We're at the iconic Carlyle Hotel, where Chef Carlos Hannon and his team from Rosewood Hotel in San Miguel de Allende have spent the week cooking sumptuous Mexican fare for hungry guests. Chef Hannon is young and jovial, smiling as he tells us that he learned to cook from culinary school but also from "life," citing his grandmother Elena as his greatest inspiration.
The flavors of Mexico that we've been reading about and tasting for our August/September special issue converge on our plates. We recognize the guacamole with hearty chunks of avocado; the soft tamal-like casing and smoky mushroom filling of the empanadas; the guajillo pepper oil sprinkled on sweet lobster claw meat; and the delicate zucchini blossom soup beneath crispy-skinned red snapper. Then there are the sabores that surprise us: vanilla in a cauliflower puree and a rich Mezcal reduction for the braised veal, brilliant pink and red flower petals strewn on ceviches. And then there's the crowning finish, grandma Elena's churros, thin, soft and hot out of the fryer, lightly crisped and coated in sugar. _ —Eesha Sardesai and Sanae Lemoine_