An NYC Diary of A Mexican Thanksgiving

In the guacamole capital of the world, papaya is ripe and margaritas are bottomless. As a Mexican/New Yorker – all too accustomed to American traditions – I am amazed that on Thanksgiving day, in this americanized society, there is not a stuffed turkey in site!02-viernes-Food-trucks-01It seems that in the center of Mexico City, modern cuisine has taken over and where there once used to be an old lady making handmade sopes for a peso, there is now a posse of artsy hipsters making organic vegetarian tacos and charging in dollars. In the heart of La Condesa – a Mexican version of Williamsburg – stand a variety of gourmet food trucks, some European, some South American, some Mexican. They are painted in bright hues and decorated with modern typography listing the items on the menu, clearly the work of a hip young illustrator living in the area. Art is bursting through the walls like never before and the once-dangerous streets are now beaming with youthful energy. Maybe it has always been this way, maybe I had never taken the time to see it, but it sure made me realize how much I love mi ciudad.tamaleI, in search of the perfect turkey, decide to stop at a local market where I find house-grown vegetables, fruit paletas, freshly squeezed juices (a true luxury for any New Yorker) and of course, a large selection of papitas. I am usually very against stereotypes but as I toss a handful of flaming churrumais into my mouth, not minding the habanero-induced tears streaming down my face, I realize that some of those Mexican stereotypes are pretty on point! Typical Mexican fast food tends to be: covered in chili, bathed in sour cream or powdered with kilos of sugar… and fried, always fried. As I philosophize on my culture, I get an agua de horchata to wash the spice down; made with milk, rice and cinnamon, this drink is both sweet and very refreshing.Pepperspapas Later in the evening, I find myself in Aquí Esta Texcoco, a traditional Mexican restaurant adorned with bright orange florals and boasting a live Mariachi quartet. As I sit down, the waiters bring out a large selection of appetizers such as chilitos rellenos (green peppers filled with melted cheese), guacamole con chapulines (guacamole with salted grasshoppers) and nopales con queso (cactus with fresh cheese). I take them all. To drink, I get an agua de sandia, a classic choice for a hot day. Hard to believe I still have room for an entrée, but I can’t miss out on Texcoco’s famous bacon-wrapped shrimp. Drenched in green tomatillo salsa and slices of fried garlic, these jumbo shrimps are an absolute treat, so much so that I don’t even mind the fact that I never found my turkey.It’s no surprise that after this amazing meal, I had no room left for dessert. I am also part of that one percent of humanity that doesn’t like it, so I asked for a Café de Olla, which – if you’ve never tasted Mexican coffee with brown sugar and cinnamon before – was a perfect ending to a perfect dinner. Happy Mexican Thanksgiving to me!