Drinks should not be underestimated in Mexico. For one, if you don’t order one at a restaurant, you get made fun of by your Mexican friends. And I’m not referring to ordering water, my favorite beverage, because that almost doesn’t count. I was continually saved by naranjada, a mixture of fresh squeezed orange juice with either normal or sparkling water. A similar contraption is made with lemon juice, like a less sweet version of lemonade. Fresh squeezed orange juice (among many other fruits) just never gets old. In the more alcoholic direction, Peter was ecstatic to learn that Meredith lives literally right across the street from an international beer store and bar. We tried at least half a dozen new beers while we were there, most of them made in or near Mexico City. My favorite would have to be a dark beer flavored with chile.
Meredith assured me that Mexicans are not particularly into fancy coffee, preferring the instant kind in most cases. However, if there were ever a posh neighborhood that would serve a decent cappuccino, it was hers. Someone needs to educate me about the difference between a cappuccino and a caffe latte, because we couldn’t figure it out between tasting Meredith and my drinks. All I can find on wikipedia is that one has 1/2 inch of milk foam on top and the other 3/4 inch of foam, which is a pretty ridiculous distinction.
And continuing on the trend of alcoholic beverages there was mezcal, which is like a smoky version of tequila. There also happened to be a mezcal bar within walking distance that sold an incredible variety of mezcal shots as well as interesting mixed drinks. The mezcal shots are served with oranges sprinkled with chile powder and salt and small bottles of beer. I found the tiny bottle of Corona, labled “Coronita”, absolutely adorable. Since you have to buy food there (“alcohol solo con alimento”), we ordered a bowl of Oaxaca cheese, which is just like a large hunk of string cheese. The mixed drinks included a “slushee” of pureed fresh fruit, ice, and mezcal, and a version of a mojito with basil instead of mint. It is not uncommon to be approached by people selling things on the street if you sit outside enjoying a drink at night, so Meredith bought us a traditional snack that looked like sheets of green, white, and red paper adorned with a couple nuts. The “paper” tasted sort of like what I imagine packing peanuts to taste like: dry and sticking to the roof of your mouth. Definitely a palate cleanser!
Finally, we could not help ourselves when we entered a tea cafe called La Esquina de Te (The Tea Corner, or literally, The Corner of Tea) and they advertised a Tepuchino, which is really just a combination of tea plus cappuccino: tea with foamy milk. It was quite good. The tea was earl grey. It was hot. And perhaps more importantly, the view was nice.