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07/12/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Yug Vegetariano in Zona Rosa!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.

Zona Rosa is a business district that includes a gay center. There was a strong Korean presence in Zona Rosa, including Asian supermarkets and restaurants, which are very useful for vegan cooking. Asian supermarkets were especially refreshing because while the grocery stores in Mexico City have a great deal of local products, they don’t have the best international selection. I ate Ramen noodles and fried rice few times a week.

Yug Vegetariano was the first local vegetarian restaurant I went to, and I ate there so often I tried almost everything on their menu. It is within a block from El Ángel de la Independencia, in the corner of Paseo de la Reforma.


A few of my favorites from Yug Vegetariano are the bread and the enchiladas de mole. The bread slices are vegan (but the rolls, sticks and butter aren’t) and served as complimentary appetizers, which was nice, but save them for soups. I had enchiladas de mole without cheese. I thought the flavor of the mole was very delicious, slightly bitter and savory, and the enchiladas were filled with textured soy protein and vegetables. The dish also comes with yummy refried black beans.


The carnitas vegetarianas con guacamole y frijoles refritos (vegan roasted pork with guacamole and refried beans) were fantastic. You can taste the creamy refried beans, guacamole (it contained too much onions for me, but sometimes they vary) and the soy carnitas. They aren’t that chewy, but they are a bit salty, greasy, and tasty with guacamole, beans and salsa. They are a must!


The pancita de setas (literally “tummy mushrooms”) soup was unique, with mushrooms and vegetables. The mushrooms were very tough and chewy. The broth was a bit watery, but the soup was overall light and interesting. Definitely eat it with complimentary vegan bread slices.

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and PinterestCheck out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

07/11/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Pulqueria Las Duelistas in Centro Histórico!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.


The Centro Historico district is largely known to tourists since it embraces Zócalo (aka Plaza de la Constitución), the largest square in Latin America. There are plenty of historic colonial landmarks to see in that area, but this is about the food! So let’s drink some pulques at Pulqueria Las Duelistas. (Drink along on Twitter!)

Pulque is a traditional alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant (known for fermented agave), and most of them are made vegan. They are a must-try! However, I wouldn’t recommend drinking them on the day of your departure, they move through your digestive system quickly.


Guayaba (guava) pulque; apio (celery) pulque in a glass rimmed with lime, salt, and chile, and in a pitcher. The glass of guayaba cost 20 pesos (approximately $1.50 US), and the pitcher of apio cost 40 pesos (approximately $3 US).

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and Pinterest. Check out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

07/10/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Nevería Roxy in Polanco!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.

If you are a luxury hotel or fashion fanatic, I would recommend staying in Polanco, which is a trendy, upscale neighborhood situated at the edge of Bosque de Chapultepec. You might expect to pay more in Polanco when it comes to dining or shopping.


Tamarindo (back) and mamey ice cream.

If you want to get some vegan ice cream, try Nevería Roxy in Polanco in front of Parque Lincoln (Lincoln Park). It’s a classic ice cream parlor that has been around for years. Get a bola grande scoop, but make sure you get it without a cone since it may not be vegan (most cones are not vegan). I got mine in a traditional glass cup.

Vegan flavors include chico zapote (similiar to kiwi), fresa (strawberry), guanábana (soursop), guayaba (guava), lima (lime), limón (lemon), mamey, mandarina (mandarin), maracuyá (passionfruit), melón, naranja (orange), piña (pineapple), tamarindo (tamarind), and zarzamora (blackberry).


The mamey was smooth and delicious. The mamey fruit made the sorbet creamier due to its thick, soft texture. Tamarind gave the ice cream a very sweet, nutty, and tangy flavor.

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and PinterestCheck out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

07/09/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Tacos Hola (El Güero), Azul Condesa, and Nirvana Vegetariano in Condesa-Roma!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.

Condesa-Roma was my favorite neighborhood in Mexico City; it reminded me of Berlin and Portland, Ore. If you are traveling on a budget, I would recommend staying in Condesa-Roma, where you can also enjoy food and architecture at the same time.

One taqueria in Condesa offers delicious, vegan-friendly, slow-cooked tacos: It is officially known as Tacos Hola, or El Güero, and has been open since 1968. It is located on the corner of Amsterdam and Michoacán. Vegan fillings offered include guacamole (so creamy and good!), acelgas (braised chard), nopales (cactus), and arroz (rice). Add condiments like pickled vegetables (onions, peppers, jalapeños), salsa verde (very spicy pureed raw habañero), salsa roja (medium-hot), and lime wedges.


My first time at Tacos Hola I had tacos with acelgas, nopales, and guacamole (15 pesos, approximately $1.12 US). The second time I added rice to make a perfect vegan taco. The addition of pickled vegetables turned out to be delectable, along with the heat from the jalapeños. I couldn’t taste the nopales very much, but I could taste the creamy guacamole and braised chard very well. 


My partner got nopales and arroz, and added the spicy pickled vegetables and medium-spicy salsa roja. If you really want a spicy salsa, go for the green one!


At Azul Condesa, I ordered a vegan-friendly dish from their seasonal mango menu: guacamole with chunks of fresh mango, served with tortilla chips.


My partner ordered organic hibiscus flower enchiladas, served with light tomato and smoky chipotle sauces. Make sure to ask for it without cheese (“sin queso”)! 

If you would like to try something different, such as a fusion of traditional Afro-Carribean and Mexican dishes incorporating a variety of tropical fruits, I would recommend the buffet at Nirvana Vegetariano. You can get lots of food for not much money (60 pesos, approximately $4.50 US).


The tamales are freshly made with grilled vegetables. They were really yummy! Best tamales ever! You’ll want to avoid the tamales a block of feta cheese on top, though.


Nirvana Vegetariano also offers fresh corn tortillas, rice, plantain and eggplants, vegan gyro-like meat with hint of pineapples, and much more to make your own tacos. I really like the plantain and eggplants; it tasted sweet and roasted, especially creamy. Everything was very delicious—I had no complaints!

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and Pinterest. Check out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

11/30/2011

Matt Damon apologizes to PETA, hates bullfighting, doesn’t wear a meat dress. Love him.  »

You will never guess what happened to Matt Damon after he attended a bullfight in Mexico City: He got a phone call from PETA, demanding an explanation! To which he responded with not only an explanation, but an apology.

Jane Dollinger for PETA has reportedly stated, “Matt said that he went to the bullfight believing that bullfights should be stopped but felt that he should see the cruelty for himself while he was in Mexico. He said that seeing with his own eyes what these tormented animals go through only reinforced an already strongly held belief that bullfights should be relegated to the history books.

"He also said that he was upset to think that his attendance was in any way construed to be an endorsement of such a barbaric activity.”


Matt Damon at the bullfight.

I’m having a hard time being mad at him for this [Ed. note: Read: Jenny totally wants to hit that! Myself, I don’t buy his, “I didn’t know” routine. Don’t play dumb with me, Matty!]. I mean, bullfights, awful, for real! Good for PETA for getting to the bottom of the situation, right? I guess I could get behind a Matt Damon campaign for PETA. Don’t you want to see Ben Affleck in it too? I miss those guys together. So long as they aren’t wearing leather jackets, feather earrings or some other bullshit in their very special celebrity PETA poster. Ah! Pun not intended.

Actually, I really despise the PETA campaigns featuring celebs who eat meat. It seems hypocritical to me, like “I love animals, stop abusing them, BUT I ALSO REALLY LOVE EATING THEM!” Or, “I’d never wear fur, but I’ll wear a meat dress to an awards show.”
Maybe he should stay away from PETA, but still work to stop this atrocious spectacle of tormenting bulls for entertainment.

In more Matt Damon news, PETA has already addressed his movie We Bought a Zoo [Ed. note: oy, that movie makes me want to vom! War Horse too, War Horse can kiss my ass], and he helped start the charity Water.org.

08/27/2009

Road Trip: Aguas frescas in Mexico City!  »

¡Buenas tardes! Welcome to a vegan’s guide to eating in Mexico City—with no Spanish!

First thing to learn, you are the only one who calls Mexico City “Mexico City;” everyone else calls it D.F., which is pronounced “day-effay” and stands for distrito federal, or, federal district. In order to get you used to this, so that when you go you too can be mistaken for some other nationality (or at least sound like you know a thing), henceforth we shall also be using this abbreviation.

D.F. street food, while generally delicious-looking and -smelling, can be a tricky business if you don’t speak Spanish—like me! The control you have to give up when you’re speaking through a translator, for people who are using to asking about every ingredient in every “vegetarian” dish in a new restaurant, it’s dismaying. Do not despair; not everything is scary and foreign and dangerous and GOD TAKE ME HOME NOW. Some things are vegan by default!

I love vegan-by-default foods; they’re usually noncontroversial, meaning you can suggest them to, say, your uncle who refuses on principle (I know) to eat tofu without ever saying the word “vegan,” and everyone can partake and enjoy, and there’s no SURPRISE IT’S VEGAN at the end, which apparently some people don’t like. Look, there are people in the world who hate fun, you can’t change them.

In D.F., one of these vegan-by-default items is the agua fresca, which is essentially like  drinking fruit; no, not like juice, exactly. You choose one or more fruits that you would like to drink, and the person throws them into a blender with some cold water, blends until everything is evenly textured, pours it into a Styrofoam cup the size of your (my) (read: enormous) head, and there you are, the best fruit drink you’ve ever had. Yes, you can get them here in the city, but do they make them fresh? NO, they ladle them out of plastic tubs, and you don’t get to choose from a multitude of fruits that won’t even be cut until you ask for them. Oh Mexico, your fruit is outrageous.

My introduction to a proper agua fresca was strawberry-lime; first the man blended the strawberries with water, and while the blender was still moving, he threw an entire lime in as well. Entire, as in, skin and seeds and pulp and pith and all, the whole little round green thing, he popped it right in and covered the blender again. When it reached the proper texture—maybe 90 seconds—he poured the entire contents of the blender through a metal strainer and into one of the aforementioned gigantic cups, and gave it to me. I don’t think it cost more than 20 pesos, i.e., less than $2, and it tasted like heaven. Light and tart and fruity and so, so good; if only I had a larger stomach, that I could’ve finished it before it got warm; it took me a whole hour to drink. Good hydration is especially important in D.F., where the elevation makes the atmosphere thin and in combination with the pollution can turn your mouth and eyes into individual deserts. Don’t let this happen; drink aguas frescas. Drink them with cantalope, with pineapple, with mango or papaya (if you can taste it properly); drink them as often as you need. You can’t drink the tap water so you’ll have to buy something whenever you’re thirsty, so you might as well get a drink that is both unique to your location and a magical taste bud wonderland.

For reference, here is a list of Spanish words for fruits. Remember, the accent indicates the stressed syllable!

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