Day 2 in Mexico City: Art, Conchas, and Mercados

Breakfast at Lalo

This morning Rachael and I got an early start thanks to the one-hour timezone change. We walked down the street from our Airbnb to a little breakfast cafe called Lalo. The streets were practically empty at 8am. I think we passed one other person out on the sidewalk. Most shops were shuttered and only a few were starting to lift their metal gates and start their day.

At Lalo, Rachael and I drank delicious coffees and ate a chocolate croissant (too delicious for a picture) to start. For our entrees, I got Chilaquiles and Rachael got escamoles (ant larvae) with salsa verde and eggs. I tried some. It was great. The escamoles didn’t really taste like much of anything and looked a bit like quinoa. The dish mostly tasted like eggs and salsa verde. The cafe had a nice vibe to it. I could see myself going there a few times a week for a coffee and pastry before starting work.

Lost in Contemporary Art

After breakfast, we went back to the apartment to get ready and then made our way to Zona Maco Arte Contemporáneo, or so we thought. We ended up taking an Uber to the wrong place, but our Uber driver drove another passenger to the Zona Maco earlier in the week. He was able to reroute us to the right location. Zona Maco Arte Contemporáneo is a once a year contemporary art exhibition in Mexico City’s Centro Banamex event space. The building is also a convention space and one entire floor was filled with artwork and sporadic 1800 Tequila stalls (1800 is the brand, not the number of tequila stalls).

There were fancy people in couture clothing and regular old jabronis like myself all wandering the exhibit space looking at art. There was a bit of everything there, from paintings to photographs to sculptures. It was the last day of the show, but from the crowd, you wouldn’t have known. It was nearly shoulder to shoulder with people narrowly passing each other jockeying for a view of each piece.

Rachael and I spent a few hours perusing art and enjoying delicious tacos as well (I had octopus, Rachael had chicken mole).

Take a look at that Concha

Concha for days

I’d never had a concha before, it’s somewhere between a giant cookie and angel food cake. I would gladly have it again. We rode 30 minutes out to a little strip of closed up shops under a highway and waited for an old man to open the metal gate of his shop and sell us a delicious concha. I was skeptical at first. With the gate down, the little storefront didn’t look like much of anything and even after it opened, you wouldn’t know the delicious treats that awaited us inside. We ordered the Nutella filled concha (no regrets). The concha was so large Rachael and I cut slices out of it like a pie.

Roma Mercado

That night we went to Roma Mercado, a food hall a few blocks from our Airbnb apartment. The food hall had pizza, tortas, Spanish wine, tacos, burritos, and Mezcal. It reminded me of the food halls in Manhattan like Gotham Market. Rachael and I ordered two cochinita pibil tortas with cheese and helped ourselves to some hot sauces. Each place I go to in Mexico has their own spin on their various sauces, each with a different level of heat. It’s a bit of a gamble trying the different sauces. Usually, I can handle them, but every now and again, one gets me good and I need to wash it down with some water.

At Roma Mercado, I tried one hot sauce which initially tasted like lemon juice with no burn, but slowly built and eventually became very spicy. I recommended it to Rachael before realizing how hot it was. We both drank a bunch of water to mellow out the heat. I found myself wanting more of that sauce but had to will myself not to as we were running out of water.

On the roof, Roma Mercado has a German Biergarten where Rachael and I got a beer and cocktail and enjoyed the cool air before making our way back to our Airbnb for the night.

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