I grew up in the Southern part of Mexico City, in one of those microcosms in the megalopolis that feels like a little town of yore, with small drugstores, stationary shops and mini-markets in every corner, and most importantly, people walking everywhere. That’s why, when I started working in Lomas de Chapultepec, I felt a bit lost between its empty and wide streets, lined with super tall trees, and where the cars, always in a hurry, rush past the few pedestrians in the area, ignoring us completely.
There´s nothing but houses and embassies in Las Lomas, all of them guarded by ivy-covered high walls that protect the secrets of their mysterious inhabitants. One feels in another world—or at least another country— between all those mansions and gardens the size of the parks in other neighborhoods of the city. You can walk miraculously surrounded by trees, and not buildings, that are breaking the concrete on every street with their powerful roots. It is, definitely, one of the best places to wander in silence, strolling on the path lined with grass on its median strips, decorated with benches where no one sits to read or to enjoy the surrounding calm. It is really incredible to find such green streets in this chaotic part of the universe.
The calm ends, of course, in the noisy allies nearby where one can find places to eat, packed with little restaurants and the hustle and aromas that usually inhabit any Mexican gastronomical area. There are two streets where it’s especially fun to explore culinary delights for a fair price: Pedregal and Prado Norte. These streets are the refugee of the so called “Godínez” (white collar workers and office ladies), places where we spend our lunch break, our happy pause from the monotony on the office.
From the many things that I could recommend on both streets, today I invite you to try Las Delicias, in Prado Norte 403. It stands out because it doesn’t try to stand out at all, in the middle of all the hipster or more avant garde places in the area. It is a typical tortería, except for the price—this is after all, Las Lomas, an expensive suburb—, which are a little higher than those of a stand outside of the metro, but then again, the quality of the products and the hygiene standard are also higher. A tortería, is a place where they sell tortas, which are sandwiches made with a special kind of bun, called telera in Mexico, and that could contain almost anything in between the two pieces of bread, from just ham and cheese, to tamales and chilaquiles. This place, as every other one of its kind, doesn’t have tablecloths or any luxury, and consists of just a couple of tables next to the aguas frescas cooler. You must pay on one side, and then make a line in front of the stand where the tortero asks you what filling do you want in your torta (hawaiana—ham and pineapple—, milanesa —breaded chicken or beef—, pastor—pork seasoned in axiote—, cubana—all of the above—, etc.), and then asks the emblematic: ¿Con todo? (With everything?). Yes, “with everything” would be the right answer for me: with avocado, tomato, onion, cheese (grilled, with a brown crispy crust and molten inside) and of course, a lot of salsa. For picky people, or as my grandma would say, mañosos, that’s the moment to specify everything they don’t want in their torta. After that’s sorted out, you must suffer the torture of watching through the glass, while your stomach growls, how the ingredients of your choice dance on the griddle, smoking and making that inviting sizzling noise that promises: your food will be delicious.
The aguas frescas are also a must. It’s always been weird to me how in other countries this concept is so hard to translate. Putting aside the literal meaning, that is fresh water, we refer to plain water mixed with all kinds of fruits or flowers and a little bit of sugar. The wide variety of fruits that grow in our land is the inspiration for all the varieties offered in traditional restaurants like this one: pineapple water, hibiscus flower water, mandarin, guava, soursop and a long etcetera. Go to Las Delicias and try their horchata, piña colada or passion fruit with orange water. I forbid you to drink plain water or coke!
However, the real challenge for every foodie that goes for their torta, is to eat the enormous portions served in there. Buen provecho and good luck with that!
*Godin is a term used in Mexico to refer to office workers, similar to the Japanese salaryman or the American white collar worker or office lady.