5 days in D.F.-critique my itinerary please!
My husband and I will be spending 5 days in Mexico City in May, arriving on a Thursday afternoon and leaving on Monday afternoon. We're staying at the Camino Real. I have a proposed eating/sightseeing schedule, but I could use more local advice. My husband is from Mexico originally, so language should not be an issue. Please critique!
Lunch: Maria Bonita (for ant eggs?) or El Fogoncito (what to order?) or any other suggestions near our hotel?
Sightseeing: Anthropology museum
Dinner: 9p reservations at Pujol
Breakfast: El Bajio
Lunch: Contramar (what to order?)
Sightseeing: National Museum (Diego Rivera murals), Templo Mayor
Dinner: 9p reservations at Izote
Dinner: 9p reservations at Jaso
Lunch somewhere, maybe the market in Coyoacan
Sightseeing: Frida Kahlo museum, Diego Rivera/Frida Kahlo House
Margaritas at San Angel Inn (do I need reservations for margaritas?)
Dinner: 9p reservations at Solea
1p reservations at Tezka
Thanks in advance for your advice and suggestions!
I just returned from Mexico City. Highlights from the trip included fried quesadillas filled with chicharron and huitlacoche from the quesadilla market in Coyoacan. The tasting menu paired with Mexican wines at Pujol played like a modern love song to traditional Mexican cuisine. The flavors were clean, worked harmoniously, and made me want to weep for the Mexican childhood I never had. My hands down favorite dish was the huarache topped with a carpaccio of Wagyu strip steak. I also had a fantastic meal at Jaso, where the foie gras ravioli with black truffles had to have been the single most seductive dish I've eaten in years. Take your sweetie there if you can. The margarita and martini service at the San Angel Inn was everything you chowhounders promised. There is nothing more relaxing than a mid-afternoon martini in a rose garden filled with music from a live and talented trio. Ironically, Pancho Villa and General Zapata, who once met at the San Angel Inn and were defenders of the working poor, would have been livid to see Mexico's upper crust blithely asserting their class privilege on these revolutionary stomping grounds.
Aside from the fried empanada stuffed with plantains and beans, El Bajio was disappointing. Their carnitas and mole de olla were nothing special (the mole de olla tasted of powdery, uncooked spices), and the prices smacked of highway robbery given the meal's mediocrity.
This was a great trip. Thanks for all your advice and recommendations!
Sounds like a fantastic trip! A few comments for what they're worth:
* Possibly consider switching your Teotihuacan trip to a weekday vs. weekend to minimize tourist crowds somewhat. I recommend leaving Polanco around 7:30-7:45AM to beat both tourist buses + the heat-- gets pretty warm in the afternoon these days. You should be able to have a taxi take you & wait for you for ~$60 or so; check w/your hotel for suggestions.
* Here's some commentary from my recent trip to Izote if you're interested: http://www.midwesternerinmexico.com/2009/03/02/dinner-at-izote/
* I am a fan of Bazaar Sabado in San Angel + Coyoacan in the afternoon on Saturdays. Lots of interesting art pieces + souvenir options. Recommend arriving around 10AM to again beat the heat + herds of gringos. (more info: http://www.midwesternerinmexico.com/2008/08/06/saturday-in-san-angel/)
* Be sure to set aside one meal for Tacos Al Pastor. El Tizoncito is a good option in Condesa: www.eltizoncito.com.mx/ Or El Huequito in the centro: http://www.insidemex.com/taste/food/taste-insight-tacos-al-pastor-nicholas-gilman
* Pujol and Jaso are both fantastic food & service. I recommend the seafood tasting menu + wine pairings at Pujol. They may not be as bustling with people @ night, but the food was still great.
* If you have time/energy in the afternoon after a morning Teotihuacan visit, I recommend the Castillo de Chapultepec in the park. Close to your hotel; gorgeous views of the park/city. If you're feeling sluggish, skip the initial museum section & spend time in the castle/gardens
* There are several cantinas in the Centro that are a good stops for a drink/snack; I put together a map of a few spots. I would probably pick La Mascota (http://www.midwesternerinmexico.com/2...)
Language might still be a barrier... DFeno can be much different than other Mexican Spanish dialects.
Most importantly... if its your first trip to DF and you aren't going to the Antropology Museum than you should just cancel your trip.
9PM reservations at places like Solea, Pujol & Izote & Jaso will guarantee you get the B-Team... you need to find hot night time spots like Contramar and others in Condessa.
The most important meal of the day is 2PM Comida... this is when the A-team works. Dinner has traditional been a very light supper even if its late... Pastries & Hot Chocolate... maybe go out for some garnachas etc., But the top notch, multi course meals are almost all eaten in the early afternoon.
As Mexico's schedule has begun to synch a little more to US & Europe.. there has been greater interest in late night, fancy meals... but they are usually of the Botana / Tapas / "Pupus" variety... small bites at a rowdy, hip place where the Tequila, conversation & music is more important. The romantic dinner date is starting to get more common in DF but not enough to guarantee top notch service & food at most places.... best you can do for dinners is to stick to small, mid level places in Condessa.
Of course, if you are willing to be adventurous & hire a private driver & escort... the blue collar suburbs have wonderful dining experiences at night.
I'm not usually contrarian, but I have to respectfully disagree. Going out to dinner (at least among ppl middle class+ in their 20s and 30s) is completely normal and incredibly common - all my friends, all lifetime chilangos, go out to dinner both Friday and Saturday every weekend to try restaurants. True, there's some places that are really only popular at lunch, but there are others that are much more popular for dinner. I've been to Jaso, Biko at night several times each and the room has always been full to the gills by 10pm (ideal reservation time here ... 9pm the room will be half full) and the service great. Solea and Izote are much less full at night because they cater more to the foreign business/hotel crowd. For some reason Izote is not super popular with my chilango friends, although I think the food is great.
That's not to say that you aren't going to be fine following the traditional comida + light dinner plan - it's also totally normal and probably less caloric way to travel. :-) However, comida + nice dinner out is just as normal. With food as good as it is in el DF, people are more than happy to eat big at 3pm and again at 10pm.
I've had the escamoles at Maria Bonita and they were good, though they were much better at Izote. I had cena there one evening, the rest of the meal was rather underwhelming. Since you're staying at the Camino Real don't forget to check out the Blue Bar. I love the architecture of that hotel
You shouldn't need reservations for margaritas at the San Angel. Their margarita service is wonderful and the drinks themselves slide down really easily :-D
Have a great time in D.F.
Your Friday eating schedule sounds like it will involve way too much food. Breakfast at El Bajío is not a light meal, and neither is comida (late lunch) at Contramar. And topping all that with dinner at Izote--you will not be able to move, you will be so stuffed. But you'll be happy.
Having said that, when you're at Contramar, order the pescado a la talla Contramar, and be sure to have it both red and green. It's their signature dish and out of this world. Order the tostadas de atún for an appetizer, you won't want to miss those either.
A word of advice: get to Contramar early, right when they open. Otherwise your wait for a table could be as much as an hour. They don't take reservations.
Yes, the market in Coyoacán is open on Sundays.
Your schedule sounds good, and not insanely over-booked. The market in Coyoacan has good eats, but I can't remember if it is open on Sundays or not. Probably is, since it's such a weekend spot, but just something that caught my eye. If it isn't, there are plenty of other options and it's a nice place to stroll around.