Our home in Mexico was across the road from a large supermercado which made getting up in the mornings and buying freshly baked pastries and breads for breakfast seem like the natural was to start any day. As we’d arrived in the few days before the Day of the Dead (November 1 & 2), there was much Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead) on offer in the bakery and my GOD was it delicious.
A sweet flaky bun, with a knobbly cross on top made out of more dough, brushed all over with butter (BUTTER) and then dusted liberally with granulated white sugar.. Sigh. I’m sure my pancreas was aghast but really – it should be used to it. There was also custard tarts, pineapple pastries (empanada de pina), doughnuts, and countless other delicious morsels. The pastries were to DIE for – so fluffy and sweet. The only let down was the piece of cake we bought from there – looked amazing, but was stodgy and the ice cream seemed.. plastic somehow. Hard to describe how awful that cake was. Like biting into a soft fluffy piece of plastic foam that was interestingly textured.
The supermarket also sold veges, meat, cheeses, drinks, rice, beans pretty much everything. The happiest of days was when we first discovered the cost of tequila in Mexico. An average bottle here costs about 250 pesos – that’s about $20 in NZ money which is just INSANELY cheap! Steve was in transports of delight as you might imagine 🙂 One of the more expensive brands we were recommended was only about 535 pesos which is about $49 NZ – can you imagine??? When the cost of such a bottle in NZ would be about $150?! Insane. Have thought about importing tequila to NZ yes, but have to deal with NZ’s liquor taxes which doesn’t sound fun. Also in Tequila related goods – the cost of limes is insanely low – like about 14 pesos a kilo.. literally $1 NZ per kilo!! When it ranges from $15-$27 dollars there!! WTF man. Have also considered exporting limes to NZ but would need to worry about MAF processes and frankly anything not related to our holiday right now was too much to have to process.
Local goods are generally quite cheap, so things like rice, beans, local veges – capsicum, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, etc. But foreign goods get right up there – if you want to eat things like noodles or hoisin sauce or basmati rice instead of normal rice, yeah that stuff gets expensive quickly. We came here hoping for massive food inspiration from Mexican local specialties, but sadly, not much was forthcoming.
We tried tacos, tortas, tostadas, empanada, pozole, mole, quesadillas and somehow.. while it was all undeniably GOOD – there were no flavours or textures that grabbed us by the tastebuds, slapped us across the face, and FORCED us to inspiration.
The fruit, on the other hand, was SPECTACULAR. The watermelons and pawpaws the largest I’d ever seen. And not watered down as a result either – just full size, beautiful fruit. The oranges were small, green and unappealing but incredibly delicious and sweet when cut into, and the local limes, the small (pequena) ones – they were just perfect. FULL of seeds (like up to 10 seeds per lime) and juicy as you’d like. These were the ones we searched out all the time as they were the perfect flavor for Margaritas. If you chose the bigger, harder limes, they were more sour and pithy tasting so if you make a margarita with these – we recommend ½ lime juice half orange juice instead of just limes. The proportion for margaritas, btw, is 1 part tequila, 1 part lime juice, ½ sugar syrup, ½ orange liqeur then shake, or blend with ice 🙂 some say the best mix uses Herradura ultimate and Grand Marnier – but hey, we had plenty good times with Jose Cuervo and Controy 🙂
In terms of meat and fish – we didn’t expect to see much fresh stuff in Mexico City and sure enough – there wasn’t. The chicken was suspiciously yellow (yes, possibly because it was corn-fed) and limp, the beef – not quite what Steve wanted to buy, and the fish, was, well – supermarket fish. We decided not to try to eat any seafood in Mexico City and to save that little experience for when we were at a seaside town.
Unfortunately I chose not to stick to my own advice and suffered the consequences. We went out to a very nice bar with some wonderful people and I had oysters. They tasted good at the time.. but Steve did give me the ‘are you out of your mind?’ look when I ordered them and refused to have any with me. Lets just say that the next two days were not pleasant for me or my digestive system.. but on the upside, I lost a bit of weight as a result! There’s always a bright side.