Mexico City, Colonia Escandón
History of Colonia Escandón
Nowadays, Escandón brings a historical and nostalgic feel to the big city. It has a simple and handsome allure to it, full of colorful buildings, family owned businesses, tree-lined streets, and 20th-century architecture styles.
Getting to Escandón
It sits between two major metro stations (Tacubaya on the west side and Patriotismo on the north), and is flanked by bus stations and frequented by taxis, while also supporting a healthy collection of ecobici stands.
Good Food in Escandón
Taqueria El Paisa: Colonia Escandón, Ave. José Martí
This is a veritable hole-in-the-wall restaurant, with the best birria I’ve ever had. Birria is a tasty, spicy stew made from goat meat or mutton and hails from the land of Jalisco.
This restaurant, or birrieria, doesn’t have a website nor any yelp reviews, but is always full of locals chowing down. They have windows that open to the shady street of Ave. José Martí, and you can drink a beer as you watch the cooks prepare giant pots of fragrant stew. It’s cheap, delicious, and spicy.
Leon de Oro: Colonia Escandón, Ave. José Martí 103
Leon de Oro is a famous cantina and probably the most well-known restaurant in Escandón, set dead center in the neighborhood on Ave. José Martí (catty corner from Taqueria El Paisa above). It was founded in 1954, and still maintains a sense of Mexico past, with live mariachi every Saturday and a great variety of patrons. Any day of the week you will find most of its 150 tables occupied by families, couples, business folks, and students gathering to enjoy a meal, watch fútbol, or get drinks.
The food offered is traditional Mexican fare, Spanish tapas (entremés), and salty snacks like peanuts, chicharrones, shrimp broth, and onion soup to eat with your beer. Leon de Oro’s pricing is not cheap nor is it outlandsish. Expect to pay 500 pesos (~50 dollars) for a meal and drinks for two; check out their website for a full menu and pricing.
Tuesday Market: Calle General Salvador Alvarado (crosses Ave. José Martí)
Every Tuesday afternoon in Colonia Escandón, a farmer’s market sets up and sells fresh fruit, cheese, meat, tortillas, spices, and almost anything else you need to keep yourself sated and happy. My roommates and I would go every week under the guise of buying groceries, but really we were there to gorge ourselves. I would balance a plate of rajas con crema guisado in one hand, grip a squash flower quesadilla in the other, and eat my way through the eternally red-tinted market. If it wasn’t tacos de guisado, it was mixiotes or licuados or infinite postres.
As mentioned, the mobile market of gastronomical delights is every Tuesday, starting in the late morning and lasting until the food runs out.
Los Pambacitos de Benjamin Franklin: Colonia Escandón, Ave Progresso
This little gem is situated on the small street of Ave. Progresso, in between the streets La Paz and Murguia. It’s a mom-and-pop operation which has been around since 1947. They’re open in the evenings, though during the day you can see the family behind the half-raised shop door preparing everything for the evening.
As their name suggest, they’re known for their pambacitos, which are wickedly good miniature fried sandwiches with fillings ranging from pork in green sauce (Chicharrón en una salsa verde) to potatoes and chorizo (papa con chorizo) to sweet mole. I lived around the corner and feasted on too many pambacitos too many times.
Another one of their delicious offerings is pozole (a thick Mexican stew made with hominy and pork), and the warm corn-based cinnamon and sugar drink known as atole. They have several flavors in rotation (strawberry, chocolate, etc), but my favorite was always the original, straight up.
When I was there (circa 2012) everything was 10 pesos, with the exception of the pozole, which was around 30-40. All their food can be taken to-go, or you can enjoy it at the counter and watch the family work as they fill orders. Below is a short video (presented by El Gráfico) about Los Pambacitos; you don’t need to speak Spanish to understand that they’re damn tasty.
La Poblanita de Tacubaya: Calle Gobernador Luis G. Vieyra 12, Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec
I am cheating a little on this one…it is not located in Escandón, but it’s so close and so good, I had to add it (you’ll thank me for my discrepancy once you’ve eaten of their riches). La Poblanita de Tacubaya is a traditional restaurant located where the three colonias of Escandón, Tacubaya, and San Miguel Chapultepec meet.
I first heard of the place from my boss who lived colonias away in Coyoacán. When he found out I was living in Escandón, he immediately drew me a map to La Poblanita de Tacubaya. He told me their mole was the best in the city, and their (seasonal) Chile en Nogada had garnered attention and awards throughout the country and beyond, and that if I did not dine there I was fired.
The interior of La Poblanita
The Chile en Nogada is a lively and spectacular feat of culinary and Mexican excellence. Made for its colours of green (the chile poblano), white (the walnut cream), and red (fresh pomegranate kernels), to symbolise the country’s national colours in pride of El Grito. The Chile en Nogada was originally made by the Madres Contemplatives Agustinas of the convent of Santa Monica in Puebla when the General Agustin visited the city after signing the treaty of independence. The nuns of the Santa Monica convent used their freshest ingredients, the walnuts and pomegranates, which both come into season at the end August, along with the best local chile, the poblano, to concoct a dish worthy of the general and symbolic of the newly obtained independence.
In Conclusion, Go to Escandón!
If the hectic cadence of the Big City starts wearing on you (or even if it doesn’t) hop on the metro (or bike, bus, feet) and spend a tranquil afternoon in Colonia Escandón. Enjoy the small-town atmosphere, walk the colorful streets, and of course, eat all the food.
Good Food Map
As promised, a map for your geographical eating pleasure.
Have you experienced good food in Colonia Escandón? Let me know in the comments and we can expand our feasting territory.