Locomotoring

Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

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In search of grasshopper salt

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We knew we would be able to source good Mezcal (e.g. Amaras Espadin) in California. But we were also certain that there would be no easy access to grasshopper salt. We were lucky to be living right opposite, Tlapaleria Gastronomica in Roma neighborhood, that sold artisanal food products made in Mexico. And what respectable gourmet shop in Mexico City won’t have grasshopper salt amongst its wares!

Tlapaleria Gastronomica, a gastronomic hardware show in Roma, right next door to El Parnita.

Various varieties of Mexican chili in oil.

More combinations of various chillies.

Finally, chapulin (grasshopper) salt.

Written by locomotoring

April 18, 2016 at 1:53 am

View of a rooftop

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Following murals are from rooftop of Museo Del Juguete Antiguo. This was a bit of a pleasant surprise, no one had really mentioned that the local artists had adopted the rooftop. We just noticed someone walking up, above the topmost floor of the museum, followed them and found the collection.

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Written by locomotoring

April 18, 2016 at 1:34 am

Dulceria de Celaya in Mexico City

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Dulceria de Celaya, founded in 1874, is a traditional sweet shop in Centro Historico district.

Fried and glistening with syrup.

Various sweetened fruits. Reminded me of “Petha” from Agra, the translucent sweet candy made from a variety of white pumpkin. The pumpkin is soaked in chemical lime before cooking in syrup. Sounds strange when described but tastes like Pâte de fruit.

Doughnuts

Almond milk and coconut concoction and guava Pâte de fruit.

Almond and coconut pâte de fruit, in a sugar cooked lime.

Written by locomotoring

April 11, 2016 at 6:17 am

Best steak at Mercado de Medellin

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Los Canarios at Mercado de Medellin was a recommendation from New York Times from “36 Hours in Mexico City”. Since 1968, Los Canarios has been serving grilled meats, like sliced filet mignon at price of a plate of taco!

Medellin is a vibrant colorful non-touristy marketplace with a neighborhood vibe.

Tasty black beans.

Steak with cactus and onions.

Trio of stunning salsas.

Backdrop of sizzling meats and chopping action.

Written by locomotoring

April 11, 2016 at 5:41 am

El Cardenal in Centro Histórico

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Be prepared for a 40-60 min wait or even longer. It would have been wonderful to try out all their dishes to find a few personal favorites. In our sampling, the mole sauce turned out to be stunning.

Fresh Oxacan cheese sauteed in butter, wrapped in zucchini blossoms, onions and strips of green chili and baked in banana leaves. Served with tacos. The fresh cheese is lightly salted, crumbly and not unlike taste of Indian paneer. Zucchini blossoms do not have a strong taste but they add prettiness to the dish. Served with an excellent green salsa and fresh made corn tortilla. Overall, a refreshing start of the meal. We had sufficient leftover that we brought back and had for breakfast the next day.

A stunning mole sauce with chicken leg. Mole had several varieties of chili, chocolate, spices, and peanuts. Chicken was cooked separately and mole was ladled on top.

Fall off the bone beef shank cooked in traditional spices. This was tasty but not unusual like the mole. Perhaps my own familiarity with south Asian spices made this particular dish less unusual. Again there was sufficient leftover that we brought back and had as part of breakfast tacos!

Written by locomotoring

January 3, 2016 at 9:44 pm

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Los Danzantes in Coyoacán

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Los Donzantes came after the visit to Casa Azul. Along with excellent food, this was our first experience with Mezcal. It turns out that Donzantes brand is one of the more popular mezcal brands. Mezcal is a whisky like alcohol made exclusively from agave cacti. It is almost always smoky.  The variety of agave results in other particular flavors.  Smoothness depends on the distillation and maturation process. It is sipped like a good brandy and between sips, you can cleanse your palate with salt – typically you get sliced sweet limes to suck down the salt. Grasshopper salt is traditional but not served as default. I would have to guess that the price of mezcal is proportional to the wildness of the agave variety (hence hard to produce in large batches) and romance around the brand is based on the remoteness of the distillery.

Up until Donzantes, my familiarity with agave was the grand flowering process. Near our old home, our neighbor’s agave, which was nearly as tall as me, bloomed over course of an year. My best guess is that it was Agave Americana variety,  the flowering stalk was as tall as a telephone pole. The plant died after the flowering process (their reproductive fate) and gave birth to a dozen small ones. I have always loved cacti, but after tasting mezcal, I am elevating my love for agave to the same level as my love for elephants. And please don’t head towards extinction, I promise I will drink wild mezcal in moderation.

Los Donzantes happens to be next to the beautiful Fuente de Los Coyotes in Jardin Centenario. So, in addition to their excellent Mezcal, al fresco dining without smoke and gasoline to flavor your meal is actually feasible here.

Fuente de Los Coyotes in Jardin Centenario

Early start to Mezcal, this is one of Donzantes reposado house brand.

Early finish to Mezcal!

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Written by locomotoring

January 2, 2016 at 8:34 pm

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Real tamales in Mexico City

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Monasterio Tamales is a small food stall a few blocks from Frida Kahlo Museum. Perfect place to lunch before queuing up for the museum visit. And oh, these are the genuine article – fluffiness that can’t be brought about by “healthy” fats. A lunch that cost us a grand total of USD $4 for four tamales.

Savory tamales

Sweet tamales? I didn’t know this concept existed. But it makes perfect sense in hindsight.

We had ordered shrimp but I think they either ran out of shrimp that day or gave us a vegetarian option.

Cuitlacoche – famous tar-like corn fungus. We had our first taste of this fungus at a hole in the wall in LA. Since then, we have ordered Cuitlacoche anywhere we have seen it on the menu.

Mole

Guava (Guayaba) – this was surprisingly yummy. They had basically taken the guava pulp and discarded the seeds.

Written by locomotoring

January 2, 2016 at 7:47 pm

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El Parnita in Mexico City

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El Parnita was our first meal in Mexico City. Lunch in Mexico City commences around 2 pm – like in Barcelona. We arrived before the restaurant had opened. But the place filled up soon enough. Dogs and kids were welcome – we had two young babies on one side and a Mexican hairless dog on the other. Several other multi-generational families were present, this place is clearly popular with locals.

We started lunch with guanabana juice and ordered several tacos. Aside from the traditional Tlacoyos, the tacos were served on blue corn tortillas. Garbanzo Bertha was perhaps the most unusual although given the influence of lebanese cooking in carnitas, the addition of hummus shouldn’t have been surprising. Pibil sauce on fish felt unusual but to be honest, I have only had pibil once and that too home made following Robert Rodriguez’s puerco pibil recipe nearly a decade ago – from the DVD extra on Once Upon A Time in Mexico!

Our Google translator app managed to translate only 10% of menu but I think we would have been happy even if we had ordered randomly.

Great day outside

Eclectic and cozy inside

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Written by locomotoring

December 24, 2015 at 5:23 am

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Morimoto in Napa

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Morimoto at Napa, located at the town center. Pleasing decor. Particularly like the grape decor on the walls.

This is Chef’s selection of sashimi.

Crab legs with a mayo and roe spicy sauce. This is Morimoto’s most popular dish.

 

Some more sushi.

Rest of the plate which is an egg custard.

Tofu mousse with blueberry compute and sorbet.

 

Written by locomotoring

May 26, 2015 at 6:34 am

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What is a doswaffle?

Last weekend, we went back to one of our favorite Bay Area restaurants, Juhu Beach Club (JBC). Last time we ate here, we could still eat gluten and we were impressed by the pavs. This time, we opted for the JBC Fried Chicken n Doswaffle – gluten free! Waffles were made with dosa batter – fantastic concept, yes? And the fried chicken were dipped in lentil batter.

Juhu Beach Club Fried Chicken and Doswaffle

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Written by Som

April 18, 2015 at 10:45 pm

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Chocolate and Coffee at Dandelion

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Absolutely the best chocolate I have had so far…

There is XoX for the times when you want something romantic and there is Valrhona when you want a bite of something perfect knowing that it won’t disappoint. But Dandelion’s chocolate is for the moments when you to mix the two. In taste, it is like an intense Tcho, in texture it is like Valrhona, and after a bite, it makes you feel pampered like XoX. In the past, irrespective of where I wandered in the chocolate land, I always came back to Valrhona but now I am not so sure. Coffee at D is Four Barrel but if you are bringing Maya Mountain home, then try with Chromatic’s keynote.

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Written by locomotoring

February 17, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Dos cafés y chocolate caliente

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Interior of Lilipep

I am not sure why good coffee is hard to find in Barcelona. Ditto for chocolate. Perhaps the Cava is so cheap, seafood so exceptional and cheese so plentiful that people never get around to the coffee and chocolate part of the day.
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Written by locomotoring

October 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Tea and Cakes at Flurys

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Flurys, Calcutta

Flurys, Calcutta

Considered a landmark on Calcutta’s mindscape, Flurys on Park Street is an old tearoom in Calcutta that has been serving tea and pastries since late 1920s. Don’t expect mustiness of a hundred years – a few years ago, it underwent a total re-haul and was turned into a retro styled patisserie. It occupies a charming spot in the fashionable part of Calcutta, inviting the loitering visitors and busy locals alike for a spot of hot tea and fresh baked cakes and pastries. With a girlish pink in the logo and its old world black and white tiles, Flurys continues to engage a cosmopolitan clientele.

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Written by Som

February 27, 2010 at 10:38 pm