Written by Dr. John Sconzo
One of the food capitals of the world, Mexico City is a vibrant metropolis unlike any other in North America. It’s exciting, beautiful and energetic. But it can be a bit daunting if unfamiliar with it. For Mexico City novices or those with plenty of experience, we will be exploring it the Rascal + Thorn way – with insider knowledge, fabulous food and drink, a deep connection and personality.
The tour will combine some of the finest food, both street food and fine dining, that the city has to offer, as well as mind-bending art and soul-shifting cocktails. One highlight is a special insider visit to Xochimilco, where a small group of dedicated and motivated business men are resurrecting and protecting this traditional breadbasket of Mexico City. As part of a Unesco World Heritage Site, Xochimilco’s purpose is to become that major provider of agriculture again, while preserving ancient techniques, biodiversity and the ecology of the system. Many of the city’s top restaurants are now sourcing much of their product through these farms. In fact, that is our special connection.
This past October, I produced the second Fire Feast on the Farm for the Pitney Meadows Community Farm in Saratoga Springs, NY. We brought in top chefs and bartenders from across North America and invited them to bring a farmer with them. Oswaldo Oliva, formerly the head of R&D at the perennial Worlds 50 Best Restaurants Top 10, Mugaritz, and now the chef/owner of Lorea in Mexico City, was one of our invitees. He brought with him Antonio Moreno Murad, a visionary techie/farmer/businessman behind the fascinating project in Xochimilco. His company, Yolcan, works to protect the chinampas of the Xochimilco by connecting the small farmers directly to the city’s chefs. As Murtad described, “Xochimilco is one of the only places where human interaction has actually improved the ecology. The creation of the chinampas led to more species and biodiversity.” Read more about the chinampas, Yolcan and Xochimilco here. Anyone can visit Xochimilco, but few will ever have the opportunity to visit it in the way that we will.
Chef Oliva’s open-fire cooked Mexican/Spanish Arroz a Banda with jerusalem artichokes, clams, black bass, mole negro and more was a huge hit at the Pitney Meadows Fire Feast, as was a talk by Murad, who described his work to a rapt, like-minded audience. This was the genesis of this particular trip. Oliva and his fast-climbing restaurant, Lorea, will be the centerpiece, while Chef Oliva is involved in helping us put together all of the details that will make this trip very, very special.
We will be utilizing other contacts of Chef Oliva’s and mine to fill in this trip, including a dinner visit to Jorge Vallejo’s Perennial Worlds 50 Best Restaurants List star, Quintonil, a cocktail workshop at the most acclaimed cocktail bar in Mexico, Limantour, a Mexican chocolate tasting, a Mexican coffee workshop, market tours, art tours and a stay at the wonderful Hotel Carlota.
For those for whom our brief itinerary is not enough, we can help plan a longer trip, either in Mexico City or elsewhere in the country in places like Oaxaca or Puebla. An optional add-on guided tour may be possible as well.
Much like last June’s “Legacy of elBulli” R+T Tour, this is one culinary tour that you won’t want to miss.
So come join us in June on this once-in-a-lifetime trip! The Magic of Mexico City