In this special bonus episode of “Off Menu,” Food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson heads to Mexico City to sample some of the city’s best food. He’s guided by three food writers and editors: Alonso Ruvalcaba, Claudio Castro and Renata Lira. They lead Lucas on a tour through different neighborhoods in the vibrant capital city, highlighting different dishes along the way.
Claudio takes Lucas to a part of northern Mexico City called Industriál where they sample carnitas, tender bits of pork shoulder, before heading to a local market for ceviche and freshly pressed sugar cane juice. Renata brings Lucas through the neighborhood where she lives, a quiet, serene part of the city called Coyoacán, home to excellent bakeries and Frida Kahlo’s Blue House. Alonso takes Lucas on a walking tour through Mexico City’s Historic Center, sampling tacos and other snacks on the street and in traditional Mexican fondas, or home-style restaurants.
Lucas also speaks with Jesús Tornes, founder of Expendio de Maíz Sin Nombre, a place that’s less of a restaurant and more of an experience. Tornes uses ancient techniques passed down in his home state of Guerrero to make simple, delicious dishes like picaditas with stone-ground blue corn and tomatillos, and chilate, a frothy, refreshing drink made with cocoa, cinnamon and piloncillo, reduced cane sugar.