Monday, May 25, 2015

this is how we entertain - Part II

Our buds from Toronto came back for their second weekend with us. We had so much on our list of things to do, and so little time. So we made the best of it and...

Well, at first we didn't do much, 'cause they arrived on Thursday night, so we simply took them to our local Japanese noodle place. Where they got to see some of the Mexican passion for lime, as their salmon sushi had some thin lime slices on top, and the soy sauce had lime juice! Not quite the radical Mexican take of Pizza del Perro Negro (see my previous post on our friends' visit), but still an interesting cultural adaptation.

Next day we sent them off to museums, as we both had to work. With dozens of museums in the city, we decided that the Castillo de Chapultepec (the only royal castle actually used by a royal sovereign in Latin America!) and the Museo de Antropología (the Aztec Sun Stone!) were two musts they couldn't miss, and they weren't that far from here. Plus, they got to experience part of Mexico City's normal life, as the route they had to take was partially blocked by a demonstration! Oh well...

Friday night it was time to unwind! So the habib and a good friend of his prepared dinner, we invited two other friends, and prepared to have a nice soirée with Peruvian food, excellent company, and Regina Spektor as background music.

Now, dinner was complemented nicely with some craft stouts, porters and IPAs we had, and with a fantastic mezcal one of our friends (who's from Oaxaca) brought. All of which put us in the right mood to take our visitors clubbing. To a gay street - called República de Cuba. By Mexico City's historic centre. Which meant having a drink at a place decorated with religious paraphernalia like paintings of saints and images of sacred hearts (called La Purísima). And watching a drag queen show with Whitney Houston and Britney Spears at a cowboy-esque bar (Oasis). And finally dancing salsa at a cantina (El Viena). Quite a complete tour, I'd say!

Fortunately, the late night walk back home from República de Cuba allowed for visiting a few historic sites - which we had all to ourselves in the quiet of the night - before going to sleep. Like beautiful, secluded, ancient Plaza de Santa Veracruz.

Now, of course, beer and mezcal and partying doesn't translate into an early Saturday morning. But it can translate into brunch! Which gave us the perfect excuse to introduce our friends to our favourite brunch place - Volver, in Roma Norte. Smoothies, mimosas, good coffee, vegan enchiladas, fantastic French toast, chilaquiles with grilled hanger steak, huitlacoche (corn smut) omelet... Yum. Yum. And yum again.

And once happily full, it was time to show our friends another side of Mexico City we're very fond of - Coyoacán! It used to be a separate town and it keeps a very colonial and relaxed atmosphere, with leafy cobblestone streets, quaint squares, and just a very different feel. 

We had a delicious walk along Francisco Sosa, my favourite street in Coyoacán, one of the oldest in Latin America, and about a kilometre and a half of villas and old buildings, ancient trees that have begun breaking through the stone sidewalks, and birds singing. Oh, and a street vendor selling mamey! A pink-red, very sweet, meaty fruit I didn't hesitate for a second buying for us to eat during the last stretch of our walk!

Now, there's tons to do and see in Coyoacán. But one major attraction is the Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo's and Diego Rivera's house. And though that meant enduring a thunderstorm with hail, standing in a ridiculously long line-up, and paying what must be Mexico City's most expensive museum entrance ticket (no, like really, serious!), we went in for a peek at Frida's life. And for an exhibition we didn't know of! of Frida's dresses and corsets! Called "Las apariencias engañan: los vestidos de Frida Kahlo" (Looks are deceiving: the dresses of Frida Kahlo), and promoted with a drawing by Frida Kahlo herself, under which she herself had written down "las apariencias engañan". 

Frankly, this was the highlight of the visit, gaining this peculiar insight... a cross between Oaxacan pride, a desire to disguise physical characteristics, being iconoclastic, and the financial means to put it all together. Amazing. 

After all that walking, the rain, the museum... it was time to eat again! And since our friends had expressed a desire to eat pozole, we took them to one of the best known places for it, a very unassuming and small market on Higuera street. Where we proceeded to order tremendously filling bowls of pozole Michoacán style, to which you add lime, onion, chile powder, oregano, radish... And let me say, our friends loved it! Success!

Since my sister joined us there, we all headed for one last thing, also on Higuera street - La Botica mezcalería! Some of us had mezcal, some micheladas (beer with lime juice and a rim of salt), and very few of us (not me) some bugs (maybe grasshoppers? they were partially chopped, so it was difficult to tell). Pozole, mezcal, bugs. A very complete culinary experience, eh?

A final walk around the very old Iglesia de la Conchita and the Casa de la Malinche - both early 16th century buildings! - and then, finally, a taxi ride home to rest so our friends could leave next morning (after another breakfast at the El Hijo de Don Toribio) for their Querétaro, Sierra Gorda, San Miguel de Allende and Morelia adventure. After which we'd have yet another opportunity to share our Mexico City with them!

No comments: