. It’s the flagship of Enrique Olvera, and you can go to Netflix to watch a documentary about it.

It’s a six course meal that you get to make choices for a few of the options. Here is what lunch looked like for me:

  • Course 1- Mini Gordita topped with Waygu beef, and baby corn elote with smoked mayo.
  • Course 2 – Sea bass, cacahuatzintle juice, celery
  • Course 3 – Cauliflower, almond salsa macha, chile de árbol
  • Course 4 – Pork chop, red chichilo, and nixtamalized butternut squash
  • Course 5 – Mole madre (1381 days old), mole nuevo
  • Course 6 – Nicuatole

    The meal was not cheap at $100 USD per person, and the price goes up with a a good (no, it was great) bottle of wine and an after lunch drink. This was one of the best meals of my life and one of the best dining experiences as well. I thought it was totally worth it.

    The smoked corn appetizer was brought out in a dried gourd with burning leaves in it to smoke the corn. The butternut squash I had with my pork was incredibly delicious. Course 5 was so amazing. Basically, they serve you 2 dollops of mole. One was made that day, the other was started 4 years ago, and it is refreshed (but never finished) daily. Each mole was complex on its owns, with the older mole (mole madre) being beyond description. The dish is served with tortillas pressed with a hoja santa leaf. I tried the moles separately and then mixed them with the tortilla to finish. I swear, if the waiter told me that Olvera got the recipe from the Virgin de Guadalupe, I would have believed her and went straight to mass.

    They invited us to go to their garden for dessert and after lunch drinks. It was lovely, and no other tables took them up on the offer. We had our drinks, chosen desserts, and an incredible churro to share. When we finished the churro, they offered to bring a second, which we accepted with utter gluttony.

    In the evening we went to Plaza Garibaldi to listen to mariachi music. I really like mariachi music. If there was a coordinate chart with accessibility on one access and complexity of music, I think mariachi would win. Some of the musicians are really quite brilliant, and the music is accessible to everyone. There is no expensive concert hall tickets or “society” pretense. It is sophisticated music for the people, being played by qualified musicians.

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    I love vacationing in Mexico City.