It’s that time of year again

October 9th, 2015

baby reading

Photo by

For the stubborn who insist on continuing to read, smack downtown, from today through the 18th of October, it’s time for the International Book Fair in the Zócalo. This year, the guests of honor are books from the United Kingdom and the state of Morelos (the latter known more for lawlessness than literacy in recent years). On Friday, October 16, at 4 pm, at the “Foro Multidisciplinario Gerardo Deniz” (in Spanish it sort of sounds like a place where people might go to get punished), I will be reading a passage from my book Las llaves de la ciudad and talking with Nadia Islas Navarro about being literate in Mexico City. 

Labels: Mexico City

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A year later

September 28th, 2015


Photos by Adam Peacock

Despite dismal rains that went on all afternoon, a year after the disappearance of the 43 teaching students in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, about 25,000 marchers (that figure according to a Mexican newspaper) converged on the zócalo here in Mexico City last Saturday afternoon, September 26. Some observers pointed to a sense of frustration that marching against the government has become the norm here, rather than concrete political action. According to most recent polls, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s approval ratings hover around 35 per cent, no doubt in part due to lack of a credible government response to the disappearances. 




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¡Viva México!

September 14th, 2015


Photo: James Oles

In my book First Stop in the New World, I described the chile en nogada as “a green poblano pepper, blistered and skinned over a direct flame and lion-tamed by the removal of its seeds and veins. It is stuffed with a mincemeat mixture that includes (among many ingredients) pork, onions, cumin, cinnamon and acitrón, a dried and candied cactus. The stuffed green pepper, most frequently served at room temperature, is topped with a creamy white walnut sauce and red pomegranate seeds. Thus dished up, it encompasses the colors of the Mexican flag.”

Pomegranate season — late summer, early fall — is when you can most reliably get chiles en nogada in Mexico, although some restaurants, like the Hostería de Santo Domingo (at calle Belisario Domínguez #70 in the centro histórico), serve them all year long. The one pictured above was recently devoured at a luncheonette called Fonda Mi Lupita (Calle Buen Tono 22, near the corner of Delicias), also in the centro histórico. Fonda Mi Lupita only serves chiles en nogada on three days of the year, during the last week of August. Such is the reputation of the eatery’s chiles that some people have those dates permanently marked in their calendars, if not tattooed on their bodies.

Some of my Mexican friends might consider what I am about to say sacrilegious, but I have never been very fond of mixing the sweet and the savory, so chiles en nogada are not high on my list of meals to look forward to. However, during the rest of the year, at Fonda Mi Lupita you can get an outstanding mole — either served on top of chicken enchiladas, or liberally ladled over a quarter of a chicken. If you like mole you don’t want to miss it. 

In any case, the eve of Mexico’s Independence Day, September 15, seemed like a good day to post about all this. As they cry out in every public square in the country at 11 o’clock on that date, “!Viva México!”





Labels: Mexico City



Definitely not better than sex

September 7th, 2015


Image: Encyclopedia Brittanica

Whenever I am asked to appear on television, I remember Gore Vidal’s remark that he never passed on an opportunity to have sex or to be on TV. If you want to see the 13-minute dialogue between Ricardo Raphael and me about the ascendency of Donald Trump in the race for the Republican nomination on Raphael’s show Los Corresponsales, click here. Forewarned is forearmed: you will have to first suffer a 30-second promo for Peña Nieto’s State of the Union address.

Labels: Mexico City




August 28th, 2015



Image from Bored Panda

A few readers have asked me, in private messages, why I haven’t posted in this blog lately. The answer is a complicated mixture of the personal, the professional and the technical — I am still trying to figure out the mechanics of downloading photos from my smartphone — but let’s just say that lately I have been more engaged with real life than with my computer screen. I hope to be posting more regularly in the near future.

If you are in Mexico City next Tuesday night — or shall we say early Wednesday morning — at 12:45 a.m., I will be appearing on a show called Los Corresponsales on TV Azteca, channel 13. It’s a 15-minute program hosted by Ricardo Raphael, political analyst and author of Mirreynato, a book that has caused a lot of polemic here, about the class of young Mexicans born with silver spoons up every conceivable orifice.

He invited me to talk about the ascendence of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential race. I think we had a lively conversation, but sadly, I didn’t use the opportunity to repeat what one of my best friends, a psychiatrist in New York, told me about Trump. This friend, of course, has not actually treated Trump, but feels that he has elements of narcissism, grandiosity and a touch of sociopathy. He also invented a word, trichodysmorphia, to describe Trump’s hair problem. 

At the end of the day, I am skeptical about Trump’s candidacy. I think it will ultimately sputter out and die like it has on previous occasions. That his despicable racist views are a reflection of the beliefs of a large chunk of the U.S. public  — mostly disgruntled white, working-class males — is dismaying, but is it a surprise to anyone?





Labels: Mexico City