I am back today from 3 weeks of back-to-back travel. I am exhausted, two pounds over weight, and nursing my ego. My last 4 days of travel included a visit to Mexico City. A place so chock full of culture, gastronomy, and history. I was thrilled to be there for my second time as the first time I was there to work and only got to eat and play for one night. This trip with 3 of my closest friends, and only sleep to stop us, was what had us excited for over one month! But what was planned to be one of the best culinary, cultural, and nightlife girls trip ended up being nothing more than a trip leaving me with a bruised ego, a broken heart, and a questionable concept of a city so many have boasted only good things about.
Simply put, Mexico City you disappointed me.
We flew out early Thursday at 6:00am. Our flights out of Tijuana were riddled with bad luck at boarding, delays on the tarmac, but we managed to board the plane and enjoyed Clamato Michelada's on our 3.5 hour flight. With a bumpy and rough landing that sounded like we may have blown a tire... we were nothing more than excited to be in Mexico City, to finally experience everything EVERYONE always talks about.
For our first day it was just Kay and I. Kay is a winemaker from the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico's wine country. She is a statuesque 6 foot tall, blonde hair, blue eyed model looking woman. This was her first time in Mexico City. She was beaming... and honestly so was I!
We were nestled in the middle of Roma Norte and walked to Lardo for lunch. We were seated right away, in a table tucked right next to the service station. We asked for the Chef to send us whatever he likes, 4-5 courses approximately, as we were not too hungry and already had dinner plans. The server looked at us like we were asking for ramen in a Mexican restaurant. Kay explained again and the server finally walked away, as we prayed he understood what we were asking (we both speak Spanish). This was one of the top 10 restaurants listed on multiple websites... why was this so confusing?
The food was just ok. I definitely would not rank it among the top 10 restaurants if my choice was solely based on food and service. Our first course there... tempura green beans... maybe ramen wasn't so far off! LOL
That night we met with Kay's Mexico distributors. The two gorgeous ladies met us at Casa Virginia, one of their favorite restaurants. The place did not disappoint! The double white linens were luxurious as were the vaulted ceilings, colonial crown molding, and stark white walls. It was a HUGE step up from Lardo. Make sure you have the Portobello Risotto and Foie Gras... TRUST ME.
During the course of dinner we asked our friends online, and in person where we should go out to have some drinks. I explained that every time I visit a new city, I always try to visit at least one Speakeasy... they recommended:
Gin Gin (Roma Norte)
Condesa DF Rooftop Bar (Roma Norte)
La Nacional (Condesa)
We went straight to Gin Gin. When greeted by the host he asked if we had a reservation. We said we did not. He pursed his lips and said a reservation was required. We could see empty tables, but understood and asked if there was space at the Bar. He said fine, asked us to follow him, he walked us through the restaurant as we soaked it all in and then took us to an empty room with a bar. There was a girl that looked not a day over 18 mixing drinks behind the bar. We were the only people in this area. We sat there for about 10 minutes waiting for the bartender to finish making 2 drinks and give us the cocktail menu. Kay ordered something simple a Hendricks and Grapefruit Juice and I ordered a Ramos Gin Fizz. It's a Gin Bar... when in a Gin bar... order Gin!
The bartender asked a nearby colleague/cashier to google the drink. I asked her outright about 2 minutes later if she knew how to make it otherwise I could just order from the menu. She said she did not, so I asked her what Egg White drinks she had? She recommended one from the menu and I said ok. We sat there for 5 minutes watching her under pour our drinks while trying to hold the jigger in a fancy way. I wish she knew I don't care how nice you hold the jigger so long as I have a stiff drink. The drinks tasted exactly like they were poured. Underwhelming. We paid our tab, tipped 15% and left.
We arrived at Condesa only 10 minutes later. Walked up to the door to be turned away and told there was a private party and the bar was not open. We asked for recommendations. He turned to us and said, "walk through that park and on the other side, there are bars".... We walked across the park. And guess what... no bars. Just a 7 Eleven and dark unknown roads. Who sends two people across a park without specifying anything specific? Sigh.
We ordered and Uber and headed to La Nacional Condesa. After our Uber driver drove us around the block a couple of times, we realized either the place had closed, or it was now called something else because it was no where to be found. We returned back to our apartment defeated, and called it a night.
Ellie and Tonya flew overnight to arrive in Mexico City at 7am... guess what? They were also delayed by 1 hour and arrived closer to 8am. By the time they made it to the aparment it was nearly 10 am and we were all starving for breakfast.
|Concha and Cafe de Olla - Pasillo de Humo|
We visited Pasillo de Humo a beautiful restaurant with amazing light, open space, rich woods, and a modern rustic appeal. They greeted us with a complimentary Mexican bread called a Concha. We drank Cafe de Olla (Mexican coffee with cinnamon), and ordered way more than we could eat. It was delicious but the Tlayudas of Huitlacoche, Squash Blossoms, and Crickets were definitely the best! Eat here... you will love it!
|New Mole and 1330 Day Mole - Pujol|
For lunch we had reservations to go to Mexico's most famous restaurant. Pujol. I have been a fan of Enrique Olvera for over 10 years and eating here was a dream come true. Kay brought with her some wines to share with the Sommelier and we enjoyed two Lechuza wines through our meal. It was an ultra modern restaurant, with open floor plans, an expansive window allowing light to stream in and visuals of the restaurant herb and vegetable gardens. Since there were 4 of us and Courses 2, 3, 4, and 6 offered four options, we each had a different plate and then rotated each plate so that we could taste all the dishes. Essentially we tasted 19 different bites from the Pujol tasting menu. We all enjoyed our meal, some courses more than others. But overall we all agreed it was definitely positioned where it was for a reason. It is very modern and pushing the boundaries of Mexican Food. Toward the end of our dinner a man sitting in adjacent table comes over and says to us... "You know, I just want to congratulate you. It is wonderful to see 4 beautiful women dining here." We accepted it but all remain perplexed until we noticed the place was full of only men or couples. We were the only single women at a table.
|Chicken Live Mousse- Maximo Bistrot|
Dinner for the night was at Maximo Bistrot. Chef Eduardo (Lalo) came out to greet us on arrival and I was start struck to meet him. We were still stuffed from the 19 courses ealier so we ordered light... but the Chef still sent out some delicious extra bites. I wish I could tell you what our favorites were... but for me... This was the BEST dining experience of the whole weekend. Every single thing was cooked to perfection. Actually I take it back... the Erizo Risotto was beyond luxurious! OH and Ellie and Tonya tasted the Chicken Liver Mousse for the first time and loved it... so that tells you VOLUMES! Eat here and don't you DARE miss your reservation! Sooooo Good!
Kay had made reservations at POE Speakeasy, so we rushed out of dinner and headed there early.
Now, as someone who has been to MANY speakeasies all over the world. I know one thing. You make a reservation and/or get a password WELL before you will arrive. That night POE had a special DJ and it was going to be a great night. So Kay and I made the reservation via Facebook Messenger with the Bar directly. They confirmed.
When we arrived at the door the door man was on a walkie ear piece and kept talking to, or pretending to, talk to someone. He said he didn't have the reservation and would check again. Asking Kay for her name three different times. Meanwhile allowing other groups of people through without checking for their reservations. One man, even showing up in cargo shorts and running shoes. They were all let in before us. At one point Ellie caught the man taking pictures of us off to the side. Then saying he was calling the Manager. He later came to Kay and explained he would not be allowed to let us in. Kay showed him the proof of the messages and confirmation and the man continued to refuse. I got involved and asked what the problem was. The man looked me up and down and shook his head. After waiting for him again to call his Manager, the man returned and said there was nothing he could do for us. Night Two is already starting off in the wrong way.
Gin Gin was right next door but having had the experience we had just had the night before we couldn't even bother.
We drove to Condesa DF to see if tonight they ALSO had a private party. Round 2 at Condesa was not the same. They showed us to the elevator and we headed up. However, we were seated between two couples so busy making out, they never noticed anything. The place was desolate and empty. We sat there for 20 minutes waiting for our drinks to be made listening to some eclectic electronic slow music. We couldn't stop laughing at how our night was already turning out to be such a mess AGAIN. There were over 7 servers standing by the bar just joking and laughing. We received our drinks except Ellie, because the margarita type glass was overflowing. The server took it back and took about 12 straws of her drink out before returning with 3/4 of her drink in the glass. Mine was a raspberry sake drink that tasted like raspberry Kool-Aid. The smart one, was Tonya, she ordered beer. We asked for our bill as we felt like we were intruding on the dates happening on both sides of our seats and well honestly the drinks were NOT good.
Our next stop was Cafe Paraiso. We stopped there because a friend owns the place. I couldn't reach him as it was already late on a Friday night, but I remembered the curly haired hostess with the mostest. The line was long but people kept coming up to the guards and getting right in. Regulars maybe. I saw the hostess and walked up to her and explained who I was and asked if we might be able to get bottle service. She said she didn't remember me and said they were filled to capacity and she would not be able to help me. I asked if we should stand in line. She didn't answer me and walked away as if she didn't hear me. I called out to her and then realized it wasn't worth begging. We got an uber and headed to our next destination.
We arrived to Jules Bassment around midnight. Ellie had been there before and she said she was let right in. This time, the doorman said you could not get in without a reservation and turned us away. We were in the middle of Polanquito with no where to go. At this time, Tonya gave up, she got an uber and headed back to the Apartment. The night was a fail and we all knew it.
But I didn't want to give up. We walked around trying to find ANY bar at this point. There were none. We ended up at the restaurant across from Jules and as we were speaking with the Host, we saw a wall with flashing lights behind it. We asked where that was and he explained the entrance was through the alley way! We got excited. We followed a girl heading that way and entered SCOTCH.
Scotch is an all-white walled speakeasy that isn't really a speakeasy. It is more of a stuffy, smoked out, snobby party. People and servers are constantly bumping each other out of the way as loud music is bumping and no one is dancing. The drinks are expensive and hard to get to since their are seats at the bar.
Now this is where the night turned into one of the worst nights of my life. As I was standing just behind the first seat at the bar behind a man with his leg propped over the next two bar stools, I looked down and saw that my face was looking back at me. The 20-something year old had taken a selfie with me behind him. He was typing in What's App messenger to his friend telling him how Large and Fat I was. His friend was responding "Be careful her double chins may swallow you up" Also instructing him to stand his ground "She may eat you to get these chairs." It took every ounce of me to not hit him. I was furious. I tapped his shoulder and told him that he should be a little smarter not to talk about the person standing right behind him when they can see what he is writing. Being confronted he negated the messages and said he wasn't talking about me. At this point I got even more furious and asked him if he thought I was as Stupid as I was Fat? I told him I saw the picture he took and told him that he should really not judge people he doesn't know.... He extended his arm shook my hand and said Hi, I am David. The two guys sitting at the bar had girlfriends who returned to the stools. David went on to whisper into his girlfriends ears what happened as she turned and laughed at me.
We got our drinks and walked out to the restaurant out front. After we finished our drinks, we headed back to our apartment and went through all the drama of the night.
I began crying. I couldn't hold it back anymore. The truth is, words do hurt. They ridiculed me, laughed at me, joked, and even took pictures of me for their own enjoyment.
I am grateful that Ellie and Kay were there to listen that night because I have never felt so discriminated, judged, and humiliated for being plus size or a woman. We discussed all the Uber Drivers who down rated me every single ride making me lose 5 points while there, the countless rude comments by service workers, all the people who rolled their eyes when they saw 4 women walk up to a restaurant/bar with no man. We discussed all the women who made comments loud enough for me to hear about how fat me and my friends were, or the countless number of men who would look the other way when I was asking for help or even better, the Volaris Captain who when Kay and I asked "Do you know where the restrooms are" answered only... "Yes I do."
I posted a short status to FB that night. Upset and vulnerable. There was an overwhelming outpour of support and love from my community. It made me more confused. How could there be so much love in this world and also people who feel it is ok to say such vile things about another human being, taking pictures of someone to joke and mock someone who is a mother, a daughter, and fellow Mexican? It has me questioning what is happening with our culture and society?
Mexico as a whole should not be defined by the ugly pompous and sexist behavior of the few in Mexico City!
Mexico City, I really hope you understood that you need to be kinder to your tourists. If you have a group of 4 strong, powerful, and independent women exploring your town, it should not matter how much they weight, or what they look like, or are who they are accompanied by.
That night we decided we would forego all nightlife from now and and focus on only tourist things like visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum, Xochimilco, and the Zocalo.
Ellie and Tania decided to fly home a day early since they were so over it.
Kay and I, we wouldn't allow the ugly people to ruin our trip. We would rewrite our Mexico City experience and that we did....
(To be continued... )