Monday, June 18, 2007

Mexico City: Dinner With Friends

We're back from a week in Mexico (3 days in Mexico City and 3 in Zihuatanejo) and had a fabulous time! I wish I was still in Zihuatanejo, listening to the sound of crashing waves and living almost entirely on seafood. I took a ton of photos, ate lots of great food and will have the next ten or so posts dedicated to our trip. So, I hope you're interested in Mexico because otherwise you might get bored of the Mexico Series!!

We started our trip in Mexico City. After the 3 1/2 flight from Los Angeles, we checked into the W Hotel in Polanco. I was looking forward to staying there since I'd heard a lot of good things about it. It was nice, but I have to admit it just wasn't our style. The constant throbbing of bad techno music, the outwardly sincere yet impersonal service and the I-Think-I'm-Hip crowd which poured into the bar area every night just did not suit us at all. Yes, the rooms were large and the hammock in the shower was interesting, but next time I think I will skip the W. It simply wasn't worth the price and the staff tried to nickel-and-dime us for every little thing, in addition to claiming that I didn't pre-pay for our three nights there. I finally printed out a copy of my credit card statement for them to look at, and although they said they would resolve it, I find myself checking our account every couple of days to make sure they don't try and charge me again. It just isn't something you'd expect from such a renowned hotel chain.

On to more pleasant topics! On our very first night, we were invited to have dinner at Cesar and Abril's house- they were friends of friends but I am happy to say they are good friends of ours now as well. After the short trip from our hotel, we were welcomed into their lovely apartment by Seattle resident Erin, who was staying with the couple for two months while studying Spanish at the local university. After a few minutes, we were joined by Abril's brother Lucas and his girlfriend Jasmine and we dug into the homemade appetizers of green grapes rolled in soft cheese and nuts (delicious!) while sipping on wine and talking. We felt so well taken care of in their home and lucky to have met such warm people who had obviously put a lot of thought into the whole experience. Their adorable dog, Scott, trotted around the room and we gathered at the table, ready to eat!

Erin cooking up a storm.....

Salad to start the meal.....

First up- a fresh, colorful salad of greens, tomatoes, red onions, red bell peppers and beautifully rich avocados. It was yummy and refreshing- and one of the few salads we would eat during the week! Abril also made a spinach, mushroom and cheese pie which she called a "spinach cake." It reminded me of quiche but with no eggs, and was wonderful as well.

The beautiful spinach "cake"

For the main course, Erin whipped up a delicious pot of shrimp in a tomato and garlic sauce which she ladled over spaghetti. J and I sat and enjoyed the food while they spoke rapidly in both English and Spanish, putting our feeble attempts at Spanish to shame. We discussed music, food, my personal experience, I find that non-Americans are so much more passionate about food and Mexicans are no different. Food is not just something they enjoy- it's a necessary part of and expression of their culture. I know Americans love their food, but the way other cultures talk about, think about and enjoy their food is on a level much deeper than here in the United States.

Our lovely hosts, Abril and Erin

J chatting with our other lovely host, Cesar

After dissecting a plate of gorgeous pastries that Abril bought from the local bakery, we ended the evening sipping on Don Julio tequila (muy sabroso!) and patting our full bellies. Cesar, Abril and Erin- thanks for being such amazing hosts and having us over for the delicious food and fabulous company. Your hospitality was so wonderful and made us feel so welcomed on our first night in Mexico City.

Stay tuned for more Mexico City and Zihuatanejo posts!

1 comment:

foodette said...

Sounds like a great start to your vacation (except the problems with the W - how annoying! I hate hotels!) That spinach pie looks fantastic - did you get the recipe? Also, I wanted to mention that I completely agree with you. Americans have no real respect for food the way other cultures do. It's always refreshing to eat with the locals in other countries and see how they pride themselves on their food culture.