Sunday

Part 2 of 3:  Previously on The Dining Duo:  The Dining Duo took off for Mexico City because word is on the streets that it's the newest growing foodie scene.  Making the elegant and perfectly centered Four Seasons Hotel their base camp, they explored this fabulous city; but only after pulling themselves away from all that the Four Seasons had to offer.


The Four Seasons Hotel
Paseo de la Reforma 500, 
Cuauhtémoc, 06600 
Mexico City, DF, Mexico
Phone:+52 55 5230 1818


...but there is a lot more...



 

FRIDAY AFTERNOON LUNCH:  MARISCADA (Seafood Buffet) at THE FOUR SEASONS

First of all, we love that in Mexico lunch goes on forever, and second we love that lunch starts at about 3pm on Friday.  After a late morning of lounging around our suite, and some sightseeing, we rushed back to the hotel because they have a well known lunch option only on Fridays that is composed entirely of seafood selections.  Once again we find ourselves at the Reforma 500 dining room, selecting a seat on the luscious patio where we sipped on divine margaritas and idled away the hours with Mexican friends as the time magically stood still.

Music from a Mexican troupe of singers reminded us of exactly where we were, and the subtropical gardens and flowers compliment the sounds of gurgling fountains. We pulled up a table close to the gardens and dove into the set menu of eight taste sensations offered at a very reasonable price of approximately $45.  Sous Chef Alfredo Sanchez greeted us with a warm and welcoming smile and soon we were on a wonderful ride of taste indulgences.

We started with the Chipotle marinated tuna on a tortilla crisp.  It proved to be a great way to excite our taste buds.  The tortilla crisp complimented the tuna and the pairing was a success.  

Next to arrive at our table was the "Vallarta" style ceviche on a tortilla crisp, and this too was equally tasty but distinctly different from the first offering.  

 

The Key Lime marinated ceviche was a huge bowl of oysters, shrimp, fresh fish and other items that together made for a conglomeration of tastes while still providing individual flavors.

The timing between the selections was perfect because it allowed us to take pleasure in our company and spend the afternoon doing what we are meant to be doing in life; relaxing, eating and enjoying life.  The waiter brought over a spiced shrimp broth that enlivened our mouths.  It was sensational and not overly salty like most soups.  

Then we had the good fortune of tasting the braised shark peccadillo that was crunchily delicious.  It was certainly better to eat the shark than the other way around.  Speaking of interesting selections, next arrived the grilled octopus which was paired with potatoes and scallions.  Scott's not much of an octopus consumer, but this was really fresh and delicious and the grill gave it smoky flavor.  

And finally, a six ounce Mahi Mahi filet was brought to the table and served in a garlic mojo that enhanced the fish's natural flavor.

The side dishes were remarkable too, including sautéed fresh vegetables, rice pilaf and baby potatoes.  Everything at the Four Seasons restaurants are sourced within the general area, and they even have their own small farm for certain items; all to ensure freshness and maximum taste. 

Then, to balance all the fish selections, we finished with a dulce de leche flan custard that was to die for.  There is nothing like a real Mexican flan and Chef nailed it with this version.  Creamy not runny, it just melted in our mouths and although we were stuffed to the gills--pun intended--we couldn't stop eating the flan until every bite was gone. Uno más por favor.


WORK OFF THOSE MEALS WITH FUN THINGS TO DO IN “D.F.”

Walk out the front door of the hotel, hook a left on the Reforma (think Champs d’Elysee), 


and within minutes find the oldest natural park in North America, Chapultepec Park, which is also the largest city park in the world – covering 2,100 acres of the city.  We suggest going on a Sunday when it seems like the entire city is enjoying in the park.  The food, smells, sights and things to purchase are off the charts.  By the way, at no time did we ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable, and when asking directions, people were absolutely lovely to the gringos; as long as you speak some Spanish.
For guest transportation, the Four Seasons provides a stress-free fleet of 50 or more private, late-model automobiles driven by bilingual, bonded chauffeurs.  It’s a convenient and safe way to travel between restaurants, museums or on excursions, especially since transportation fees can be simply billed to your room.

Also walking distance from the hotel, the National Museum of Anthropology and History is filled with priceless relics, such as the famous 30-ton Aztec stone calendar which we were absolutely thrilled to view, and touch this piece of history. 

 

This museum houses 12 exhibition halls devoted to Mexico's earliest civilizations and is itself an architectural masterpiece, especially for the decade in which it was built.  If you happen to be Mexican, it’s free on Sundays, but if not, it’s a minor charge to enter.

Speaking of architectural masterpieces, Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, has built a museum to house his masterpieces and it is stunning, if not mesmerizing.  It is filled with the largest private collection of Rodin’s in the world, so we are told.  What was particularly interesting was that they displayed tableaus of art so that a visitor can view the backs and the travel stamps that these priceless pieces have acquired as they voyaged the world over the decades. 

  

Right next door is another architecturally fascinating museum called Jumex, and built by the family who created the product.  Once inside, you’ll notice that it’s filled with light but never has direct sunlight on any of its works due to the architectural design.  It’s extremely impressive and worth the visit.

 

Perhaps one of the best excursions provided by the Four Seasons is a five hour private tour guided trip to the famous pyramids, as well as to the fascinating Cathedral of Guadeloupe.  Our guide was not only extremely nice, but he started telling us facts and information from the moment we left the hotel, which made the entire experience a superlative one.   

 

The car was a comfy Mercedes, air conditioned, and we had the comforts of home while learning the fascinating history of Mexico City, its people and places.  All of this for $205, which we couldn’t believe could possibly be the case, but was. We learned about the pyramids and then climbed the pyramid to the Sun, enjoying the vistas and two major volcanoes of Mexico City.   


Acquiring knowledge about the sophistication of the Aztecs, the aqueducts they built and the spirit behind its creation was inspiring.  We also worked up an appetite.

RELAXING BY THE POOL


There is a small, but cozy spa on third floor rooftop.  After an afternoon of sightseeing and lots of sightseeing, we opted for a jacuzzi, then a nap before dinner.  The looming skyscrapers overhead made for surreal experience while sitting in what resembles a tailored French garden.  It's all part of Mexico City's emerging landscape, and we were grateful to soak our tired bodies before a nap and dinner.  Next time we hope to work in a massage; or after catching a glimpse of the General Manager Adames in his workout clothes on the way to the gym, maybe that's even a better option.


A SPECTACULAR DINNER WITH CHEF EDGAR KANO


Edgar Kano's tasting menu was like an unexpected warm and fuzzy dream.  Whoever says a dinner at a hotel restaurant can't be extraordinary hasn't dined at Reforma 500 at the Four Seasons Mexico City.  This multi-cultural wizard of dining knocked our socks off with his myriad creations. 


Once again, we found ourselves dining al fresco in the charming interior courtyard.  The fountains, flames and finely dressed femmes fatales never get tiring.  The night we arrived, a beautiful woman strolled the box hedges and flowers, singing enchanting songs that accompanied the atmosphere, not overtake it.   



Warm smiles as we arrived, now recognized guests at the hotel, we were greeted by name and brought immediately to our table just off the winding paths of the tailored gardens.
The seven course tasting menu was easily our finest dining experience in Mexico and we’re so happy we saved this experience for last so that we could make that statement without hesitation.  

From beginning to end, the service and food was exceptional.  We started with one of Chef Edgar's most popular dishes, the Roasted Poblano Pepper Cream Soup, spicy but not too intense for Scott, and not heavily cream laden, it was accompanied with sautéed shrimp and zucchini blossom petals. It was not only beautiful to look at, but wonderful to taste. 




Our soup was followed by a grilled yellow fin medallion, the evidence of charcoal grilling enhanced the taste and the accompaniment of avocado risotto was probably our most cherished taste that night, we could have just added the phenomenally tasting risotto and would have been satiated; but that would have taken the fun out of the rest of the evening.

Our next course was the Grilled Octopus from the Gulf of Mexico and it was so fresh that it tasted like it crawled onto our table.  The octopus was then followed by a Sake Glazed Mahi Mahi with a sauce peculiar to the Yucatan peninsula as well as habanero (Michael’s favorite essence).  It was hot, but not too spicy for those whose palates are more mid-range.

Scott is a huge duck lover and he’s tasted duck preparations all around the globe.  Chef Edgar's roasted Duck Magret did not disappoint his discriminating perception; he ranked it as world class.  After indulging on this dish accompanied with its black mole sauce prepared Oaxaca style, we decided our next Mexico excursion has to be to Oaxaca. Incidentally, the handmade blue corn tortillas that accompanied this and other plates were superb.  Mexicans love their tortillas and why we would as well if we could get the kind of tortillas Chef’s kitchen produces.

Our final course was a Rack of Lamb and even though Michael is not a lamb fan, even he adored this tender, juicy and tantalizing preparation.  It was served with a chili peanut sauce and arrived at the perfect medium rare temperature that we requested.  Again, we wondered why we couldn’t get this kind of results in so many of our own American restaurants when Chef Edgar and his staff knocked it out of the ballpark. 

Of particular note is the “mixologist” Mica Rousseau, who hails from Tours, France (Scott spent his six months there during his junior year at Stanford).  Both handsome and incredibly talented, he’s very serious about his cocktails.  Having won the #1 slot in the Mexican mixology national completion, he also established himself in the top ten in the world for mixology.   

During the course of our dinner, we had Mica bring over a variety of cocktails and one was more interesting and colorful than the next.  Like a scientist, he would mix and pour and add elements beyond our imaginations until the result in front of us was a superlative magical mix of flavors and colors and styles.   


Finally, our last drink came as a coconut share, exemplifying the shared experience of the food, the drink, the atmosphere and each others company.  

And the desserts!  What a perfect way to end a perfect meal. There were three yummy desserts that were spectacular three-dimensional creations.  Our favorite, both for its gorgeous look, ingenuity and taste, was a Contemporary Apple.  It was spun from sugar and looked like a gorgeous freshly washed green apple; instead it was a delicately spun sugar creation that was both crunchy and absolutely delicious.  Clearly this restaurant was the apple of our eye in Mexico City.  Thank you Chef Kano and why aren't you in Los Angeles where we can enjoy your cuisine all the time?


*****************************************************************
 Oh no, The Dining Duo is not yet done with Mexico City.  Make sure to check back in with us for a final part three story about Sunday Brunch at the incomparable Four Seasons Hotel, as well as some other hot-spots in and around Mexico City.  Until then, Hasta pronto amigos.

Buen provecho,


Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo


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