Trip Report: Mexico, D.F., February 2023

Old Mar 15th, 2023, 11:17 AM
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Trip Report: Mexico, D.F., February 2023

We spent a week in Mexico City at the invitation of our daughters who rented the apartment and did the basic research for sightseeing and eating, making reservations where necessary.

We arrived at the airport. Money changing places everywhere, and it took some effort to find a bank ATM. There is one about 100 ft. from the official taxi reservation stands. From our limited withdrawals, it appears that all banks charge a 34 peso fee (roughly US $2) regardless of the amount withdrawn.

The taxi driver had difficulty finding the address. He stopped around the corner, then drove off to another address, and then went back to the original location. Fortunately on the first stop my wife found the number of the building around the corner, and on the second go-around I rang the bell and went in the building, which is how we found the place. Otherwise we were in the hands of our daughters who used Uber most of the time, except to go to Coyoacan and the Pedegral area where we used the Metrobus. The Uber drivers had no difficulty finding the address and stopped in front of the building’s entrance.

This trip report will be divided into several parts:

1. What we saw of tourist sites

2. Where we ate, when worth mentioning

3. Where we wandered

What we saw: murals, murals, murals was the most obvious in the E12 Palacio de Bellas Artes,

https://flic.kr/p/2ojJtGB
the Secretariat of Public Education headquarters complex combining the colonial customs house and and an enormous ex-convent with three stories of murals

https://flic.kr/p/2ojHHM6 https://flic.kr/p/2ojDJdc
Besides murals:

The Museo de Arte Popular

https://flic.kr/p/2ojJP2S
The Metropolitan cathedral

https://flic.kr/p/2ojDKmQ
The Museo Nacional de Antropología

https://flic.kr/p/2ojJBCS
The Frida Kahlo museum which was far more interesting than I expected given the mythic aura that seems to float around her personality—times reservations required.

https://flic.kr/p/2ojJQxQ
and the Gilardi House designed by Luis Barragán, reservations required:

https://flic.kr/p/2ojJER4
We ate well during this week. Here are some restaurants that deserve mention

Ecos del Mundo (5556587192) in Coyoacan which has its own international cuisine. My wife and I shared a pizza topped with grasshoppers (specialty of the house); crunchy but with a very mild flavor.

https://flic.kr/p/2ojGG2B
For what appears to be a traditional Mexico City lamb barbecue ($16 per person) we had lunch at El Hidalguense on the Calle Campeche. It’s not the only place serving this specialty, but all of them are open only on weekends—reservations recommended, and there was still a waiting time.

If visiting the Pedegral area, if only to visit the Church of Santa Cruz del Pedregal, best seen in the late afternoon when the sun adds color to the interior

https://flic.kr/p/2j2DWYN
the gallery/restaurant Tetetlan ($25 per person) would be a place to eat. There my wife had a vegetarian tlayuda and I had the one with meat. It’s a Oaxaca specialty which is a large tortilla topped with 4 different meats, including grasshoppers. This vegetarian version is appropriate for the squeamish.

https://flic.kr/p/2ojJSrV
The big splurge was Quintonil—US $300 per person for a prix fixe plus 3 cocktails, 4 glasses of wine and bottled water, but it was worth it. Everything fit together. However, the chef did a stint at Noma and follows its principle of local food, including in this instance various types of insects, all explained in a brochure presented with the menu.

https://flic.kr/p/2okuNQX
Do not go there if insects as food repels you. If interested, reservations are essential.

We also ate at Chalupitas, Alfonso Reyes 275, Colonia Condesa ($15 per person) and our daughter has this recollection:
“It was an unassuming place we walked to from our place in Condesa. Much less bougie than most places nearby. Someone ordered pozole. I ordered sopa azteca and a side of beans.”

Our last meal on this trip was in a local restaurant named Castizo ($35 per person), and was appropriately serving Spanish themed food. It was very good.

We stayed in the Condesa neighborhood, in a large apartment building with 24 hour security. The lobby looked fine, there was a gym for the tenants on the ground floor. The apartment itself was OK but cheaply constructed. The living room had fake wood floors, the two bedrooms had built in closets which in both cases had inoperable sliding doors. Our daughter tried to open a kitchen window, barely touched it when it fell down three stories in onto a glass overhang. The window was replaced within 24 hours. Our bathroom had a leaky toilet. In other words the public face of the building was misleading. Which makes me think that this may often be the case.

Wandering around the Condesa and Roma neighborhood, I was struck by the amount of greenery that was to be seen. The neighborhood were developed in the thirties, so that there are a lot of Art Deco buildings among the more modern apartment buildings. The streets have fully grown trees, and larger streets have a garden like pedestrian dividing the traffic.

https://flic.kr/p/2ojDY9t https://flic.kr/p/2ojJKGv
The sidewalks tend to be rough because of tree roots. One street corner had three different telephone booths, indicting that there are three telephone companies that do not share a common line. It is perhaps emblematic of Mexico’s electrical wiring system that can lead to images like this one.

https://flic.kr/p/2ojDZrU
I do not recall such obvious proliferations of overhead wires in Oaxaca or Puebla. We took a Turibus, mainly for its ride through the residential neighborhoods, which according to our daughter was an easy way to get a general impression. It turns out that that part of the circuit was eliminated, possibly because of the overhanging wires that could create problems for the double-decker bus.

What was forgotten must have been unimportant.

This is the Mexico City album: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAu9k7

And these are pictures of Mexican art taken over several trips: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAvstw

Last edited by Michael; Mar 15th, 2023 at 11:39 AM.
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 12:15 PM
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Thanks for the report. Was Uber not allowed from the airport? I used it my prepandemic trip but have read that they were going to crack down on the pickups.
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 12:15 PM
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Thanks! Enjoyed your TR. Was it really "US $300 per person"
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by yestravel
Thanks! Enjoyed your TR. Was it really "US $300 per person"
Yes, which is why I gave it per person, the higher number might have been more difficult to swallow.
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael
Yes, which is why I gave it per person, the higher number might have been more difficult to swallow.
UNREAL! Was it worth it?
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 01:24 PM
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I forgot to mention that we also experienced the Mexican medical system. My wife had sudden chest pain. We went to the emergency room recommended by local friends of our daughters which turned out to be 2 blocks from our apartment, but much longer by Uber. A full set of tests was done, nothing wrong discovered. Total cost: U.S. $1000. It turned out that Covid can create chest pain, and I was developing a severe cold. We both tested positive for Covid back home.

Last edited by Michael; Mar 15th, 2023 at 01:27 PM.
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by yestravel
UNREAL! Was it worth it?
Yes it was worth it. The one weak link was the soft shell crab dish.
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 01:28 PM
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Great photos, Michael. Sorry that you and your wife got sick! Are your daughters okay?
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael
I forgot to mention that we also experienced the Mexican medical system. My wife had sudden chest pain. We went to the emergency room recommended by local friends of our daughters which turned out to be 2 blocks from our apartment, but much longer by Uber. A full set of tests was done, nothing wrong discovered. Total cost: U.S. $1000. It turned out that Covid can create chest pain, and I was developing a severe cold. We both tested positive for Covid back home.
oh no! Sorry about that. I actually have dealt with the Mexican health care and was actually impressed with it,
hope you are better now.
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Leely2
Great photos, Michael. Sorry that you and your wife got sick! Are your daughters okay?
They're fine. They had Covid fairly recently and considered themselves immune. The irony is that we tended to wear masks, they did not.

Nothing wrong with the Mexican health care system as we experienced it.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 10:35 AM
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Great report and gorgeous photos. Thanks!
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 07:44 PM
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Nice report. Love the pics. Being an ex-phone company tech, I marvel at the mess of wires and how the techs there make heads or tails of them. The real thin wires are fiber optic, and the coils/loops of wire are as well. They coil them up because its virtually impossible to splice or shorten fiber in the field.
Those $34 peso atm fees aren't universal. I've seen them anywhere from $23 (Banbajio) to over $100. Banorte & Scotia are among the highest. As is Banregio, but that's a Monterrey bank so not likely any machines in cdmx. Generally I find Santander & Banamex fairly priced.

Last edited by baldone; Mar 16th, 2023 at 07:50 PM.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by yestravel
oh no! Sorry about that. I actually have dealt with the Mexican health care and was actually impressed with it,
hope you are better now.

Great to read this report and see the pics! Those electrical wires are almost an art installation!

I liked El Hidalguense so much (maybe 9 years ago now??), as barbacoa of lamb is a personal "last dinner on earth" dish for me. So glad it is still going strong. Such as easy city to like! So much to enjoy. Thank you.
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Old Mar 17th, 2023, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy
Great to read this report and see the pics! Those electrical wires are almost an art installation!

I liked El Hidalguense so much (maybe 9 years ago now??), as barbacoa of lamb is a personal "last dinner on earth" dish for me. So glad it is still going strong. Such as easy city to like! So much to enjoy. Thank you.
Hi eks! I always loved your foodie TR. have eaten at so many of your recs of the years-- been anywhere lately?

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Old Mar 17th, 2023, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy
Great to read this report and see the pics! Those electrical wires are almost an art installation!

I liked El Hidalguense so much (maybe 9 years ago now??), as barbacoa of lamb is a personal "last dinner on earth" dish for me. So glad it is still going strong. Such as easy city to like! So much to enjoy. Thank you.
As I think of it, the lamb is cooked at another site, because there is no way they can have pits on that location to cook the amount of lamb they serve. From a description of the restaurant:

One of El Hidalguense’s many wow-factors is its ability to control every part of the production process – from the feeding of animals to the selection of the agave leaves integral to the roasting process. The meat is wrapped in the leaves, then placed in underground pits roaring at temperatures over 400 F.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael
As I think of it, the lamb is cooked at another site, because there is no way they can have pits on that location to cook the amount of lamb they serve. From a description of the restaurant:

One of El Hidalguense’s many wow-factors is its ability to control every part of the production process – from the feeding of animals to the selection of the agave leaves integral to the roasting process. The meat is wrapped in the leaves, then placed in underground pits roaring at temperatures over 400 F.

That is absolutely true..the owner cooks the lamb in his pit in Hildalgo state and brings it to the DF restaurant. He gave me the whole story; I think I wrote a TripReport that covered the restaurant and some other food stuff. (and foodstuffs!!) I wish I knew how to post photos here...might try to figure it out...I remember having a discussion with that owner and him explaining that whole process of the cooking and the bringing it to the capital.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by baldone
Generally I find Santander & Banamex fairly priced.
Interesting because in Spain, Santander was the most expensive.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by yestravel
Hi eks! I always loved your foodie TR. have eaten at so many of your recs of the years-- been anywhere lately?

Yestravel...And I always savor YOUR reports! After a couple of years of no travel (or travel only to Florida) I am finally up and running again. Spent 3 nights in Jerez, 8 nights near Vejer in Cadiz province, an area which has become dear to my heart in recent years, and now finishing up with 3 nights in Madrid.
I have only 2 full days and it is now a "puente," or bridge (long weekend). I had an excellent dinner tonight and except for dinners, have no other plans for the next 2 days....very unusual for me! And I did spend about 10 days in Merida just when covid was beginning..that was the last trip for a couple of years...until now..hard to deal with that!! All the best, ek
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 04:11 PM
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Is the "Gilardi House designed by Luis Barragán" that you mention, the same as the Luis Barragán House and Studio? Is somewhere I "should" see? As of now my trip to Mexico is 15 nights in May-June, 8 nights/7 whole days in Mexico City.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelpianko
Is the "Gilardi House designed by Luis Barragán" that you mention, the same as the Luis Barragán House and Studio? Is somewhere I "should" see? As of now my trip to Mexico is 15 nights in May-June, 8 nights/7 whole days in Mexico City.
Different house. Our daughter tried to get reservations for Luis Barragán's own house but could not. Next door to Tetetlan restaurant in the Pedegral area was another Barragán house which apparently could be visited. The houose we saw is still occupied by the family. Reservations are essential although I had a distinct impression that the number limit was not strictly observed. The tour was by the son of the original owner. One sees only the public areas plus the living room and a study. The bedrooms are off limits, as is the kitchen. It was the last house designed by Barragán.
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