Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México
Comida corrida is thoroughly ordinary. It’s what office workers eat. It’s what street sweepers eat. It’s what other comida corrida employees eat. Comida corrida is served at fondas: simple, inexpensive restaurants, two or three of which are on almost every block. They serve a prix fixe three-course meal built on Mexican classics. If you want to taste what Mexican cooking tasted like fifty years ago, you go to a comida corrida. And if you live here, you find the comida corrida place that plays well to your palate, perhaps the one that tastes most like your mom’s or aunt’s. A classic is La Casa del Abuelo, in the Colonia Juárez, that has a rope to corral the people waiting in line.
The meal costs anywhere from forty to one hundred pesos (between two and five American dollars). Want a good gauge of the class standing of the neighborhood you are in? The price on the nearest comida corrida menu board is a good barometer.
Every comida corrida meal starts with soup: chicken consommé with a few cubes of chayote and carrot bobbing around or lentil or maybe cream of broccoli. Doctor it up as you see fit with limes, salsa, and salt. Pour yourself a glass from the pitcher left on the table of some type of agua, which is barely flavored water with fruit and sugar. The second course is rice or pasta, usually spaghetti. Get the sofrito rice, so every grain is individual, a confetti of bird’s-eye-looking vegetables that are hand cut. (The pasta is always cooked to death.) And finally, the larger plate, normally two or three types of stews offered daily where the classics reign: chile relleno, enchiladas verdes, chicken with mole, bistec en pasilla. These days there’s likely a vegetable or health-conscious option, like hollowed out squash stuffed with cheesy tuna—which is not technically vegetarian nor health-conscious, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Maybe there are fritters of wild greens in light tomato sauce. Hot tortillas on the side, two types of salsas. Don’t forget dessert, normally a scoop of gelatin or a tiny flan on a plate, which you will be too full to eat but will do so anyways because it’s the cap of the most exceptional ordinary meal you’ll have here.