Really one of the most exciting urban experiences ever. I simply love the city. You hear all these horror stories about the air pollution, the traffic, crime, yet I’ve been there a few times and this is certainly not my recollection, maybe because it’s always been Holy Week and all the ‘bad hombres’ were out of town visiting their grandmothers? Anyway, the first trip we stayed at the W in Polanco and walked everywhere. Each morning started with a leisurely stroll to this fabulous neighborhood bakery that served the best breakfast I’ve ever had outside of our home. Freshly squeezed Grapefruit juice, bowls of blueberries, great breads and croissants, excellent coffee. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name, though as always in the Latin imagination it is on a quiet street on an ‘esquina’. We had to walk through the Lincoln Park in Polanco, with the statues and water features, where a dozen people would wish you a good morning, and the place was soon after. Anyway, lovely terrace with neat hedges, comfy furniture, sort of place where Theseus and Pirithous were stuck on the chairs of forgetfulness, the latter for eternity.
Not us, after breakfast we’d walk along Paseo de la Reforma, the principle artery of the town, and being Easter week the avenue was lined with stunning purple flowering trees, and on the side of the Anthropological Museum, the park was bordered with ornate iron railings that are punctuated every few meters with huge photographs illustrating many of the beautiful places around the country. The museum is well curated and really one of the great ones in the world, we particularly enjoy the epic Rufino Tamayo painting Dualidad depicting a brawl between a snake and a jaguar.
Dualidad at the Anthropological Museum
Moon Dog by Tamayo
There is also a Tamayo museum in the same park. The guy was genuinely a genius, kind of how Kanye describes himself? Anyway, love Tamayo’s colouring and representation. Check out his Moon Dog. Carrying on our walk, you reach the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the Art Nouveau/Neoclassical masterpiece, where you can see a replica of the Diego Rivera mural, ‘Man at the Crossroads’. The original at the Rockefeller Center in New York was destroyed after Rivera included a portrait of Donald Trump, or maybe it was Lenin? You can also view Rivera’s murals at the Education Ministry, where there is an open courtyard with a garden which is nice to sit in when you need a break from socialist propaganderizing. Seriously though, Rivera along with Orozco and Sequieros, produced some of the greatest examples of art as social and political commentary, and if social and political commentary is your thing for a holiday, you can also visit the Carlos Slim, or Soumaya Museum. The collection is a little chaotic, but otherwise an excellent day out. He has a decent collection of Dali’s on the top floor, along with Tintoretto, Chagall and a bust of Maximillian looking rather more regal than Manet’s portrayals.
Dali at Soumaya
Enough. Back to the food. On another visit to the city, we stayed with friends, Raul and Marco and they had heads-up on the best addresses. The first night was in the outdoor area at Blanco Colima in La Roma neighborhood. Low seating, excellent, I mean really excellent bocas, like pork tacos with beans, a great barman, beautiful clientele, artwork and a fantastic setting, whether the main house or the funky exterior. I often find myself thinking about the place. Really special.
Outdoor area at Blanco Colima
Another night we were at the Balmori Roofbar. Utterly spectacular. Really cool place, cool people, great music, fab cocktails and good nibbles. There was a thunder storm which we watched from under the comfort of the retractable roof that was later opened to enjoyed the balmy night air.
Dinner with friends?
These two places are amongst the best restaurant experiences I’ve ever had. Maybe this is what Rumsfeld was talking about with the cryptic reference to ‘known, unknowns’? How does a restaurant get it just right? The world is flush with obscene amounts of wealth in the hands of some really marginal people, who on a whim might choose to throw a bit of it at a hotel, or restaurant. It will inevitably be full of the most expensive stuff. The world class location, the tortured designer, the statement chef, the quirky crockery and earnest sommelier, but it might still not be the place you want to sit in for hours, eating, laughing, drinking, exchanging your most precious ideas with friends. The above two were definitely in that category.
Lou on the streets of CDMX
With my homies
Back to the cultural stuff. The Frida Kayla museum is fun, though most of her best works are elsewhere, such as the Dolores Olmedo Park in the south of the city. One of the things that I really appreciated was that the museums of the town are all full, particularly with local people, which illustrates the insatiable appetite for culture in the country. Much has been written about the sensitization of ‘people’ as a effective tool for the cultivation of, for example Humboldt’s definition, ‘the highest stage of development of which human nature is capable,’ so in a horribly troubled world, the answer might be bigger government grants for the arts, maybe taken from the ‘Menstrual Dignity Act’ budgets?
More food. On another visit and again staying in Polanco, we found a cute restaurant where the whole front was concertina French windows that opened onto a tiny park. They did an entire baked Cauliflower which I ate three consecutive evenings, washed down with an excellent Chilean Cab Sauv. Sorry that I can’t remember the names, but maybe this just illustrates the real pleasure and vibrancy of eating in MCDX that you can literally just walk into a great local eatery without the military planning before hand, making multiple reservations and structuring your trip around the hours when you’re required to be in a certain spot.
I got the shoes and belt.
Another remarkable day out was in the Zocalo, the man in square in the city. We asked the concierge at the hotel where we get some good photography of the Easter processions. They said we could get some great shots at the Zocalo. We jumped in a taxi and as we arrived, a group of fifty ‘bird men’ and women were assembling. The costumes, music, dancing was incredible. The city just keeps on giving, one remarkable memory after another.