Baked Potatoes in Mexico City
Baked potatoes waiting to be smothered in goodness.

Potato Hangover Cure

I may have been slightly hungover after too much mezcal from the night before. Relief awaited around the corner at Superama. I stumbled out with aspirin and suero in hand. Along the exit of the parking lot were the usual food carts selling tacos, tlacoyos and quesadillas. However, one cart stood out to me with a heap of foil wrapped objects. As I began to examine the menu and the odd-shaped foil entities, I realized that they were two baked potatoes wrapped snuggly together. I was about to devour my first papa rellena – stuffed potato.

What I didn’t realize was that these siamese-twin potatoes were about to get extremely insane with mounds of delicious toppings. A papa rellena is what I really needed instead of aspirin. My belly begged to be stuffed like one of those potatoes. So, I quickly scan the menu to make a decision on the level of overload I would be achieving. How much cheese? How much butter? What combination of meat and other tidbits? So much to think about.

El Papón, Street Food in Mexico City.
El Papón, Street Food in Mexico City.
Papas Rellenas
Super nice dudes from El Papón making papas rellenas on the streets on Mexico City
Chiles Roasting
Chiles roasting on the comal
Making Papa Rellena in Mexico City
Baked potato magic coming to life on the streets on Mexico City.

X Marks the Spot

Two extremely friendly guys were eager to get to work on my potato. I decided to go with the Tradicional. I thought it would be the lesser of the evils. It turns out that it was a whole lot of evils together. First, the potato master (as I like to call him) took the potatoes nested together and foil and began to beat them. He beat them and turned them and beat them some more until they formed a thick potato disc. Then with the precision of a surgeon, he slit an “X” into the foil and gently pulled the foil away from the center. He then began to fork the potato! He worked that fork and mashed up the inside. This was the beginning of a magical transformation. Possible more magical than the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly.

This once ugly potato began to be mushed with butter, then manchego cheese and it got prettier by the second. Then some jamón serrano. This potato was getting seriously sexy as it oozed before my eyes. Wait, then more cheese? Yes, more cheese – this time some ooey-gooey cheddar. Then how about some bacon and cream to top it off? This x-rated potato action sent me into a foodgasm. And because I’m courteous, I had to resist the eating at this time. I wanted to wait to get home to share it with Tanya, as I thought she may be in need of the same medicine. I won’t lie, I did finger some of the cheese.

A few days passed and I was going to show Tanya where this potato cart heaven was to be found. But it wasn’t there. After a quick drive around the block, we discovered that they opened a restaurant on the corner in addition to the cart. So make sure if you have a hangover in Mexico City and there isn’t any birria around, to go get your self a potato orgasm to soak up all that alcohol.

Papa Rellena smothered with cheese and ham
Papa Rellena smothered with cheese and ham

Where to find a Papa Rellena

El Papón is (sometimes) outside the Superama in Condesa on Fernando Montes De Oca. The restaurant space is right down the corner on Fernando Montes De Oca and Jose Vasconcelos Circuito Interior in Condesa, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, Distrito Federal.