Mexican Flavors / Exceptional versions of Mexican classics
Photos by Eric Frick
5569 Camp Road, Hamburg
202-1397 or MexicoCityHamburg.com
When my mother and her friend asked for coffee with their lunches at this bright orange Southtowns outpost of Mexican cuisine, my first thought was to wonder if they would have it—the restaurant hadn’t opened until noon that day. The waitress replied that it was available, but was it OK that the milk was already in it? When she brought the cups out, I wished I had ordered one for myself. We were served what I have since read is called Cafe de Olla, a sort of cinnamon latte that more than hits the spot on a chilly afternoon.
The unexpectedly delicious coffee set the tone for some more great discoveries, the most impressive of which are the picaditas, an Instagram-worthy wide platter of corn cakes, dressed somewhat like a tostada might be with bean paste, lettuce, cilantro, queso fresco (a crumbly white cheese similar to feta but with a softer texture and less salt) and crema (a lighter, thinner alternative to sour cream that’s more commonly used in Mexican food). The corn cakes are thicker than tostadas and have a softer texture; the rich, delicious corn flavor is hard to describe but well worth a visit on its own. I’m told the term “picaditas” is interchangeable with “sopes,” at least in some regions of Mexico. Regardless of what they’re called, this version is exceptional.
Picaditas (corn cakes); Chips and green salsa
Similarly, we loved the tortillas here as well as most of what came in them: shrimp, chile renello, al pastor, and steak all garnered rave reviews.
All of the basics—tortillas, salsa, meat fillings, anything made with corn—were on point recommended.
Along those lines, while tacos can be ordered “Texan style” with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and cheese, we had ours “Mexican style” with onions, cilantro, and salsa. The salsa is salsa verde, made with tomatillos instead of tomatoes, a standby at taquerias in Latin neighborhoods. Mexico City also offers burrito bowls (served with rice and corn), burritos, chimichangas, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), and loaded fries. Though we didn’t have room for quesadillas on our visit, we noticed they were made in the more traditional folded-over style, rather than one whole tortilla stacked on top of another with the filling in between as they tend to be made in the US.
Tacos with the traditional garnishes
Though it was a bit chilly on our visit as they had just opened for business and turned the heat on that day, Mexico City is warm in other ways, mainly the friendly service and helpful recommendations from servers.