FDC Mexico City, or How I Ate 41 Tacos

I’m not sure how to write about eating 41 tacos in 5 days.

I mean where do I start? My motives? My appetite? My level of insanity? I figured the only way to get to the bottom of all of it was to have someone interview me. Seeing as how I’m slouched deep into my couch, alone in my apartment, there’s only one person qualified to interview me about my experience: me.

Drew: So you really ate 41 tacos?

Drew: 3/4 of the original FDC crew (myself, Matt, and Brad) decided to go to down to Mexico City for a very eating-centric vacation. And eat we did.

D: Why.

D: Tacos are the best. We started out at El Tizoncito, the OG al pastor taco place, and from that point on we were hooked.

The lil tacos that started it all.

D: But they couldn’t all have been good, right?

D: They basically were! Brad went and grabbed a plate of six tacos while we waited in this infinitely long line for churros late one night. They were pretty dry and narsty. Definitely needed to be washed down with churros.

The nasty tacos that made us question everything.

D: I hope you have a good primary care physician. So which were the best? 

D: It’s really hard to say. Brad’s favorites were some random al pastor tacos we snagged while walking down the street. Matt’s were at a place called Tortas Al Fuego (which we visited twice). For me, at any given moment it’s either the barbacoa tacos smoked inside banana leaves (!!!), the carnitas taco at the shop that looked like it for sure would give you food poisoning (and didn’t!), or the place we went while drunk that was decorated like a Five Guys.

Back on track with tortas al fuego tacos.
Brad’s favorite al pastor, complete with a drenching of hot salsa.
The best barbacoa that has ever barbacoa’ed.

D: So like…did you eat anything else? 

D: Surprisingly…yes. Our first morning there, we toured Jamaica Market with a local food blogger named Anais (hit her up if you come to Mexico City!). We ate tlacoyos (stuffed blue corn patties topped with lots of deliciousness), and this crazy green chile corn that was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, and quesadillas without the quesa!

Tlacoyo in action.
Anais, excited we’re trying one of her favorites.
I mean how could something from a place that looks like this be bad?

D: Do they know that last part is weird? 

D: Most definitely! The locals totally own the contradiction, but don’t dare question them on it. We even had this one quesadilla that was just filled with cooked up huitlacoche, which is basically this freaky looking fungus that infects corn. If that parasite shows up in the US, they torch the whole crop. In Mexico, they eat it. It was surprisingly delicious when cooked with a bunch of spices, even though you’re basically eating zombie corn.

Don’t worry, there are also regular quesa-filled dillas.

D: Sounds like a full day of eating! So no tacos that morning, I’m assuming? 

D: …that would be incorrect

D: [looks in disbelief]

The evidence against us.

D: Oooo! And Anais also introduced us to this crazy alcohol called pulque. It was fermented sap that comes in all kinds of crazy flavors. Pine nut! Celery! Oatmeal!

D: What.

D: It was pretty cool, even though I didn’t understand it at all.

D: How about mezcal? You guys try any of that? 

D: That was one of my favorite non-taco, non-Mexican wrestling parts of the trip. We went to a few different mezcal bars and the bartenders were really great about showing us all the different types. Mano Santa I think was one of the places? The other place was called El Palenquito. It looked like a cave in the middle of the city. It was cool. Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met (even in my broken Spanish). Apparently the only mezcal that makes it out of Mexico City is the stuff that tastes like it’s been blasted with a smoke gun. The local mezcal was quite different. More herbs in some cases, and a little more bite.

A cage o mezcal

D: You’ve been waiting a while to shoe-horn Mexico wrestling into the conversation, haven’t you?

D: It should be shoe-horned into every conversation. The names alone. Blue Panther! Virus! El Terrible! Blue Panther Jr! Universo 2000 Jr! Really nice to see a profession stay in the family with all those juniors. And I liked how I was not even fully seated before a concession vendor rushed over to offer to pour two warm bottles of Corona into a giant plastic cup for like $4.

I really liked that Blue Panther was real old and looked like he was wearing Depends. But still not old enough to give the ref what-for.

D: What does any of this have to do with food? 

D: Absolutely nothing. It just has to do with FUN.

D: So Mexico City is a pretty reasonable place to throw down, huh?

D: Why do you think we ate so many tacos? They were like 30 cents each. And when you see a giant spinning cone of meat, there’s only one responsible thing to do. We also earned our tacos. There is a lot to ‘splore in Mexico City. Our neighborhood was so incredibly lush. There are parks everywhere and junglely trees all over. The museums are fantastic and there is tons of history. One of my new favorite cities.

This park is seriously outrageous.

D: Tell me more about these spinning meat cones. 

D: All the different al pastor vendors are shaving meat off various sized revolving cones of pork, sort of like doner kebab (another spinning meat favorite of mine). The best piece of advice Anais gave us was that if a taqueria had a large spit, order al pastor. If it had a large grill, go with barbacoa or carnitas. Solid advice through and through.

The most beautiful sight I’ve ever witnessed.

D: I want to come back to the 41 tacos. So you really each ate 41 tacos?

D: We might have bent the rules a tiny bit. I may have stuffed a bunch of pineapples into a tortilla and called it a taco. Matt may have divided a single taco into two tortillas to catch up. Brad definitely just slathered a tortilla in mole and called it good. Also in general many of the tacos in Mexico City are lil! Also we each had a taco covered in bugs (on purpose); that should count for extra. So realistically no fewer than an even 40.

Those are grasshoppers on top of avocado and chorizo. They were….interesting.

D: Can’t really argue with that. So is any of the food in Mexico City…bad?

D: I think generally we knew the food was going to be good. Two of the top twenty restaurants in the world are located in the city. As an aside, we tried to go to both one night as walk-ins (admittedly a bold move). One of them turned us down in the politest possible way, and the hostesses at the other looked at us with such disdain like we were a bunch of dumb kids lost in the wrong place (which is pretty close to the truth). Anyways, we had those bad line tacos and some exceptionally terrible street corn, but other than that all aces on the eating front. I feel like we didn’t even scratch the surface on how many noms we could have om’ed.

One more for the road.

D: Sounds like a truly magical place. Ready to eat tacos again after all that?

D: Now that I’ve had a month off…sí. Vámonos.