A Week of Lasts

My week of lasts started Friday, with my last yoga class with the amazing Valentina, who has almost gotten me doing headstands. No es adios, es hasta luego, she said, and while I have said that before, it’s not that easy to keep in touch with all the wonderful people who have touched our lives.

Saturday, we did our last CDMX death march, but it was a short one of only about 10 miles. Our goal was a bookstore/cafe that has a pendulum hanging from the ceiling called Cafebrería. Unfortunately, the pendulum had been tied off, its bob hanging ineffectually from a banister so as not to smack the band which was setting up on the stage formerly known as the pendulum’s trajectory. We had a limonada and headed off to meet Steph and Teresa. We had planned a picnic in Bosque de Chapultepec, but they were running late, so we recalibrated and decided to meet them for dinner. Instead, we walked to the park ourselves.

Along the way, we passed through Parque Lincoln so named because it features a statue of guess who? Yes, a gift from lost Estados Unidos to Mexico, because Mexico really wanted a statue of Lincoln? I don’t know. I asked my favorite Mexican, Steph, and she said, “Maybe because then we’d be embarrassed to refuse it?” OK, I looked this up and apparently, Lincoln didn’t think it was a great idea for us to annex Texas in 1846, which Mexico still considered one of their states. Here’s what the Constitution Center says about the Mexican-American War. I think time has proven Lincoln correct, but this is a purely modern political feeling. Chapultepec park is divided by a huge highway and we decided to explore the part we had not seen before. It was much quieter (the museums and castle are in the other part), but unfortunately, there always wasn’t any food. What’s a death march without an exploratory detour? Not much in our book.

We were pretty hungry by then, so we headed for a sure thing: The touristy area outside Chapultepec Castle. There are cafes with tables and tons of booths selling snacks and souvenirs. Sitting down seemed like a good plan, but our waiter was less than attentive (we had to ask three times for our drinks). No fork? OK. Seems like they had two forks and two knives and were washing them as they went along. My food arrived way before Steven’s (which didn’t prevent him from finishing before me) and it was all edible. We were so hungry, quality was not our priority.

Suitably refreshed, we walked back to our place to chill before dinner. Adios Bosque de Chapultepec for now.

We had tried to go to Mercado Independencia (warning: Insta link) last weekend, but it closes at 11 p.m. Mexico City is weird. It doesn’t get started early and it doesn’t seem to stay opened late. People are on the streets, but restaurants and bars seem to get shuttered, especially around El Centro. Our neighborhood is a bit better, but not much. Anyway, the mercado is a fancy food court with a bunch of restaurants. Representatives from each one bring you menus and when you know where you want to order from, you hold up the menu and a waiter comes by.

All the food was delicious. Steven had something called a machete, see above, which is a very long taco with three different fillings, but the place was loud, so we retreated. We wanted to go to a rooftop bar and look over the city, but this was the second Saturday that they were having a private event, so we sat at a bar on the street and had a beer. We are going to miss Teresa and Steph, but will see them in September for their wedding!

We hopped in an Uber on the way home and as per usual taxis and Ubers don’t have to obey the red lights, especially after 11 p.m (our Uber on the way to the Mercado ignored the closed street sign too – he just went around the barrier and carried on). We don’t mind at all since it gets us home faster. I’ve seen it done in front of the police, so I think it’s just an unwritten rule. Drivers have to earn a living too.

Friday night, we went out for delicious Italian food at Las Musas de PapáSibarita (warning, another Insta link). To finish off our meal – I had lentil soup and linguini putanesca and Steven had gnocchi with pesto and pizza – we had liquore de basilico, an Italian basil liqueur (plus a torte of chocolatey goodness). Several of the best restaurants we have been to are right around the corner from us. We really got lucky with location this time. We’re in a convenient neighborhood that’s at the edge of gringoland, so actual Mexican people still live and work here, but it offers all the conveniences we love: mercado, supermarket, street food, restaurants, Metro access, safety. I’m sure it’s expensive for people making pesos, unless their making a lot of them.

Speaking of great food, Thursday we ate tree food. Well, we call it tree food because the stand is next to a giant tree and people stand around eating. We kept passing it and saying, “We should try the tree food; it’s always crowded.” Well, we in now-or-never territory, so we finally made it over there. Wow! That was some good food. Steven had tacos and a burrito al pastores and I (surprise) had veggie tacos. Here, veggie does not mean cheese and beans. It’s typically nopales, mushrooms and/or flor de calabaza (zucchini flower). All the street food stands here have several different salsas, limes and sometimes onions and other fixings you add yourself. You order, they give you the food, you eat, and when you’re done, you tell the guy what you ate and he totals it up. The honor system. Weird.

We’re a bit tired today (Sunday), so we had a leisurely coffee and pastry at the cafe down the block and then when we got restless (Yankees were losing badly again) so we took a nice stroll through the park like the old people that we are. We also spent some time discussing our evenings for the upcoming week. There’s still plenty of good food to be eaten. I am spoiled and don’t think I’ll be eating any U.S. Mexican food for some time unless no one in the place speaks English.

One thing I will not miss is the need to soak all your produce in antibacterial liquid before you eat it. It’s become habit and it’s really not a big deal, We had run out because I accidentally did not buy the prewashed lettuce. I’m sorry, but washing and drying lettuce is a real pain without a salad spinner. I always thought those were a waste of space but I have changed my tune. So, back to the supermercado we went.

2 thoughts on “A Week of Lasts

  1. Esther Getto

    It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend. So happy for you. Can’t wait to see you on Saturday.
    Love and Hugs,


  2. Pingback: News, views and booze – Doing It On The Road

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