Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

Issue link: https://baristamagazine.epubxp.com/i/1031348

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Chiquitito is right next to a mescal bar, and we were lucky enough to explore the world of mescals with Ximena, the afore- mentioned AeroPress competition organizer and former champion. When you're done with coffee for the day—although Ximena men- tioned that most Mexicans drink coffee at night instead of during the daytime, and the café she works at is much busier at night— you can hit up one of countless mescal bars across the city. Ximena took us to her favorite spot, called Bósforo, in the city's center. Bósforo offers some of the best selection of single-producer mescals in the city. Like coffee, mescal—a spirit made from agave plants—differs wildly by variety. Most truly special varieties bare- ly make it out of Mexico, so if you like spirits, mescal is the one to try during your visit to this dynamic city. Bósforo is dimly lit and casual—we sat on a fl oor lined with car- pets as our server delivered a few rounds of recommendations— and every mescal we tried was superb. You can also try mescal at La Clandestina, where the bartenders pour drinks out of plastic water bins because the producers they source from don't bottle their mescals. If you want to take some special mescals home with you, La Clandestina is the place to shop. Regardless of when you prefer to drink coffee (or mescal), Quentin Café is ready to serve. Open until 10:30 p.m. most nights, this Roma neighborhood café and roastery provided the coffee for the AeroPress championship: an experimental naturally-processed coffee from the Vazquez family in Oaxaca. Quentin had the coffee available as a pourover when we visited, and the brew was stunning in its sweetness and complexity. Also, the folks at Quentin know what's up with their signage. At the bottom of their menu, there's a conspicuous nod to the local opinion of the United States president. A few blocks away, Café Cardinal is stunningly decorated with antique green tiles and lush botanic prints, with a secret enclave in the back where a hidden window lets the light shine in. Upon our visit, co-owner Shak Zapata was behind the bar pulling beautiful shots of espresso, sourced directly by the café. Next, we headed over to Cucurucha Café, also in the Condesa neighborhood. Condesa is a mix of residential and retail, with small coffee shops and restaurants on every corner, and a beautiful tree- lined park running through the center. All the classics are delicious at Cucurucha, but we were especially delighted by the house-made horchata latte, which combines espresso with the traditional ca- shew-based milk fl avored with cinnamon and other spices. Cucurucha offers great food to go, as well, but there's no shortage of options for folks looking for a bite to eat on the street. Street food is especially popular in Mexico City—you can fi nd killer tacos, sopes, fl autas, and other treats on almost every corner. In the mornings, look for the vendor with a large steaming pot: That's where you get tamales, sweet or savory. At night, keep an eye out for churro merchants or folks selling elotes, which are corn cobs loaded with mayonnaise, chili, and cheese. We had a particu- larly memorable experience eating tacos at Taqueria Los Cocuyos, a window in the city center that sells tacos from all different cuts of meat 24 hours a day. We especially enjoyed the lengua (tongue) and the tripe (stomach lining). Drinks are also easy to fi nd on the go. Along with tamales, morn- ings are great for fi nding champurrado, a chocolate-based drink usually made with water. Likewise, you can walk into many of the markets and order a Café de Olla, a spiced coffee drink that's native to Mexico (you can read more about it in our series on coffee drinks from around the world at Barista Magazine Online). If you don't want coffee, there are folks everywhere selling agua frescas and jugos from fresh fruit. If you're especially lucky, you might fi nd a vendor cracking fresh coconuts that you can enjoy on the street. Another treat worth seeking out is pastry. Most of the folks we talked to recommended Pandería Rosetta, a shop known for gua- va or ricotta pastries, or the bollo de romero, a sweet roll made with rosemary. Although the pastries are worth the long line (we Many coff ee shops in Mexico City are small and beautifully designed. Most that we visited were narrow, extending far back from the street, and containing secret reading spots and quiet tables with small nooks, like this pre y corner at Café Cardinal. 48 barista magazine

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