Sunday, January 06, 2008

Stepping Into the Colorful, Tasteful World of Mexico - Mexico City

Stepping into Mexico

It's 3:17 pm on any given day.

A Mexican man with a cowboy hat has his arms interlocked with his mother's, as they walk to church.

A taco truck is surrounded by herds of hungry construction workers and covered with fluorescent poster boards and chicken scratch – patiently waiting for their $1.25 delicacies from all parts of the cow and pig.

Four Mexican children wearing Catholic school uniforms hold both of their backpack straps as they await the bus. Taking pictures of each other with their silver cellphones.

A teen-aged Mexican girl hooks shiny new piñatas across the front entrance of her parent's gift shop with a pole.

A weary, sweaty Mexican man yields two heavy bags of oranges and paces up and down the corner of a busy boulevard.

An older Mexican woman dispenses fresh tamarindo and horchata juice from large plastic barrels resting on milk crates into styrofoam cups for $1 each.

A group of Mexican guys pull up to the intersection in an '88 Honda Civic, pumping the latest regatón beats.

On any given day, this is the life in Mexico. But it's also happening where we live. Here, in Los Angeles.

Ever since moving to the Silver Lake area, I drive through the Pico/Union and Koreatown area to get to work. If you weren't a native Angeleno or familiar with those areas, one might experience a sudden time travel to our Southern neighbor of Mexico. And that is the beauty of Los Angeles... large representations of many ethnicities. There is a close relation between Mexico and Los Angeles. You see it in forms of music, art, businesses, jobs and of course, food. There is the old adage: you can take a person out of their country, but you can't take the country out of them. It's so true. And for this Christmas break, J & I wanted to see just where the Latino part of LA stems from.

The first part of our trip took place in the Yucatan/Quintana Roo side of Mexico, by the Caribbean. To make a long story short: powdery sand, turquoise water, underwater caves, expensive taxi rides, expensive touristy food, fantastic seafood soup (caldo de mariscos) and lastly, the loss of our Nikon D70 (including the 450 photos we took), which was stolen from my backpack while on a bus ride to Cancun. But all of that changed once we stepped foot into Mexico City. With the purchase of a new Canon SD750 point and shoot digital camera, it was time to make up for what we lost. I think the majority of this posting can be done with minimal explanation , so enjoy the silence. My goal was to really demonstrate the vibrancy of this beautiful city.

Casa Comtesse Dining Room View

Casa Comtesse in Condesa Area
Not bad for a listing on This was not a hostel, but more so, someone's house. There are only 3 rooms in this 2-story condo. Full access to kitchen, food, alcohol and washer/dryer. All for only $50 a night. Even Crazy Gideon would be taken back by this deal. The guy running this is a French national and is totally cool. We didn't get to meet him, but his demeanor was well understood in his many check up emails. The Condesa area is almost synonymous with NYC's East Village. There are plenty of cafés, restaurants and bars in this area.

Casa Comtesse Hallway

Casa Comtesse Dining Room

Casa Comtesse Bathroom View

Casa Comtesse Balcony View

Casa Comtesse Balcony View

Condesa DF Hotel

Condesa DF Hotel
A few blocks away from Casa Comtesse is the ultra-stylish Condesa DF Hotel. J & I walked over here on New Year's Eve for a drink at the bar. Unfortunately, we did not make the "Rico Suave" list. Oh well, next time.

Condesa DF Hotel

Condesa DF Hotel

Condesa DF Hotel

Mexico City Metro

Should I Spend 2 Pesos or Walk?
At 2 pesos per subway ride (that's 20 cents!), Mexico City has the cheapest method of transportation. Even cheaper than those stupid carousel/car rides outside of supermarkets which really don't get you anywhere but a free ride to Dorkland.

Palacio Nacional en Mexico City

Palacio Postal in Mexico City

Mexican Buildings

Kids Playing in Mexico City

Mexico City Buildings

Green Volkswagen Beetle Taxi

White Volkswagen Beetle in Mexico City

Man Dragging Bag in Mexico City

Mexico City Buildings

Street Art in Mexico City

Market in Mexico City

Street Art in Mexico City

Street Art in Mexico City

Street Art in Mexico City

Baby Doll in Mexico City

Strawberry Caipirinha

Shrimp Empanada

Cohiba Cigarettes - Made in Cuba

Montecristo Cuban Cigars

Juice Jugos Jugo

Mexican Waitress

Mexican Butter Mantequilla

Neveria Roxy Ice Cream shop in Mexico City

Taco Guy in Mexico City

Fresh Chicken in Mexico City

Blue Tacos

Quesadillas in Mexico City

Red Tables & Chairs in Mexico City

Tacos al Pastor

Salsa Roja & Salsa Verde

Pastor Torta

Tacos al Pastor

Taco Bistec with Nopales

Tacos al Pastor

Pollo ala Brasa

Mexican Baker Bread Lady

Mexican Coca Cola Bottles

Next up, my favorite part of the trip: Oaxaca.


rameniac said...

first! always wanted to do that haha...

naw but seriously, that's dope. a far cry from the stereotypical images of olvera street and kids selling chiclets to drunk college students that californians typically associate mexico with. too bad about your camera tho ; ;

Oishii Eats said...

Loonies and entrepreneurs on the 2 peso metro...I can't wait for another round of D.F.

Anonymous said...

I love this post! I really enjoy your writing and pictures. Too bad your camera was stolen. But it still looks like a fun trip. ^^

BoLA said...

Dude. I'm SO sorry to hear about the loss of your camera. Damn those pickpockets in foreign countries!!!

Beautiful photos, though. MS and I need to go to Mexico.

Miss you and J!

One Food Guy said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of your camera. Nothing can make up for that and the loss of 450! pictures! But you're photos from the SD750 certainly paint a great picture. Great photos D, can't wait for more.

Daily Gluttony said...

yay!!! i was waiting for you guys to post something about your mexico trip! sorry about your camera, but it looks like you guys more than made up for it with these gorgeous took these with a little canon sd750??? nice work!

we still need to go hang out & catch up...we'll call you guys soon!

dealinhoz said...

Rameniac, mexico city is amazing – it's like NY/LA with its many different neighborhoods.

Jeni, we should've recorded those guys in the subway and put them on YouTube.

EileenT, thank you for stopping by.

Bola, it was totally my fault for not having the backpack with me. sorry to hear about your pickpocketing incident in Spain.

OFG, thanks. actually, the best parts of the the trip were in Oaxaca in Mexico City. I've moved on from the powdery sand/turquoise water. it gets old.

DG, thanks! yes, fish tacos???

Food Marathon said...

Outstanding photos. Your travels are the source of much jealousy.

Anne said...

When you and Jeni are traveling the world taking photograhs for Travel & Leisure or Conde Nast Traveler, will you still remember the little people like me?

Elay Burd said...

my best friend and I have been talking about going to Mexico City~she has already been a few times with her family. Someday~can't wait! ...I am a good friend of BOLA's. But that's not how I found your post. I will be going to Cafe Brasil for dinner and when I searched google for the menu, the link for your post about Sergio Mendes@The Bowl came up. ...hence leading me to this...I love your photojournalism here. and I love all the coincidences surrounding this...pleasure finding you! My Mexican music faves are Julieta Venegas and Café Tacuba. I'm somewhat obsessed with Mexico...¡Ay!

Passionate Eater said...

So gorgeous and poetic D.

Also, about your camera, all I have to say is, "karma EDNBM, karma." Back in the day, I lost a digital camera from a thief in the San Gabriel Ranch 99 complex. Since then, I have only appreciated my current digital camera even more. The way you take pictures, you could do better with a black box with a hole in it and a blanket (a primitive camera) than most people can do with their digital cameras. Keep your spirits up. Until then, I am entering your name into every contest I see for a free SLR camera.

e d b m said...

Food Marathon, thank you. No worry, LA has several good Oaxacan restaurants.

TAG, haha. No the question is, will YOU remember us Mrs. Band Mama.

Elaiburd, hi thanks for stopping by. How did Cafe Brazil turn out for you? Hope the pictures provide a convincing reason to visit such a vibrant city.

PE, thank you, you're super sweet. Hey I won an iPhone in december so who knows, i might just have that luck in winning a new dSLR. happy new year to you.

daddy in a strange land said...

Wow. Can't wait for more. Sorry about your camera--but what you did with the one you picked up on the trip... Wow. (And that first place you stayed, awesome!)

e d b m said...

Daddy, thank you. Happy new year to your family. J & I saw the photos of little Lucy. She is too cute.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your beautiful pictures of Mexico City. The apartment is lovely! I've been wanting to go back ever since I went there last year. Did you have a chance to try the amazing yet affordable gourmet there?

infinity 2.0 said...

Hey, I'm the San Diego guy from Casa Comtesse. Saw your blog in the guest book so thought I'd take a look. I'm glad you guys liked Oaxaca. I think it was our favorite part, and the food was fantastic. I see you ate at a lot of the same places we did (same pozole...I think we ate there 3 times in 5 days.) I'm still munching on some chapulines. We're going to LA in a couple weeks, so maybe I'll try some of your fish taco and noodle suggestions. Oh, and we have lot of pics of the food we ate if there are some you're missing.

John D

alexpolina said...

gorgeous photos!

Chubbypanda said...

I hope that camera thief burns in hell. Seriously, I do. I don't know how I'd manage to keep my head if someone lifted my Canon Rebel XTi. That's a huge chunk of change.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog~

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