Nicholas: Good Food in Mexico City
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Mexico City, etc.
I was born in New York City. As my parents had spent much time in Mexico during its cultural renaissance of the 1940’s and ‘50s, I started traveling to Mexico City as a teenager and became interested in the traditions of Mexican painting and culture as well. Eventually, I moved to San Miguel de Allende and, in 1998, to Mexico City. A painter as well as a food writer, I have shown my work extensively in the USA and Mexico. Always harbouring a passion for food, I studied gastronomy at UNAM, cooking at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana and was a founding member of a Mexican convivium of Slow Food International. I was editor and photographer for the book Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler, which led to my own guide, Good Food in Mexico City: A Guide to Food Stalls, Fondas and Fine Dining, which won the Gourmand Cookbook award in 2008.
I have been been a guest on NPR's The Splendid Table and Around the World Radio as well as on Contigo Hoy, Televisa TV and Imagen News with Ana Maria Salazar in Mexico. I’ve written a weekly restaurant review column for The News, Mexico's English daily, and my work has been published in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, The Guardian and The CS Monitor. I’m currently preparing and appearing in a video series for www.foodihub.tv. I became a Mexican citizen in 2005 and I live and work in Mexico City.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
While I don’t “blog” per se, as I write fully formed reviews and articles, publishing less often than the average blogger. I started my website when I was a regular columnist for The News Mexico, as at that time they did not have an online archive. So it was a way to preserve my work.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I am particularly proud to say that I was the first to write about both Máximo Bistro and Rosetta, now two of the most popular and best restaurants in the city.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Mexico City differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I grew up in New York City, so there are few places on earth that could possibly give me culture shock! No, for me the adjustment was nothing but pleasurable. Life here is more European, more relaxed and in some ways more civilized. One adjustment I’ve had to make is to the pace of life: I’ve had to slow down and not rush, as New Yorker’s are prone to do. If I don’t get on this metro, another will come. And getting used to the idea that social gatherings do not have an “end” time.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Mexico City? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
No, I wouldn’t change a thing!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Mexico City?
Learn Spanish, learn Spanish and learn Spanish!
How is the expat community in Mexico City? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I wouldn’t say I’m part of a community per se, but my friends are a mixture of cultures. I’ve found the transition fairly seamless. But my oldest friends are still in New York. You can make friends but not old friends. I find that my friends here a more diverse, not all my age, race or sexual persuasion as they were in NY.
How would you summarize your expat life in Mexico City in a single, catchy sentence?
Every city has its eccentricities and Mexico is no exception: New York was a crazy place; Here the craziness just manifests itself differently.