Last week, I was invited by our Richer Poorer family on a group trip to Mexico City. Along with a crew of creatives, we explored the metropolis recently ranked #1 on The New York Times‘ “52 Places to Go in 2016.”
Much of the commotion resounding from Mexico City emanates from their art scene. The Soumaya is perhaps best recognized for its exterior by architect Fernando Romero, but is betrayed by a terrible selection of art inside.
Skaters and surfers can dream…
On the other hand, you have the Gardner, which is currently featuring the Carla Fernández exhibition.
Her second-in-command takes the floor, introducing our group to Mexico’s pride-and-joy designer, who integrates geometrics and native textiles into her pieces.
I love this—the stark line between indigenous and tailored garments:
You can find more contemporary art upstairs at the Gardner:
A lot has changed since the Mexico City of cartels and violence (Man on Fire, anyone?). Although there are still some shady neighborhoods, travelers from around the globe are finally discovering what locals have always known: the distinct foods, the architecture reminiscent of old Europe, and the beautiful people are unparalleled.
We spent one entire afternoon on a food tour of the city. And by “food,” I mean, LIKE, ELEVEN COURSES OF TACOS.
In a town of over 20 million people, they say Mexico City residents eat at least one meal a day on the street (not OFF the street)…
We’d hit the pavement bright and early at 8 a.m. and see why. There are vendors lining the sidewalks, with lines of their own snaking into the next. Everyone has a specialty, and so we begin here:
These tacos are laced with black mushrooms—a fungus that grows on the outside of corn. In the States, farmers usually scrape it off and throw it away, but here, they consider the mushrooms a delicacy.
We visited an open market stacked with butcheries. It was a little rough having to walk between skinned rabbits, hanging lambs, and mounds of dead pigs, but hey—if you eat meat—you gotta deal with where it’s coming from.
There was a novelty stand of edible insects—crispy critters. I ate a fried worm that tasted like a fry. Scott ate a scorpion.
That’s not a scorpion. Now THIS is a scorpion.
Neighboring Toluca (capital of Mexico) is known for its green pork sausage or chorizo. The closest you can come to finding it in Mexico City is right here at this taco stand.
Down the street, we catch a taco guy specializing in the weirder stuff, like organ meats.
I order the lengua (Yes, he’s hacking up a cow’s tongue).
I don’t know how this is possible but there are 350,000 students enrolled at UNAM—the largest (and most artistic) college in Latin America. The walls are blessed by the leaders of the Mexican muralism movement, like Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
This is the theater.
Scott, Arielle, Ida, and Chris—all of whom I will introduce you to later.
We stayed at the iconic Carlota, known for its design and furniture.
Thanks to CALOR for the new flip-flops!
There’s a great art and film movement coming out of Mexico. They collide in documentary, and that’s where the Ambulante Film Festival steps in. They travel throughout the year, hitting 8 states, and introducing and educating their country on the power of documentary film.
SUPPORT DOCUMENTARIES AND DOCUMENTARIANS! As you know, I’ve been working at one for years now. They are true passion projects and one of the most authentic and visceral modes of storytelling.
An 8.0 earthquake rocked Mexico City back in 1985 and 10,000 people lost their lives. You still see remnants of that tragedy around. Like this building here—with its facade fully restored, but… that’s about all…
Come back tomorrow for Part 2, where I take you on a tour of Mexico City’s famed Barragán houses…