I arrived in Mexico City (CDMX) around 3 pm local time. The pollution looks as bad as Los Angeles on some days.
I took an Uber to my Air BnB in La Roma district. Nice, large windows with a view of some buildings in Roma.
I took a pleasant stroll through Roma to neighboring Condesa for dinner. The area is very walkable. I learned that crossing the street meant inserting your way through traffic. There aren't any signs of when it's safe to walk in this area. You cross when it's clear. Don't forget that cars don't give pedestrians the right of way.
For dinner, I chose Fonda Mayora because it is the new restaurant of chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo of Nico's. In charge in the kitchen is chef Eric Daniel Gonzalez Torres. I heard that Nico's is well-respected with chefs and locals. Nico's is a bit out of the way, so I chose this place because of its proximity to Roma. They had only one person who spoke English, but he didn't really completely understand my order of the house mole and sopes. I waited about an hour for my food to arrive because there was a misunderstanding. He didn't put the order in because I wanted to keep my menu. I ordered a glass of mezcal as I waited for my dinner.
For street food, I decided to take my third Club Tengo Hambre food tour. I've taken tours with them in Tijuana and Ensenada. I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences with them and wanted to try their tour in CDMX. The meeting location was a Palacio Belles Artes. It was a small group. Joining me were two friends traveling from Los Angeles and another solo woman traveler from DC.
First stop was Quesadillas Lights for a variety of quesadillas. The best quesadillas I've tasted so far.
Drinks were next. We headed to Pulqueria Duelistas for a tasting. Pulque is made from fermenting agave. We had different fruit flavors from red wine, mango to guava. I wanted to come back for more if I had more time in the city.
Next stop was Taqueria las Aguilas for guisados-style tacos. I ordered the chicharron tacos. Gelatinous in a good way and full of flavor. Also, the best I've tasted guisados-style tacos I've tasted so far.
After our guisados-style tacos, we headed over to try the al pastor tacos at El Huequito, an institution in CDMX. The taste was different from the al pastor we have in Los Angeles. I would say that it had a tastier meat and texture unfamiliar. No pineapple on top on these tacos.
When we arrived at Ricos Tacos Toluca, I was surprised to see green chorizo. I've never heard of it before. I was told that the best Mexican cooks are from Toluca. Yes, that's a french fry on top. This was one of my most favorite bites along the food crawl. With only three stars on Yelp, it was one of the places where you questioned some of the reviewers. It seems to be quite popular on Instagram. I've seen it a couple times since my trip from CDMX.
We tried tlacoyo on the street. They were quite bland at this spot. I hear that El Parnita serves tlacoyo as well. We also tried tacos de canasta at Taquería El Flaco, but we ate those tacos immediately that I didn't get to take a picture. It was also packed and hard to move around at that taqueria.
We visited two Mercado San Juan. One was the famous gourmet market where chefs buy exotic, artisan ingredients. The other one described as being "for the poor."
After the tour, the two fellow Angelenos wanted to go up to the Torre Latinoamerica to see an aerial view of the city. Skip the admission fee to go up the tower. Take the elevator up to the restaurant and take in the view with a drink. We did a craft beer tasting and shared 3 bottles between the 3 of us.
After we had drinks at the top of the tower, we walked backed to Palacio Belles Artes to see the murals and the art in a temporary exhibition hall. You'll find David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, and José Clemente Orozco. We parted ways after while I walked around to see the rest of the district.
The police were present in riot gear as I walked around Centro.
I decided on something a bit healthier to start at MeroToro, chef Jair Téllez's Baja Californian restaurant in DF. Chef has another restaurant called Laja in the Guadalupe Valley. MeroToro is on San Pellegrino's list of "Best Restaurants in Latin America" ranking at #26. Chef is based in CDMX There were mostly (it seemed) well-heeled locals dining at the restaurant. I didn't really hear any English spoken. My servers spoke little English. I had to use Google translate to understand some of the ingredients in the menu.
Pork jowl (cured pig cheeks), brocolli, poached egg -- the standout dish per San Pellegrino in the World's Best feature.
Cocktail con tepache (fermented pineapple) and mezcal. Great people watching at this restaurant. It's sceney... a place to be seen.
Street art I found while walking in Condesa on my way to Roma. It's a thing. There's an organized street tour I was going to take all in Spanish, but unfortunately I didn't have time.
I am obsessed with conchas. A local recommended that I try the concha at Fonda Garufa. She said that her blogger friend said that these were the best in the city.
A must visit in CDMX is the Frida Kahlo museum. I recommend buying tickets online or arriving right before they open for the day which is what I did.
The clothing of Frida Kahlo on display in the exhibition space. Vogue is one of the sponsors.
Lunch at Mercado Coyoacan is a must after a visit to the Frida Kahlo museum. There were two main vendors selling tostadas. I picked this one since this is where I snagged a seat at the bar. Apparently the other vendor next to this one is better I found out later.
Tostada de pulpo (octopus)
Tostada de atun (tuna)
Dancing in the central plaza in Coyoacan on a Sunday afternoon. Made me smile watching this man teach this young lady how to dance. The best part of traveling is observing the local way of life.
While in Coyoacan, a visit to Leon Trotsky's house is another must. I recommend getting an English-speaking guide to take you on a tour of the home.
I walked by this cemetery in Coyoacan. It was starting to rain and there was a service going on so I didn't get to take a stroll as I usually do whenever I pass by a cemetery during my travels.
I enjoyed my visit to Cineteca Nacional and was tempted to watch a film, but there was much more to see in CDMX. I stopped by to see the architecture by Rojkind Arquitectos. I discovered that this is a large movie theater playing more art house or classics rather than blockbuster films.
With the rain, I needed a place I could walk around indoors for a bit. This is the top attraction of CDMX, Museo Nacional de Antropologia.
I caught Javiera Mena (Chilean artist) in concert at a nearby theater with opening act Ruzzi. I wanted to get a taste of the indie music scene.
On Sundays, most places seem to be closed so I had dinner at this Oaxacan chain restaurant, La Casa de la Tlayuda, with locations in CDMX and Tijuana. This is where I tried the local delicacy chapulines (grasshoppers). It had a citrusy, nutty flavor.
Tejate, a pre-Hispanic chocolate drink
Arroz con leche
For breakfast, I had Panaderia Rosetta, considered by some as the best bakery in CDMX.
The place is tiny. There's bar seating and I was able to find a seat when I arrived. I suggest going early. I ordered a chocolate croissant and an Americano. After breakfast, I took an Uber to the bus station where I boarded the bus to Teotihuacán. They have buses running every 20 minutes.
The bus dropped us off at the entrance gate. From there, you take a walk passing through the ruins to see the pyramids. I took a look and thought twice about the climb. I knew if I didn't climb it, I would regret it so up I went.
I later found out about La Gruta restaurant located near Door 5.
I would check that out if I were you even for just a drink or snack. Looks like an awesome location for a restaurant.
In my Uber in CDMX.
For a late lunch, I visited Fonda Fina. Chef Jorge Vallejo's of Quintonil's (San Pellegrino's #1 restaurant in Mexico in their Latin America list) new spot with executive chef Juan Cabrera (previously executive chef of the restaurant Tierra Mia in Guadalajara with experience working the kitchens of El Bulli, Le Cirque, Pujol, Quintonil, and El Cardenal). This is not your average fonda. This is one of the hottest restaurants in Mexico City.
I went with the menu of the day which included three courses -- a soup, main course, agua fresca, and dessert. I chose the tortilla soup to start. The most sophisticated style of tortilla soup I've tasted. To drink, I selected a refreshing mango agua fresca with a hint of mint.
Corunas, Michoacán-style tamales. More complex in flavor than the tamales you might find on the street corner.
I chose flan for dessert. I wasn't so much of a fan of their flan as I prefer a creamier flan.
After my walk through Roma, I decided to have a few oysters, mezcal, and beer at chef Thomas Bermudez's La Docena. It's a chef-driven restaurant from Guadalajara (with two locations in Guadalajara) and it's where I've seen top chefs eat during my research. I was assigned an English-speaking server who was very attentive and charming...
Roma at night
For breakfast, a local recommended chef Eduardo Garcia's Lalo! in Roma. A bread basket was passed around the communal table for us to choose from. Excellent croissant, good local coffee, and fresh squeezed orange juice.
I was told the dish to order was the escamole (ant larvae) con huevos (eggs).
As a casual fan of architecture and design, I made a reservation to visit Casa Luis Barragan, the home of a world-renowned architect. To take photos, they charge $25. Crazy. Expensive.
Walking distance from Casa Luis Barragan is Casa Gilardi. You'll need to make a reservation in advance to visit and you'll also have to pay a fee for the current occupant to show you around.
Museo Jumex was closed so I walked over to Museo Soumaya next door...
I was told the exterior design was more fascinating than the art inside Soumaya.
I stopped by Borrego Viudo for tacos. It's a bit far from the commercial district. They are known for their longanisa and suadero tacos. My favorite though and standout was their tepache.
For dinner, I returned to Lalo! for pulpo (octopus).
Next up is a day trip to Puebla! I bought a bus ticket online with Estrella Roja before my trip from CDMX to Puebla. I missed my bus as I didn't arrive at the airport on time. Fortunately, I was able to hop on the next bus at 50% off. I met my Soy Poblana food and city tour guide at Catedral Basilica de Puebla.
First stop was to try a melote at Antojitos La Poblanita...
and a pelona.
Capilla del Rosario -- a must see.
This might be the most beautiful church I've seen in my life.
This photo does not reflect the details and how it looks in person.
Muegano at Dulceria La Colonial de Santa Clara where behind the candy store, there was a Talavera workshop.
Next up on the tour was La Poblana to try the totopo con mole and...
and the chalupa con mole. It was really flavorful, but really oily when I folded it up to eat. I didn't want to eat too many.
Next up, tacos arabes at Taquería Las Ranas and...
taco de al pastor at Taquería Las Ranas. Tasted so much better than the al pastor taco I tried in CDMX.
The best al pastor I've had yet!
Biblioteca Palafoxiana was established in 1646. It was the first public library in colonial Mexico, and some say that it is the first public library in the Americas.
The moment I was waiting for. A taste of cemitas in Puebla! My favorite bite while in Puebla.
Next up was a taste of pasita, which is a family owned bar, founded in 1916.
The most picturesque and famous part of the historic center of Puebla. A great photo opportunity spot.
To close out my trip, I chose to have dinner at chef Eduardo Garcia's Maximo Bistrot Local. I wasn't given an English-speaking server nor did they offer me a menu in English. They obviously don't cater to tourists.
This scallop dish I didn't order, but was sent to me compliments of the kitchen.
The recommended lechon confit with mole sauces was delicious, but not my favorite of the food I tried in CDMX and Puebla. My expectations were probably too high for this restaurant. Service could have been better, but I realized that this isn't a restaurant catering to tourists on the gastrotourist trail compared to a restaurant like Pujol which a local told me to skip. I enjoyed my visit more at sister restaurant, Lalo!, across the street more than Maximo Bistrot Local. I left with a feeling of a little bit more desired.
I thought 6 nights would be more than enough to explore the city, but I found that even almost a week in Mexico City is not enough to explore the sites and the food. I'll need to return sometime again in the future to explore this city even further.
I love exploring Los Angeles like a tourist. I have as much fun in my hometown as I do traveling to another country. I hope my adventures inspire you to eat well and travel often.