While Mexican cuisine occupies a privileged place in the international food scene, Oaxacan food remains a feast fit for the gods. The Mexican region, Oaxaca, is not only loaded with an embarrassment of gastronomic riches, there’s also a wealth of unique and delicious drinks to round off any celebration. The festivities, however, are best enjoyed at Corazón de Maguey, purveyor of the best flavors Mexico has to offer, as well as some of the finest mezcal.
Located in the heart of the Coyoacán neighborhood, Corazón de Maguey is the living image of provincial Mexican cuisine and Oaxacan food. The combined decoration, ambiance, and aroma will carry you off to Southern Mexico, and if you’re patient, you’ll be presented with an array of dishes so festive and mouthwatering, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a special occasion.
One look at the menu, and you know you’ve come to the right place. To whet your appetite, there are small appetizers that you can pair with a shot of mezcal—an absolute must while you’re at Corazón de Mageuy. The culinary options run from ceviche, street-style tacos, fried tacos with hibiscus flower, carrots, and jicama, to a molote of plantain filled with cheese, served in a delicious Veracruz-style broth.
And if the appetizer selection hasn’t won you over, just wait to see the array of mole sauces, which create that special combination of chili and chocolate that can’t be found anywhere else on earth. Among the different styles on the menu at Corazón de Maguey, you’ll find moles from Puebla, Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Michoacán. And that’s not all, the combination of ingredients is truly tempting, where the typical chicken or beef dish accompanying the mole has been substituted for more exotic options like rabbit, shrimp, tuna, or even beef tongue.
Coincidentally, that’s chef Andrei Martínez’ recommendation. The chef and manager of Corazón de Maguey insists that the tongue dish has become a favorite among the loyal clientele. Martínez says: “If you want to be adventurous, I recommend the beef tongue with red pipián sauce (made from a squash seed base). The secret to the dish lies in the eight hours spent cooking the tongue at low heat in the oven. And the result, a cut of meat that is unimaginably tender.”
But if you think you’ve discovered all the delights that Corazón de Maguey has to offer, you’re in for a surprise. There’s still the mezcal!
Pioneering the concept of mezcal bars in Mexico City, Corazón de Maguey belongs to Los Danzantes, a group that decided to bring mezcal into the limelight by elevating it to the level of national drink, giving it the same kind of international celebrity once reserved only for tequila. And by the looks of it, they’ve pulled it off. In the eight years since the project was first launched, Los Danzantes has opened a number of restaurants and its own distillery in Oaxaca.
The different mezcals offered at Corazón de Maguey provide a perfect cross section of the different regional varieties of this heavenly drink. The agave-based mezcal from Oaxaca, Durango, Guerrero, and Michoacán are available for sampling by the glass or the bottle. The menu also offers artisanal beer and wine, as well as mezcal-based cocktails.
Considering the aforementioned gastronomic attractions, it’s essential to make reservations beforehand if you want to dine during peak times. Once you’ve found your seat at the table of Corázon de Maguey, the only thing left to do is relax and let your waiter guide you through the world of mezcal.