This is the fourth and final post in a series about my recent trip to Mexico. Catching up, slowing down, cultural immersion, and time in the sun all proved long overdue and much needed. It goes without saying that food was a big part of the travels, too…
For the last leg of our trip, we opted to stay in a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood in Mexico City called Hipódromo. Funky and eclectic with tons of Art Deco architecture, Hipódromo has a completely different vibe than Coyoacán. Street art, lovely boulevards and a mix of upscale and low-brow (I mean that as a compliment!) made this neighborhood great for exploring. Nearby neighborhoods of Condesa and Roma also had great spots to explore on foot. Roma Market is a modern collection of vendors of artisanal cheese, tea, spices, charcuterie and chocolate shoe-horned among delicious food stalls with everything from sushi to contemporary Mexican fare, all under one roof. Only a quick jaunt away is the super traditional Mercado Medellín, which has every kind of produce, meat, floral, housewares and hardware item you could imagine, in addition to an amazing piñata collection and my favorite street snack, fresh fruit with chili and lime. This is the essence of Mexico City to me…the seamless blending of old and new, side by side. Cultural traditions are maintained, honored and revered, while the younger generation bring in urban influences from all over the globe.
Next on the list was a trip the the insanely mind bending Museo Nacional de Antropologiá. By far the coolest museum I have ever visited, the route through the Museo essentially starts with the Pre-Columbian Aztec codices and winds through time, moving closer to modern day as you make your way through the museum. The collection is absolutely unparalleled, and laid out in such a way that it easily digestible in it’s enormity. In addition to full scale replicas of temples and murals, all the galleries open to gardens, which have sculptures that coincide with the particular gallery. For example, one has a scale model of the ancient Aztec capital of Teotihuacan made of concrete in the center of the garden. All these gardens connect, as well, so essentially you could walk the whole perimeter of the museum, moving through a different gardens. Between the layout and scale of the collection and the brilliant architecture of the building itself (by Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vásquez), this is a do not miss!
All that history makes one hungry. Taking the recommendation of friend, we opted to eat at Quintonil. The food was sublime, with my favorite item being an unexpectedly delicious loaf of freshly baked wheat bread with peanuts, served with huitlacoche butter. The smoked marlin was also lovely, and I love cactus anything so the sorbet was a high note as well. We paired it with a Mexican rosé.
The following day was spent in the Historic District. We started in the most logical place, the zocalo, and wandered around from there, hitting all the important stops: notable churro and pastry shops, and of course, more markets.
The Palace of Belle Arts was a must on our list as well. With it’s stunning art nouveau exterior and jaw-dropping deco interior, the palace does not disappoint.
Clearly we like museums. Another one we opted to visit (you could literally visit a different museum every day for a month in Mexico City…it’s hard to choose!) was Museo Soumaya, which was built to house the private collection of one man- Carlos Slim. The collection has everything from renaissance works by Da Vinci and Botticelli to the impressionist through avant-garde gallery, full of works by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, Van Gogh, Vlaminck, Chagall and Miró. The crown jewel is the collection on the top floor, comprised mostly of Rodin and Dali sculptures, among others.
For our last night in Mexico City, we opted to dine at a restaurant we could walk to easily from our place. There were many, but we chose MeroToro, which was a restaurant that focused on the cuisine of Baja, California. The first item we tried was “Vuelve a la vida de maíz criollo con leche de tigre,” which loosely translates to “dried corn brought back to life with tiger’s milk”…which wasn’t much help in figuring out the flavor profile. I had to look it up, of course. Tiger’s milk is essentially run off from ceviche, so although this dish didn’t have fish, per se, it had a lovely acid-forward fishy flavor and was super clean on the palate. A salad, braised iberico jowl with poached egg, and crunchy lamb with charred onions all followed. The finale was coconut wanna cotta with blood orange granita. It was the perfect way to end the night, and the trip.
So many adventures. Thanks for sticking with me through the mega post. Travel season is over and catering season is upon us….more to come from the Epicure Kitchen in the coming months.
Gracias and hasta luego!