It was a minute past midnight in Mexico City. With his right hand gripping the wheel and his left quivering against the balmy November wind, my driver raced past shuttered street stalls, battered billboards and the glow of slowly-rotating al pastor spits. Wide-eyed, I stared out the window; my mind racing, my pulse pounding. Four hours earlier I sat in O’Hare’s international terminal skimming sentences that described where ancient Olmec heads still peer through impenetrable Veracruz vegetation and how afternoon-long Zapotec cenas are served under the scorching Oaxacan sun. I arrived in Mexico with my head full of dreams and thanks to distracted Chicago airline employee, precious little else.
You needn’t worry. My belongings found me long before I found my way to Puebla’s avocado smeared cemitas and beautifully blue-tiled buildings. Nevertheless, my first moments in Mexico sprawling capital left an indelible impression. Subsequent experiences justified my immediate infatuation with country, culture, and cuisine.
Tonight, as the hands of my Chicago clock edge toward their eleventh hour, I find myself on the eve of another south of the border sojourn. Simply put, Mexico seems to suit me, but due to external pressures and obsolete concerns, I’ve never allowed myself the time to see what could come of a life focused on the exploration of its riches. Come May 18th, all of that will change. Once again, I will arrive D.F. with a hopeful heart and grand ambitions. I’ve chosen to devote two months of my life to exploring possibilities that rarely survive the sunrise that forcibly follows dream-stuffed sleep.
My journey will begin beneath the crimson glow of a Condesa shade tree. From there, I’ll weave my way to Neveria Roxy for stacked scoops of Mamey and Zapote ice cream. Shortly after sunrise I’ll devour chocolate clams and Baja bred octopus high above CondesaDF’s red windup car. By my second sunset, I suspect I’ll have had my fill of Contramar’s lime-bright aguachile. In the days that follow I’ll lend an open ear to all that is said and seen at Enrique Olvera’s Mesamérica conference. After those curtains close, I’ll wind my way to Michoacán for Morelia en Boca. I will sample Purépechan delicacies in hilly villages before celebrating wedding vows in the city’s grand cathedral. Continue Reading…