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Covid-19 Is Cruchsing Mexico City's Food Scene And The Culinary Energy That Has Made It So Thrilling

Posted: Jan 20, 2021



The restaurant didn’t have a name. It was just a handful of candlelit tables around an open kitchen that produced simple but inspired fare.

One day chef Sofia Garcia Osorio would serve spicy octopus tacos on tortillas made of freshly ground corn. The next, she’d present steaming guava tamales sheathed in delicate banana leaf skins.

It was the kind of place — next to a popular mezcal bar in a vibrant downtown neighborhood — that in recent years has helped make Mexico City one of the most exciting places on Earth for food.

It was not uncommon for tourists to fly here simply to eat, bouncing in the same day between taco stands and elegant establishments with Michelin stars, a testament to the city’s deeply ingrained food culture and its zeal for both modern experimentation and traditional cuisine.

But now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants in this megalopolis of 19 million people are disappearing en masse.

At least 13,000 of the 90,000 restaurants in and around Mexico City have closed in the last 10 months, according to a local trade group, pushed out by prolonged pandemic lockdowns and a conspicuous lack of government support.

The die-off has swallowed restaurants large and small, from mom-and-pop joints that prepared three-course “comida corridas” for lunchtime crowds to hipster eateries that topped best-of lists.

Garcia’s restaurant without a name, which was praised by critics for its carefully sourced ingredients and fealty to traditional techniques, was forced to close Dec. 31 after six years of operation.

“Life surprises us,” Garcia said in a brief farewell message to her clients.

By Kate Linthicum
01-20-2021
Source and complete article by: latimes.com


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