La Casa de las Sirenas, República de Guatemala No. 32, Centro Histórico, México City, Mexico
Sopes and quesadillas fresh of the comal delight tourists and locals at“La Casa de las Sirenas”. Aside from delicious food, this restaurant offers a piece of history- the eatery is located inside a 16th century building.
¨Pujol¨ Francisco Petrarca 254 Polanco, Mexico City (01 55) 5545-4111
Just like movies sketch the reflection of a society in celluloid, Enrique Olvera captures a piece of Mexico in every single one of his dishes. Complex, surrealistic and magical, his cuisine catches the soul of an ancestral culture, and artistically presents it through the lens of modern, world-class gastronomy.
For those fortunate enough to be familiar with the extraordinary array of delicacies that make up Mexican food, Pujol, Olvera’s flagship restaurant, offers a haute-cuisine take on a culture that bends time and overlaps the past with the present. Pre-Hispanic ingredients such as insects and chiles, interact with other elements through the alchemy of modern techniques to delight guests with a piece of this fascinating country.
For those of you with the impression that Mexican food does not go far beyond your chain burrito establishment, a stop at Pujol is a must if you are interested in experiencing authentic Mexico in one single bite.
Have you ever wished you could get the Whole Foods experience minus the price tag? After picking up your fresh-from-the-oven pizza, have you like me, ever experienced a little pang of angst knowing that instead of a Diet Coke you will have to get a bottle of green tea to wash it down?
Sure, no one disputes the benefits of antioxidants, but if you have dreamed about a perfect balance, a hybrid offering the best of both of worlds- specialty foods, extraordinary in-store dining and your favorite brands under one single roof, your dream is a reality. It is called Mariano’s Fresh Market.
I have shopped and dined quite a few times at two of the five Mariano’s Fresh Market stores in the Chicagoland area, the Arlington Heights and the Lakeshore East locations. Whenever I visit, I feel like pinching myself to make sure I am awake. See for yourself. Aside from choices, you will consistently find live music at the register and an impeccable service. The depth and breadth of assortment covers anything from groceries to deli, bakery and flowers. If you like food, Mariano’s Fresh Market makes it difficult to believe that you have not entered an altered state of consciousness.
What’s even dreamier, prices are very reasonable.
Aside from visiting the store to do your shopping, if you have the good fortune to be a local and want to run in for a quick bite, you will find quite an array of options – sushi, guacamole and a variety of salsas (my favorite is the pineapple salsa), as well as seasonal dishes. Today, for example, a good selection of fish choices was available for those observing lent. There is also a great variety of drinks and dessert, freshly-squeezed juice, Italian prosecco, beignets and even gelati.
Mariano’s has a nice casual indoor dining area that is equally suitable for families with small children, hungry teenagers or busy time-crunched professionals. In its downtown location, the store also has a patio with umbrellas.
The quality of the food is superb. I had the best rice pilaf I’ve had in years, baked chicken, grilled vegetables and for dessert, hazelnut gelato.
My Italian husband loves to cook, and while he is still trying to figure out which Mexican dish is supposed to have lime and which does not, this citrus, along with avocados, pickled rajas and other chilis, are staples in our home.
In Mexico, lime, salt and chile piquín can turn jícama, cucumber and almost any fruit into a snack. These delicious bites are quite ubiquitous- you can find them being sold on carts on the street, moms pack them as lunches, hosts and hostesses have them ready for a variety of events, big and small.
Enrico knows this, and last night he prepared this mango which we/I devoured in a matter of minutes. Although he might still have to hone his skills around the Mexican etiquette of lime, he has definitely already mastered the ratios!
Fabulous Food in the Suburbs and Other Unlikely Places
Schaumburg is definitely not known for its collection of boutique restaurants, much less Mexican eateries. Interestingly, one of my food oasis in an otherwise food chain-dominated town is Nordstrom. Yes, I just found this amazing chicken torta at my local retailer. I saw this as a special on the menu and had to try it. I am not sure how long it will stay , but if you have a chance, swing by and try it. This is truly the best torta interpretation I have had outside of Mexico.
If you don´t happen to see it on the menu, usually the daily specials are good way to go.
Nordstrom Restaurants give the concept “boutique restaurant” a completely new meaning. This gem awaits you on the third floor of Nordstrom at Woodfield Mall.