We taxied through the choked streets from Santa Fe to the more cozy Colonia Roma neighborhood to attend a dinner party at the home of one of Mexico’s greatest chefs. Warm and welcoming, with kisses for all, Monica Patino delivered the goods. We began with a welcome drink she made up called “January 19” of mescal, cucumber, epazote leaf and toasted salt on the rim.
Her spacious home, hidden behind a big wall on the street, is three stories and she’s knocked out several bedrooms on the second floor to make her huge kitchen and dining room. Upstairs on the roof is a garden where the table flowers and some of the garnishes for the dishes are grown.
She has three restaurants in this vast city, one going back twenty years called La Taberna del Leon, one called Naos in Palmas/Polanco, and the third Delirio in her neighborhood, Colonia Roma. While she’s no longer on the line, she pops into all of them, managing her 200 employees, and she’s now taping a new cooking show in Argentina after her other successful show Rincon de los Sabores.
She lives with her daughter and her Italian partner who shares her Buddhist faith and runs a yoga and meditation center nearby. Her enthusiasm welcomed us and her dishes, including pozole, sprouted corn served with a twist–clams and shrimp, were light and spicy but not pretentious and overdone.
Dinner in a private home when you’re in a city faraway is much cozier and tastier than anything we can get from a restaurant…even one of Monica’s!