Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chowing Down in Coyoacan

Coyoacan, in the southern part of Mexico City, used to be a town unto itself until it was incorporated into the metropolis. A subway ride of 30-40 minutes from the center of Mexico City takes you to what indeed feels like a different place. It's a quiet, peaceful oasis with beautiful colonial buildings, public squares and cafe culture. Mexicans and foreigners alike flock to the neighborhood on weekends, and then one can add lively to the adjectives quiet and peaceful. I think Coyoacan is my favorite part of Mexico City, and I wish I'd had more time to spend there. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera spent many years there, and you can visit their house and studio, the Casa Azul. I did, though I didn't get to Trotsky's house.

There are lots of eating options in Coyoacan, but I had two particular items on my agenda: a bowl of pozole and an octopus ceviche.

I had my octopus at El Jardin del Pulpo (sing it, Ringo!), at the mercado. Overlooking the street, at the edge of the market, it has long tables, and specializes in ceviches and cocktails as well as some hot dishes. My octopus and shrimp ceviche was fabulous.

At a little indoor cluster of food stalls right by the main plaza is a vendor reputed to have the best pozole in Mexico City. Pozole is a soup whose main ingredient is hominy; it can be served with various meats and is often garnished with sliced radishes and shredded lettuce. One seasons to taste with ground red chile, oregano and lime.

This particular pozole place is so popular that I got the last seat a few minutes before 2 PM, when they start serving. The other big item in the market is deep-fried quesadillas, a Coyoacan specialty, but I was trying to save myself for dinner. In fact, I even had my pozole sin carne ($4, $6 with meat), because I didn't want to stuff myself.

It was definitely the best pozole I've ever had, with a delicious broth made better by my additional seasoning.

If you find yourself in Mexico City, a visit to Coyoacan is absolutely essential. Meat in your pozole is optional.


Anonymous Judy said...

Are you in Mexico now?? Weren't you just in Asia?

2:57 PM  
Blogger Peter Cherches said...

This is left over from my Thanksgiving trip.

3:36 PM  

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