I’m back from two weeks of travel, the first of which was spent in beautiful Mexico City. What a treat! Art everywhere, delightful and interesting people, lots to see, and lots to eat! It’s extremely easy to eat vegan in Mexico City. There are several vegan businesses: Gatorta, a vegan taco and torta stand at the corner of Puebla and Insurgentes, and Viko, a vegan taqueria-susheria in the Chapultepec underpass serving delicious soy horchata. I also had excellent vegan dishes with friends at Paramo on Avenida Yucatan – they made us ceviche from hearts of palm, tacos with roasted mushrooms, and a beautiful lentil salad.
But everywhere you go, even if the menu appears meat-heavy, just ask them for vegetables and they’ll prepare them for you. I had tacos with rajas (roasted poblano pepper strips), nopales (cooked cactus fruit) and champiniones (cooked mushrooms), with heaping bowls of frijoles de olla (cooked beans served in their fragrant pot liquor.) The cheese-and-cream-on-tacos thing is, thankfully, not a feature of authentic Mexican cuisine, at least where I went, so everything was vegan and delicious.
My main takeaway from all this is that homemade tortillas are way better than purchased ones. So, when I bought groceries this morning at Casa Lucaz I picked up a fresh bag of masa. I rolled a little ball, about an inch and a half in diameter, and placed it in my new cast iron tortilla press, between two layers of parchment paper. It turned out a perfect disc, and I then popped it on a hot cast-iron pan for about a minute on one side, then 30 seconds on the other. It came out perfect and terrific – fluffy, flexible, full of corn flavor – and was a great base for a tofu and greens taco.
Making my own tortillas is absolutely worthwhile from the flavor perspective and also quick and easy, so I’m never looking back – it’s all about the press and the pan from now on. I’m planning a nice Mexican mini-feast this evening using my new Talavera dishes – check out the pictures. In the blue dish: two pico-de-gallo salads (we like these!), some fresh spinach, guacamole, and tomatillo hot sauce. In the red dish: baked winter squash, Rancho Gordo beans, sauteed mushrooms with onion and a drop of whiskey, and sauteed kale in orange juice. Not all of these are traditional, of course–and you’ll note that the rajas and nopales are missing–but they will be so tasty with the fresh tortillas!