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tashby


Sep 3, 2010, 11:48 AM

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Mexico City – What a great trip!

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A few months ago I decided to surprise my partner with a short, 4-night trip to Mexico City for his 50th Birthday present. He had never been, and I wanted to make absolutely sure that it was a pleasant trip so he’d want to return. I started a thread here researching which neighborhood to stay in, restaurants recommendations, etc. Since you were all so helpful, I thought I’d throw down a few notes about the trip.

We had a spectacular time. It could not possibly have been better.

We flew Interjet from Guadalajara to M.C. This turned out lucky as a couple days after we arrived, Mexicana ceased operations entirely due to the current bankruptcy situation. (A lot of people at our hotel were scrambling to get return flights, and not having a lot of luck.) We stayed in a suite at The Red Tree House in the Condesa neighborhood. This was a splurge for us, but it was the perfect choice. What a charming neighborhood, and I cannot recommend The Red Tree House enough. Perfect location, really comfortable - even quiet, and honestly, the most genuinely friendly and helpful staff I’ve ever encountered while traveling. (I even liked the other guests at The Red Tree House!) TRTH is a very great place. If it’s within your budget, just stay here. (Link below.)

The first afternoon on arrival, we just threw ourselves on the double-decker Turibus and got a nice overview of the main tourist corridor between the Zócalo and Chapultepec Park. On subsequent days, we did a couple of guided walking tours, one focused on the major sites in el centro, and the second an outing to the San Angel neighborhood for Bazaar Sabado. Our guide, recommended by the hotel, was Bernardo, a “61-year-old ex-hippy, liberal-borderline-communist, mildly anti-Catholic-Church, Mexico City native”. It was a perfect match. (Link to Bernardo’s website below.)

The splendid Condesa neighborhood is full of restaurants and outdoor cafes. We ate at several, but one in particular is worth mentioning. On the west side of Parque Mexico, on Calle Parras between Amersterdam and Nuevo Leon, you’ll find tiny, eight-table “Kousamine”. This place was humbly described in TRTH guest guidebook as a nice place for a low-key “comida corrida”. I’ll say. We went there expecting the usual “Alhondigas or the Chicken leg?” kind of place. Hardly. For $85 MXP, our first meal included an extraordinary soup - a sort of frothy crema de Lentejas - that was stunning, a nice little Salad Nicoise, choice of three entrees, plus desert. My entrée choice was a Ragout of chicken and vegetables that was a simple but delicious French Country/Rustic type deal. My partner enjoyed a filet of fish with cumin and coconut (Indio-style). And a slice of a super-moist Pastel de Mango con Chantilly for dessert sealed the deal. Yes, we ate at Kousamine more than once. Probably not a destination restaurant, but if you're in the neighborhood...

The other restaurant worth mentioning was in the Roma neighborhood. Thanks to a recommendation from MexConnect member Anonimo, we had Rosetta, an Italian restaurant, on our radar. Based on what I’d read, Rosetta sounded like one of the “it” restaurants currently in Mexico City. The front desk at TRTH confirmed this. When I asked them to call on Saturday afternoon for a reservation that evening, they tried, but said it was a no go. They said they’d never been able to get anyone into Rosetta. That evening though it started raining so we decided to give it a shot anyway even without a reservation. I had the cab wait outside the restaurant while I asked the Maitre D'…..Rosetta was packed around 9pm but we got lucky and were seated in 5 minutes! It was definitely a beautiful room filled with beautiful people. Looking around, we felt like we were eating inside a Magazine Ad populated with the glitterati of Mexico City. The food was very good, but I don’t think I’d stab my grandmother in the back to get into the place. The Insalata Caprese was a bit of a cheat, using cherry tomatoes no doubt because other varieties were deemed inferior. Thought it could have used a bit more basil, too. Really nice mozzarella though. Since it was already late (for us) we just ordered a couple of pastas and skipped the main course. The Risotto Negro was spectacular, the other pasta was good, but not mind-bending. I forget what it was, some Farafalle (Sp?) with chicken. As mentioned the food was very good, the service perfect, and it was fun dining amid a bit of Mexico City glamour since we live in such a cowtown.

Other random trip highlights: The Dog Obedience School in Parque México, free admission to the Museo de Atropologia (on Sunday with foreign resident I.D.), wandering Chapultepec Park, the MetroBus, the interiors of the main Post Office building in el centro and the Palacio Belles Artes, the entire staff at the Red Tree House, the Poliform Building, the Interjet Cockipit Cam (!) on takeoff and landing, the art market/flea market along Ave. Obregón in Roma on Sunday, the Rivera Mural/Mosaic atop Teatro Insurgentes (thank you Bernardo!), the 80-year-old lady who on our first day came up to me and started tapping at my eyeglasses….I thought she was a bruja casting a spell but it turned out she was saying “Bonitos ojos”. 8-)

Guess that’s about it. Again, thanks for the recommendations in the other thread. It was a really fantastic trip. Mexico City is amazing and I can’t wait to go back.

LINKS--

The Red Tree House:

http://www.theredtreehouse.com/

Mexico City (and other) tours with Bernardo Ortiz:

http://netouring.sitiosprodigy.com.mx/



Peter


Sep 3, 2010, 1:52 PM

Post #2 of 4 (14155 views)

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Re: [tashby] Mexico City – What a great trip!

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I'm glad your trip went so well. You give me some ideas for my next trip. Up until a month ago I had only known Mexico City from changing planes at the airport but recently some friends, and extended Mexican family with members in Morelia and Lazaro Cardenes areas, had asked me and my crew to joint them for a trip to Mexico City as they had chartered a bus and had a few seats available. Tere and I accepted bringing 11 year-old Manuel, Tere's niece visiting us from Toluca, and her 1 year-old boy making a total of 30 on that bus.

Our trip was rather a whirlwind visit making our first stop at the zócalo for a few hours before landing at our hotel - not the order I prefer for doing those things. Our hotel was an older, bargain-priced place downtown and easy walk to Garibaldi. I got two deluxe rooms for us costing about $250mxp per night apiece, a better price then I expected.

It seems the trip was primarily for the kids and we spent the whole of the next day at Six Flags right up to closing time. After a couple hours Tere and I were bored and got stuck with babysitting duties but the kids had a great time. The highlight for us was that Six Flags had a Johnny Rocket's restaurant which I'd heard of but never tried before, and Tere got her first taste of onion rings which she really liked and for her was the most memorable part of the trip.

The final day we visited the basilica for an hour or so then made a trip to Queretaro on the way back to Morelia, another town I had never visited before. Nothing special there for me, we took the tour bus trip around town and did some shopping in the Centro, but we live in the Centro of Morelia and agreed our town is prettier and offers more.

I would like to go back to Mexico City and have a different experience, try a few more things, visit some restaurants and such, but now I have a feel for the City and understand its layout a bit better, no longer inhibited by the unknown and overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. In a lot of ways Mexico City reminded me of Los Angeles with its tall buildings and highway crossovers, very modern looking.

Glad you had a great trip. I'm sure my next one will be better than my first, more for what I want to do and see, not the kids'.


gpkgto

Sep 3, 2010, 3:40 PM

Post #3 of 4 (14135 views)

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Re: [tashby] Mexico City – What a great trip!

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My partner and I actually rented an apartment in DF (in Zona Rosa) for 6 months a couple years ago to get to know it better. It's one of our favorite cities in the world (and my partner is from NYC). You still have a lot to see and do, so plan a return trip. We love Condesa, but we prefer staying in Zona Rosa so we can walk everywhere or have easy access to the subway--Condesa is not as convenient. We're headed back for a visit in October and we are really looking forward to it. We will eat at Matisse in Condesa/Roma and at Contra Mar in Roma (if we can get in).


Gri-lango

Oct 28, 2010, 3:51 PM

Post #4 of 4 (13346 views)

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Re: [gpkgto] Mexico City – What a great trip!

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It's very refreshing to see positive comments about my hometown, DF, seems like most Mexico visitors are afraid of this "little" city.

I agree, La Condessa and Roma areas are great little neighborhoods to explore.

Lomas de Chapultepec is one of the nicest areas, but not a lot to do for a visitor except marvel at the mansions and architecture. Castillo Chapultepec and Chapultepec park are nice place for a wander. Coayocan, Xochimilco, Tlalpan, el Zocalo, San Angel offer a great taste of the city. A lot of visitors like Polanco, it offers some of the best (and expensive) shops, bars and restaurants. The newer areas of DF; Santa Fe, Bosques de las Lomas, Interlomas etc are very nice as well, but do not a lot to offer for a tourist.
 
 
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