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Mexico City during Christmas Time

Miss Needle Dec 3, 2012 12:40 PM

I'm planning a trip to Mexico City around the holidays and have a few questions. I will be in DF for 5 nights before I head off to the Yucatan peninsula. Unfortunately two of the nights fall on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which makes planning a bit more difficult.

1. Are the following markets open during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Merced, Jamaica, San Juan? And if they are open, is it so empty that I'd be better off visiting on another day?

2. I would like to try a wide variety of meals ranging from street food to higher end cuisine, concentrating on Mexican cuisine -- traditional and "nouveau." I think I've had a good handle on the street food and mid-range stuff but am looking for some input on the higher end meals. Pujol is closed during my stay. I was thinking of Izote (actually open on Christmas Eve) and Monte Cristo. I'm debating between Jaso and Azul Condesa. I'm leaning towards Azul as it's closer to our hotel and Jaso may be something I can find in my hometown of NYC. To complicate matters, I'd rather do my higher end meals at night versus the day as I will be in more casual attire for sightseeing during the day. I also don't want to tie up 2-2.5 hours of precious daylight hours eating when I could be visiting museums, temples, architectural sites, cathedrals, etc. I'd rather pick up something quick and continue sightseeing. Any thoughts?

3. Will I be able to get a cab from Monte Cristo restaurant?

4. Is Coox Hanal open for lunch during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

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  1. Miss Needle Dec 3, 2012 03:50 PM

    A couple of more questions:

    5. A Chowhounder wrote some very nice things about a restaurant in the town of Teotihuacan. How far of a walk is the town from the archeological site? We will not be renting a car but most likely getting there by bus.

    6. I know this is a tall order, but any recommendations for a place that is open on Sunday night after 7P?

    13 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle
      cristina Dec 4, 2012 05:32 PM

      The mercados you mention are open every day, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They may be somewhat reduced in the number of booths on the holidays themselves. I would suggest visiting the markets on the day after Christmas, and even then they may not be operating at full blast.

      I would go with Izote, since it is open on Christmas Eve. You might also want to look at Dulce Patria. Unfortunately most restaurants have not yet published their holiday schedules.

      Jaso is more typically US-style food than Mexican. Azul/Condesa OR Azul/Histórico would work--if they are open. I don't know yet what their schedules will look like.

      Cabs will be running, but probably fewer than usual.

      Coox Hanal has not yet announced its holiday schedule.

      The restaurant near Teotihuacán is La Gruta. It's located on the eastern perimeter around Teotihuacan, 500 meters down the road across from the "Puerta No. 5" entrance--walking distance.

      Try the Restaurante Diana at Hotel St. Regis for Sunday evening high-end dining.

      Once I know more about schedules, I'll post back here. There's another thread asking similar questions about New Year's Eve.

      Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

      1. re: cristina
        Miss Needle Dec 5, 2012 08:11 AM

        Cristina, thanks so much for your response. Dulce Patria looks wonderful and I'll try to see if I can fit it anywhere. Luckily I found out that El Bajio will be open for lunch on Christmas day and have planned to go to the Anthropology Museum and do lunch at the Polanco location. I know that many say go to the original one, but as a tourist with limited time convenience is important.

        The restaurant I was talking about at Teotihuacan isn't La Gruta. It's El Porton. Is this close to the archeological site? And as I was planning on Teotihuacan on Christmas Eve, I'm also hoping it would be open.

        http://www.quebuscasmexico.com.mx/hyr...

        1. re: Miss Needle
          cristina Dec 5, 2012 11:34 AM

          I called El Portón. They are open every day of the year EXCEPT Dec. 25, when they are closed.

          Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

          1. re: Miss Needle
            Soul Vole Dec 5, 2012 02:54 PM

            Miss Needle, I'm curious where you heard about this place, El Portón.

            At first I thought that can't be right -- El Portón is a chain of Denny's-like restaurants, similar to VIPS, nothing special. But apparently there is a restaurant in the town there with the same name: http://quebuscasmexico.com.mx/hyr/producto.php?id_producto=31. If you click on the map link you'll see that indeed it's just outside the north end of the site.

            I couldn't find much else on it, so I'm curious.

            Meanwhile the place Cristina and Beach Chick mention, La Gruta, is an excellent choice when visiting Teotihuacan. The food is decent in my experience and the cave setting is unique. It's ideal for cooling off and relaxing a bit before or after some pyramid climbing.

            EDIT: Ah, here it is: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/517987. High praise. I'd give it a try, maybe just have a drink at La Gruta?

            1. re: Soul Vole
              cristina Dec 5, 2012 04:34 PM

              Like you, Soul Vole, I thought it was the *other* El Portón. Ick. Then I noticed Miss Needle's link and bingo, completely different place. Hence my call.

              Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

              1. re: cristina
                Miss Needle Dec 5, 2012 06:07 PM

                Really appreciate you calling them for me! My Spanish is not very good. It took me forever to make a reservation at Dulce Patria. For some reason Azul Condesa keeps hanging up on me. I've called them about 9 times and they hang up before I have a chance to say something. Either they have some phone issues or they hang up as soon as they see an international #. Frustrating. Opentable.com is making my life a bit easier. Too bad more restaurants aren't on it in Mexico City.

                Oh, and I found out about the Medellin night market. I think I'll have my Sunday night dinner (snack) there.

                1. re: Miss Needle
                  cristina Dec 5, 2012 06:12 PM

                  The Mercado Medellín night Christmas market is big fun. We were there on Saturday night and I am dying to go back again. Lots of fondas...and the best champurrado I have ever tasted.

                  Do you still need a reservation at Azul/Condesa? PM me (patalarga@baddog.com) with your particulars (date, time, # in party) and I will call them.

                  Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                  1. re: Miss Needle
                    Soul Vole Dec 5, 2012 08:18 PM

                    Twitter is a good way to communicate with restaurants, at least those that are active on it. A great many in Mexico City are. If the person on the other end doesn't speak English they can generally find somebody who does. And many restaurants will take reservations via Twitter.

                    Azul Condesa/Historico are particularly active and responsive on Twitter.

                  2. re: cristina
                    Soul Vole Dec 5, 2012 08:13 PM

                    Oops, I did not see the link at the bottom of Miss Needle's post (which is why I dug up and posted the exact same link). I guess because my head was buzzing -- El Portón?! I must put a stop to this madness at once! :-)

                    I'm surprised Walmart's lawyers haven't forced them to change the name. Flying under the radar I guess.

                    Anyway, Miss Needle, if you do try them I'll be anxious to hear what you think. Very intrigued.

                    1. re: Soul Vole
                      Miss Needle Jan 14, 2013 04:03 PM

                      Sorry I didn't get around to trying El Porton. I kind of lost my appetite due to the high altitude. On the day I visited Teotihuacan (Christmas Eve), DH and I shared 1 tamal and 1 bag of chips for breakfast and lunch. We were pretty hungry as the evening rolled around and were looking forward to our reservation at Izote which we made on opentable. I have to say that we were pretty pissed off when we arrived at Izote only to find it closed! Tired and hungry, I was aware there weren't going to be too many options open on Christmas Eve. We ended up having a lovely, but very expensive meal at the Four Seasons.

                      1. re: Miss Needle
                        cristina Jan 15, 2013 11:53 AM

                        Miss Needle, I'm so sorry your plans for Izote did not work out.

                        I believe that this is an excellent object lesson in "what works in the USA does not always work in Mexico". Open Table is a great tool--North of the Border. Here in Mexico, many businesses are just barely becoming used to answering email; many don't, even though their advertising includes an email address. The business may be listed on Open Table, but may pay absolutely no attention to it when push comes to shove.

                        Open hours during holiday periods are ALWAYS iffy, especially if the holiday in question falls on a Sunday. That's why I offered several people the option to call various restaurants to check their hours during Christmas/New Year. Ordinarily, if a restaurant says it will be open from XPM to XXPM on such-and-such a date, it will be open those hours. Unfortunately, most restaurants wouldn't think of updating their openings and closings during holidays.

                        Miss Needle, I hope that other than that one big glitch, your trip was excellent.

                        http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                        1. re: cristina
                          Miss Needle Jan 30, 2013 04:45 PM

                          Yes, I had such a marvelous time in Mexico City. Wish I was there a bit longer to sample more food but managed to try quite a variety. Some of my highlights:

                          Monte Cristo -- the best tortillas I have ever had by leaps and bounds; they had such a lovely toasted corn flavor. I don't know what they do to the corn but it was so different than many freshly made handmade tortillas I've had in the past

                          Coox Hanal -- the papadzules were quite lovely; will try to replicate this at home

                          Tostadas Coyoacan -- amazing how quickly the men are in assembling the delicious tostadas

                          Mercado de Antojitos in Coyoacan -- best squash blossom quesedilla I've ever had; much more flavorful than what I've had in the US

                          Azul Condesa -- the duck bunelos in black mole were wonderful; best mole I've ever had. Cristina, thanks again for making the reservations.

                          Dulce Patria -- overall the best meal I've had in DF

                          Tacos guisado on corner Insurgentes and Tlaxcala -- perfect breakfast food

              2. re: cristina
                b
                Beach Chick Dec 5, 2012 08:19 AM

                One of the highlights when I lived briefly in Mexico City was the restaurant, La Gruta, near Teotihuacán.

            2. s
              shouzen Jan 3, 2013 03:49 PM

              We were in Mexico City between Xmas and the New Year, and the best meal we ate was a lunch at Quintonil. Very clean flavours, a seamless fusion of traditional and contemporary (and that bread, ohhhhh, I'm still dreaming of that crusty house-baked raisin bread with salsa and frijoles negros). I wonder why it doesn't get more love here.

              PS: thank you to Cristina for making reservations at Dulce Patria for us! :)

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