Pujol: Taco Omakase

September 25th, 2017
Mexico City, Mexico
No 20 at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

No 5 at The Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants

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Pujol’s ‘Barra de Tacos’ has 11 seats where guests are treated to a set menu of tacos and beverages.

With a very dynamic gastronomic scene and a growing number of restaurants and chefs, Mexico City has become one of the most important food cities in the past few years and reason behind my fourth trip to this amazing country in 2017.

Enrique Olvera, for many, has been the master mind behind the growth of haute cuisine in Mexico, taking humble ingredients and street food to a level never seen before in our gastronomic universe.

After the successful opening of Cosme, Enrique’s restaurant in NYC, Pujol relocated a few months ago within the same upscale district of Polanco, taking in a more youthful but refined ambiance with plenty of natural bright light and minimalistic approach in a wooden driven dining room.

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Pujol is the crown jewel of Mexico City and Enrique Olvera
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Set up at the bar for the Taco Omakase. 

Taco Omakase

A word usually reserved for sushi places, the taco omakase (or barra de tacos) is a set menu of about 8 tacos servings and beverage pairings that includes cocktails, beers, and wine.

I truly found this concept ‘genius’. Who else is doing ‘taco’ tasting? The progression of Tacos were crafted perfectly showcasing different tortillas as well as different key local products and sauces. The Taco Omakase has been one of the best culinary experiences I had this year. I truly urge you to experience it.

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The bar at Pujol is well adorned with a unique selection of spirits
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Botanas: Avocado ‘flauta’ with chapulines (grasshoppers) 
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Elote tatemado with coffee mayonnaise and chicatana ant powder
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Scallop tostada with onions, avocado and parsley
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‘Tetela’ with black bean and sea urchin
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Aubergine taco, with white corn tortilla, hola santa and avocado
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Taco de ‘Carnitas’, pork confit, red onions, capers on a blue corn tortilla
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Lamb Barbacoa, on aromatic corn tortilla, avocado and squash blossoms 
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Soft Shell Crab Taco with a watercress sauce on a yellow corn tortilla
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‘Mole Madre, Mole Nuevo Taco’, on hoja santa. This Mole Madre or ‘old mole’ was 1392 days old. Similar to a ‘solera’ method, the new mole is added daily to the old one to create a unique consistency and level of complexity.
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burned orange sorbet with chile ‘guajillo’ snow
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Pujol’s patio is a very relaxed environment to finish the meal
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Corn ‘nicuatole’ with corn sorbet, cinnamon and yaka (jackfruit)
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The ultra-famous and also classic “Churro”
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My mother who joined me on this visit to Pujol.

Have you been to Pujol in Mexico city or Enrique’s Cosme in NYC? What are your thoughts?

Hokol Vuh

June 23rd, 2017
Merida, Mexico

A CULINARY JOURNEY OF BODY AND SOUL

The richness of Yucatan´s culture from the mastery of the best chefs in the world

Hokol Vuh is an unique experience in the history of contemporary gastronomy, conjugating the mastery and the vision of the most recognized chefs in the world with the cultural, gastronomic and spiritual richness of the Mayan culture. A sensorial 3-day trip in the Yucatan that let the chefs experienced their essence, culminated in a great dinner for 200 guests where they interpreted their own essence a sensorial tribute to the Mayan culture.

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THE CHEFS

Albert Adrià – Enigma, Spain.
Elena Reygadas – Rosetta, Mexico.
Rosío Sánchez – Hija de Sánchez, Denmark.
Vladimir Mukhin – White Rabbit, Russia.
Ana Roš – Hiša Franko, Slovenia.
Carlo Mirarchi – Blanca, USA.
Jorge Vallejo – Quintonil, Mexico.
Matt Orlando – Amass, Denmark.
René Redzepi – Noma, Denmark.
Roberto Solís – Néctar, Mexico.
Alejandro Ruiz – Casa Oaxaca, Mexico.
Ben Shewry – Attica, Australia.
Christian Puglisi – Relæ, Denmark.
David Kinch – Manresa, USA.
Blaine Wetzel – The Willows Inn, USA.
Esben Holmboe Bang – Maaemo, Norway.

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first dish of the night and one of my favorites: Atole with fresh oysters by Rosio Sanchez & Esben Holmboe
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pink sea snails with cacao and beets by Elena Reygadas & Ana Ros
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Name porridge by Christian Puglisi & Blaine Wetzel
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banana and pumpkin with citrus and recado negro by Matt Orlando & Anders Selmer
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My favorite bite of the night: venison toast with Chicatana ant sauce by Vladimir Mukhin & Alejandro Ruiz
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octopus with dzikilpak by Rene Redzepi & Roberto Solis
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coconut with melipona honey by Jorge Vallejo & Ben Shewry
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2 cacaos: white and fresh, dark and fermented by Albert Adria & Francisco Mendez
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Rene Redzepi & Roberto Solis thank you everyone for the event
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All the chefs involve in this amazing culinary event

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Have you ever been to any of this 18 Chef’s restaurants around the world?

Tempo by Martin Berasategui

June 8th, 2017
Cancun, Mexico

Tempo, by three michelin star chef Martin Berasategui is located in the Paradisus Hotel in the paradise called Cancun. i was able to secure a last minute reservation for a day after my meal at Noma Mexco. I have visited Martin Berasategui in Lasarte last year and it is clear that Tempo recreates the ambiance and food you can find at its original home.

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table set at Tempo by Martin Berasategui

True to its essence

Tampo remains true to Martin Berasategui’s essence. Since the beginning of the meal we find the generous hospitality and familiar items as the fours different butters (cultured, avocado, mustard, mushroom). To go along with the butter service is a different kind of bread per course throughout the meal. We are right back at home, it feels familiar, it feels true. Yes please, I would love some Billecart-Salmon rose to start the evening

 

 

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corn and squash soup

Same same but different

The first courses of the tasting menu are dishes I quickly remember from my meal at his eponymous restaurant in Lasarte. The red tuna tartar with kimchi sauce, ponzu, ginger and cherry is refreshing and full of different textures which I find it is one of Chef’s greatest strengths on his menus. The beetroot juice course with sour cream and salmon is as beautiful as I remembered it. While the food brings familiar memories, the wines are rare finds from peculiar regions as the Romanian Maria Pinot Gris and the Italian Nina from the Incrocio Manzone grape.

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red tuna tartar with kimchi sauce, citric ponzu pearls and snow ice of ginger and cherry
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beetroot juice with sour cream, salad, and salmon marinated in yes

The meal continues with perfect white glove service. The roasted foie gras with duck sauce poured table side is deliciously surprising. Not sweet but unexpected rich and savory, perfectly paired with a light and Earthy Napa Pinot Noir. The grilled butterfish with soy and spout risotto is perfectly cooked and paired with a rich Chateau Montelna Chardonnay.

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roasted foie gras over seaweed salad, duck and soy broth, creamy horseradish with walnut salt
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grilled butterfish with soy, sprout risotto, smoked salmon spheres and pil-pil carrot

The slow cooked beef cheeks is rich and tender at the same time. The arugula chlorophyll sauce and aromatized potatoes, signatures of Martin, maintains the storyline of a Chef that wants to bring his flavors to one of the major international tourist destinations in the world. Two Cabernets harmonized this course, one from Napa, and another from Romania.

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slow cooked beef cheek with citric aromatized potatoes, cheese, mushroom, and arugula chlorophyll sauce
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2008 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon 

Sweet Ending

The sweets remain strongly delicious as every dish on the menu. Light and refreshing start with melon pearls in caipirinha with a cold yogurt soup poured table side. Chocolate rock with quinoa praline is next, rich and heavier, states that the meal is coming to an end. Sauternes was chosen to go along all the sweets while a golden mirror delivers the last petit-fours of the evening

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melon pearls in caipirinha, citrus ice cream, cold yogurt soup with pink pepper
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chocolate rock with quinoa praline, hazelnut ice cream rum and snow ice
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petit-fours

Cancun’s culinary scene is more exciting than ever! I am already making plans to go back soon!

Noma Mexico

Tulum, Mexico (May 7th, 2017)

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fresh local fruits at Noma Mexico entrance

Noma, the famous Copenhagen restaurant led by Rene Redzepi, has opened its door in Tulum, Mexico for seven weeks of service. This is nothing new to the Noma team, as this is their third international pop up following successful services in London (2012), Japan (2015) and Australia (2016).

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arriving to Tulum

 

 

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Tulum

 

Tulum is located in Quintana Roo about a 1.5 hours drive south from Cancun which is the main entrance airport of the area. Surrounded by sky blue waters it is a perfect tourist destination to enjoy what the Riviera Maya has to offer. You will find comfortable bed and breakfast and an a healthy supplement of beach restaurant and bars.

 

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table setting at Noma Mexico.Every item on the table was specially made by local craftsmen
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Salute with dry tomatoes and chapulines

NOMA

Noma restaurant, which means “Nordic Food”, has been a trailblazer since opening its door in Copenhagen in 2003 and became known for its reinvention and reinterpretation of Nordic Cuisine and using Scandinavian products. A very similar approach was taken in opening this restaurant in Mexico. Products and service-ware seen on the menu are from local farmers, producers and craftsmen.

 

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Cold masa broth with lime and fresh flowers
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tropical fruits and Arbol chile

THE NEW NOMA

Noma announced last year that will be relocating in Copenhagen and this is one of the reasons that allowed the team to be able to do such a big transplant in Mexico. The Noma team brought every member of their staff  to Tulum to take part of this project. In addition, Rene team up with Rosio Sanchez (from the now famous “Hija de Sanchez” and former Noma) for this project taking advantage of Rosio’s roots.

We can only imagine all the new ideas and techniques that the Noma team has been acquiring in their international pop ups and how they will be utilizing them in the new Noma 2.0 coming up.

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Banana ceviche. Banana treated like the finest piece of sushi with two people dedicated just to slice them every day

 

 

THE NOMA IMPACT

It is very difficult to say which item was my favorite (probably the young coconut) but I have to say that I love the approach of every single dishe. Noma Mexico introduces you to an array of ingredients that most likely you have not tried or heard before. Or if you have heard of them you have never tried them in this specific preparation before. Anyhow, Noma Mexico brings awareness to an international public, not only about products but, what is most important, the hard worker producers and the families behind every single product and service-ware.

 

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table presentation at Noma Mexico

THE BEACH RESTAURANT

The restaurant is right across the Tulum beach in front of “La Zebra” hotel. In the middle of sand and trees, Noma has built and one of a kind restaurant and kitchen. Dress for the occasion but remember you are on the sand and the heat is intense. No wonders why the Noma team works in shorts and open shoes.

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“Escamoles” toast

 

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‘Cerdon Pelon’ presented to the tables earlier in the meal

 

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Noma got the experts to make tortilla to order

 

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Grilled avocado dessert with mammy seeds

 

THE BAR

Noma also built a bar where now they receive walk-ins for a limited menu every night. The line starts at 10 am for the lucky few who wants to put their name down for such an amazing experience.

After our meal we were invited to the bar to enjoy some of the cocktails with local inspiration.

$750 a person plus plane tickets and hotel accommodation seems extreme at first. But Noma keeps changing the way of food and restaurant experiences and this was not an exception. Once you see everything that goes into creating this restaurant and the implication beyond that, you just feel lucky you were able to grab a ticket.

Can’t wait for the reopening of Noma!