Published on July 29th, 2010 | by admin0
La Condesa: the Veggie Version
As a vegetarian, I know that you can typically find veggie dishes on most menus at any restaurant. That isn’t always the case at your finer dining establishments, but at La Condesa, that is definitely not a problem. There may not be any veggie entrees, per se, but that just allows you to have more of a sampling of their amazing veggie sides.
For my meal, I ordered the huarache de hongos y huitlachoche, which is typically an appetizer, but with a few of the side dishes (which are extremely well priced), you can easily make it into a full meal. And trust me, you’ll want to. The warm, earthen goodness of the mushrooms that sit on top of the crispy tostada make you feel like you’re in some sort of mushroom fantasy land. The dish manages to be both rich and delicate at the same time, allowing you to completely lose yourself in the flavors.
I happen to like a lot of variety in my meals, so on top of the 3 other plates in front of me were the ejotes (grilled green beans), rice and black beans, and the elotes (Mexican style street corn that makes you forget the meaning of the word “share”). Everyone that I passed the green beans around to absolutely loved them. Personally, I could have handled them being cooked a little more, as they were still fairly crispy (though that keeps them much fresher and healthier), but they had a lovely char from the grill and were fresh and yummy. The corn is covered in butter, cotija cheese and ancho chili powder, and really makes you want to sit in a corner by yourself and just devour it with no one looking. Finally, the rice and beans were absolutely perfect. The problems that I typically find at Mexican restaurants, dry rice and flavorless beans, were definitely not to be found on that plate.
Of course, you can’t have dinner without their amazing drinks, and although their specialties are priced a little higher than you would find at most places, they are completely worth it. La Condesa’s bar staff hand-squeeze all of their fruit juices every day, and never use any bottled syrups, practically eliminating the hangovers you get from too much sugar in your drinks. They also sweeten the drinks with agave nectar, which adds an even more delicate flavor. I started off with the Alma Blanca, a habanero-infused simebra azul blanco domaine de canton ginger liquer, with agave nectar, pineapple juice, fresh corn, hoja de hierba santa, and a hibiscus-rose-infused salt rim. It managed to be refreshing, but not too sweet, and the uniqueness of having corn in a drink makes it worth a try. Even more unusual than a drink with corn in it is a drink with tobacco in it. I took a leap of faith when our waitress suggested the El Cubico, and it turned out to be one of the smartest things I did all night. This smoky, robustly flavored drink gave you the feeling of smoking cigars and sipping on a drink, without all of those cancerous side-effects. I felt a little bit like I had snuck in the back entrance of some boys’ club and started sipping on their signature drink.
All in all, La Condesa is a place worth frequenting quite frequently.