We have reached point where we are panicking that we will miss something, mostly either some food or a cultural site. We started the weekend off on Friday night by re-visiting La Casa De Toño, a fast food place. We had tentative plans to see our friends, Stephanie, Teresa & Vanessa (henceforth to be referred to as the tres amigas), but they fell through due to work commitments. Stephanie & Vanessa are both accountants, so quarter end can be a busy time for them. Anyway, left to our own devices, Sue and I opted for an easy, fast meal.
Saturday, Sue and I decided to make it a full day adventure. We rode bikes to El Centro and headed to a restaurant called El Cardenal. It is a breakfast place that is in a very ornate building. It is one of the must does/sees in Mexico City. The food was fine, the building is nice, but in the end it wasn’t anything really special. Just something to tick off the list.
After breakfast, we walked around the corner to the central post office (this is in Spanish, if you would like to read it in another language, you can use a Chrome ot Firefox browser and select it to translate the article). It is a gorgeous building and while they say it is a museum, it is really just a showcase for the architecture. It was built during the reign of Porfirio Diaz, who is a very controversial figure in Mexican history. He became president following a series of uprisings and coups. He eliminated elections and ruled for about 35 years. During that time, he ruthlessly crushed rebellions, of which there were quite a few, and allowed little dissent. However, he also promoted modernization of the country and invested massive amounts into infrastructure and culture to build a cohesive society. As I said, he is a controversial figure.
We crossed the street and headed into the National Museum of Art. It is another gorgeous building, built around the same time as the post office. It was previously the Communications and Public Works Palace. (I guess it makes sense for the public works building to be one of the nicest buildings built by the department of public works.) While the building is very beautiful, the art that it houses is even nicer. It is full of the work of Mexican artists, including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Jesse Orozo and David Siqueiros. Most of the work is paintings, but there are some sculptures. It is a great museum and we really enjoyed ourselves. A quick note for those of you who click the link and see the price of $80 per person. Please be aware that in Mexico, the symbol for the peso is $, just like the symbol in the United States is $ for a dollar. The U.S. dollar is worth about 18 Mexican pesos, so the entrance price in dollars is $4.44.
Once we had finished raising our cultural level, we did the only reasonable thing. We headed around the corner to Plaza Garibaldi and went to the Museum of Tequila and Mezcal. It is a small museum that describes the history of tequila and mezcal. They are essentially the same product, a distilled form of the agave cactus. Tequila is limited to only blue agave and is only made in the state of Jalisco. Mezcal is made elsewhere in Mexico, much of it in the state of Oaxaca, but not limited to there and is made from any type of agave. Mezcal tends to made by burning the agave and that gives is a smokier flavor. Tequila is usually baked or steamed, so it does not tend to be smoky. More importantly, the entrance fee of the museum comes with tastings of both. So after our (brief) tour of the museum, we headed in the bar and tasted a bit of both. Plaza Garibaldi is known for the roaming mariachi bands, who will serenade you for a small fee. Once again, it is one of the can’t miss things in Mexico City. The bar of the museum faces the square, so while we were doing our tasting we were serenaded by a mariachi band. It was nice, but we liked the bands we heard in Tlaquepaque, when we were in Guadalajara better.
After our tasting and musical interlude, we hopped on the subway and headed home for a quick rest. We had evening plans for dinner with the tres amigas, a postponement from Friday night. We headed to Teresa & Stephanie’s for a drink and then we went around the corner to Taqueria Tavo’s Buenavista for dinner. The food was perfect Mexican food. Fresh, cheap, fast and delicious. We had a quick meal and then headed out to sample the nightlife. Stephanie and Teresa took us first to one of their local bars, which was just a hole in the wall dive bar (una barra mala muerte en español). The best part about it was that two of the patrons were sleeping at their tables. The wait staff paid no attention to them and at various times the woke up, had a quick drink and fell back to sleep. I guess since no one was snoring, there was no need to bother them.
Our second stop was at a slightly nicer, much larger and much noisier place. They had a band playing traditional Mexican music and lots of people were dancing, some in front of the band, some just next to their tables. Stephanie taught (tried to teach) both Teresa and Sue how to dance, and she was assisted at some points by one of the other patrons. It was very fun.
We headed to another place with a rooftop bar that overlooked the Monument to the Revolution, unfortunately they were having a private party. We all decided that it was getting late, so we called it a night and headed home.
Sunday, Sue and I headed to Ciudadela Market, which is an artisan market in El Centro. We were tired from the late night, and the amount of exercise we got on Saturday, so we took the subway to and from market. It is tourist-focused market, meaning there are lots of Mexican crafts of all qualities from beautiful hand made copper pots to machine made woven blankets with American sport team logos. We wandered throughout the market, but nothing seemed worth buying (it’s difficult to think about buying decorative items or housewares when everything you own is in storage and you don’t have any idea when you want that to change) and we headed back to our neighborhood for lunch at a local taco stand (una fonda) where we ate the first day we arrived. We spent the rest of Sunday relaxing as it had been a busy weekend.