EL ALTENO PEPE
Mexico City, Mexico
GPS 19°26'36.8"N 99°08'19.8"W
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The Mexican marketplace. Heart & soul & food & lots of noise.
The marketplace is at the core of social and culinary Mexican life. And Mexico City’s market halls are like entire cities themselves. Everything from witchcraft to all the delicious street food the country has to offer, can be found here in the numerous market stands.
Just off the famous Garibaldi Plaza, where mariachis gather to sing their songs, you can find the Martinez de La Torre market. Here the greatest fish and see fruits from the Mexican Caribbean and Pacific coast are prepared in neat little dishes.
The Mexican state of Jalisco is home of some of the most famous ranchero artists who sing about the beauty and tragedy of rural life in Northern Mexico. Jalisco is also the place where tequila comes from! Jalisco’s capital, Guadalajara, is the most Mexican of Mexico, sings ranchero king Vicente Fernández. Jalisco is where Mexico’s soul is to be found. Aiaiai, aiaiai!
The Mexican cowboy, the charro with his big sombrero and tight suit, is the archetypical personification of Mexico’s soul. No wonder the Jaliscan owners of El Alteño Pepe chose the image of the charro for their little business in the centre of Mexico City. Here, in the bustling chaos of immense traffic and people masses, they want the rural spirit of Jalisco to live on.
To spice things up a bit in the Mexican capital they serve an immense variety of chili sauces. From the ‘friendly’ chili pasilla to the ‘pure evil’ salsa habanera that will leave you breathless and in search for many bottles of Mexican beer. While enjoying you spiced up dishes at El Alteño Pepe, with some luck, mariachi’s will pass by and sing the songs about Mexico’s soul, Jalisco.
The Hermanos Leon are nothing like Los Pollos Hermanos. No fast food to be found in this joint, just off the mariachi square in Mexico City’s centre. Only traditional dishes from Northern Mexico. Prepared fast though, if you wish.
You can get the best Birria, Pozole and grilled meat with home made tortillas here. Birria is a spicy goat meat oven stew which tastes like nothing you had before. It’s a kind of ‘pulled goat’ a la Mexicana. The Pozole on the other hand is a pre-Hispanic sacred soup made with hominy and chicken or pork meat.
Back in the days, on special occasions human flesh of killed prisoners is said to be used in Pozole. After the ritual killing of the prisoners, their hart was torn out en the rest of the body was cooked with corn, to make it into a perfect Aztec Pozole. The chef assured us with a reassuring smile that nowadays he strictly uses animal meat instead of Aztec prisoners.
Curated by Alex Tieleman
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