Mechanical workshop by day, taqueria by night, the vilsito has driven chef Dabiz Muñoz crazy with his tacos. And that is just one of the places where the world-famous chef has not stopped “freaking out” on his vacation days in Mexico. A bite of mamey almost convinced him to apply for a residence card, and a good stew of pozole has led him to delirium, to the point of joking about moving house and staying in the land of the nopal, the huitlacoche, the pumpkin flower. and the mole.
“PS: to all my XO team, I will never return to Spain, take care of the restaurants, Dabiz”. The chef sang to his team the excellences of the red pozole, the beef and pork broth with chiles, the spices and corn grains from Jalisco, which made them laugh and almost cry at the same time: “I think it’s a fucking delight… I want a pool of this to bathe in”.
These days, anyone who follows the Spanish chef has not stopped salivating with everything he has tried; from haute cuisine dishes to street snacks and traditional dishes. An immense gastronomic journey that has begun in the capital. “Mexico City has seemed absolutely evocative, inspiring and wonderful. I did not expect a city with so much variety, with so much quality and so cosmopolitan”, Muñoz assures this newspaper.
“It’s incredible, but I think we haven’t yet seen the best of this city gastronomically, it has temples of brutal gastronomy and haute cuisine,” he said. For example, the South 777, where he enjoyed Chef Edgar Núñez’s tasting menu, specializing in innovative vegetable-based dishes. There, Núñez, who became his guide for a few days, offered him Chicatana ants, one of the most appreciated critters in Mexico because they are difficult to obtain, due to their slightly spicy flavor and crunchy texture. After trying them, Muñoz exclaimed: “Long live Mexico, you bastards!”
In Mexico, contrary to popular belief, not everything is spicy, or spicy, as they say. For sample a sweet stop is enough. “It has bakeries and patisseries with a very high level,” said Muñoz, who had breakfast at the Bakery Rosetteby chef Elena Reygadas, and took a photo with a role of guava and cheese, the puff pastry for which people line up outside the premises, which has become a paradise for sweet bread addicts.
Through his notes on Instagram, it is known that Muñoz has not left out any of the safety pins. He was at Pujol, by Enrique Olvera, the best restaurant in the country and ranked number 5 in the world; he went to Nicos, by chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo, to devour the seasonal dish, chili en nogada, a stuffed pepper covered in a walnut and pomegranate cream. He even went through The Cocuyosthe taqueria in the historic center where they prepare perhaps the best suadero taco in the capital.
“Their street food: tacos and Mexican food are spectacular,” said Muñoz, who uploaded an ecstatic video after trying a volcano from El Vilsito: “Crispy tortilla with lots of cheese, steak and green tomato sauce and avocado, what a fucking party,” he commented. El Vilsito sums up much of the surrealism of the city, during the day it is a mechanical workshop and at night it transforms into a taqueria that prepares spectacular tacos al pastor: soft and juicy meat, cilantro, onion, sauce and a few drops of lemon.
“I am surprised that there is so much quality and such diversity, in such different cuisines, because there are many places that have the same style of cuisine, but people know where to go because there is a higher level, and this denotes (although we are talking about the street food) that there is a lot of gastronomic culture”, said the chef.
Chilangos are undoubtedly good food tasters, for a reason Mexico City is a swarm of streets where every few meters there are stalls with endless options. The easiest way to navigate it is by following a basic rule: if a stall is surrounded by people, it is likely to serve good food. This is the case, for example, in Los Cocuyos.
The street, in addition to being an itinerant restaurant, is a place for tianguis, itinerant street markets full of ingredients, which did not go unnoticed by Múñoz: “products top that when you arrive you realize that they only have a place here, because it is very difficult to find that quality and the flavors of these products outside of Mexico. I’m talking about corn, I’m talking about mushrooms, herbs, chiles, fruits… It has surprised me a lot”.
And boy, was Muñoz amazed when he tried a mamey: “I find it brutal,” he said of this tropical fruit, similar in texture and shape to an avocado. The mamey has a creamy orange pulp, it is sweet and fragrant, it is used above all in confectionery, but it is so rich that it is worth eating it as Muñoz did, without further ado, by the spoonful. Natural jam.
“In fact, I think it is a city where I would not only like to go on vacation, but I would be able to stay and live. We have been four days, almost five, and it has been short…”, Muñoz concluded about this megacity, which has become a magnet for foreigners.
From Mexico City, Muñoz headed to San Miguel de Allende, nestled in the center of the country, a picturesque city with colorful buildings, ideal for resting for a few days. And from there, he jumped to Guadalajara, the land of tequila and mariachi, to dine at Mayor, by chef Francisco Ruano. Finally, he headed to Oaxaca, to close his trip with a flourish.
“About Oaxaca, the truth is that it is an infinite city; a city that lives by and for gastronomy”, commented Muñoz of this Eden for gourmands that enjoys unique ingredients and coins a good part of indigenous cuisine.
There Muñoz was in Alfonsine and exploded his head with the blindness prepared by chef Jorge León: a quasi-soup made with green tomatoes, broken corn, mushrooms and squash blossoms. “It’s corn in the best version of it… Of the fucking best of the trip, Pedroche is going to freak out,” Muñoz told his wife Cristina Pedroche, who has accompanied him on this adventure of flavors.
Visiting Oaxaca includes liters of mezcal and kilos of mole: Mexico’s most special indigenous dish is the most unique. It is impossible to try two that are the same because each region and each cook has their own recipe. Muñoz wrote that the guava mole, from the Levadura de Olla restaurant, made his “hair stand on end.” Surrounded by clay pots, molcajetes and comales, Muñoz described this complex mole: “You can see the acid, the sweet, the salty, the umami, the spicy perfectly, it’s like a perfect piece of goldsmithing… This mole is art.” said of the creation of chef Thalia Barrios.
“The thing about Oaxaca is really crazy, it’s fun, fresh, with people closely linked to their roots and their culture. The local products, the street food and the markets are spectacular. A lot of flavour, a lot of originality, very different approaches, and a city that is impossible to eat all over in less than a year. Brutal, wonderful!”
Thus, in one of the colonial alleys of Oaxaca, sitting on the ground and biting into a tlayuda, Muñoz freaked out again: “It is a crunchy sandwich of fucking die grilled with beans and cheese”. And although many Mexican dishes generate a state of ecstasy, it was one in particular, the red pozole, that convinced Muñoz that if you’re a glutton, Mexico is a good place to live: “Fuckeeeeerrrrrrr!!!! I have really freaked out with Chefinita’s pozole!!!! What nonsense of street cooking, what a fucking joy…”.
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