travel blog: mexico city, mexico
I’m happy to finally get part two of our adventure in Mexico up on the blog! If you missed part one – we had an amazing time in Puerto Vallarta with our pals. For the second leg of the trip Dave and I headed to Mexico City, which ended up being one of the most charming places we have ever visited. The people, the food, the pulse of the city, everything was just fantastic. I mean, we ate tacos several times a day as a snack. How perfect is that? 😀
Alright, on with the trip! First, I have to mention that we stayed at the beautiful Hotel Condesa DF, which had gorgeous rooms, the sweetest staff, a great bar, and a lovely roof for lounging and cocktail-ing. It is located in Roma Norte, which we found to be a fabulous neighborhood to stay in. Lots of food, shopping, nightlife, parks and more.
Oh, and this tall drink of water from Master of None was also staying there. I saw him and said “Is it weird to tell you that we love you?” He said, “no.” And then walked away. 😂
Anyways, the decor of the hotel was so fun, bold and vibrant. And as soon as you walk in, BAM, a quick nip of tequila was at the ready. Yes, please!
The rooms are all situated around an open courtyard that overlooks the hotel’s restaurant and bar, which is one of the things I love about Mexico – lots of bringing the outside in with natural light and lush plants.
Our room was great too – modern, comfy and had a well-stocked mini-bar, hey-o!
As soon as we dropped our suitcases at the hotel we set off to explore the neighborhood. And wouldn’t you know it, before too long, we were thirsty for a cocktail, and it was Mezcal we were after.
We were introduced to Mezcal by our lovely neighbors, Laura + David, who brought us back a bottle from Oaxaca. Dave and I really, really love it. It has a great smokey flavor and can make phenomenal cocktails (I hope to share a few with ya soon).
We spied a small cocktail bar, called CI TO, so popped in and met the friendliest bartender who told us all about different kinds of Mezcal, the regions they were from, what his favorites were and more. Dave and I have this thing we call “vacation luck” – and meeting this super knowledgeable, welcoming guy right off the bat falls into that luck bucket.
He also let us taste these insanely delicious liquors – which blew us away. Not only do they really taste like the peppers, but they give cocktails a little heat that I’ve never really experienced before. Luckily they’re available in the states – so as soon as I got home I bought us some bottles. Mmmmmmm….spicy.
For dinner we headed to Gin Gin, which was recommended to us from our friend Marissa who had recently visited. It was such a cool space – also bringing a lot of the outside in.
The decor was a little tiki-bar-ish and had some badass skulls on the wall. Loved it!
The cocktails were SO tasty. I had the “Little Bastard” which was G’Vine Floraison Gin, jugo de limón verde, a dash of jengibre (ginger), perfume de albahaca (basil) and tonic.
While this spot is known more for their cocktails, the food – sort of tapas style – was delicious. We had these ham & cheese croquetas which we devoured in a hot minute. I’ve got to try to make these little balls of pure joy at home soon. So damn good.
After the yummy cocktails and some more hopping around the neighborhood we called it a night since we were planning for a busy next day.
We didn’t know it when we woke up, but we would end up walking 7.5 miles this day! We started off by strolling through some parks – this one is Parque España, which seems to have the magic ability to seriously elongate humans. I aint complaining.
We needed some fuel for the day so hit up the cutest little cafe, Fournier Rousseau. I’m totally obsessed with the color of the roses with the table.
We went with another recommendation for breakfast – Los Chamorros de Mérida. I decided to try something I had never had before – chilaquiles with mole and shredded chicken. Folks, this is a freaking breakfast game changer. One of the most flavorful, rich dishes I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat. Had we stayed longer I would have gone back and ordered this very same thing again. And then, again.
After eating this entire heap of food, we set off to hit up some museums. First, we visited the Museo del Objeto, which had an entire exhibition on Mexican fútbol – not really something we knew a lot about, but very cool to see the history and passion behind the sport.
The museum was showing Cerith Wyn Evans art that included this mesmerizing neon sculpture.
The museum also houses Rufino Tamayo’s art, which I really loved seeing. I know little to nothing about art, but I liked how different his pieces were – some happy and bright, others moody and complicated.
We left the museum and just walked around taking in all the neighborhood sites including the charming old buildings and the fun street art.
For dinner we headed to Contramar, since our neighbors said it was one of their favorite restaurants in Mexico City. Now it’s one of ours too – absolutely amazing dinner.
The first thing they brought out was a spread of fresh bread, spicy pickles, limes and onions. It was delish.
I rarely drink wine or bubbles, so when I gave this glass a go and ABSOLUTELY loved it, I supposed I should have written down what it was. LOL. Oh, Annie.
We had heard that their tuna tostada was where it was at, so of course we had to try it. It was perfection.
We also had a delicious Mahi Mahi dish that was fresh + citrus-y with pickled onions and spicy green salsa.
And the show-stopper of the night was certainly the red snapper with two different sauces – which they are also known for. Nearly every table had it. I’d say this ties the fish we had prepared table-side in Venice as the best I’ve ever had. So tender and flavorful. Would love to try to recreate.
My stomach was totally maxed out, but I saw this coconut flan situation on the dessert menu and HAD to have it. I ate every last bite because you only live once.
Y’all would think we’d call it a night after that massive dinner – but we still had a few stops on our agenda. Like I mentioned, Mezcal is kind of our new favorite – so when Dave found this cool “Mezcaleria” – La Clandestina, we had to give it a try. The atmosphere was great – cozy + dark, with such a cool bar.
I was slightly overwhelmed by the menu since there were so many choices, but luckily, an amazing woman was working who guided us through her favorites (#6, #9, #19) and got us a wonderful tasting set up.
This is what I call the Mezcal glow….
Okay, okay, we may have also gone next door to La Lavanderia get another cocktail because we heard they were good too. Annnndddd they were. 😀
Alrighty we finally did go to bed after this! So onto the next big day.
We decided to go downtown to grab breakfast at Sanborns, which is a department store – but we heard that they had a down to earth, authentic breakfast we should to try.
When we walked in, we immediately saw a cafe, so we grabbed a spot at the counter and ordered breakfast. The coffee was strong and the eggs were spicy (I ordered juevos divorciados) – everything was great.
After we were done eating, I went to find a restroom and – woopsie daisy – I stumbled upon a grand hall where folks were eating breakfast with live music…I suppose this is what had actually been suggested to us. Same food, but how lovely is this space? Next time!
After breakfast and some bopping around downtown, we decided to head to Frida Kahlo’s house – now a museum – which is located in the Coyoacan neighborhood, which is just stunningly beautiful. We explored the neighborhood first as we heard the homes and landscaping were lovely. And boy, were they! Look at this amazing house! I tried to convince Dave that we should prob, most definitely paint our house bright orange, but he wasn’t buying it.
After our walk around the neighborhood we headed to the museum. I’ll be honest in that I didn’t know very much about Frida Kahlo, so it was pretty neat-o to learn so much about her life and her art while touring the gorgeous house she lived in with her husband Diego Rivera. The courtyard that the home is situated around is out of a freaking fairy tale – it’s filled with vibrant flowers, ponds and giant trees…I can see how inspiration would be abound.
After the museum we decided it was time for a street food snack. We hit up a taco stand close to our hotel at the cross streets of Alvarao Obregon & Insurgentes Sur. We got pastor, chorizo and beef tacos. We like to try out a little of everything to make sure we’re not missing out on any amazing tastiness. They were all magnifique!
We squeezed in a little nap after these yummy tacos as we had quite an epic dinner to rest up for ahead.
We had heard that Pujol was a must-try – named one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, and was featured in an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix that we still have to watch. I was stoked we were able to get in – and since it seemed kinda fancy, I even threw on a dress and heels. Dave looked adorbs, as always.
And I looked like…well…my usual self.
Here is what the menu was the evening we were there:
I ordered the sea bass, which was out of this world. So light and fresh to start off the meal.
I somewhat surprisingly ordered the cauliflower for my next course – and it completely WOWed us. Crazy good.
Next up I had the grilled fish with pine nuts and fennel and it was fantastic.
While everything on the menu was great, Dave and I both agreed this next dish was the tastiest and most unique part of the meal. It was two different moles, the darker one from a mole base that was 1,517 days old – as you can see notated on the menu above – and the lighter made that very day. It was such a cool experience to taste them side by side and to taste the differences between them, the older being so much more complex with deeper and richer flavors. An article from the New York Times talks about this very dish:
When it comes to trailblazing, nobody has received more attention than Enrique Olvera, the chef behind Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York City. True to its moniker, his “mole madre” at Pujol aspires to be a kind of earth mother of all moles: He and his team keep feeding it, aging it, letting it funkily expand and evolve from month to month. (Last summer, food blogs celebrated the moment when it crossed the 1,000-days mark. It’s still going.) “Really,” muses Daniela Soto-Innes, the James Beard Award-winning chef who runs Cosme’s kitchen, “mole is about patience.” And it has always, she adds, offered a blank canvas for experimentation and innovation.
The final treat was this churro. When the server brought it over, I may have yelped with so much delight that he started laughing. 😀
And that was a wrap on our second full day. Can you believe all of that was in just 2.5 days? Whew, we pack a lot in!
On our last full day I ordered caffeine via room service, and Dave ran out to get us some huaraches (masa dough with refried beans and topped with cheese and salsa) from a street vendor. We were all about making sure we tried everything!
I wanted to hit at least one market while we were in town, so we headed to Mercado De Artesanias La Ciudadela which was just what I was looking for. Lots of jewelry, textiles, art, and more.
I got this crazy colorful 70’s vibe-ish peacock art and some fun silver baubles.
If you’ve read this far it should come as no surprise that we were craving tacos…again. We went just outside of the market and locked eyes with some pastor we had to try.
I also got some churros because dessert after lunch on vacation is a thing.
Next we headed downtown to do a little more exploring and shopping as there were a lot of cute shops and cafe’s to pop into. Oh, and did I mention there were more tacos? Yes, we ate more tacos. Yes, I know we JUST ate tacos!
Here comes that vacation luck again – just when we thought we were simply wandering about aimlessly, we walked right upon the Metropolitan Cathedral, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico. It was breathtaking – both inside and out.
And so, finally – we’re at the end of the trip. One last meal to report – and it’s a good one y’all.
That vacation luck was really rockin’ and rollin’ for us this day because we just happened upon a place called El Parnita that was packed but had an open table for us on their patio. It turns out this is a very trendy spot where “rock stars” go when they’re in town, according to a guide-book. 😂 So we were obviously in the right place.
One little hiccup was that I didn’t know enough Spanish to understand some things on the menu AND the wifi on our phones wasn’t working to look anything up – so I completely winged it when ordering. I pointed at three things and out they came. This ended up being my favorite meal in Mexico – everything was delicious (and kind of exciting to taste given we weren’t 100% clear on what we ordered). Sometimes winging it is just the best way to go!
And that’s a wrap! This trip was simply wonderful. The scenery, the culture, the people, the food and the history – just a truly lovely place we feel very lucky to have visited. I really can’t wait to go back.
Cheers to adventure! 🙂