I went to the Central de Abastos today, which is the biggest wholesale market in the City, and therefore probably the hemisphere if not the world. It’s warehouses and warehouses of fresh foodstuffs carted in daily from all over the country.
It is so big. Each warehouse is limited to one food group, so you’ve got the veggie houses, the fruit houses, the fish houses, the chicken houses, etc. Then, for example in one vegetable warehouse, there is an onion aisle, a garlic aisle, and so on. Take that, Sam Walden. My friend Lesley reported on her trip that the garlic lady wouldn’t sell less than a half kilo (12 heads) per transaction.
The mission today was Restaurante Atlántido, a seafood restaurant me and Lorena’s taxi driver told us about last week when were in the neighborhood getting our hair did. He lo juró, and him being a taxi driver and all, we figured we were down.
Central de Abastos is, tantalizingly, in Iztapalapa. We went on the Metro and caught a camión, got off near the pescadores and found our way onward from there. Lorena asked a couple of different people and we figured out that Atlántido is in el fondo, on the opposite side of the fish compound from where the camión let us off. So we had about a 15-minute walk through warehouses and warehouses of dead fish.
It was really nice to walk through, actually, because aside from getting to see all the crazy-huge and various fish and shellfish (including oysters, fish with teeth, fish with big noses, fish with big fins, giant shrimp, and f yeah, blue crab~!), the place was air-conditioned by all the ice blocks everywhere. So some relief from the heat, too.
And the smell… was… awesome. That’s how fresh all the fish are. They actually smell like the ocean. So there you got your playa artificial, DF, right there in Iztapalapa.
When we got to the restaurant, it was pretty much what you would expect: really f’n amazing food for regular people. It’s pretty large with lots of light and a well-stocked bar. The waiters were very professional but it wasn’t expensive. $60 for my (huge, and dense) ceviche plate and $20 per beer.
I got a mixed ceviche, which included crab, just because when I have the opportunity for fresh, I want fresh— and they gave us some empanadas to start off with, too. My co-diners ordered a chile relleno’ed with mariscos and oysters a la diabla. They had some cray-cray other sauces you could get with the oysters, too, and nothing like Heinz horseradish cocktail sauce anywhere in sight.
There was a band there, too. Some guys playing harps and brass and guitars. For some reason I wanted to hear them cover Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here, but I didn’t really feel entitled to put everyone else through the awkwardness that would cause.