Month of May in Mexico City

Published: August 26th 2016
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Today we were leaving Mazunte and travelling northwest to Mexico City.

We woke early, as we had to carry our packs up the steep zig-zagging path to our hotel’s restaurant (La Fragata). We arrived exhausted, as the humidity (even at 8am) was debilitating, especially when you were required to exert energy. We dropped our packs, settled at a table overlooking the Pacific Coast and ordered breakfast. I opted for yoghurt and granola, while Ren had a sandwich de jamon y queso (ham and cheese sandwich). We refreshed with banana and melon liquados (smoothies).

We checked out around 9:30am, bid farewell to our marvellous beachside retreat (Altamira Mazunte Bungalows) and spent the next 60 minutes bumping along Oaxaca’s narrow coastal roads on our way to Huatulco International Airport. We arrived around 10:30am, re-organised our packs (I‘d forgotten to transfer a bottle of mezcal from my carry-on luggage to my pack) and checked in. We made our way through security and settled at the gate lounge. I was intrigued by this tiny airport, especially its thatched roof. We boarded our flight at 11:45am, and within 15 minutes we’d left the tarmac. The in-flight service was great, especially the fantastic selection of complimentary drinks. I opted for a local tequila, and the cabin crew poured a very generous portion. It was, after all, my 50th birthday!

As we flew towards Mexico City, the terrain below transformed from the arid mountains of Oaxaca to the sprawling urban landscape surrounding Mexico City. We landed at 1pm, picked up our packs from the carousel, jumped into a taxi and made our way to the Red Tree House in Condesa, our bed and breakfast for the next few days. We arrived at 2:30pm, checked in to our comfy apartment and headed out to the local Superama to pick up some drinks.

As we wandered Condesa’s tranquil leafy streets, the suburb’s affluence was very evident. There was a beautiful bohemian atmosphere to the place, and we were in awe of the art deco architecture and colonial-style buildings. Just across the road from our bed and breakfast was Glorieta de Citlaltepetl, a large fountain in the middle of a roundabout. It was a fantastic public space, and very popular with dog owners. We dubbed it the ‘dog fountain’, as dogs chased balls, sticks and each other in the water, while their owners relaxed on concrete benches on the outer perimeter of the small park. There was water everywhere, and we stood in the shade and watched the playful happiness of the dogs – some confident, some not so – as they jumped and splashed their way around the cool fountain water.

The local Superama supermarket was fantastic, and very popular on a Sunday afternoon. We picked up some drinks and then strolled the pedestrian median along Avenida Amsterdam on our way back to the Red Tree House. On the advice of our friendly accommodation staff, we walked to the thriving El Califa for a late lunch at 4:30pm, which was only just down the road. The place was bursting at the seams! An overly enthusiastic waiter directed us to one of the few remaining empty tables, and then stood waiting for our order. I think the locals who frequent this great taqueria franchise have a good idea what they want to order before they arrive. We didn’t, so we ordered a beer and agua de jamaica (iced tea made with hibiscus flower) to give us a little breathing space. We needed to refresh anyway, as it had been so hot walking in the late afternoon sun.

We decided ontacos al pastor (pork and pineapple tacos), and within no time at all they were placed on the table – the service was super-fast. The tacos were brilliant, and I actually rated them as one of the four best tacos we’d tried so far in Mexico – the others were as follows:
• al pastor marlin tacos at La Playita (a lakeside restaurant on route to Tulum)
• tacos al pastor at El Heuquito (a tiny hole in the wall in Mexico City)
• pescadillas (fish tacos) at Restaurant Tania (a laid back outdoor restaurant in Mazunte).

Feeling happy and relaxed, we walked back to the Red Tree House and relaxed in our apartment for the remainder of the afternoon. We headed down to the B&B’s internal courtyard for drinks at 6pm, where we enjoyed some fantastic red wine as we chatted with the other guests (most of whom were American). We decided to walk back to our favourite Superama to pick up some snacks for dinner, as we were still very full from our late lunch.

We got back to the apartment and started to settle in for the night, when Ren grabbed a bottle of Dr Pepper from the fridge and opened it as she walked into the dining room. The bottle had been sitting in the fridge for at least four hours, yet for some reason it literally exploded in her hands. Red liquid covered the entire kitchen and dining area. It was an unprecedented disaster, and Ren was guilt-ridden. We spent the next hour scrubbing and cleaning the floor, walls and table.

Disregarding the red liquid explosion (which caused no end of embarrassed laughter into the night), it had been a fantastic birthday, even though the first half of the day had been taken up with travel. It was a luxury to be able to enjoy a few glasses of red wine in such beautiful surrounds, and talking with such interesting people at drinks.

After a broken night’s sleep, we woke late (or at least later than normal). I’d been up with leg cramps and Ren was feeling congested, which was possibly the result of our sleeping two nights under a high powered fan to stem the heat and humidity in Mazunte. We wandered down to breakfast at 8:30am and enjoyed coffee, orange juice, cereal, yoghurt, fruit, eggs Mexicana, bread and jam. After walking to a nearby ATM to make a final withdrawal of pesos, we further explored the leafy, dog-friendly and affluent streets and parks of Condesa. We enjoyed the water features, monuments and resident dog walkers/trainers in Parque Mexico, and we decided we could easily live in any of the striking art deco apartments along Avenida Amsterdam. Captivated by Condesa’s streetscape, we strolled back to the Red Tree House to prepare for lunch at Restarante Pujol – which was rated number 16 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015.

We jumped into a taxi at 1:30pm and made our way through city traffic to Polanco, an upmarket and affluent neighbourhood on the northern side of the Parque Zoologico de Chapultepec. We arrived at Restarante Pujol around 2pm, and a doorman was waiting on the pavement for us! On entering the small and inconspicuous restaurant, we were greeted by a concierge (who knew our names), and guided to a table by our waitress for the afternoon. Organised and booked months in advance by Ren, my birthday meal comprised a six course degustation, and I had no idea what to expect. We were excited with some level of trepidation – would we be able to get through it? I ordered a mezcal to accompany the many dishes, while Ren ordered a margarita with cucumber, lime and coriander leaf/cilantro.

Course 1 – Botanas (Street Snacks) – Pujol’s ‘traditional-meets-contemporary’ take on Mexican street snacks:
• Bocol huasteco (a small corn cake topped with cheese)
• Asparagus chileatole, mulato chile chicharron (an asparagus and chilli atole served with a roasted mulato chilli)
• Chia tostada (an airy tostada mixed with crispy chia seeds and topped with guacamole)
• Baby corn with a powdered chicatana ant, coffee and costeno chilli mayonnaise (the baby corn was served on a bed of dry corn husks in a hollowed-out gourd shell, and the husks were ignited at the table to smoke the corn, which created a very atmospheric restaurant experience)
• Crudo (slices of scallop in a light mayonnaise of olive oil, garlic, dill and chilli).

The street snacks were delicious, and they were such a great start to the meal. We love sharing and sampling a variety of different dishes, and this is precisely what the first course offered. We also love a bit of restaurant theatre (in small doses), and the smoking of the corn on the table topped the bill.

Course 2 – I ordered the jerky tartar with preserved lemon, radish, watercress and creole avocado (topped with a tortilla), while Ren ordered the beef tongue with broth.

Course 3 – I ordered the suckling lamb taco with avocado leaf adobo and avocado puree, while Ren ordered the octopus with ink tostada, habanero and oregano.

Course 4 – I ordered the rabbit with red pepian (pumpkin salsa), carrot and guajillo chilli, while Ren ordered the chicken with chilli adobo, nopal, romeritos (sprigs of wild seepweed), black radish, beans and onion ash. We were both reaching our food limit by this stage…

Course 5 – Mole Madre, Mole Nuevo – Pujol’s signature mole plate (a circle of fresh mole surrounded by an outer layer of mole that, at the time we were there, had been aged for 981 days – that’s two and a half years). The mole was served with a selection of tortillas and followed by a palate cleanser – a lychee coconut rice nigiri.

Course 6 – Happy Ending – Pujol’s signature dessert included avocado ice cream, a butter cookie with chamomile cream and macadamia shavings, a glass of chocolate atole, a large churro and fresh mango pieces.

The standouts of this amazing degustation were as follows:
• The crudo street snack – possibly the best scallops we’ve ever tasted
• The tongue broth – a hearty soup/stew with chunks of succulent tongue and melting avocado
• The octopus – possibly the best octopus we’ve tasted
• The rabbit – tender and succulent with a rich pumpkin salsa and smoky chorizo base
• The avocado ice cream – an amazing taste, and a perfect way to end the meal.

The service was impeccable, and we loved the mezcal cart (a wooden trolley on wheels that a waiter wheeled to our table with at least 30 different mezcals to choose from). I opted for a Coyote variety mezcal (Koch) from Oaxaca.

We finished Restarante Pujol’s degustation menu at 4:15pm (just over two hours), jumped into a taxi and sped back to the Red Tree House. We relaxed in our apartment for an hour or so before heading down to drinks at 6:30pm. We had a few glasses of red before retiring to work on our travel notes. It was our last night in Mexico City, and we had a long 35 hours of travel ahead of us.

We woke early and headed down to breakfast at 8am. This was possibly our last comfortable meal in Mexico, so we sat down and enjoyed our coffee, tea, orange juice, cereal, yoghurt, fruit, pastries and chicken enchiladas suizas. We then headed back to our apartment to organise our packs for the flight home. As I was packing I discovered that one of the bottles of Marie Sharp’s hot sauces (the green habanero pepper sauce) had leaked, so we had to re-package it. I’d been carrying it in my pack for the past month, so I was really hoping it would survive the journey home.

Today was a very very special day – it was Andrew’s 50th birthday! We wouldn’t really be celebrating until later in the day in Mexico City, so Andrew had to be content with a quick birthday breakfast of yoghurt and granola (his favourite!) and fruit smoothies before we made our way to the airport. For the past few days at our hotel in Mazunte, we’d all been happily charging all food and drink to our rooms and not paying as we went. While I love the relaxed nature of being able to do that… it made for a rather long check-out process, with checking long lists of items and similar sounding bungalow names causing confusion.

We caught taxis to the Huatulco Airport via some very curvy and bumpy roads. I was glad that all I’d had for breakfast was a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, but regretted my choice of a large banana liquado (smoothie) whenever the taxi driver braked hard and swerved into a bend! The Huatulco Airport was very cute, and it couldn’t have looked more like a Mexican coastal airport if it tried. A series of low buildings with thatched roofs were connected by open air walkways and surrounded by cactus gardens. I loved it. 😊

We caught a quick one hour Interjet flight to Mexico City. For a budget airline, Interjet had been pretty fabulous both times we’d used them. We landed without issue in Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport and navigated its crowded walkways to get our luggage. This was the official end of the Mexican Food Adventure trip, so we said goodbye to our awesome group leaders Fernando and Balam (who had just finished his training and would be leading the next Food Adventure group), along with the rest of the group. We were particularly sad about saying goodbye to Logan who we’d been travelling with for almost a month, and to Natalie and Jacob who were superb to travel with and shared our silly sense of humour.

It was so so so fabulous to be back in Mexico City again. It really was such a delightful commotion of sights, sounds, and colours. We like our trips like we like our flights – with an excited take off but a soft landing! So we were back in Mexico City to have some downtime and pampering before our flight home. We caught a taxi from the airport to the Red Tree House in the Condesa neighbourhood of Mexico City.

The Red Tree House was just amazing and exactly as fabulous as all the gushing Trip Advisor reviews had suggested. We were aiming for a relaxed but comfortable space to spend our last two days in Mexico City before we travelled back home after our Central American trip, and the Red Tree House totally delivered.

The B&B is set in a traditional 1930s-era Mexican house positioned around a beautiful central courtyard. I loved so much about this well-designed property… from the stunning local art, gorgeous nooks and crannies to relax in, to a beautifully kept plant-filled courtyard garden. It’s not easy to present a space as being smart and beautiful contemporary while at the same time making it also feel extremely welcoming and comfortable. The staff were helpful beyond words – we were welcomed by Carlos, and met Alejandro and Victor during our stay. However, as nice as they all were, they just couldn’t compete with the big boss on the property – Abril the Labrador. With her first tail wag she had me around her little (well, not so little actually) paw. Abril was the perfect hotel dog, she was always guest-ready and if she sensed anyone wanted company, she sat with them. She had gained a knack of knowing which humans allowed her into their rooms, but sadly her old legs found the steep steps to our apartment a bit much, and only walked half way before giving us that ‘I would if I could’ look that our old dog Oscar used to give us.

We had booked the Lafayette Suite on the second floor, and we retired to our lovely apartment to unpack and get ourselves organised for the last stop on our trip. I had a brief nap while Andrew caught up on some writing, and then we were ready to explore our new neighbourhood. We walked to the Superama supermarket and then to a late lunch.

The last time we were in Mexico City we had focussed on the Centro Historico, Alameda Central, Chapultepec, Zona Rosa and Coyoacan areas, and this time we had our sights set on getting to know Condesa and Polanco.

I loved the tree-lined streets of the comfortable Condesa neighbourhood. Condesa is a leafy, late 19th-century art deco neighbourhood full of restaurants, cafes, galleries and good design. It was very badly hit in the 1985 earthquake that killed more than 10,000 people, but it has rebuilt itself, and has done so beautifully. Walking around we realised that this was quite an exclusive part of town, but it still had a very easy going and relaxed feel. It was a Sunday, and everyone was out walking their dogs or sitting around the fountain at the end of our street, where the dogs chased sticks and jumped in the water. The dogs easily outnumbered the humans!

There seemed to be two distinct areas of Condesa. The small laneways and areas around Avenida Insurgentes and Parque Mexico were more residential, quieter, very leafy and open aired with smaller restaurants and bars. While in the area around Avenida Nuevo Leon there was more development, and the bars and cafes had a buzzier atmosphere. We could easily access both areas, as the Red Tree House was in the middle of it all.

We eventually made it to the supermarket. I love browsing through foreign supermarket shelves, and as always I got a bit carried away with buying things like Dr Pepper and high-salt and sugary snacks that we’d never buy at home. We also stocked up on re-hydration drinks, wine and healthier snacks. As mentioned earlier, Condesa was a neighbourhood full of pet dogs, and I was very amused and pleased that there was a reserved section outside the supermarket for ‘pet parking’. 😊

We then walked to El Califa for what Carlos from the Red Tree House had claimed were the best tacos al pastor in town – a big call as we’d had many tasty tacos al pastor on this trip. However, I’d have to agree they were the best version served with pineapple that I had tried (some places serve it with chopped white onions and coriander leaf/cilantro). Even though Andrew doesn’t really like fruit mixed with savoury food (something about being scarred by apricot chicken!), he still agreed that these tacos were pretty amazing.

After lunch we kept meandering through the suburban streets, but we didn’t go too far in our explorations, as the Red Tree House offered complimentary happy hour drinks between 6-8pm which we wanted to be back for! It was a fabulous and relaxed atmosphere with wine and beers in the courtyard or cosy beautifully lit lounge room, where it was nice to chat to the other guests (predominantly from the US) about their day and travels. Red Tree House was now my absolute benchmark for B&Bs and small hotels around the world, and anyone looking to open a small hotel should seriously consider adopting the training program used for the Red Tree House staff.

We weren’t very hungry after our lunch and the many drinks at happy hour, but because it was Andrew’s birthday night, I really wanted to go out to a nearby Argentinian restaurant. However, all the birthday boy wanted to do was grab some pastries and beers and have it back in our apartment. So we walked back to the supermarket in the midst of a power cut (as a result of a big thunderstorm that had hit while we were having drinks).

I really loved the small but very well stocked Superama supermarket, and I enjoyed buying all the necessary pastry supplies for our room picnic. We walked back to the hotel in the dark, our way only lit by a couple of businesses that had generators. The initial part of our room picnic didn’t quite go to plan when I opened a not-quite-cold enough Dr Pepper which sprayed red fizz all over the kitchen counter, dining table, my camera bag, our books on the table, and the food. It looked like a crime scene! We spent the next hour cleaning up. I was very thankful that only hard surfaces had been sprayed and that no electronics had been sitting on the dining table… but at least Andrew could see the funny side of it and couldn’t stop giggling at the thought of my face and the expletives I uttered when it happened. Oh well, we eventually sat down to the in-room picnic that Andrew wanted. I cannot sing the praises of our apartment highly enough, it was so comfortable and perfect for our needs. We ended up having an earlyish night as the early start in Mazunte, plane travel and wine had caught up with us.

After a slightly restless night’s sleep, we walked down to breakfast. Breakfast at the Red Tree House was a spread of fresh juice, fruit, yoghurt, cereals, a range of pastries and churros (fried dough pastry dusted with cinnamon sugar)! The cooked Mexican dish (that changed every day) was huevos Mexicana (lightly scrambled eggs with onions and red bell peppers and coriander leaves/cilantro in the colours of the Mexican flag). The churros and freshly squeezed orange juice were the highlights of the meal. We sat with the same guys we’d been talking to at drinks the night before, and we were entertained by more of their travel and life stories. It’s so lovely meeting people who genuinely love their lives and don’t have anything to prove to anyone.

After breakfast, we continued our explorations of the Condesa neighbourhood. We wandered around Parque Mexico and watched the older locals gathering at favourite park benches to chat. There were also nannies taking babies out in strollers, and dog walkers with up to ten dogs of all shapes and sizes putting some through dog training school. We especially loved watching an old overweight bulldog being put through basic sit and stay commands – it was hilarious because he was so over it and kept looking at his trainer with droopy hateful eyes. As we kept walking down beautiful side streets with gorgeous architecture, I began to realise that Condesa was even more of an exclusive suburb than I had previously thought. The number of chauffers waiting in cars helped to confirm this.

We loved walking the circuit of Avenida Amsterdam. We walked to Alvaro Obregon Avenue which was lined with ash trees and interesting sculptures, and then doubled back to the hotel to get ready for lunch. We had briefly ventured down some streets of the suburb of Roma, and saw more of it on our taxi drive to lunch. Roma was younger, more eclectic and slightly edgier than Condesa. It was filled with art galleries, my favourite types of bookshops and numerous cafes full of urban hipsters. For the Melbournians (or people who know Melbourne) reading this – Condesa is the Carlton of Mexico City, while Roma is like Fitzroy.

Something I had sensed but not completely engaged with the last time we were in Mexico City was the feeling among the younger generation of the city that they should have more pride in their own traditions. Arturo, a young chef we travelled with as part of the Mexican Food Adventure trip, was passionate about this. There was a sense of moving away from Spanish, European and US influences and being influenced by Mexico and Mexicans. I think this was the new energy in Mexico City that people have been talking and writing about recently. It’s very much influencing the modern wave of Mexican food and design – and I loved it.

In our prologue to this trip (all those weeks ago!) we talked about the fact that food was a major driver in the decision to visit Mexico. That has proved to be a fabulous decision. Despite the fact that our choices of where to eat are not usually driven by Michelin Stars, Restaurant Hats or The World’s Best Restaurants list… I have to admit that I was a bit chuffed to see that Mexico City had three restaurants in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 list – and to put that into perspective, that’s two more than the whole of Australia had on that list (Melbourne’s Attica was at #32). I say I was chuffed to see that list because we had already picked two of them as potential places to celebrate Andrew’s birthday – Pujol (#16) for their haute Mexican cuisine and Quintonil (#35) for their contemporary Mexican food. We eventually decided on Enrique Olvera’s Pujol in Polanco.

Polanco is a very wealthy residential area settled by rich Spaniards who had fled the civil war in Spain. The central thoroughfare is Masaryk Street, and that area is full of what some say are the city’s best restaurants, bars and boutiques. The building that housed Pujol was understated with just a street number and no name… but as we got out of the taxi and gazed at the building, a discreet doorman appeared out of nowhere and ushered us into a foyer area, where a concierge on hearing my name pulled back a black curtain and peered into the dimly lit dining area. A waiter appeared like magic and led us to a table, another appeared with a water jug and before we knew it we were presented with an envelope that was dated and sealed with a wax seal. The whole space and ambiance was minimalist, dark and modern. And totally stunning.

The sealed envelope contained the menu which listed some of Pujol’s classic dishes and other daily changing ones. The menu is created daily, if only to accurately mark the number of days the mole madre has been going – 981 days when we visited. We were presented with a six course tasting menu with choices for three courses within it. The cuisine at Pujol is described as chic haute Mexican cuisine, and the chef and owner Enrique Olvera is famous for taking familiar street food classics and old culinary traditions and reinventing them with a modern twist.

On our waiter’s suggestion I ordered a margarita of cucumber, coriander leaves/cilantro and lime, and with help from the sommelier Andrew chose a coyote mezcal from the beautiful mezcal trolley. We also opted for the mint and lime water.

The first course of starters were five small dishes of reinvented street food. The most theatrical was based on the popular street food elotes, where ears of baby corn was presented in a hollowed out gourd with smoking corn husks in it. The corn had been steamed and coated with coffee, chile mayonnaise and powder of ground up chicatanas (flying ants). It was the first time I had (knowingly) eaten ants, although the chicatana flavour was not particularly noticeable. The smoky dish was a clever and very tasty introduction that set the tone for the meal to follow.

The other dishes in the first course (in the recommended order of eating) were balls of avocado dusted with chipotle (I think) resting on a chia seed tostada, an asparagus chileatole (corn masa drink) served with a toasted mulato chile, and a ball of corn dough with cheese. The last starter, which was just called ‘Crudo’, was totally sublime – thinly sliced scallops in an olive oil emulsion with garlic and chile. This was easily my favourite dish of the whole meal.

The second course had four options of which I picked the beef tongue broth with avocado and squash. It was tasty, but for some reason I had expected a thin consomme type broth, and I was surprised that it was more of a heavy tomato-based soup. Regardless, it was really delicious. Andrew picked a very interesting jerky tartare dish, which in hindsight was probably the wiser pick of the options, as it was a lighter dish.

For the third course I chose octopus served with a squid ink tostada. It was a fascinating dish, and the octopus was cooked to absolute perfection. Andrew loved his choice of the suckling lamb taco, but we agreed that the octopus was the better choice.

By now we were already getting very full, and we decided that the only way to get through the rest of the courses was to skip the accompanying tortillas or tostadas with each dish, which was a shame, as they were beautifully made and came in unique flavours.

For the fourth course I chose the chicken in chile adobo, a sauce I have come to love. I could barely finish half the chicken on my plate, and my normal finisher of dishes couldn’t help me either, because he had his own battle with finishing the red pepian rabbit dish he’d ordered. The highlights of the chicken dish were the nopales (prickly pear cactus paddles), and a black radish that I had never tasted before. An indicator of how full I was feeling was that I didn’t even taste Andrew’s rabbit dish!

The fifth course was Pujol’s signature dish of Mole Madre, Mole Nuevo: a plate with a perfect circle of fresh mole sauce encased in an outer layer of aged mole (aged for 981 days when we visited). The contrasting flavours of the two moles made for a fascinating delve into the magic of Mexican flavours, and they were two of the best moles I had on the whole trip. I wish I could have eaten all the beautiful tortillas that came with the dish, but I could barely finish half my mole.

After this, we were unexpectedly presented with a small palette cleanser. While I loved the sushi nigiri of lychee on coconut rice, there was a rather heavy use of sesame oil which Andrew didn’t like.

The sixth and last course was dessert, simply called ‘Happy Ending’ on the menu. Normally this is my most favourite part of a meal, but by this stage I was starting to need a heat pack on my very full tummy, and a small couch to curl up on! Dessert consisted of five offerings. We were presented with a thin spiral of divine churro to share, a bowl of fresh mango that was very much in season, small glasses of chocolate atole (corn masa and milk drink), a delicate biscuit with camomile cream and macadamia shavings, and an ethereally soft avocado ice cream. The avocado ice cream was superlative, and even as full as I was, I could have had another couple of scoops of it. And possibly a few more circles of that crispy churro as well. 😄

The service at Pujol was very professional, and apart from a couple of food explanations that we didn’t quite grasp (due to our allocated waiter being busy when those dishes came out)… I couldn’t fault the service, which ended perfectly with the staff calling a taxi for us. We finally rolled our very very full and very very happy selves out of the restaurant, and into the taxi.

I can easily say that Pujol is the best restaurant experience I have had! Even though I would have enjoyed it much more if the portion sizes of some of the meat courses had been smaller, complaining about generous servings is probably churlish. It’s just that I hate the thought of wasting food, especially when so much skill, effort and artistry has gone into it.

Back at our apartment, we lounged about and patted our expanded tummies until we walked down for Happy Hour. However, we only hung around downstairs for one drink this time, as we were quite tired. In hindsight it probably also had a lot to do with getting stuck with a couple of boring old architecture lecturers who could ONLY talk about their work. Why do people take themselves so seriously? Sigh. But the silver lining was that we got to enjoy our beautiful apartment rather than hang with people who were looking for ego boosts.

It had been a phenomenal day from a food and relaxation point of view. However, we were still so full that we couldn’t entertain the idea of even small snacks for dinner. So we had some quiet drinks together, getting increasingly aware that a long travel day back to Australia was going to be upon us the next day.

Our last breakfast in Mexico City was a relaxed affair. I embraced the fresh fruit, pastries and churros, while Andrew loved the cereal and yoghurt. The hot dish was enchiladas suizas with chicken and salsa verde (green salsa) which I had been hanging out to try. The chicken-stuffed enchiladas were swimming in a cream-rich tomatillo (green husk tomato) sauce and blanketed in bubbly tangy Chihuahua cheese, so I can see why the gooey dish was dubbed suiza (swiss). It had rich creamy, tart and salty flavours, and I loved the ‘comfort food’ vibe it exuded. 😊

The rest of our morning was leisurely and relaxed as we packed our bags, checked out of Red Tree House and got hugs and a ‘come back soon’ from Victor (who was the staff member we had engaged with the most) as we climbed into a taxi. As we drove to the airport and mentally prepared for literally travelling across the world, we were mindful of two things – both Andrew and I were starting to come down with colds, and we really really really didn’t want to leave Mexico City. 😞

The next time I write, we’ll be flying home. See you then!


27th August 2016

Debilitating Humidity & Pet Parking
I like the red tree house! Mexico offers a variety of experiences to include embracing heat. It doesn't take long to get used to it. What a great country to celebrate Andrew's birthday. Sounds like you had a great apartment picnic even with the Dr. Pepper explosion. I must admit I laughed at your expletives. And....the 6 course meal. I loved every spice included in that meal. Yowza. As always you find pups to collect. You've had a perfect trip. Thanks for taking us along.
27th August 2016

Re: Debilitating Humidity & Pet Parking
MJ we highly recommend the Red Tree House, and I think you and Dave would love it. I still feel bad about the Dr Pepper explosion, and how close I came to staining the white fabric seats on the dining chairs a nice bright pink! We keep discussing that six course Pujol meal...and which different options we'd order if we went back :)
27th August 2016

Happy Birthday Andrew!!!
I know it's a bit late, lol, but reading this is almost like you guys are in Mexico City still and have just celebrated Andrew's birthday! Great to be reading your adventures again, and I've decided I'm going to read them backwards from now, as I can't remember where I last left off - lol! Fantastic to read about your love of Mexico City - I agree with you, it's a wonderful city with so much positive energy and lovely people. Great to read about Condesa, somewhere I'll have to go on my next visit, and your wonderful birthday lunch - sounds fascinating! "Mole Madre, Mole Nuevo", "Octopus and Ink Tostada", "Suckling Lamb Taco" - wow!! I almost feel like saying "safe journey back", but I know that'd be pointless as you're already back safely!!
28th August 2016

Re: Happy Birthday Andrew!!!
Thanks for the birthday wishes Alex! The birthday lunch certainly was a highlight. Our memories of Mexico City are so vivid that it really feels like just yesterday, and if there wasn't so much of the world to still see, we'd be back in Mexico in a flash! :)
28th August 2016
tacos al pastor

The Best of All Worlds
I love the way you two travel--intense with wild boat ride, heat, humidity and mozzies in one spot, and then luxurious in the most beautiful B&B in DF along with a tasting menu in the world-class restaurant. Needless-to-say, you have a future in food photography if you so desire! While I've spent lots of time in DF, I never made it out to upscale Condessa--must visit now to see the dog fountain! As an aside, I so appreciate the integrity that you show as travelers. I can imagine that others who think themselves more entitled, would have called housekeeping in the wake of the Dr Pepper episode. You give travelers a good name!
28th August 2016
tacos al pastor

Re: The Best of All Worlds
We try hard to incorporate a little taste of everything in our travels - to get as balanced a feel for a country as possible. You will love dog-centric Condesa, especially when they are all out on a Sunday. The lighting in Pujol was very romantic, but terrible for we were quite surprised that the photos worked at all :)
30th August 2016

That food looks sensational
Feeling very disappointed just read your blog after coming back from a kebab for dinner but it did come with purple cabbage to give it that Hungarian flavour. The food and the B&B look fantastic so glad you both enjoyed your last days in Mexico City despite creating a crime scene with Dr Pepper.
31st August 2016

Re: That food looks sensational
The food and the b&b were exactly as we had wanted for our last stop in Mexico City (apart from the crime scene!). But hey, we would never ever knock a kebab! In fact, just the other day we were craving one we had in Istanbul four years ago :)
1st September 2016

Finishing the trip with a bang!
What a way to finish your journey and to celebrate Andrew's birthday! Firstly the place you were staying at looks really fantastic and nothing adds to a pleasant stay than a friendly and helpful staff. And then the feast at Pujol! I liked the way you described your entrance, almost as if you were entering some secret location. ;) And the food looks beautiful and delicious! What a treat! I can't say I ever experienced anything like that, it might be an idea for Grant's 50th in a few years time though. Thanks for a tip! :) Your pictures and food description as always make my mouth watery haha! Better get to that salmon sandwich now then. ;)
2nd September 2016

Re: Finishing the trip with a bang!
You are so right Anna - the staff can make or break an experience, and so many hotel owners seem to overlook this fact. Pujol exceeded our expectations, and yes I would highly recommend it for Grant's birthday. Your food descriptions in Singapore had my mouth watering too, so we are even :)

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