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nouveau Mexican in Puebla?

I lived in Puebla a few years ago and eat pretty much street food and comida corrida due to my budget. Of course that is delicious but I'm going back now and I want to splurge. Last year I went to the La Tecla in Mexico City and thought it was ok, but now I want to know about fine dining in Puebla. Also, I checked out the Meson Sacristia online and thought their menu looked too traditional for my preferences.

Could somebody recommend a place in Puebla to enjoy a nice lunch that is more nouveau Mexican? I want amazing flavors and using an interesting combination of traditional ingredients. Something like Pujol in Mexico City. I understand Puebla might not have the same level as Mexico City, but just trying to be specific.

Feb 10, 2010
racheljana in Mexico

Tamales with sallmon and polenta

Sounds good to me. I love authentic Mexican food, but really like seeing new versions. Where are you in terms of geography and that may we helpful in determining what ingredients you would use? I'm not as familiar with cooking with polenta, but I can tell you about masa (the Mexican version of polenta I suppose you could think of it like that).

If I were to try and make it I would use banana leaves (I don't know which the chef used). I'd probably take the raw salmon and but it in a chipotle marinade, or sauce. Then with the masa (in Chicago you can get it pre-made, otherwise you can add water or consomme to it to get it in a dough like mass) you'll put a little in it like a spread out volcano, and put some of the chipotle salmon. All in the corn husk or banana leave and then you'd put it in a large pot of boiling water and let it sort of steam for I'd guess maybe 30 minutes.

What do you think?

Jul 31, 2009
racheljana in Mexico

my Mexican food thoughts and recommendations

I have been meaning to go to Cemitas Puebla. I lived and worked in Puebla for a year and never was a big fan of cemitas (I was back for the holidays and still didn't feel too excited by them), but I'd like to go since there aren't too many places that specialize in poblano (or even Mexico City) food.

Anyone found molotes (essentially a fried, street quesadilla) in Chicago? I have been craving them since I came back a few weeks ago.

Jan 26, 2009
racheljana in Chicago Area

splurging for hip, eccletic dining in Mexico City for the first time

well, quite frankly, while the description you gave sounds wooonderful and I don't doubt that they do a fabulous job with their seafood, things like caldo de camaron and tacos de camaron and what not sound maybe a bit more traditional than what I was hoping for. I think I'm wanting something that gives me a little surprise. Furthermore, while I love seafood, I don't really know that I want my options quasi-limited to it for my splurge meal.

The tostadas with raw tuna sounded very appealing as well as the possibility of bumping into Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal. :) But not enough I guess... :)

Someday when I return to Mexico older, richer and dining not once, but perhaps twice or three times, in expensive restaurants, I won't be so picky. :) The suggestions here are really amazing, and my head will be spinning until I get to DF deciding between the places.

Dec 27, 2008
racheljana in Mexico

my Mexican food thoughts and recommendations

This is actually a redirect from the Mexico international board for someone that wondered about Mexican food in Chicago (an out-of-towner from Toronto). Sorry if some of it is a repeat.

I have been living in Chicago for the past 9 months, in Pilsen the historically Mexican neighborhood (my perspectives are pretty authentic, if I do say so myself, since I lived in Mexico, grew up in San Antonio (not really real Mexican food, but know how to compare to tex-mex), work at a Mexican organization and continue to leisurely study central Mexican cooking). So, I can suggest some off-the-beaten track places in Chicago, and perhaps suggest a typical place or two.

The typically suggested places (some of which I've eaten at, some not- I'll specify in parenthesis if I have) are:
Topolopamgo and the Frontera Grill are both Rick Bayless' restaurants (he's a PBS broadcasted chef, and is usually right on the money with his cultural food insight). I have heard mixed reviews on his restaurants, but his shows are wonderful and the way he prepares the food is quite authentic, particularly for the Yucateca cuisine. (have not experienced, but someday)

White people (as in folks that don't live in Pilsen, the neighborhood I previously mentioned where I live) tend to flock to Nuevo Leon (a few blocks from the 18th St Pink Line station). I think it is ok. The mural outside of the bldg is worth seeing, but I don't recall the food blowing me away with authenticity. It seemed more Tex-Mex, which is ok, since Nuevo Leon is a Texas border state. Now, I'll go to a place even if it is touristy so my lack of enthusiasm has little to do with that. (have been)

Another regular mention would be Cafe Mundial . The menu changes. I went on a day where I had amazing food (altho I'd be hard pressed to tell you what I had- so sorry- but I think it had something to do with goat cheese and possibly seafood). Out of the typical places this is the place I'd go again and again. I also work in Pilsen, so often walking to work I pass the place and look at the menu. It often looks appealing and creative, but not always. This may be borderline crazy, but their french fries with green sauce were amazing and I would definitely order that. (have been)

A few off the beaten path places:
I believe it is call Mexico Grill or Mexico Cafe. It is on the northwest corner of Damen and 18th St. I just went there the other day and was quite impressed with their enchiladas potosinos (the style from San Luis Potosi, where the friendly owner is from). I highly recommend them! They sort of remind me of a cross between an enchilada, a Mexico City style quesadilla (fried in a tub of oil) and an empanada. I'm a big fan of texture and these had a good combo of crunchy and soft. Also, their salsas were WONDERFUL AND they make hand-made tortillas which are the best.

Another one I'd try for the pozole (service is not the best and you have to specifically say you want all the sides) is El Alamo at Hoyne and 18th. Pozole is only served on the weekends. This place is a major whole in the wall- keep in mind. But the pozole is quite good.

For decent seafood I would try La Condesa on Ashland just south of Cermak. I was silly and ordered mole poblano (hey, I was “homesick” for Puebla after having just gotten back), so I can’t speak for the seafood dishes, but the mole was excellent! I think this place may have the best handmade tortillas in Pilsen.

La Fogata. This is where the politicos and the folks from the Mexican consulate come to schmooze. I think it is decent (again handmade tortillas). My partner (who is Mexican, so perhaps he has a bit more credibility than me) thinks it is fairly authentic. I think it is so-so authentic. It is supposedly an Italian-Mexican fusion, but really that translates to a typical Mexican-in-the-U.S. menu with some pasta dishes. My co-worker supposedly has his own plate on the menu that they named after him. Whatever.

Finally, dessert (and it is WORTH leaving the place you’re at to come to this place). I agree with Rick Bayless- he says the best tres leches cake is at Kristoffer’s on Halsted at 18th, and man, is he right. I’ve had both the chocolate tres leches and the coconut- both had me moaning and groaning in delight… and I’m not a sweets person. They keep banker hours as far as I can tell, so come out for lunch.

The truth of the matter is that while Chicago has pretty good Mexican (better than Texas where I grew up), it really does the country-wide typical dishes. Not many regional specialties (although I just found out about a cemitas place), more disappointingly not any seasonal specialties (I had to make my own chiles en nogada, which took me 7 hours standing up), and really no comida corrida favorites- which I think typify Mexican cuisine due to their homemade and every changing menus, as well as being everywhere in central Mexico.

Dec 26, 2008
racheljana in Chicago Area

Where to eat in Mexico City

Not to give unsolicited advice that you were asking of Topawers, but I am posting my thoughts on the Mexican food that I've encountered in my 9 months in Chicago (having moved from Mexico). You can find it on the Chicago section, so we don't confuse folks looking for DF spots.

Dec 26, 2008
racheljana in Mexico

splurging for hip, eccletic dining in Mexico City for the first time

Ok, so Contramar is off the list and Biko is on! I checked out their website and was quite intrigued with the food. Any clue on prices for the tasting menu?

Also, someone mentioned that Margarita Carrillo de Salinas Casa Mexico will be opening this month in the Zona Rosa. Anybody have any info or thoughts on that one? I checked out her website and there was no word about it.

Thanks for the thoughts. This site is quite helpful.

Dec 26, 2008
racheljana in Mexico

splurging for hip, eccletic dining in Mexico City for the first time

wow, thank you. The opentable.com reservation platform. I tried to make a reservation at another place and it let me. I don't want to actually make a reservation so much as know if there is availability. Thanks for the offer. I can skype them, though. Also, I think I might be leaning toward la Tecla anyhow.

Dec 26, 2008
racheljana in Mexico

Puebla, Centro Historico

Well, yes and no. I'm actually not the biggest fan of typical breakfasts (not a fan of pork or eggs). When I ate breakfast out it usually was a tamale from the street vendors, sliced up fruit and freshly squeezed juice. So, two places in particular if you are willing to do the street food thing. Again, these are not high-end places so the chance that they have closed, particularly with the recession upon us and Mexico, could be probable. But I hope not- for their economic sake and our gastronomic sake. :)

Juice. There juice stands open at 7:30 usually and close around 11ish (at least the street vendors). There is a guy right across from the plaza of Teatro Principal that has more than the average orange, mandarina and grapefruit selection. He is set up with about 6-9 jarras de jugo that can range from nogal juice, beet, strawberry and mango. Not particularly novel in Mexico or Puebla, but not too common at the price (I recall 7 for a cup and 15 for a liter!) he has and in a mobile booth. Anyhow, with your back to Teatro Principal, looking north, walk across 8 Oriente to another little plaza (Blvd 5 de Mayo will be to your right). That juice guy is under the big tree with his numerous jarras.

Tacos. So, a place that is only open for breakfast and has my favorite tacos in Puebla is another hole in the wall. They prepare handmade, thick blue corn tortillas (not too uncommon for street food) and fry nopales and potatoes (you can also get bistec) to put in these whooping big tacos. The nopal tacos are 12 pesos and the steak ones, I believe were 20. But they're enormous and so good. The customer service kind of sucks, and the cleanliness could even be questioned, but I think you'll be fine. (however, in my year and a half in Mexico I never got sick off of food, so I might have a stomach of steel- not that I want to jinx myself, since I'll be going back next week and eating at all of these described places). I still dream of these tacos, and as I type with a bowl of oatmeal next to me, and listening to my Chicago neighbors try to spin their cars out of the packed-up snow, I really can't wait to be enjoying these tacos in the sun of Puebla. :)

It is on 4 Sur (I'm nearly positive) and 13 Oriente. It is on the eastern side of the street and near the southern corner approaching 13 Oriente (I couldn't remember so I did some major sleuthing- comparing my photos and the direction of traffic to a map!!). It is in a bldg (so not a booth on the street), but their big frying area extends to the sidewalk. You should see a crowd. Get there early so as to not hear the words "ya no hay." Which happened to me on several occasions arriving at 10/10:30 and brought on grave disappointment. :)

Here are links to photos of the place:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/...

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/...

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/...

Dec 26, 2008
racheljana in Mexico

Puebla, Centro Historico

ha! I wondered. :)

I'm sure you already know that comida corrida is really hit or miss, so I hope on the day that you go (like I said, provided it is still even there) they have some good food. Let me know if you have other questions about places to eat on the cheap in Puebla.

Dec 25, 2008
racheljana in Mexico

splurging for hip, eccletic dining in Mexico City for the first time

I just tried to check reservations at Pujol for my possible dates (either Jan 3, 4 or 5) and it wouldn't allow me. Do you suppose it is closed for the New Year's holiday? I hope not!

Thanks for the thoughts and the specifics! Keep them coming!

Dec 25, 2008
racheljana in Mexico

Oaxaca, Puebla, and Cuernavaca Areas

I lived in Puebla for a year and was on a BUDGET big time so my suggestions are from that experience. I just wrote it on another post, but I'll copy and paste for this one. Mexico has amazing food (bad service usually, but that's b/c customer service isn't a high priority and the workers' rights really suck, as well as class dynamics). I won't lie, after being in Mexico for a year and a half, I really did miss the variety of the immigrant nation (in my case the US) cuisine selection (Chinese, lebanese, french, indian, etc.), but still think Mexican food is stellar IN Mexico.

In Puebla, I would recommend a place specifically for comida corrida about 5-10 minute walk from the zocalo. I hope it is still there and the setting is lovely on the cheap. They would often get away from the comida corrida typical stuff and have things like chicken in an orange almond sauce or cilantro creme soup or chayote stuffed with dried fruit and nut cream compote. No kidding all for roughly 35 pesos when I was there a year ago. In addition to the soup, salad, dessert and agua natural.

The directions are as follows: From the north end of the zocalo, take Palafox y Mendoza east until you reach 4 Norte (about two blocks from the middle of the zocalo). Turn left on 4 Norte. Take 4 Norte until you get to 8 Oriente (a wild street that isn't too safe going westward, but fine right around there- I used to live on this street and loved it, but be careful of the crazy bus drivers). Make a right on 8 Oriente. The place is on the south side of the street (the direction from where you'll be coming), has large wooden doors that open into an orange courtyard with roughly 5 tables, a coffee bar and usually art showcasing. I'll be going there for my annual pilgrimage back to Puebla in just a week!!

Dec 25, 2008
racheljana in Mexico

Puebla, Centro Historico

I lived in Puebla and ate there twice. I believe there are two locations (one closer to the zocalo and the other on the west end of the centro historico). To be honest I sort of felt like the food was stuff you could get at comida corrida (the menu changes daily so shop around the menus to see which one seems to fit your tastes) for a much lesser price. If you're going for mole poblano (in my humble opinion better than other moles), it is a dime a dozen in Puebla and you could easily find it for 45 pesos elsewhere. (also, note that if bones in your chicken don't suit your fancy you can ask them to replace it with pechuga (breast) and it tastes just as good.) If you're going there for a specific something or other, it depends.

I would recommend a place specifically for comida corrida about 5-10 minute walk from the zocalo. I hope it is still there and the setting is lovely on the cheap. They would often get away from the comida corrida typical stuff and have things like chicken in an orange almond sauce or cilantro creme soup or chayote stuffed with dried fruit and nut cream compote. No kidding all for roughly 35 pesos when I was there a year ago.

The directions are as follows: From the north end of the zocalo, take Palafox y Mendoza east until you reach 4 Norte (about two blocks from the middle of the zocalo). Turn left on 4 Norte. Take 4 Norte until you get to 8 Oriente (a wild street that isn't too safe going westward, but fine right around there- I used to live on this street and loved it, but be careful of the crazy bus drivers). Make a right on 8 Oriente. The place is on the south side of the street (the direction from where you'll be coming), has large wooden doors that open into an orange courtyard with roughly 5 tables, a coffee bar and usually art showcasing. I'll be going there for my annual pilgrimage back to Puebla in just a week!!

Dec 25, 2008
racheljana in Mexico

splurging for hip, eccletic dining in Mexico City for the first time

I'm new to this site, but not new to eating in Mexico. I lived in Mexico City and Puebla for 1.5 years total. I ate wonderfully and upon my return to visit my friends and former coworkers this year, I would like to go to a hip, chic, cocina NUEVA mexicana place in Mexico City (not traditional Mexican food, please). When I lived there I was doing non-profit work and making less than 5000 pesos a month, so I could barely afford comida corrida.

However, I ate plenty of wonderful, traditional Mexican food (mainly at people's homes, street food and comida corrida). Now, I'd like to try eating the way the fresas (wealthy, snobby people) for just ONE NIGHT! Keep in mind even though I've crossed back over the border, my budget is still "non-profit on a splurge", so I'd like to keep it no more than $100 USD for two (including a drink or two each). I'm looking for new and exciting flavor combinations, not something I can find on the street or at comida corrida. I want to be blown away. :)

I've researched and the ones I'm looking more closely at are: Pujol, Jaso, La Tecla and maybe Contramar.

Could folks please give me SPECIFIC ideas of what would be on the menus, and, of course, an idea of price? I see lots of recommendations on here, but little specifics about menu (even it it changes I want to be inspired but what was eaten at one point).

(PS The rest of the time I will be eating like my old Mexican life- tlacoyos, tamales, tacos en el mercado, pozole, arroz, frijoles, etc. So, I really want a unique flavor combination)

Dec 25, 2008
racheljana in Mexico