by Luis Mario Vargas
Here in Mexico (particularly in Mexico City and Estado de México, our nearest state) a very common place to eat typical food is the popular restaurant, La Casa de Toño. Nevertheless, this article is for those who haven’t been to this awesome place, that has become extemely popular in the last couple of years, whether you are Mexican or not. If you visit Mexico City, and you’re looking for delicious. typical food, this might be the best option for you. If you think that this is a fast food franchise like McDonald’s, but Mexican themed, let me introduce to you to its history and family tradition.
Much more than a faceless franchise
La Casa de Toño is one of many cases that represent what I like to call “the Mexican dream”. This is the sory of a hardworker Mexican, called Toño, that, in order to live and bring money to his house, he decided to sell out some Mexican dishes made by his mom, in his front patio, in the humble neighborhood of Clavería, in Mexico City. His family business became so popular among the local clients, thanks to the numerous recommendations, that Toño decided to quit law school and focus a 100% to his “antojitos mexicanos” restaurant. Now, having a formal, little shop, a few blocks away from his house, he named it “Las Dos Poblanas”, in honor to his mother and grandmother, who cooked what they served in the place. Some time later, a client, suggested him to change the name for “La Casa de Toño” (Toño’s house).
That’s the success story of a small food shop of Mexican food, that has become one of the favorite places for thousans of Mexicans to eat everyday. You can tell it by looking at the long waiting lines that you find out of the multiple locations all over the city. Despite all the success they have had, the warm and family atmosphere that certainly were the bases ofthe concept, is still present in all of the locations that I have visited. This is even visible in the name of the place, which, at the end of the day, was suggested by one of the clients. In Casa de Toño, the customer’s opinion is extremely important.
When you enter one of these restaurants, you will notice that they get adapted, according to the part of the city they are located on. For example, the one in Santa María La Ribera, has a colorful, more traditional aspect, and it is inside a former “vecindad” (an enormous house which rooms were turned into individual houses). On the other hand, the ones in Reforma and Zona Rosa, have a more urban, modern style. It is true that they both keep a lot of classic Mexican elements, but they also adapt modern concepts to the place. That creates a very truthful representation of what our culture has become throughout the years.
Now that you know what the spirit and soul of this family restaurant is, you need to know the most attractive thing they offer: the food. In Casa de Toño, they offer a wide variety menu, designed to satisfy every taste and preference. If you prefer a warm soup, you definitely must try the pozole, which, differently from other food franchises offer, this one has a great flavor and the portion is pretty generous. As an entreé, I would recommend some quesadillas. You can choose among some options, such as cheese, pumpkin flower,, mushrooms, pancita (beef’s belly), potato, mincemeat, chicken, curd, pate, tinga (meat stripes), cochinita (pork meat) ans beef. They are prepared in a traditional way, so don’t expect a small quesadilla, with few filling.
As a main course, you can choose either enfrijoladas (tortillas, beans and cheese), green sauce enchiladas, molletes (bread with beans and cheese), cochinita tacos, and flautas (longer, fried tacos). Mi favorite one is the “sope”, a thcoker, flat tortilla withc beans, chicken or chicharrón (pork fried skin), cheese and sour cream on top.
And we can’t forget about the dessert. The perfect ending for a meal in Casa de Toño, you can order arroz con leche (a semi-liquid Mexican sweet, made of rice, milk and sugar), flan de la abuela (grandma’s flan), chocolate flan, and many others. Or, if you prefer, you can order a piece of sweet bread, accompanied with a cup of coffee, perfect for cold or rainy days.
Mexican food needs to be accompanied by tasty beverages, so you have a lot of options in Casa de Toño, including traditional agua de horchata (rice, sugar and cinnamon water), tamarind water, as well as many sodas. The main role of this section in the menu is the “Tomatoño” (earlier called “Clamatoño”), which consists of beer and clamato (mixture of tomato juice, clam broth, lemon juice and other spices).
La Casa de Toño is one of the most popular food franchises in the central area of Mexico, so it has numerous locations all over it. The most popular ones are Coapa, Nezahualcóyotl, Zona Rosa, World Trade Center, Cuajimalpa, Lindavista, Narvarte, Marina Nacional, Aragón, Tlalpan, mostly everywhere in Mexico City and certain places of Estado de México.
As you can see, La Casa de Toño, is a great option to try Mexican food, with a unique flavor, that represents the gastronomic richness that our country possesses. The prizes are pretty reasonable, and for the same amount of money you would spend in any other place, you can eat double the quantity. You might have to wait in the line to enter the place, however, the place’s system is very good organized, and its staff is so careful and nice. This is important for any restaurant, so that the client feels like coming back soon. Besides, along with the bill, you receive a couple of questions about the service quality, as well as the food and any other recommendation you have for them. As I mentioned earlier, the client’s opinion, is extremely important for them.
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