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What to eat at the Tacos & Mariachi Fest in Mexico City

We visited the aforementioned First [Annual??] Tacos & Mariachi Festival after work today in Plaza Garibaldi, as I was curious to see what kind of festival could be organized in two weeks. I really should not be surprised to discover one does not need that much time to bring together numerous tasty taco vendors in Mexico City!

While business was a bit slow at 5:30PM on a Tuesday, there was a very respectable turnout of taco vendors (maybe 20-30 stands? I am unable to estimate things…). One of the workers told us there had been a great turnout over the past weekend and they had high hopes for this coming weekend (the festival ends this Sunday, September 12), but activity during the week was looking a tick sluggish. (Which means YOU, Chilangos, should go support these diligent taco vendors, since it’s not like there are taco stands on every block in Mexico City…  Err… well, maybe there are… but I digress.)

If anyone reading this has the fortune to be in DF this week, here were our highlights…

First Stop: We were drawn into the Molcalli stand by smell alone. When we realized it was only mole, we almost reconsidered (as John & I are not huge mole fans)… but luckily the pointman for this stand was an excellent salesperson and seduced us in for some samples.

Molcalli had probably the best moles I've had in Mexico. Fair enough, I've not tried *a zillion* moles in Mexico, but these were really good. :)

Here are Susan, Luis, Margaret & John sampling our blue corn tortillas + meat in mole sauce + rice. Note the witty pointman dancing in the background.

These moles (which covered various types of meat– pork, turkey, etc.) were fantastic– my top three in order were the almendrado one, the adobo, and the verde.  There was also a pipian option & some romeritos that were both underwhelming.  If you don’t make it to the Festival, Productos Molcalli is located at Mariano Escobedo #22, San Pedro Atocpan, Milpa Alta D.F., molcalli@yahoo.com.mx, phone 55.5844.2350.

Second Stop: we got thirsty. Since Luis & Margaret are new in town, we felt it was ok to deviate from the festival stands briefly to stop by La Hermosa Hortencia pulqueria to ensure they sampled some pulque.

John & I display the mango and fresa (strawberry) pulque options available today at the pulqueria in Plaza Garibaldi.

I have to say, I was fairly impressed with both pulque flavor choices. I now realize the mistake I made by first trying pulque in its “au natural” state (i.e. natural flavor) when I moved to Mexico City– that stuff tastes/feels like snot. Flavored pulque = quite tasty, once you get over the texture. :)

Third Stop: Ayluardo’s, where I was drawn in by their display of “Tacos en Nogada.” This struck me as a brilliant way to cheat on the true Mexican Independence Day dish, Chiles en Nogada. Genius!

How tasty do these tacos en nogada look?? They were great, AND they were served warm-- to me an added bonus vs. the traditional way of serving chiles en nogada cold.

Ayluardo's also offered a nice, spicy cochinita pibil + pickled onions.

Good job Ayluardo's on your cohesive marketing plan-- easily visible prices/menu AND sample food offerings displayed along with their variety of salsas.

I don't cover this a lot on the blog, but here's a little snapshot into my life-- constant height comparison opportunities. I mean, truly, if I had a nickel for every time...

The tacos en nogada are definitely worth a try. In real life, Ayluardo’s is located at Aldama #72, Colonia Bo. de San Pablo, Iztapalapa, Mexico D.F.  Phone #55.5685.3288. We really felt like we formed a bond with these guys when, after we’d already moved on to stop #4, one of the workers ran over with the following note:

This note informed us of an upcoming "Fair of the Enchilada" that will be celebrated October 7-17 somewhere in the Delegacion of Iztapalapa... I think in La Explanada of Iztapalapa, if I read that correctly.

We were flattered to be invited to the Enchilada Fair next month in Iztapalapa. I could not find any further details online regarding the 8th annual event in 2010, but I did find proof that it happened last year. Keep an eye out for further Enchilada Fair details!!

Our last stop was two stalls to the left, though I forget the name. This place lured us in with a charcoal grill heating up two wee little vats of queso fundido (as well as some bistec).

Hello, individual-sized pots of queso fundido.

Here we are with a bounty of salsas & accoutrements.

This spot offered your more traditional Tacos al Carbon fare, and a variety of salsas to match… but I would have to nonetheless rank it at the bottom of the 3 taco stands we visited. Still very good, but the wee pots of queso were not novel enough to top tacos en nogada and dancing mole vendors.

We paused briefly to watch the action on the festival stage:

The stage is set up just in front of the soon-to-be Tequila Museum.

During our visit, it featured age-mis-matched couples (i.e. 55 year old woman + 15 year old boy) dancing to music that seemed to be sourced from Looney Toons cartoons (probably one where Sylvester is chasing Tweety Bird). BUT it was full of life & entertaining, and surely the mariachis were going to perform next. ;)   As you may have gathered, our experience at the festival was a bit light on mariachis & heavy on tacos, but I’m certain you can suss out more mariachi action if you see fit. If you’re looking for bustling activity, go on Friday or Saturday night, but if you’re just looking for tasty tacos, go tomorrow!

Enjoy! :)

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10 Comments on “What to eat at the Tacos & Mariachi Fest in Mexico City”

  1. #1 Donigan Merritt
    on Sep 8th, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Chiles en Nogada was my favorite dish at a place in San Diego called Roberto’s La Fonda, where we have not been for more than 20 years. Most of what I look forward to when thinking of going to Mexico City is to have this dish again. Nice photos, by the way.

  2. #2 Lesley
    on Sep 8th, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Cool! I’ll have to stop by this weekend. Thanks for all the great info.

  3. #3 Joan
    on Sep 8th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Love the dancing pointman. I noticed so many pink onions–they are yucatecan, aren’t they! If I could suggest something to the committee, I would say spread out the mariachis. We, too, were light on mariachis. Maybe there is a custom that they have to play late??

    Thank you for saving me from trying pulque.

  4. #4 Nicholas Gilman
    on Sep 8th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Sounds like a vale la pena to me….will stop by.
    abrazos from the New Yorker in Mexico

  5. #5 Katie
    on Sep 8th, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Too bad I don’t get to Mexico until the 14th (coming for the bicentenario celebrations!!) and will be long gone by the Enchilada Feria. I guess I’ll have to live vicariously through your blog. Thanks for sharing!

  6. #6 sw
    on Sep 8th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Wow…tacos en nogada! Brilliant! The chile is my least favorite part of the dish, so tacos en nogada would be perfect!

    Grammatically speaking, you can’t have a First Annual anything. It needs to have happened once before it can be considered annual. So First Tacos and Mariachi Festival is correct. ;-) (Sorry, sometimes I just can’t help myself.)

  7. #7 Margret Nyfors
    on Sep 9th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Okay….note to self….do not read your blog when I am hungry! I love the pics and the descriptions….definitely going to have to source out some tacos here and create my own festival. Thanks for the fun post. m:-)

  8. #8 Corinne
    on Sep 23rd, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Hahaha I had to laugh when I read about your pulque experience. I’m in Mexico now for two weeks and I haven’t met anyone yet, who likes the pure one. We went to some pulqueria with our spanish teacher after the lessons and tasted some of it. The flavoured one (I had rasperry) is so much better. Will go to that place again tomorrow to start the weekend this way.

    By the way? You have any idea, how much alcohol it contains?? =) Kinda scary that no one knows…

  9. #9 Julie
    on Sep 24th, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for all the comments, folks; hope y’all got some tacos en nogada!!
    Corinne– good question re. the alcohol content of pulque… My understanding is that it is fairly low (certainly <10%, maybe more like 7%?) but it varies with age. Whatever it is, it’s low enough to enable pulqueria regulars to hang out drinking all day long! ;)

  10. #10 16 Tips for a great Mexican Independence Day – Midwesterner in Mexico
    on Sep 15th, 2011 at 6:44 am

    [...] Note the colors of the Mexican flag! I sampled the above delight at the (apparently one-time) Tacos & Mariachi Festival last year, but I highly recommend you check out Cristina’s post of how to cook a chile en [...]

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