The newest kid on the block is Mercado Roma: hyper-trendy, very upscale and muy de la moda (very much in style), and currently attracting hordes every weekend. It's only a little less crowded during the week. The building is the controversial but swinging hot spot at Calle Querétaro 225, Colonia Roma Norte, Mexico City. To coin a phrase, be there or be square.
Mexico Cooks! was amazed to see that Mercado Roma, not officially open until June 25, was full to the brim a couple of Saturdays ago. Several friends had told me you just have to go, and never wanting to be left behind in the rush for trendiness, we went. The cars you see in the photo above are actually double-parked, waiting for the valet parking guys to move them into the public parking lot directly across the street. Valet parking is good news: when you go, it's easiest to walk, take a taxi, or plan to pay the valet, since on-street parking is all but nonexistent.
At intervals on the front of the building, these official notices (ACTIVITIES SUSPENDED) plastered on the building's pillars are remnants of a still-undecided debate. The sides to be taken are:
1. Did someone pay off the city to allow construction of the building's not-yet-completed third floor?
2. Should commercial construction be allowed in this predominately residential street?
3. Is the street actually predominately residential?
4. Faced with the joy of new and trendy gourmet shops and tiny eating spots (mostly branches of well-recognized, glitzy Mexico City restaurants), does anybody really care?
It appeared that the gazillion people snarfing down free samples, purchasing urban market food from Mexico City's high-end chefs or their minions, and eagerly checking one another out didn't give a fig (of which we saw quite a few) about the controversy. We'll let the city and the architects figure it out. Let's press on!
This tiny corner of Mercado Roma--just a barely representative corner of the whole mob scene--was filled with milling throngs of mainly young people, although we saw a few heads as gray as our own. We were here on a midafternoon Saturday, and so was everyone else in the city!
We were initially lured by the offerings of bread, both sweet and salt, from Panadería La Silva. We bought a round pan rústico (a small rustic loaf, made with white flour and malt extract), the last two plain bagels (definitely not New York bagels, but tasty and chewy), and a couple of pretzel sticks. The bill for bread was just over $100 pesos (about $8.50 USD).
Some of the other bread offerings at Panadería La Silva: moños (ties, far left), cuernitos (croissants), biscochos (biscuits), roles de canela (cinnamon rolls, back center) conchas (shells, right foreground).
The booth called Germina offers raw, roasted, or candied nuts and seeds, as well as other nuts, seeds, and cereals. Here, in-the-shell pistachios.
Cheeses--just one small section of the cheese case--at Carlos Yescas' Lactography. The store specializes in Mexican cheeses and occasionally offers a wine-and-cheese tasting event. Most recently, the event, priced at $350 pesos per person, was available as a Father's Day gift.
Librería Porrua's stand is well-stocked with food-oriented and other books. Prices seemed standard for these books.
Chocolates Qué Bo!, by José Ramón Castillo, Mexico's premier chocolatier. These glorious bonbons--Qué Bo!'s signature dark or milk chocolate filled with everything from cajeta (thick burned milk) to mezcal or deeply flavored, rich café de olla (pot-style coffee flavored with cinnamon) and back again--are 19 pesos each and are simply wonderful. Qué Bo! means, 'Whoa, give me another one! These are fantastic!' Photo courtesy Mercado Roma.
Huerto 'sobre ruedas' (Garden on Wheels) will take your order by phone or email and deliver your organic vegetables to your door.
One of the two falafel we ordered from Arbanus at Mercado Roma. The spiel about the food says, "based on the traditional Arabic food that has been consumed in Mexico for many years." Chef Daniel Frydman and his crew offer house-made kibe, baba ganoush, doner kabob, hummous, and a number of other items. The pita bread was heavenly, the falafel was not. It had almost no flavor, the individual balls of falafel were unnaturally green and completely mushy rather than crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the vegetable topping was not what I know as appropriate.
We ordered two ordinary-sized falafel sandwiches and two bottles of water. The total cost: $250 pesos (approximately $20 USD). We won't be doing this again.
Ricardo Muñoz Zurita's Azul restaurant group (Azul y Oro, Azul/Condesa, and Azul/Histórico) is represented at Mercado Roma by Azul Antojo (antojo means ('whim'). These twenty-somethings were having a great time. Click the photo for a larger view of the menu.
The tile floor at Mercado Roma. I love it--it's just like the old 'tumbling blocks' quilt pattern.
Tea forté, brought to Mercado Roma by Tendencia Gastronomía.
Present at Mercado Roma and in San Ángel: Rancho Las Luisas Wagyu beef.
Dulce Corazón's charming booth near the rear of the first floor is filled with both traditional and unusual sweets.
In lieu of a business card, the Dulce Corazón shopkeeper gave me a house-made mazapán (peanut marzipan) with all the store's information on the label. A sweet treat indeed!
Pens and peltre (enameled metal) cups with Mercado Roma's logo.
Mexico Cooks! thoroughly enjoyed seeing the latest wrinkle in gourmet shopping at the hip, cool, and groovy Mercado Roma. Will we go back? We'll let you know! We'd be interested to know your opinion, if YOU go.
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