A Travellerspoint blog

Tortas El Cuadrilátero

sunny 31 °C

There is more to Mexican food than tacos and enchiladas. Take for instance the torta -- filled like an American sandwich, grilled like an Italian panino, and generally a celebration of excess and Mexican ingredients.

Speaking of Mexican and excess, consider lucha libre, the Mexican corollary to American pro wrestling, only all the fighters wear masks. It's pretty popular. But eventually, luchadores retire, and one opened a lucha libre-themed torta shop:

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Tortas el Cuadrilátero, or "Tortas from the Ring."

Some people will ask you if it's safe to eat in Mexico. I say, there's no country where a sandwich of hot dogs, sausage, ham, chorizo, bacon, pork, tomato, egg, cheese, and avocado would be safe, so why not eat it in Mexico?

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Posted by elefantstn 17:51 Archived in Mexico Tagged food Comments (0)

Centro Histórico

sunny 31 °C

I caught a cab (my strategy: if he just let a couple women out at their destination, then he's not the robbing type) to the Zócalo to wander around the historical center of Mexico City today.

It's crowded, it's congested, it's gigantic, it's overwhelming, and more. The municipal cathedral is a huge, gaudy, baroque masterpiece, and it's sinking under its own weight into the drained lakebed that is Mexico City. You can't use flash inside, so my photo is blurry, but you can still see how the chandeliers (hanging straight down) are at an angle against the rest of the church:

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The Templo Mayor -- the Aztec temple out of whose stones the church was built -- was closed. There was no sign explaining why, maybe just because it's Monday?

Nearby is the Casa de los Azulejos, or House of Blue Tiles. Built at the end of the 16th century, allegedly by a son tired of his father telling him he'd never amount to anything by saying "you'll never build a tile house," it's now a Sanborn's. Kind of pretty:

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Honestly, I was pretty happy to catch my cab back home.

Posted by elefantstn 17:34 Archived in Mexico Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Museo Antropológico

semi-overcast 29 °C

The Anthropological Museum is huge. The breadth of the content is overwhelming, making it nearly impossible to take away any kind of historical context, but the artifacts in the collection -- the Aztec 'calendar,' a Mayan tomb, giant stone Olmec heads, etc. -- leave enough of an impression to make the experience worthwhile. Rules about photography limited what I could do on the inside, but there was plenty going on outside:

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Some native dancers perform.

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Some much braver native dancers, tied by their legs to the top of the pole, perform an acrobatic ritual.

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There are vendors everywhere; this little girl scored some helado -- ice cream.

After about 7 hours on my feet, walking to the park, walking around the park, browsing the museums, I stumbled home, and caught the Sunday afternoon dinner rush. At a fonda in the Mercado Medellín, some enchiladas verdes:

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Tonight, walking home from a late stop for birría in my neighborhood, a car pulled up next to me, the window came down, and a request was made for directions to a spot in Colonia Condesa. It would be impolite of me to just tell them I'm not from here and don't know, so I tried. Returning home and checking the map, it turns out I was right, but the map can't guarantee that my explanation made any sense.

Tomorrow, the Zócalo, the historical heart of the city.

Posted by elefantstn 20:38 Archived in Mexico Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Castillo Chapultepec

semi-overcast 29 °C

I dedicated today to seeing the two museums in Parque Chapultepec I wanted to get to: the Castillo (hilltop palace of Emperor Maximilian) and the National Anthropological Museum. I woke up, stopped at Cafe de Carlos for espresso and panqué de limón (lemon poundcake with lemon icing), and walked across the Condesa to Chapultepec.

Admission to the park, normally 45 pesos, is free on Sundays, so it's jammed with Mexican families out for the day. Here's the courtyard of the Castillo:

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When Mexico defaulted on its foreign loans in the 19th century, the major European powers appointed Hapsburg prince Maximilian Emperor of Mexico, and sent him across the Atlantic to sort things out. The first actual descendant of Ferdinand and Isabela to rule on location, Maximilian lasted a mere three years before capture and execution on the orders of Benito Juarez in 1867. But his castle is nice:

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Maximilian didn't build from scratch, though. The park has been urban refuge (largest urban green area in Latin America according to the signs) and palace site for hundreds of years. Twenty years before his reign, the military academy on the hill was stormed by US troops during the Mexican-American War. The cadets guarding the 'Halls of Montezuma' were no match for the Americans, but rather than surrender, six of them resisted to the end, one even wrapping himself in the Mexican flag and throwing himself off the cliff. The Niños Héroes are memorialized all over the city; here they are depicted on the precipice:

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Posted by elefantstn 20:05 Archived in Mexico Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Lunch

La Ostra in Colonia Condesa

sunny 29 °C

I did a short walking tour of Colonia Condesa in the early afternoon today, and I came across La Ostra, a Pacific-style seafood joint for the hip crowd. They let me in anyway.

To drink, I had a michelada -- margarita-style salt-rimmed glass filled a quarter of the way with ice and lime juice and served with a beer, sort of a Corona with lime on steroids:

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The menu is on a chalkboard, which you could see in the background if I knew how exposures worked on cameras. Basically there are about 5 or 6 different preparations (cocktails, tostadas, tacos, etc.) multiplied by whatever seafood is available. I had the aguachile mixto -- small scallops and shrimp cevichefied (i.e., 'cooked' by marinating in lime juice) and served in a chile marinade. Cool and refreshing, and a nice balance as far as heat:

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It's siesta time, then I'll contemplate dinner and drinks.

Posted by elefantstn 14:30 Archived in Mexico Tagged food Comments (0)

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