by Luis Mario Vargas
Among the hustle and bustle of the Centro Histórico (downtown) of Mexico City, just in the corner of República de Bolivia and the Carmen street, it is a place full of ancient tradition that has endured the pass of time of such a legendary as our downtown. The bullfighting restaurant, “El Taquito”, houses so many elements that belong to our Nation’s history. The restaurant’s location was was frequented, hundreds of years ago, by the Aztecs, as it is very close to the Templo Mayor, a few streets away from there. Then, after the Spanish Conquest, it would become a place of elements that, in those days were alien to the Aztecs, but today, they are a symbol of our culture: bullfighting. One thing is clear: nowadays, Mexico is well known around the world thanks to symbols, like mariachi, tequila, tacos. All of these, and many other traditional elements, are present in “El Taquito”.
El Taquito and its 96 years of history
The atmosphere lived in El Taquito synthesizes what it means to be Mexican. It means to be the result of the mixture of two cultures, as rich as the Aztec and Spaniard culture, and it means to gathering together as a family, or with friends, on the weekends to eat delicious Mexican food while we drink beer, tequila or mezcal. I can’t put on words what it feels to be inside this restaurant. Perhaps, the best description I can give is, being in an enormous typical Mexican cantina, surrounded by bulls, bullfighting suits, and walls full of pictures that shows the place’s owners along the years next to international celebrities that attended to El Taquito. The deceased Mexican journalist, Jacobo Zabludovsky was the most common attendant of this restaurant, but he was not the only one. Even Marilyn Monroe ate in there once. Yes, the ultimate Hollywood diva visited El Taquito, meaning that El Taquito has been in business for a very long time. This iconic place was funded in 1923 by a marriage, two people that came from Guadalajara, and administrated and cared by their descendants.
El Taquito’s menu
The menu is highly variated and it offers almost every Mexican delicacy that you can think of. Their specialty is the sopa de médula (soup of beef’s bone marrow), soup of ram’s meat, and the delicious “meat on its juice”. As mariachi music, you can order an entrée, such as chalupitas (little sandwiches), sopes with chicken (a fried, thicker tortilla with beans, chicken, sour cream and cheese), and a wide variety of quesadillas). As the main dish, you can order carnitas (fried pig meat), mole, machitos (goatling’s testicles and guts), skirt steak, curried beef Milanesa, different types of criadillas (testicles), beef tongue, baked goat, some seafood, tacos, tortas (similar to sandwiches), fried tortillas known as tostadas, and even desserts.
The geographic location has never defined a Nation, not even its history. A Nation is defined by its people, its tradition, and its culture. Mexico is one of the richest countries in more than one aspect: skapelands, climate, food and traditions, just for mentioning some of them. There is a reason why our food is one of the favorite for many people around the world, and differently from some European dishes, a Mexican dish will never be mistaken with some other Latinamerican’s region food. Our essence and patriotic spirit lve in our customs, and many of those customs live in El Taquito, a timeless space that works as a showcase of many classical elements of our culture, such as good, spice and delicious food, music, decoration and family tradition. Even the soul of México-Tenóchtitlan (our name before it was changed by the Spanish government after the conquest) conspired to give us an antithesis to show us the differences, but also the simmilarities, between our current culture, and teh Aztec culture that funded this city, represented by the Templo Mayor. At the same time, the street sellers work as only Mexican sellers do, in an ordered disorder, imperfectly orchestrated. You will only fin this particular scene, that concentrates hundreds of tradition and history, along with our culture’s evolution.
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