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Mexico City - San Angel Inn

Ericruo | Sep 20, 201610:28 AM

The San Angel Inn is a fine dining old-school Mexican and European restaurant in a fancy old neighborhood, San Angel. It is in an old monastery/mansion first built in the 17th century. It is a very pretty gentile and quiet place. Its huge, they can seat up to 450 diners. The service is excellent and its very relaxed and posh in a relaxed old money kind of way. The food is traditional but precisely executed, they don't cut many corners.

We had a big meal - we started with an excellent from scratch margarita served with a cocktail glass and the drink in a glass jar set in a small bucket of crushed ice, and a beer poured into a tall glass one handed by the waiter. We had appetizers of escamoles (ant larvae) cooked with epazote served with tortillas and very good guacamole, crepes with huitlacoche (a corn mushroom, literally corn smut) napped with an onion and tomato sauce, Sopa Azteca with all the fixings: tortilla strips, chicharrones (crispy deep fried pork skin), crema, and grated queso cotija. For main dishes we had chiles en nogada and cordonices (quail) a la parilla. We did not have room for dessert and I just had a very good espresso. It was comparatively expensive, about $80 USD, in no small part because the escamoles are pricey, about $17 US.

The escamoles were for me, kind of a disappointment. They don't have much flavor but the epazote seasoning was nice, not overpowering. The guacamole with which it was served, was chunky and very nicely done. We asked for extra tortillas because the guacamole and salsas were so good. The salsas were fresh and seemed to have been done in a molcajete because they had texture. The red salsa tasted of roasted tomatoes and for that was more flavorful. Much of the time the tomatoes here are just as meh as the they in much of the US. Haven't found great tomatoes here yet. The crepes with the huitlacoche had tender crepes filled with the corn smut and the crepes were covered by an onion and tomato sauce that was nice but a little sweet. The Sopa Azteca is a rich chicken broth with all of the additions mentioned above - its a contrast of textures and flavors and very nice. The chiles en nogada were very pretty and nicely done. They diced the picadillo, some places use ground meat because it saves time, and don't use the dried fruits that are part of the picadillo, the citron was a nice touch. No short cuts here. This is a very rich dish that is not to my taste but it was done the way it is supposed to be done. The cordonices were in a simple prep but they were not overcooked and had good flavor. The rice and cooked vegetables on the side were okay but were the sort of vegetables on the side restaurants prepare as a garnish for many. They were not overcooked or watery, they just weren't special in and of themselves, again an old-school practice.

The photos: the escamoles, the area where we ate, the crepes with huitlacoche, the Sopa Azteca, the Chiles en Nogada, the quail, and the interior courtyard. Sorry I can't figure out how to rotate the photos as I have added them. The photos are properly oriented in my image directory.

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