Carnitas at El Venadito in Mexico City

Basically every carnitas joint in Mexico claims they have the best carnitas. Who can blame them? To somebody, each place DOES have the best carnitas. One of my favorite places in Mexico City, El Venadito, is no exception. This restaurant, which is a neighborhood staple and has no other locations, has been open since 1950. Like many other places, they have a sign that says “super carnitas, las mejores de México.” I will say: They are pretty spectacular, and among my top choices when I’m craving carnitas in Mexico City. After all, what place could stay open for more than six decades with signs saying they have the best carnitas if they didn’t?

Although there’s a restaurant where you can actually sit down in the back, I prefer the charming, tiny curbside taco stand. The only thing separating me from Tomás—the taquero who has been there as long as anyone I know can remember—is a window that’s about five feet high with a counter on top, so I can watch my carnitas go from being chopped to tortilla, salivating while I watch.

I always order them the same way: Surtido, which is a mix of white meat, dark meat, other parts, skin and some crunchy bits of chicharron. Top it with fresh, raw salsa verde and it’s truly a heavenly taco. If you’re squeamish about eating certain parts of the pig, you can always ask for maciza, which is white meat only.

Mexico City eats: El Venadito carnitas, Av. Universidad 1701, Col.Agrícola Chimalistac (Coyoacán) | More recommendations on theothersideofthetortilla.com… 

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Wordless Wednesday: Gorditas en el mercado de Coyoacán

On the last full day of my most recent trip to Mexico City, my sister-in-law and I ran some errands together, culminating in a stop at the mercado Coyoacán—one of my absolute favorite places to visit in Mexico City. There’s a little, nondescript stand on the outskirts of the market with a yellow sign, which our family has long frequented because of the awesome quesadillas and gordas. My favorite item on the menu is the gorda de chicharrón, served with cheese on the inside. I like to also add some fresh salsa verde. As you can see, I REALLY enjoy eating these because you just can’t get the same thing at home in the U.S.

Gorditas de chicharrón at the mercado Coyoacán… 

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Dinner in a flash: Tostadas

Tostadas are my go-to dinner after a long day at work when I get home late and am too lazy to cook. I always have various ingredients on hand to make them, and the great thing is that you can be creative based on what you’ve got. There’s no wrong combination.

Lately, I find myself in a big rush to get home from work in time to get dinner on the table. Tostadas are one of my secret weapons because I can prepare some of the ingredients in advance so that come dinnertime, I can just throw everything together. I do all my grocery shopping on the weekend, which means I also need to take the time to prepare myself for the week and portion out lunches and dinners. I’ll often grill meat (or sometimes buy a rotisserie chicken), cut it up and store it in the refrigerator. This version pictured above is simply grilled rib eye seasoned with salt and pepper, shredded Chihuahua cheese and served with salsa verde.

Another version I like to make has a base of refried beans smeared on the tostada, pulled roasted chicken (pollo rostizado), shredded lettuce and a little avocado topped with crema Mexicana and salsa. My cuñada likes tostadas with cueritos (see a tostada de cueritos pictured here) and manitas de puerco, neither of which are on my top 10 list of favorite kinds of tostadas, but that’s what’s so great about them; there’s something for everybody. You can’t say, “I don’t like tostadas” if you haven’t tried more than one kind.

In Mexico City, I love to visit Tostadas Coyoacán in the mercado Coyoacán because everybody can get what they want and be happy. It’s inexpensive, quick and there’s a variety of choices. One person can get camarones (shrimp) and another can get pato (duck). Or they can get one of each! One of my personal favorites there is the tostada de cochinita pibil.

Here’s a list of some suggested ingredients you’ll need to make typical tostadas so you can mix and match with the ingredients you like:

  • tostadas (either store-bought, or you can make your own by cooking tortillas on a comal and then putting them in the toaster oven or under the broiler until they crisp)
  • refried beans
  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded cheese or queso fresco
  • crema Mexicana
  • meat (whatever kind you like)
  • avocado
  • tomato, diced
  • onion
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • salsa

Tell me in the comments: How do you assemble a tostada?

Wordless Wednesday: Tostadas Coyoacán

Earlier this week, my friend Julie, another Mexico Today ambassador, was lamenting on Twitter how much she missed tostadas Coyoacán—something I could definitely identify with…

So I promised her I’d dig out the perfect photo to post this week just for her…

You can follow Julie @mexicojulie and check out her blog, Midwesterner in Mexico.

  • Leave a comment to let me and Julie know what kind of tostada is your favorite!

GUAYABAS EN SANCOCHO

guayabas en sancocho

I love the smell of ripe guayabas Mexicanas. Their creamy white flesh and tropical fragrance are simply intoxicating. They remind me of this one particular little stall that sells fruits at the Mercado Coyoacán (consequently, also the same place that made me appreciate higos–or figs; a topic for another post). Whenever I visit Mexico City, I’m always eager to tag along with my suegra when she needs to grab something from the mercado because I love walking among the vendor stalls discovering new things.

José also likes the smell of guayabas–but for a different reason. You see, as a big brother, José has always dabbled in a serious form of sibling rivalry.

My cuñada, on the other hand, can’t stand the smell or taste of guayabas. The smell actually makes her wretch. A few years ago when we were visiting around Christmastime, we bought a big bag of guayabas for making ponche Navideño. I’m sure you can guess what happened next…. 

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