And yet another “descansa” day.
I asked to have this day off to spend with my parents (who leave tomorrow) and to come to the Restaurant for dinner!
Another lazy-ish start, getting out of bed at 9am and launching into my standard chores of hand washing and hanging out my laundry, ironing and some light house cleaning.
By the time I got out into the sunshine of the day it was nearly 10am. I went again to my favourite little coffee shop and had a fresh oreja pastry and a coffee – making sure to tell the little baker how delicious his patisserie was!
As I had my morning chat to the fiancé, I wandered through Polanco, to the park and over to my parents hotel, Camino Real. Waiting for Mom & Dad to emerge from their rooms, I sat by the pool. The deep blue of the pool contrasts perfectly with the green lawn and modern orange building with the pink blossoms that match a Mexican-bright-pink wall in the distance. What a perfect morning view.
When they emerged from their rooms, we decided to have a look around the park – but our plans were scuppered when we realised the entire (!!) 1695 acre park was shut for the day. (Just take a second to soak in the size of that park!! That’s the equivalent of 2.6 square miles! Double the size of Central Park and triple the size of Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens combined!
Anyway the point was that it was closed. So we traipsed down towards the Roma neighbourhood in search of some cool garden squares. We had a peak into the four seasons and found a couple of very odd and beautiful caged bird – like a tropical pheasants.
We wandered and wandered and eventually ended up eating some delicious tamales at Tamales Dona Emi. One stuffed with pork and tomato, one with huitlacoche (corn fungus) and a third with pork and olives. All were delicious and I introduced Mom and Dad to atole which is a delicious hot corn and masa drink – this one was flavoured with guava. Yum!
All ready for nap time, we headed back to the hotel and lounged by the pool – sipping on some awfully tasty pina coladas.
And then it was time for the piece de resistance – dinner at Quintonil.
Mom & Dad met at my flat and had a little peak around. We walked down to the restaurant and were greeted by my lovely texan friend on reception. We sat down and this very sweet staging waitress announced that she would be serving us. We all ordered the 12 course tasting menu (mine with a wine pairing) and settled in for the show.
It all started with a little masa puff with some shaved lard perched atop. This was served with three delicious salsas. Next up was a fresh fruit bowl that pastry makes – pressurised nopales (cactus leaf), samphire and little teeny tiny cubes of cucumber and beetroot. With a delicious lime cactus jus.
Next was one of my favourites – raw shrimp mixed with an Aguachile emulsion that we make. Topped with flowers, criollo and the shrimp roe that we cure and smoke (I’ve done it on several occasions!). All presented in a beautiful zucchini shell. Dramatically, the waiter then came and poured the “Aguachile” sauce which is squash blossom, shirodashi and lime juice. It’s amazing how all the constituent parts make so much sense when they find each other on the plate.
Next was at the escamole (ant larvae) and charred avocado tartare. I thought that I hated cooked avocado – but this was delicious!
And then we had the charred aubergine with a sesame seed macadamia paste, blackened aubergine / garlic sauce and Hoja Santa gel.
The soft-shell crab was up next and one of my favourites. Half a crab with a hollandaise flavoured with Veracruz sauce. This was created by our mate Frank (who used to work with us in prep). He actually started as a dishwasher in the restaurant and created this dish to get a paid job at the restaurant. Yum!
And the next course was barbecued potatoes with a grasshopper adobo with “little cow beans”. The josperised beetroot in an onion fondo was next and delicious. And then the final savoury course was the oxtail in recardo negro served with freshly made tortillas.
After that was the sopidlla caramel Ice cream with burnt white chocolate, pink peppercorn gel and chocolate mousse. This was one of my favourite courses on the menu. The textures and flavorous were incredible. And again – I had seen all the constituent parts which were delicious but the final product totally caught me off guard – it was amazing.
Finally was the Jerusalem artichoke paste with apple ice cream. Also a really interesting flavour combination.
Having started our meal at 6pm, I suddenly realised that it was nearly 10pm! Past my bedtime! I asked the lovely waitress for the cheque. She sweetly came over and said “well, no – I mean you can have the cheque but we’re just checking with Chef about having you back in the kitchen”. My face must have lit up.
Two minutes later, we were asked to come along to the pass. I was so happy for Mom & Dad to see behind the scenes of this world famous restaurant! They got to have a little chat with Chef and asked if I was behaving myself. Chef then said “do you want a photo? It’s tradition!” I said yes, of course – with a big smile. He yelled out for everyone to gather round and 10 chefs literally dropped what they were doing in an instant and gathered around for a photo.
What a wonderful evening! The three of us left the restaurant buzzing.
Now it’s too late and time for bed!!!