Now that the city is finally open, we’ve got a lot to do. The agenda today is slammed, so let’s get started! First stop is Centro Historico to check out the government buildings and Templo Mayor.
The people of Aztlan, north of what is today Mexico, had to leave their homes by orders of their gods in search of the promised land. Legend states they were searching for the place where a bird would be perched on top of a cactus eating a snake. They found that land in what is now Mexico City (what the Aztecs called Tenochtitlan). Here in the historic city center are remains of the Aztec pyramid now called Templo Mayor. When the Spanish arrived they destroyed the temple, along with most of the rest of the monuments nearby, to make room for more colonial style buildings. In 1978, when a construction company digging in the area unearthed an 8 ton disc depicting Aztec gods, excavation began on the building and its artifacts. For more reading about the Aztecs and Templo Mayor check out here and here.
Like many tourist places, there are street performers. This is the Mexican equivalent. This man turns the handle on a calliope and demands change. They’re called Organ Grinders. As you can see, he was none too happy that I was taking a photo. That said, it’s one of my favorite pictures, and we did give him $10 pesos.
Some of the colorful buildings creating a backdrop for Cat.
A really big flag in Plaza de la Constitución or Zócalo Square.
There’s a lot to see right here in the square, including this beautiful old cathedral.
Just a man, on his way to work, getting a shoe shine.
A wider view of the cathedral.
And here is the primary reason we came to this neighborhood. The famous Diego Rivera murals in the Palacio National de Mexico. Fortunately we arrived right when the building opened and found ourselves among the first visitors at the mural. By the time we left this stairwell was filled with people taking pictures.
We are pretty sure the woman in green, behind the woman in orange, is Frida Kahlo.
The murals depict various points in Mexican history. From the Aztecs to the Spanish conquerors and up to 1930 when the murals were finished. The main section on the stairway deals specifically with the Spanish invasion to 1930.
You can really see the European influence here.
They love Christmas!
Cat about to eat a cricket. She said it wasn’t bad, but tasted very nutty.
Our second foray into fine dining; Entremar. When Cat tried to make a reservation for Contramar (the original restaurant) they responded saying there were available reservations at Entremar. They assured us it was the same menu, with the same chef. Whether it was or not, I do know it was delicious!
Stacy the snapper.
This is their house made beer. It was probably our least favorite part of the meal. It felt like a practical joke. It stayed exactly this full of foam the entire meal. I’m not sure I ever actually got beer in my mouth. I’m pretty sure I drank half a bottle of foam.
Octopus with yuca potatoes.
Fish tacos (which were crispy and excellent).
And finally the return of Stacy the snapper, baked, and prepared with 2 types of sauce.
We tried to go here first thing in the morning. It is the Mercado Insurgentes de Artesanias. It’s filled with souvenirs and silver, and we were hoping to get in one last round of gift shopping. Unfortunately, we found the vendors would not work with us on prices and the goods weren’t worth what they were asking, so none of us bought much of anything.
Finally, the primary reason we have come to Mexico City; Pujol. Considered by some as being one of the top 10 restaurants in the world (other lists show it within the top 50), Pujol has only a chef’s tasting menu. The menu has various options for multiple courses, and fortunate for us, the options are limited to 3. So of course we got one of everything and passed around our plates!
Menus sealed and stamped daily.
First dish was a roasted baby corn. It was a play on elote. The gourd came out smoking.
A small bite of corn tortilla, beans, and salsa.
If I remember right this was bass prepared like scallops with a roasted hominy like corn nuts.
Soft shell crab
Braised beef tongue
Mole two ways; young and old. This is the famous plate here. The black mole on the bottom has been cooking for more than 1700 days!
Tamarind ice cream
A super crispy little canole
And finally, an amazing churro
We walked around a bit after dinner. There are book stores everywhere.
Just because we ate a huge meal, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for tacos! Check out how they’re heating the al pastor spit. This is a small, contained fire within the walls of a cart.
It was a father and son duo making tacos. They were chopping up meat with a giant knife, and cooking everything there on a flat grill. All of the tacos were crispy and good. The salsa was spicy (as it was everywhere we ate while in Mexico City) and complimented the meat, onions, and cilantro perfectly.
It was a very busy day, but overall a total success.