Built sometime time in the mid to late 19th century sits La Merced. Possibly the largest traditional market in North America. We arrived via Metro and as we walked out into the labyrinth I knew something was different. I felt claustrophobic, like the stalls and the tarps they used for a roof were trying to wrap me up like a corn husk on a tamale.
Surrounded by a maze of knockoff designer shoes we passed the same cop 3 times till we finally stopped and asked, “Where did all the food go?” The cop directed us in the right direction as well as gave us a few words of caution as well. Finally, we made it to the food section.
I was amazed and disappointed. It seemed like La Merced was made more compact, there were now twice as many stands sharing a space that seemed twice as small. As it turns out, there was a massive fire in the Market which devastated a huge section of the produce market. The amount of produce is still staggering. There are wide & deep bins filled with every chile imaginable. Buckets and buckets filled with mole made near and far. Skinned chickens, whole butchered animals, absolutely everything you could possible imagine was there. It overwhelms the senses.
The fire, although dealing this “King of Markets” a black eye, it was not knocked out. I look forward to its resurgence as plans are in the works to restore and improve.
After an exhaustingly long day we were still out in the middle of nowhere standing in a metro station staring at the transit map. I looked and tried my best to figure out a plan for making our way back to the hotel while still being able to hit a decent place for a meal.
Sitting between our metro exit and the hotel, El Farolito fit the bill. I remember spending an afternoon here about six years ago after a fruitless business meeting. Somehow the tacos made the trip from California to D.F all worthwhile.
El Farolito: Newton 130 Locales B, D, E, F y G/ Colonia Polanco