Frequent Flyer: Andres Marquez, Owner & Chef, Fonda Lola

Regularly travelling to Mexico for work research, this restauranteur and tequila expert loves being an ambassador of his culture.

Andres-Marquez-Fonda-Lola

As the co-owner and chef of the Toronto Mexican restaurant, Fonda Lola, Andrés Márquez finds himself returning again and again to his native country of Mexico all in the name of research. “I consider myself to be ‎an ambassador of my culture,” explains Andrés. “I love being able to share my love of food with amigos y amigas that are eager to try a new way of looking at Mexican food.”

Since opening back in 2013, first as a pop-up, his rustic bistro is now a cult hit, not only for its fresh and healthy dishes, but the tasty libations too. Andrés also happens to be a tequila expert, who leads the restaurant’s cocktail program, which focuses on health-minded cocktails (their hashtag is #Healthyboozin). His tequila tastings have even brought the restaurant notoriety landing them in the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the World’s Largest Tequila Tasting.

We recently chatted with Andrés to get the scoop on his favourite restaurants and must-sees in Mexico City, what his airplane style looks like and where he’s planning on travelling to next.

How much travelling do you do? Work, personal, both?

I travel as much as my business allows. Luckily, I have the perfect excuse of going on “research trips” to Mexico.

My last trip was to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for business. I went to look into the purchase and partnership of an existing restaurant, for a future “forced” holiday/vacation spot.

What’s your carry-on bag?

Herschel Supply, messenger bag in royal blue.

What are your top 3 carry-on essentials besides your phone?

A smile, a book and snacks. Preferably, chocolate covered anything, dried mango or salty nuts.

Travel accessory/app you can’t leave home without? 

A hat; I always have a hat.

How do you kill time waiting for your flight/during a layover?

Reading or take a long siesta. I check-out from work easily.

Favourite hotel?

Anything by Four Seasons.

Hotel amenity you can’t live without?

An over-the-top shower tub.

Dish/meal you have to eat when you’re in Mexico City?

I have three rituals upon arrival, among a few others.

  1. Eat tequila ice cream, obviously.
  2. Eat tacos al pastor (the epitome of a Mexico City taco).
  3. Go eat caesar salad from the Hacienda de los Morales.

What things must a first-time visitor to Mexico City plan to do/eat/see?

Must-eats include the previous answers, quesadillas from Coyoacán market, ‎enchiladas from Cafe Tacuba and carnitas from Los Panchos.

Must-sees include Templo Mayor, the most important site in the Mexico City square (the city was built with the destroyed rubble of that temple). The National Museum of Anthropology and Xochimilco (a series of canals with colourful gondolas, massive barge parties and the legacy of being used by the Aztec).

Current travel reading material/playlist?

I’m reading a book called Planet Taco and The Science of Pleasure.

Favourite travel-friendly grooming product?  

Anything from LAB SERIES. Their multi-action face wash is heavenly.

Biggest travel pet peeve?

People that clap when the plane lands; why did they get on if they are so glad to land… fools.

Tell us what your airplane style is.

Comfy jeans. I’m a simple guy and Levis 501 Originals always do the trick, and they shrink to fit the best.

White shirt by Calvin Klein; simplicity and cotton comfort is best.

My Ted Baker shoes and a hat.

Travel & Style’s pick: Ebbets Field Flannels Wool-Broadcloth Baseball Cap, $65, mrporter.com

Last Vacation – where, with who & best memory?

Last serious vacation? Kenya. It was a mystical magical journey.  I went with friends for a wedding and experienced a plethora of sights and foods.

Best memory? Taking a safari and watching elephants walk next to us. Did you know that they use different patters to walk?

Most memorable souvenir? 

Wow, that’s a tough one. I would say my scar, from a very blurry but amazing night in Amsterdam with some incredible Finnish people.

Where are you headed to next and what for?

The next vacation will be impromptu during the next month. I will decide a few days before strictly based on a festival or celebration. Probably end up somewhere in Europe or Latin America.

Dream destination? 

Galápagos Island, enough said.

Photo of Andres courtesy of Katie Flood.