November 1. Day of the Dead in Mexico City. We are in Mercado Jamaica, in the Venustiano Carranza neighbourhood, about 5 kilometres southeast of our hotel. It is here, in this bustling flower and food market, that families come to buy marigolds with the hope that their vivid colour and floral scent will guide their dead ancestors to altars (ofrendas) they will set up this evening.
Our guide for the next few hours is Ariane Ruiz from Eat Mexico tour company. Her knowledge is invaluable, helping our small group of anglophones comprehend the Mexican concept of death and the role of ofrendas on Dia de Muertos. Of no less importance, she guides us in anexploration of street food found in and around the market.
I will let the pictures do the talking as we navigate the aisles of Mercado Jamaica. (more…)
It hits us as soon as we leave the hotel. The blur of senses. Cars and trucks merge with walkers in a dangerous dance as we make our way east on Avenida Indepencia. Crowded sidewalks, shared with vendors under makeshift poly sheds, ply belts and plastic gizmos. A chef, high on a step ladder, slices spiced meat for tacos al pastor. Thin beef sizzles on a street-side grill. A cross street announces the city’s Chinatown, with red lanterns and stone lions. Further on, oval shaped cornmeal-and-bean huaraches cook on a street side grill. An intoxicating concoction of steam, smoke, spice, meat and corn fills the air.
A few blocks on, Gail and I turn the corner and head for Churrería El Moro. Tucked behind an inconspicuous storefront is a charming old world cafeteria resplendent with blue trim and yellow formica. Here is the early afternoon treat we have been anticipating since leaving our frigid Winnipeg home. Here is the motherlode, the best churros in the world. Crisply fried sticks of warm dough, generously sprinkled with sugar for dipping into a cup of thick hot chocolate.