MEXICO “ MI CORAZON”: SKINNED UP IN MEXICO CITY
It will probably not come as any surprise to, well anybody really, that I have done some foolish things in my life.
There was the time I suggested to my then wife that she was “a little rubenesque” a phrase that came back to haunt me when she decided to end our “loving” union in a legal manner.
There was the time I suggested to George Galloway that he might be a bit more popular if he had a wee dram every now and again.
And, believe it or not, I have even spent my own cash money on cookery books by Gordon Ramsay. Hard to believe but shamefully true.
However, tonight will stand high amongst the ranks of my own stupidity, for tonight was the night I decided to have a meal entirely based around the nutritious bounty that is pig skin.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am as big a fan of pig skin as it is possible to find without being a pig who is threatened with losing it. I love them in bags of porky scratchings washed down with a shudder making pint of something in The Wenlock Arms. I love them with a “copa” of something or other when they are presented as a freebie in Spain and I have enjoyed them so far on this trip where they are in huge bubbly, crispy slabs.
But, this was different, oh so different.
I am in Mexico City now and headed out to the Zona Rosa area for supper. Many of the big hotels are situated here and, consequently, so are the restaurants aimed squarely at separating US visitors from their ever weakening dollar. However, Fundo “El Refugio” came recommended and, as an institution that has been around for forty years, is not to be taken lightly.
I don’t know what I was thinking, there was much on the menu to entice. The daily special of Mole Poblano looked like it could fit the bill and there were a host of other specialities from all over Mexico to choose from. But, as soon as my eyes hit the centre of the menu and saw “Manitas De Cerdo En Vinagre” I knew I was not going to be able to look much further. Directly below it was a line that read “Chicharron En Salsa Verde” and that was it, the deed was done.
First up, the Manitas, pickled pig’s feet served with a salad of pickled vegetables. I like pig’s feet, well you are forced to aren’t you? But this was two of them and from a big critter. A few mouthfuls was fine. More proved more challenging and the last few almost unbearable. It was everything you would expect a dish with the words “pickled” and “pig’s feet” to be, gelatinous pig skin, of course, but also chewy at the same time. Not unpleasant, but not wonderous enough to make me chomp through two of the things.
I was practically on my own in the place at this time as I had decided to have an early night (a night that will now be filled with dreams of chewy snorters) so my next dish came out almost as soon as I had finished the last bit of skin off the feet.
Chicharron are, if you have been paying attention, strips of pig skin, some with bits of meat still attached. These had been cooked until soft (almost like tripe) and then served in an arse threatening salsa of screamingly hot green chilli.
I managed quite a lot of it, Primarily because the waiter was peering at me to see how I was getting on and I do so hate to let anyone down. But, I am already regretting it and may see a re-visitation at some point during the night.
I could not face any postres or post prandials, so just got my bill and left pretty rapidly before they saw me turn green. It came to about £12 including tip and a beer, so as mistakes go, it was not that costly and certainly not as costly as suggesting that my wife was a bit chubby.
However, I may well have that early night now. I am feeling rather ill