Mexico City: Muy Picante
Thankfully not all the ridiculous national stereotypes are true; you wont trip over a sombrero having a siesta at every street corner or be assaulted by mariachis at every restaurant table. But when it comes to food, there’s no denying that the country’s flavors are very strong and mighty spicy. Which is just as well as you will need the jalapeno energy kick to navigate the 15,980 square feet of terrain that make up Mexico City.
Contramar is an ode to the sea, and everything edible that comes from it. The cavernous space is where locals come for lengthy and loud lunches over superb prawn aguachiles, shrimp cocktails, the freshest sushi and the daily catch. Diners only have praise for Romita Comedor, a suave greenhouse like eatery located beneath a glass roof on the top floors of a magnificent early 20th century mansion. Classic cocktails like mojitos and caipirinhas are mixed to perfection whilst you can’t go wrong with the ceviche starter followed by a langoustine taco.
Rest assured nights out won’t be spent knocking back cheap tequila shots in a crappy bar; you can expect to be knocking back expensive tequila shots in some staggeringly cool venues. The recently opened M.N Roy club is situated in the basement of a seemingly dilapidated house, which used to belong to the communist party. The double height dance floor is encased in angled timber clad walls, copper tiles and leather furniture. Unfortunately it’s a private members club so if you’re denied entry you can always head to the clubs sister bar, the Jules Basement, for a late night drink and be sure to pick from its prestigious mezcal selection.
When you hear the words Mexico and hotel together, one name constantly seems to springs to mind; Grupo Habita. All of their hotels, most of which are in the Mexican capital, are undeniably awesome places to stay, but the Condesa DF in particular wins our hearts for its relaxed vibe and pleasant Condesa neighborhood surroundings, which is the city’s answer to New York’s West Village, only with more foliage. The interiors are bright and spacious and have just the right splash of color, and the simple fact that the house car is a Mini Cooper and the toiletries are Malin + Goetz, pretty much speaks for itself.
Shopping here tends to revolve mostly around decorative objects, the more bizarre and colorful the better (think Dia De Los Muertos colored skulls). So if in need of interesting gifts or self-fulfillment stop by the city’s best concept store Common People and the DFC workshop.
Mexico is a country of art, architecture and more art. The former house of modernist Luis Barragan plays with shadows, colors and structure and is an absolute must for architecture fans. The Museo Del Jugete Antiguo, or antique toy museum to you and me, is today run by the Mexican Japanese founders son and displays a staggering 50,000 pieces of memorabilia from Barbie dolls to tin toy cars. A trip to the Museo Nacional De Antropologia will reveal but a glimpse of the treasures belonging to the pre Colombian populations; Totltec armored seashell vests, Palenque jadeite masks and the Piedra Del Sol cosmological carvings. Art galleries abound, but if pressed for time check out the Museo Soumaya, whose building is a masterpiece in itself and the Kurimanzutto Gallery which is one of the best showcases for modern homegrown talent.