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Saturday, December 24, 2011

From Mexico City Tourism, Too Late for Me!


The government of Mexico City offers free coverage with
“Medical care and assistance for its national and international tourists”

To maintain and increase the quality of the touristic infrastructure of Mexico City one of our emphasis is to cover our national and international guests with medical aid and assistance in case of any emergency. The Ministry of Tourism of Mexico City subsidizes the following services:

  •  Medical assistance in case of influenza AH1N1
  •  Medical care in case of any other disease or accident
  •  Provision of an ambulance in case of an accident
  •  Hospital accommodation in case of any emergency
  •  Prescription of drugs through from cooperating physicians
  •  Emergency dental care
  •  Home transportation in case of illness
  •  Hotel accommodation for time of recovery
  •  Accompaniment of minors
  •  Home transportation in case of death
  •  Informing the emergency contacts
  •  Legal assistance in case of robbery or loss of documents or belongings
  •  Touristical Advice
  •  Event reservation in Mexico City
  •  Forwarding of forgotten belongings
  •  Assistance in case of luggage loss
  •  Assistance in case of flight delay or cancelation
  •  Call Centers, available 24 hours in Spanish, English, French, German and Portugues


 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day of the Dead, Almost!

Walking through Mexico City Airport on December 3, 2011 reminded me of New York's Laguardia airport; narrow corridors and outdated.  Unlike the beaches of Mexico, not much English is spoken here and US currency is not accepted.
With that out of the way, fast forward to the City itself.  The central area of Mexico City, with it's wide, landscaped streets and modern buildings is a sharp contrast to the Historical Zone with it's well maintained ancient buildings, palaces and churches.  Food is available everywhere and all the time.
Though my sightseeing and food sampling lasted only one and a half days, visiting two restaurants "as seen on TV" and one street vendor, I became horribly ill which resulted in a visit from the hotel doctor then a trip to the hospital.  
A new friend, David Lida (from Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations) highly advised me NOT to visit a particular restaurant, which of course I did.  I won't mention the name but it sounds similar to to Walmart. 
My friend Henry from New Orleans, graciously took care of me my sorting out the meds and making food runs for homemade chicken soup.  I could not eat anything else.  I caught up on Seinfeld and Scrubs reruns and became a fan of CNN World.  Richard Quest (Quest Means Business) entertained me by speaking and spitting through his teeth!


                                            


I was able to take these pictures before becoming deathly ill, though fully recovered now....











From top to bottom:  Contramar Restaurant in Condessa: Tuna
                               **Sublime!** David Lida


                               Fishmart in Condessa:  Lobster Tacos
                               **Questionable**  Richard Sachs


                               Taco stand on Ave. Juarez next to Hilton Hotel
                               **Alert the Food Police!**  Richard Sachs


                   Next Mexico vacation will be returning to the beach!
                                

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gourmet Foods of the Week and a Surprise!

    From South of the Border                            
Assorted Fresh Fruit Bowls

Very Seasonal "Tuna" Fruit from the Cactus Tree
Mmmmm!  Squeezable Liquid American
Cheese in a Bag for Nachos....
What a Delight!!!!
(In the Deli Section)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Soriana vs Walmart

Soriana is a very large, Mexican owned supermarket chain. Walmart is not.
The difference here, as many tourists will tell you is like Walmart and Target.  Soriana is Target, and that means much nicer.  When I tell the locals that I had just been to Soriana, their faces glow as if to say; "Thanks for shopping at OUR Soriana and supporting Mexico."  As my cousin told me years ago, you can judge the people by the cars in the lot!  Tru-dat!  (sorry).


                  An assortment of pictures will tell Soriana's tale:
Removing cactus needles


Packaging freshly made tortillas


In-store bakery


Fresh pastries

In-store taco stand (taqueria)


In-store response team

Cancun, again


This time around I decided to fly on Delta through Atlanta to save over $150 dollars, rather non-stop on Continental/United.  For the extra hour in Atlanta and no check-in lines in Newark, it's worth it.
Due to the Mexican Independence Day holiday, I was unable to check into my timeshare on Saturday and decided to stay one night in downtown Cancun.  Downtown, or Centro, is far more "Mexican" than the Hotel Zone on the beachside of town, so the atmosphere is completely different.  I stayed overnight at Hotel Xbalamque (movie set review), a traditional old school downtown hotel.  You can read my review over on Tripadvisor.com.
Sunday morning for breakfast, I took a cab over to a very good, local place named Los Bisquets Obregon.  It's a small chain of diners, serving good traditonal and regional Mexican food.  "Bisquets" should not be missed while in Cancun.  Unfortunately, the pictures I took from my cell phone were lost.  Next time.

Tacos!  As in New Jersey and other states, there are always rivalries 
between restaurant's and their fans. We have had Callahans and Hirams Hot Dogs, Philadelphia has Pat's Steaks and Geno's and so on.

In Cancun, there is Tacos Rigo
and Poblanos.  Though not across the street from each other, they are the big deal in Cancun taco competition and each have a big following.  Rigo offers tripe and eyeballs.  MMMmmm, maybe to someone but not for me.  I'll stick to my tacos al pastor!

                                       
Tacos al Pastor on corn tortillas

Tacos al pastor is made from layers of pork and beef on a large skewer, gyro style, spinning around a gas flame or charcoal fire depending on the region you're in.  The charcoal adds a rich flavor to the meat that the gas does not.  Both are still delicious with added onion and cilantro. Both offer a varitey of salsa and heat levels to choose from.  Add a Leon Beer and you're all set.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New York State of Mind

Rural New York in Summer.  Quiet, peaceful and good old American comfort food; MEXICAN!!


Hudson, New York, is one of those places that the "city folk" have turned around by moving in and rebuilding historic homes, opening new businesses including antique shops and restaurants.  One of those restaurants is Mexican Radio, an interesting name for a good place.


Many reviews include the lack of complimentary chips and salsa, the standard of any Mexican restaurant.  I'll explain.  Their reason for charging for this is everything is homemade; the chips, the salsa and maybe even the salt is mined locally.  The salsa is a LARGE portion as well as the chips, which tasted better than normal.  Maybe it's the oil.  If you don't want it, don't order it.  Just a suggestion.


I ordered fish tacos that came with beans and rice.  A platter of 3 good sized soft corn tortillas filled with batter fried Tilapia and something new;  pre-codimentized (is that a word?!?).
Guacamole, shredded cabbage and a crema sauce were already added.  This is great timesaver when you're contemplating sipping first, the beer or the tequila.


There are many choices on the menu, all of which have the Mexican Radio twist.  A decent selection selection of beers including local micro-brews as well as many tequilas to choose from, which make the whole trip complete.  Don't ask for mezcal, they don't have it.


Visit Mexican Radio, I did and was more than surprised.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gorging and Bad Manners - Listen to your Mother

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite local restaurants, I won't mention the name, but I have reviewed it previously.
During my fine dinner of the seas' finest food, I heard a hooorible grunting, coughing and gasping.
I looked up and across the dining room to see three well dressed seniors having their dinner too.
Their friend, I'll call him "Stan", was gorging himself on shrimp and pasta.  Even with a full mouth, he would stuff in more and carry on a conversation at the same time!!  With every fork full; a cough, a spit and a grunt...quite disgusting or miraculous, depending on your point of view.  He would continue doing this for the duration of the meal, grossing out everyone around him. With dinner done for them, "Stan" and his friends disappeared, leaving the other diners to enjoy their meal in peace.  "Stan", you're disgusting!


                       I guess his mother never told him not to talk with his mouth full

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Philadelphia: Part 3: Saving the Best for Last!


  Woke up on Memorial Day Sunday at a very early (for me) hour, 9 am to prepare for Sunday Brunch at Iron Chef Jose Garces' "Distrito".  One of several establishments he owns in Philadelphia, all of which are different from the next.  
Arriving a few minutes early for an 11 o'clock reservation, we were the first customers, which was great!  This was an opportunity to look around, ask questions and take pictures.  
After being seated, a greeting by Ian familiarized us with the restaurant, the menu and the alcohol.  Ian has family in Mexico City, but is American/Scottish/French and knew the menu inside and out.  A real waiter! The real Mexicans were upstairs preparing the food for us which included
the guacamole (required by law), tortilla soup, steak and eggs with refried beans, [fancy] tacos and of course the optional Margarita Bloody Mary, another
drink required by law. A special thanks to the bartender for this wild concoction! Distrito is not to be missed!
Steak and eggs, refried beans
Bloody Mary Margarita
Downstairs Dining Room



Fish Tacos 
Upstairs Dining Area / Open Kitchen - spotless!




Interesting "Community" Sink Adjacent To Restrooms-
-Don't Forget...MODERN Mexican.










                                      DistritoDistrito
Upstairs Booths.  The Booths Spin (for privacy) similar to
"The Whip" At The Amusement Park.
LUCHA LIBRE masks adorn the staircase



                     MOVING ON TO DINNER AT VILLAGE WHISKEY:


                

A late dinner  on a Sunday night brought two unexpected 21st century experiences; a hostess with an iPad and a text message to my cellphone to tell me that the table was ready. How did she know my cell number?!?! The 45 minute wait was only about 15 minutes. 

The Village Whiskey lives up to its name.  Located on the corner ground floor of a century old office building, the restaurant offers at least 100 whiskeys and whiskys and a fine assortment of microbrewed bottled beers, with 6 on tap.  Another interesting note:  I have never seen a beer menu that shows "Market Price" for a guest beer.  I thought this only applies applies to fresh lobster at a seafood restaurant!  Speaking lobster, I ordered Jamies Lobster Mac and Cheese.....

 

An assortment of three cheeses and the meat of two lobster claws with  toasted breadcrumbs on top, was a delicious mix with lobster in every spoonful.  Yes, you will need a spoon, not a fork to fully enjoy this.  Accompanied by two local beers and a double "pour" of Mexican mezcal for dessert, no shots here, a fun time was had by me. Christina our South Philly waitress was great even though she was quite busy.  yes, you're allowed to say "Philly" here unlike saying "Frisco", where you will be taken outback and executed.  Enjoy your visit to Philadelphia AND San Francisco.