Sunday, August 29, 2010

Promises, Promises (Mexico City)

My good friend A. is back in town. Once we settle into our room (we've opted for quiet, as opposed to light, and we've received the bonus -- at no extra charge -- of an eau de sewer smell that seems to permeate rooms at the back of the hotel), we walk half a block to a restaurant featuring cuisine from the Yucatan. The waiting line is long, and when we are finally seated, we are placed in the smoking section. I refuse this assignment and request a seat in the main, non-smoking area, so we continue to wait.

Our new table is near a window and not too far from the talented musicians who are performing on a small stage in the center of the room. As is the norm, most people are ignoring the music to focus on conversation; A. and I are multi-taskers, able to focus on the entertainment and each other simultaneously, while ignoring the chatter that surrounds us.

We share a couple of the specialties suggested by the waiter: little, thick, round corn tortillas mounded with beans; others with shredded chicken, avocado. I heap on the pickled onions and chili peppers that are delivered to the table. A. orders what turns out to be the world's tiniest margherita; the two miniature straws sticking up out of it dwarf the drink.

While we're munching our savories, I notice that everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE else in the restaurant, is tucking into a turkey leg (not the same one). I promise myself that next year, I will request my very own turkey leg; although, if this is a fad (and how would I know?), next year's must-order might very well be a sheep shank, a manta ray wing, or a cactus flower. I'll have to be more observant.

A. is knocked out from her travels, so she returns to our room, but not before I've extracted her promise to go dancing with me tomorrow. In exchange, she's made me promise that men will ask her to dance. "Of course, they will," I swear. Of this, I am certain.


We are all dolled up, with someplace to go. It's two-for-the-price-of-one night at the dance hall, so men are waiting three deep to find women with whom they can enter. Two guys appear out of somewhere and escort us inside.

A.'s escort asks her to dance as soon as we settle into our seats. We both end up dancing with few breaks over the next couple of hours. All promises should be so easy to fulfill!


There is little that is quite as decadent as churros and chocolate. We eat a light, yogurt-and-fruit breakfast, so we can indulge our sweet teeth.

El Moro features nothing but these long, ridged donut fingers dusted with sugar, and five types of hot chocolate: Mexican, with cinnamon and vanilla; Spanish, dark, thick, and sweet; French, less sweet, less thick, and not dark; another type which the sugar overload has expunged from my head; and the Special, which is higher priced, less sweet than the Spanish, and highly recommended by the woman who waits on us. We both go for the Special, although I still remember fondly the addictive richness of the Spanish drink I practically overdosed on last year.

The frothy chocolate arrives, accompanied by two week's worth of greasy, luscious carbohydrates that we alternate between dunking in our cups and plunking straight into our mouths. The waitress brings over half a cup of Spanish chocolate, so we can taste the difference. I am immensely enjoying what I perceive is my last day as a nondiabetic. I promise myself that I will not do this again until the next time.

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