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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

MEXICO “MI CORAZON” : AZUL Y ORO, GOING BACK TO SCHOOL








I have never been afraid to admit that I am a tourist not a traveller.

Despite the fact that I have been hauling my 90lbs rucksack “Big Red” around the world and have been on forms of transport that could be used as methods of punishment, I am still a man who likes to see the sights.

So today, there I was, I fetching shorts and walking shoes traipsing around Mexico City taking pictures like a good ‘un

However, by midday, I was ready for something a little different and hopped on the city’s efficient metro system and headed to the end of the line some forty minutes or so in search of a special lunch.

I had been told that Azul Y Oro, in its unlikely situation in the Centro Cultural of Mexico City’s National University, was one of the best places in town and that its chef, Ricardo Munoz was amongst the most highly regarded in the country being the author of “ The Gastronomic Dictionary Of Mexico”

It is, indeed, an odd place, situated in the heart of the university campus with a feel more like a canteen than a high end restaurant.

But, it is worth the effort of schlepping out there and offered up one taste that was a revelation and amongst the top five on the EAT MY GLOBE trip so far.

I began, simply enough, with a Crema De Cilantro which came with slivers of toasted almonds and a dash of Mexican Crema on top. It was perfectly fine but merely set the scene for the next dish which I waited for while chomping on a dish of candied Jamaica.

Mexico is, of course, famous for Mole. I had tasted some in various ersatz Mexican places in London and had even tried to make one myself. Nothing quite prepared my for first taste of a proper example.

My next course was a Mole Negro Con Pollo. I chose the alternative that offered up a thigh and drumstick and was presented with the meat in a thick, dark and rich sauce that glistened promisingly in the dish.

It tasted every bit as good as it looked. I will find it hard to fully describe just how glorious it was. Smokey, slightly sweet and with a level of heat. But, there was much more, representing the many ingredients and long slow preparation that go to make this sauce. I mopped it up with the whole wheat tortilla which came with it and was about to pick up the bowl and lick it clean but it was whisked away before I could make a show of myself.

After that, I could not bring myself to ruin the memory with a pointless pudding, so just got the bill which, including a refreshing glass of Horcharta ( in Mexico made with rice milk not with tiger Nut milk like the ones I tried in Valencia) and a Pepsi, came to 150 peso including tip (about £7) which represents astonishing value for a meal which included a dish I shall remember for a long, long time.

I don’t know about you, but food was never this good when I was at University.

Off to Buenos Aries

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