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Mexico City Part 2: Roma and Paseo De La Reforma

In which we fall in love with art and architecture in Roma and get overwhelmed by the sheer history at the National Museum of Anthropology . See Part 1 here and Part 3

On our first full day as a group, we had a pretty ambitious itinerary (but still planned in some breaks):

  • Casa Gilardi in the morning

  • Museo Nacional de Antropología around lunchtime

  • Dulce Patria for Dinner

Casa Gilardi

I didn’t know much about it beforehand other than what my friend had told me. It’s a private house (the family still lives there) made by renown architect Luis Barragán. I won’t pretend to be an expert, so here’s a wikipedia link to learn more. He has a number of famous houses that are in the vicinity, and all require paid tours to see. We really enjoyed hearing our guide’s perspective on the architecture and other subjects. We also got to the house too early, so stopped by a neighborhood cafe called La Galeria Cafe that had great vegan tamales and coffee.

We went through a guide (ask me for his Whats App if you want to get in touch) and we paid about $30 a person (additional for photo-taking privileges). Our small group of 4 was with one tour guide, and another large group with another set of guides. Our guide was very knowledgeable and in the activist/art scene. I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves, though I think the subtlety of the light and nature of the experience was hard to capture in photos.

Afterwards, we headed to Kurimanzutto, a gallery less than 5min away. The opening hours at the galleries all vary, but there’s a couple within walking distance (and mostly free). Ask the gallery shop worker for a map of all the galleries in the neighborhood, and they’ll probably have one.

Museo Nacional de Antropología

We decided to walk to the Museum, which took us through a giant park (on a very hot day). When we got close we stopped for street snacks at one of the many stands (doritos locos though they make them with any chip). It’s a heavenly concoction of your favorite chip, lime, salsa, peanuts, and something made from pork hooves. Skip the many stalls hawking their tacos and sit-down meals though, we got lured in by one and had our only sub-par taco experience there. In general, stay away from places that have watery salsa that looks like it’s been out all day.

The actual museum was HUGE. We went on a saturday (museum is closed mondays). The tickets themselves were really cheap, 75 pesos (about $4 USD). You really could spend a day just getting lost in the museum. There’s a special exhibition area (which we didn’t go to because it was classical european art yawn), and a central courtyard with two floors. It goes around counter clockwise in somewhat chronological order, with each wing dedicated to a period of time in the area’s history. It was a really great way of learning more about the pre-hispanic era, and of course the human sacrifices and religion. We learned about a pelota ball game which could end in decapitation if it didn’t go well. I think in all we got through less than 1/3 of the museum, but all loved it and would go back. Outside the museum, there’s street vendors selling food, so we got esquites (corn w/ mayo and cheese), fruit in a cup, and met CHIPs for the first time.

Discovering Tacos de la Canasta and dinner at Dulce Patria

After the museum, we had worked up a pre-dinner appetite, so checked out a small taco shop that had been recommended by a friend. There, we discovered tacos de la canasta, or “basket tacos”, which I had never eaten before at an american taqueria. They’re essentially pre-made tacos that come out of a basket. Our spot was near Centro Historico, in what seemed like a plumbings good district, and it was definitely a more bare-bones operations. They have one guy for taking the money, one guy for handing out the basket tacos, and one guy manning the cleanup, hand sanitizer, and drinks. It was beyond good and beyond cheap at 6 pesos a tacos. We tried each one (my favorite was potato, followed closely by Chicharron).

Dinner at Dulce Patria

The ambiance at this fancy Condesa restaurant was more formal (and the crowd a bit older). I had made us reservations for 7pm, which I realize now was a bit early. It was a good meal (actually really romantic Madame Padfoot vibes) but the dishes were a bit sweet for me. We had two types of ceviche (too sweet for my palate, they even had spun sugar up top), a lobster pozole (this was my favorite), a mole dish, and desserts and tea to finish (these were the highlight for me). Portions are smaller and the service is impeccable if a bit formal.

TLDR links

What we saw:

Luis Barragan

Kurimanzutto art gallery

Museo Nacional de Antropología

What we ate:

Dorilocos. At the park across from the museum. Cash only at any of the stands.

Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales Delicious and cheap. Cash only

Dulce Patria Upscale and romantic

Up next, Pt 3. Day trips to Xochimilco and Pyramids

Crystal Shei