Adventures, travel

Everything I Ate in Mexico City Part 2…

… Or Will I Top Those Tuna Tostadas?

One of the fun parts of traveling for soccer is the parties. With The American Outlaws, this means two events leading up to the big game. The Night Before party, and The Tailgate. Let me tell you, both were wild in totally different ways.

Huge shout out to Pinche Gringo’s  BBQ for hosting the Night Before Party in their giant warehouse of a restaurant. I heard great things about their Barbecue from EVERYONE who ate it. I stuck to the bar section since I was feeling pretty full after those al pastor tacos from the vendor in the plaza. The folks there were great to us,  and did the best they could. As I was waiting for my pitcher of beer the guy behind the counter turned to me and said “We’ve only been open a few weeks.” I found out the next morning, that the party-goers had bought all the food and drank all their booze. It was probably one of my top 5 Night Before parties.

El Caiftan
Slap some steak on a tortilla and I’ll eat it

After the party, it’s the Taco Party. My crew of Los Angeles friends followed up Pinche Gringo’s with some tacos at El Caifan.  This place is perpetually busy, yet miraculously, about a dozen of us managed to find seating together at the counter In case you didn’t know, tacos taste even better after a few beers.  My bistek tacos were long strips of steak slapped on some bright yellow corn tortillas.  They didn’t look like much, but they were juicy, delicious, and super filling.  Which is great, because staying out so late cause me to miss breakfast the next morning.

Sleeping in while on a getaway is probably one of my favorite things – that and eating in bed while watching TV reruns – about short getaways.  And I took advantage of it my first morning in Mexico City at the expense of my hotel provided breakfast. I am rarely ever excited about hotel breakfasts so I didn’t consider this a loss. I considered it a win for my stomach because now it had extra space for whatever the American Outlaws were going to feed us at our tailgate event.

We took a bus through Mexico city to a hacienda/event space kinda near the stadium where we were greeted by mariachis and margaritas. I LOVE mariachis. They spark a sense of nostalgia in me for family get-togethers growing up where everyone would sing and eat and be merry (and occasionally cry), so I was extra giddy upon hearing those luscious guitar and violin strings. I didn’t even bother with the margaritas.

In the main space a giant grill was set ups on the grass and several small buffet spaces had side dishes waiting. I made myself a plate of fresh off the grill carne ranchera, rice, and grilled nopal. When I get to my seat, I spot it: Blue Corn Tortillas. In my everyday life, blue corn anything is a special treat and not something you commonly find so cue Allison getting overly excited about something small.

This banquet food was really good. The nopal – cactus – was by far my favorite, which was a shocker because I expected it to be ultra bland and maybe slimy. But it wasn’t slimy and I wouldn’t call it bland, but rather paired really with the other items on my plate. The carne ranchera, wrapped in a blue corn tortilla with a bit of too hot green salsa –  I went to town on that. All the while, servers were walking around with trays of beer, wine, and cocktails, including horchata.

The place was so awesome. I’d want to get married there.

 

On to El Estadio Azteca, where the USMNT earned a point thank’s to Michael Bradley’s beautiful chip. Food-wise though, it was very different than what I was used to. No water or beer, just Coca-Cola in the away section. I think they had popcorn for us, to buy but the only food I really remember seeing was cup o’ noodles with chile and lime added. Pass on the food for now. I had enough carne earlier anyway.

My last morning in mexico meant no sleeping in. There was a ton to see before my early afternoon flight and I needed to get to breakfast at El Cardenal. I’m not sure how I found out about El Cardenal, but I’m so glad I did. Breakfast began with a freshly baked pan dulce – sweet bread-  and hot chocolate and while, the chocolate was a bit rich for me, the pan dulce was warm and so soft.

Chilaquiles @ El Cardinal, Mexico City
Chilaquiles @ El Cardinal

I was torn between a few dishes for my main course, a red sauce or a green sauce plate. All trip I’ve been going for green sauces, and all trip they’ve been burning my mouth, it was time to finally ask for help. So in my best attempt at Spanish I asked the server
“Quien es mas picante, rojo or verde?” Verde. I ordered chicken chilequiles in a red sauce. The first bit was good, the second was better, and by the third I knew that I would be having dreams about this plate. The sauce was so savory with just a hint of bite and the chicken was juicy despite being breast meat. Would it top the Contramar tuna tostadas?  Probably not, but it’d consider it pretty close to even on my food-love scale.

Oh, and I got some airport tacos. We don’t need to discuss airport tacos.

 

 

 

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Adventures, travel, women

Preparing (or Not) for India: An interview with Myself

Allison is on her way to India in 20 days. Let’s catch up with her as she prepares for this trip.

Florence
Allison in travel mode in Florence

 

Allison: Hey Allison, looks like you booked a trip to India 5 days ago and will be taking off in 20 Days. This seems kind of sudden for an international trip.

Allison: Well, Allison, I knew for a few weeks this might be an option, but I didn’t get word until about 7 days ago that the trip was on. Then I had to request time off from work. That’s how I ended up buying a plane ticket from a trip half way around the world a few days ago.

Allison: How is the visa process going?

Allison: Yeah, I need to get one of those still. It’s an e-visa, so I should be good, but I’ve been kinda distracted. The Olympics are on. I’m kinda obsessed with all of the figure skating right now. Let’s face it, Adam Rippon is so good at social media and the Shib Sibs are super cute, and the USA just won gold in Women’s Ice Hockey and I’d rather obsess over that than work on obtaining this vital piece of documentation.

Allison: This is very unlike you. You’re usually quite the planner.

Allison: Yeah, I was super on the ball for my Brazil visa. I did that months in advance for fear of complications. But with this trip coming us in 20 – OMG! That’s fast – days and I’m a little more carefree about it and know I will get it done. Maybe this weekend? I think that can work.

Allison: What have you planned or taken care of?

Allison: Well I have looked into the Indian Super League. Robbie Keane (former captain of the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team) is playing in Calcutta, but sadly the league’s season ends shortly before I arrive. Sad, because I really wanted to see some more cartwheels in person.

Oh! I’ve also kinda decided what I’m going to wear on the plane. It’s hard because the total travel time is like 36 hours with a 12 hour layover in Hong Kong. So I really want to be comfortable but I also want something that will look appropriate for sightseeing and photos. I’ve got my Girlfriend Collective black leggings and a tee with a sweatshirt ready to go.

Allison: Looks like you’ve thought about the important things.

Allison: Well not all the important things, I still haven’t decided what cities I’m visiting beyond Pune. I’m thinking New Delhi, but also I’d like to go to Jaipur. And there is no way I can make my first trip to india and not go to the Taj Mahal. Trying to narrow it down is my big goal for the coming week, along with the visa.

Allison: Do you think you’ll get everything accomplished soon?

Allison: Yeah, I’ll get there. With the olympics ending and a week before the new MLS season starts, I think I can get a lot done this week.

Allison: It was nice talking to you. Anything else you’d like to say?

Allison: My suitcase is broken, so if someone would like to lend me one, that would be rad.

 

Adventures, travel

2018 Travel Plans

WRLD-EPS-02-4002
World – Blue by FreeVectorMaps.com

When 2018 started, I had no idea where I was going to go this year. I had been saving my time and money to support the USA at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but then on the last day of qualification, the team was eliminated.  What was I going to do? Flash forward to February, and the year is getting pretty crowded.

  • San Diego
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Las Vegas
  • Colombia
  • Seattle
  • San Clemente
  • Oregon
  • Hawaii

From total disappointment to a year full of adventures. I’m excited for 2018, but I still might cry during the World Cup.