IT STARTS WITH AN ADVENTURE...
JOEL AND MOLLY’S MEXICO CITY RECOMMENDATIONS
At the tender age of just 21, Gabriela Camara opened Contramar (literally meaning “against the sea”) with the desire to bring fresh seafood to the mouths of Mexico City. In the twenty years since, in all its ocean-muralled, white table-clothed glory, it has established itself as a favourite spot to go with friends and a fine dining institution. Using simple, fresh ingredients to create iconic dishes, Contramar’s menu is made for long lunches and many rounds of mezcal. Order the tostada de atuún, aguachile de campechano, and a bottle of Mezcal Amores.
At the heart of Mexico City, in the middle of what seems more like a wholesale grocers than a trendy food market, you will find Don Verga. Literally translating as “The Big D*ck”, it is just as mad, vibrant and loud as the name might suggest. The chefs shout “Who wants oysters? Who wants octopus?” from the tiny kitchen, and the hungry crowd shouts back their orders of 1, 2, 3 portions. It’s a place where you share food with strangers, where songs are sung, and where you make lifelong friends with the servers. It’s an unforgettable experience, and not one to be missed.
The magic of Casa Azul is by no means a secret. In the neighbourhood of Coyoacan slightly outside the city, the home of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo can only be distinguished from the rest by the line of visitors standing outside. Home to the artist from birth until her death in 1954, it is filled with her most famous works, her personal belongings and memories from a life full of talent and turbulence. When you step inside you catch a glimpse into her complex and colourful internal universe, haunted by the sense that she was destined to change the world. Whether or not you are a lover of her work, it is definitely worth a visit.
Casa Luis Barragán:
Luis Barragán was a genius. His home and studio, Casa Barragán, are a testament to just that. Impassioned by a love for the sky and the garden, his architecture focuses on blurring the lines between inside and out, framing the outdoors with great windows and skylights. He harnesses the sunlight and brings rooms to life with bold blues, pinks and yellows, his use of colour so considered that at times you fail to notice it, and are simply whipped up in the magic of each room you pass through. Every element is not only considered aesthetically, but functionally as well, and crafted to an unmatched standard. Both an emblem of the modernist movement in Mexico, and the intimate home of this iconic architect, Casa Barragán, and indeed Luis Barragan is an ongoing inspiration to so many around the world.
La Lagunilla Market
Whenever we go on an adventure, we always manage to find ourselves a Sunday market, or maybe the Sunday market finds us! La Lagunilla is really something else. Established well before the Spaniards took over, the sprawling stalls now specialise in our favourite kind of treasure: antiques. From hand-crafted door knobs, to mid-century sofas, and vintage leather jackets, if you’re in the mood to splurge on something special, this is the place to do it.
This amazing little shop in Mexico City’s historic district showcases the beauty and intricacy of the country’s indigenous textiles. Its founder, Remigio, has worked tirelessly to protect traditional weaving practices unique to rural Mexico, and broaden the knowledge of this almost lost art amongst the younger generations. The colourful huipil‘s (dresses) have become particularly popular with the cool girls of the city and can often be seen worn over jeans.
Condesa DF is where you want to wake up in Mexico City. It’s a calm escape from the busy streets outside, filled with custom-made furniture by Parisian designer India Mahdavi and a wealth of vibrant colour including a library painted in deep turquoise. The leafy inner courtyard is a great spot for breakfast before heading out on your daily adventure. When evening rolls back around join the city’s cool crowd for cocktails on the rooftop bar overlooking the Parque España.
After our first night on Mezcal Amores, we knew it was love. Not only had the night lasted until dawn, but we woke up without even the slightest headache. After doing a little digging we found out that this was because Amores use zero chemicals or sulphates in the production of their liquor, keeping the entire process organic, hand-crafted and natural. They are also working hard to protect the waning agave population by replanting ten plants for every one that they use, which seems pretty amazing to us. It also makes us feel much better about having just a couple more Mezcal Mules to finish off the night.