I’ll be frank, if I think of corn in my childhood I think of canned corn or maybe the corn you put on the grill for a BBQ. I never had the slightest idea corn could be so interesting. First, it comes in different colours. Woho, thank you German food shelves in the supermarket, you never even slightly let me be aware of that. The one that made it on the shelf was the plain yellow one. How boring, I think now, having been introduced to an entire world of fascinating corn.
For a place to be categorized as sustainable here in the Coffee & Foodie Guide, it doesn’t necessarily have to be “vegan” or “vegetarian”. Sometimes it’s enough that they let you order a pizza without cheese without making any silly comments, or being willing to serve the ice cream in a reusable glass jar.
I think, good restaurants have a good deal of an impact of how you see and appreciate food. A restaurant can open your eyes to tastes, flavours, presentation, seasons of the vegetables or fruits served, and origins of the food on your plate. It can point towards how precious the plate in front of you truly is. Nixtamal is one of them. They give you the handle of a door to the maize-world and thus, to getting to know the full story, if you, like me, grew up more with canned corn than colorful one.
NIXTAMAL – NIX…WHAT?
The origin of the word has been caught and is presented in beautiful lettering on one of the walls.
“Piedra del Molino que al chocar una con la otra produce la molienda del maiz con la que se logra “cenizas de cal” que en Nahuatl significa Nixtamal.”
“Stone of the mill that produces the grinding of corn, with which “the ash of the corn” is obtained, which in Nahuatl means nixtamal.
In short: Nixtamal is ground corn, which you need for making tortillas. Also – Nahuatl is a language of indigenous communities, or, sometimes also called original communities, since they owned the land long before Europeans knew they existed.
I like the phrases you find on the wall, making corn something noble, part of a poem, something to pay attention to. One of those phrases is – “Sin maiz, no hay país.” “No corn, no country.”
So what’s so special about the place? Have a look at the menu. It seems simple at first glance and wonderfully versatile at the second – and any following that one. It’s a mix – and – match – menu and trust me, you’ll start doing maths of all the yummy options that exist.
Same goes for the tacos by the way. They might appear “simple” at the first glance, until you take a bite and completely change your opinion. If you have gone to a “typical” taquería before, you might know that tacos come along with at least four different salsas, an extra plate with limes, fried onions, fried tortillas, potatoes, or salad sometimes, salt here, chilli there…well, no, you won’t find anything like that at Nixtamal. Here, the tacos are just that: tacos.
Like I said, only at first glance. The first bite already will teach you that that’s exactly what makes the tacos so special, their incredible taste doesn’t need anything more than that. You’ll probably be grateful that all other distractions have been left out – you wouldn’t be able to appreciate them either way, whilst flying in taco-taste-paradise. Fresh ingredients, savoury salsas, and no added salt or sugar.
By the way, same goes foe the Gorditas, and the Quesadillas. Now, quickly, which is what, a Gordita is a thick tortilla, so you can slice it and fill it. A quesadillas is, if you look at it, in vertical order, a tortilla-cheese-tortilla.
Vegan options are available, that means, vegan tacos with tofu, with guacamole, with Nopal (cactus), different types of vegan cheese (!), and champignons. HOLY GUACAMOLY. How cool is that.
You can choose between different kinds of tortillas, so, in short, they’ll come in different colours. Depending on the type of corn, and also, what else it is mixed with – I went for a tortilla with avocado for example. My tipp – go crazy! The more colorful the plate, the more interesting, and the more adventurous the journey of different tastes you’ll embark on.
Coffee – is awesome here. I asked, the coffee is a mix of different beans and prepared right there. You taste that! Highly recommended, ask for a cup of coffee.
And, don’t miss out on the cookies, based on corn (what else?) and coated with sugar. They’re delicious!
Nixtamal opens from 9 am to 3 pm, and the menu is more (Mexican-) breakfast oriented. It’s savoury, but you’ll also find sweet bread and smoothies there, so if you’re more a fan of a sweet start into the day, you won’t be disappointed.
Curious? Well, let me tell you where you’d find it. Nixtamal is in the northern part of the city of Aguascalientes:
Uhm. I’m not sure. I’d say no. I’d say go and enjoy breakfast and then head somewhere else to switch into your productive pants.