Let's say it's half till 5 -- in the morning -- and you're wandering the streets of swanky Polanco with four friends, because you'd rather walk where you're going than pay an outrageously expensive Polanco cab rate. You're desperately hungry. And not rich.
Ultimate nightmare scenario?
On a corner of Presidente Masaryk, considered the wealthiest commercial real estate strip in Latin America, the gods provide. It is a taco stand operating from the back of a parked van, complete with a gas-powered grill -- as paisa as you can get. The sidewalk is packed with Polanco people rummaging for food after a night in any old antro charging thousand-peso bottle service.
What's going on here? "Mari, Mari," the regulars call to the woman taking orders and collecting coins.
You wander close, inspecting with your nose. Mari and her grill workers are offering not only a good mix of meats -- bistek, suadero -- but a full selection of D.F.-style taco fixings. Beans, cactus, potatoes, radishes, several kinds of salsas. You're rubbing your eyes, unable to believe it. They even have Lulu soda pop.
Saved by the taco, and the lesson bears repeating: Never judge a neighborhood by its cover.