Sanborns & Bisquets
I cannot rest until I post all eating venues from Mexico City, no matter how banal. (Not true—I won’t go into Geisha, the pan-Asian restaurant that coats all sushi in cream cheese. I later learned that’s a common Mexican addition. Or the nondescript café where I discovered molletes, a pizza bread smeared with refried beans and topped with melted cheese and frequently chorizo. Apparently, this is a typical breakfast dish because I saw it on a lot of menus.)
I merge Sanborns and Los Bisquets Obregon together because they’re both chains in a Denny’s vein. That’s sort of a strange reference considering I haven’t been to one in probably a decade (I take that back—I did eat at one in Reading, PA around 2001) if only because they don’t exist here.
Sanborns’s food is no great shakes but they’re ubiquitous like Duane Reade and reliable for a bathroom, atm and genuinely crisp air conditioning. (Like Spain, Mexicans aren’t as into being artificially cooled as Americans. That’s one thing you could count on in all the modern Asian cities I’ve visited: surprisingly solid air conditioning. I enjoy the swampy to sweat-stopping contrast as opposed to experiencing varying degrees of warmth.) And their original location in the Casa de los Azulejos (house of tiles) is full of 16th century charm. The same couldn’t be said of Denny’s.
We were too late for breakfast so I had to settle for pibil tacos, which were on the oily side but not hideous. I always anticipated the bread basket and pickle dish because you never knew what might turn up in either. Here, you received an overwhelming amount of crackers, rolls and tortilla chips.
I was thinking Bisquets in Roma was closer to our hotel than it was. I just wanted to try the café con leche even though I’m normally a black coffee drinker. They prepare the coffee tableside using one pitcher of coffee and one with milk, which gets poured from high in the air almost like Malaysian teh tarik, though not quite as dramatically.
I liked how they come around with a baked goodie basket while you’re perusing the menu (they’re not freebies but it’s a nice touch). Bisquets also had baby potatoes in their spicy pickled mixture. I’d seen cauliflower at cantina in Coyoacan but potatoes were strange and new. I then picked a crazy breakfast jumble of eggs, tomato sauce, peas, American cheese, plantains and tortillas, which was no fault but my own. It seemed more Caribbean than what I’d eaten in D.F., more like crazy mishmashes I’ve eaten in Colombian restaurants. Of course, I ended up nearly cleaning my plate, crazy breakfast or not.
Sanborns * Madero 4, Mexico City, Mexico
Los Bisquets Obregon * Av. Alvaro Obregón No. 60, Mexico City, Mexico