sambella_thumb Sammy & Bella says…

Bella’s Backpacker Diary – Part Three

Bella - lilit

La Carajillo del Mero Toro:

Place a generous amount of ice in a short glass, add 45ml of Licor 43 (a citrus and herb infused liquor) and top with a freshly brewed espresso. Stir, and enjoy.

Next stop is the district of Roma, the hipster hood of Mexico City which boasts loads of trendy little pocket bars. It’s already 1am and we just squeeze into the heaving Lilit (http://www.chilango.com/antros-bares/roma/lilit). Complete with a faux white rhinoceros, wall murals by local artists and vintage chandeliers, this place is a visual kaleidoscope of quirk. The mojitos weren’t bad either…

It’s 3 am and according to Joel, the tour of Mexico city’s night life has only just begun… how could we possibly pass up the city’s newest and best nightclub, Walther (http://www.chilango.com/antros-bares/roma/walther)? The cab pulls up out the front and we’re greeted with a hoard of at least 100 clubbers yelling and screaming, trying to get the attention of the door b*&#%. There is no order, no queues, no guest lists… only connections. The club is at capacity, but Joel works his magic and manages to get our massive group of Aussies in! And the best thing? Ladies don’t pay cover charge J.

The rest of the evening was a little cloudy, and next day was the shadiest of all. The big smoke is starting to get to me. Too much to see, too much to do, and not enough time! 4 days is not nearly enough, and I’m already planning my next trip…

Despite this we muster up the energy and brave La Lagunilla (http://www.chilango.com/general/nota/2010/07/16/la-lagunilla), the Antique markets. Now, apparently this isn’t the safest of areas in Mexico City and even Joel approaches the excursion with some trepidation. We are under strict instructions to dress down (me? What!), not bring phones, wallets or cameras, and only take enough cash to buy a few bits and pieces at the market.

Before we battle the crowds we need to get our wits about us and that means brekky (even though it’s already 1pm). Being in the ‘burbs, street food prices are half that of the city stands, and even more fabulously authentic and old school. Here, you can get blue corn “Tlacoyos”. These are torpedo shaped grilled snacks, made with blue corn meal. They are stuffed with a soft white cheese, not dissimilar to ricotta, and topped with pickled cactus. At the Lagunilla markets, you can get ripped off everywhere, even with food. Blue corn is more expensive than the mass produced white or yellow, and you can tell a fake by looking at the chefs’ hands… if they’re stained blue then you know the corn meal has been dyed.

40c picks me up a delicious Tlacoyo and with that I’m ready to shop! The market is a treasure trove of wonders… I pick up some antique coins and religious charms for 20c each, perfect for stringing onto my charm necklaces back home, as well as some original drawings from a local artist. Joel helps one of our friends, Phil, negotiate a price on a vintage alarm clock and gets the seller down to 250 pesos. It’s a little pricey and we move on. On our way back through the market Phil dares me to try and get a better price.  With a thumping head and no recollection of the Spanish I learned for the trip, I gave it my best shot. “dos zero zero pesos?”. My Spanish is utterly embarrassing. It’s possible the seller felt sorry for me, or, just like in the night club, ladies seem to get their way in Mexico. Either way, he hands over the clock for 200. Boom!

The next morning we sleep in and there’s no time for brekky, it’s off to the airport en route to NYC on an empty tummy. Unfortunately there is not much that is worthy of eating, so make sure you eat before you go! We’re starving and finally cave in to some pre-cooked and warmed-in-the-microwave scrambled eggs. Not nice. Even worse? The bombs that went off on the plane afterwards…

So what is my foodie advice for Mexico? Eat. Eat. Eat. Non-stop. And put on 3kgs in just a few days like I did. Why? Because the food is beyond amazing, and I’m still yet to find a good Mexican restaurant in Sydney that serves anything other than quasi-authentic food. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

Eat as the Mexicans do, it’s fresh, delicious and the high turnover means you’re not likely to get a bad tummy as long as you go to a busy restaurant or street stall. And what not to do? Steer clear of all airport food, it’s explosive.