When I started planning a trip to South America last year, I knew I had to include Cuba in the journey somewhere. When I realised that it was easiest to fly through Mexico City to get there, the choice to stop a while to try some food was easy. What was not so easy was the decision about which foods to try in the short time we would have there. Honestly, it’s a blessing I don’t have to make real decisions in my life because the one between a street food tour and a taco tour caused me a truly unnecessary amount of angst!
We stayed in a great Airbnb on Isabel de Catolina, just down the road from the central historical district and across the road from a university campus. Being deliriously tired from the preceding 30 hours of transit, we took our Airbnb hosts recommendation and just wandered downstairs to a place called Hosteria La Bota for dinner when we arrived. We ordered molletes especiales and enchiladas verdes, with only a vague idea of what they would be as the menu was all Spanish – should have worked harder on those duolingo lessons! The former turned out to be a crusty bread roll filled with refried beans and chorizo and topped with melted cheese, with pico de gallo on the side, while the latter was corn tortillas swimming in verde sauce with cheese, creme fraiche and chicken. Both were delicious – full of flavour, a decent amount of spice and not too heavy. My favourite part was the refried beans and chorizo mix in the Molletes especiales. And of course, we had a jug of margarita to accompany them – when in Mexico and all that jazz.
So we had ended up booking a street food tour with a company called Eat Mexico. Although the taco tour did truely tempt me, I went with the option with more variety in the end. The trip advisor reviews of the company were glowing, so I had high hopes for the day. We turned up at 9.30am in the city centre jet lagged, but with our walking shoes on, tummies empty and cameras at the ready. Our guide, Anais, was super friendly and really knew her stuff – she grew up in Mexico City and had a qualification in gastronomy from a the university across the road from our Airbnb!
Over the course of the day we tried tamales, fresh tortillas, burritos, quesadillas, chicharron, fresh juice and a bunch of other things I can’t remember the name of because the jet lag was real and I didn’t write anything down. All the different types of tortillas had different names depending on the shape and it got complicated quickly! We saw cactus ready to be de-thorned and we later ate some cooked, and we got to visit inside a tortilla shop to see how the magic happens. We had a taco made from pig stomach (a bit chewy for my liking, but the other option was uterus!). My favourite was the octopus tostado which was just dreamy with the crispy tortilla, large chunks of octopus, creamy avocado and fresh lime.
After the food tour we headed home to relax after that incredibly taxing morning, stopping by the beer shop to purchase something to enjoy on our sunny rooftop. That evening we headed over to the central historical district to check out the cathedral and see what the area was like. There was a lot of construction work going on, but thre was a good vibe around. We took a few snaps with the hordes of people and then escaped to a quiet rooftop for a drink. We took the opportunity here to try some Mezcal, which is a drink made from agave plants native to Mexico. To put it in context, tequila is a type of Mezcal made from a specific agave plant, the agave tequilana. I am not sure what type of plant our Mezcal was made from, but it was made to be sipped not taken as a shot. It was served with lime and purple salt, and although not my favourite taste it was interesting to try.