Food fiesta/culinary cabaret

Having already tried some unusual Mexican delicacies (tongue tacos, pickled pork skin, and others), I’ve been a little less adventurous these days, opting for classics that are guaranteed to be good. Below are a few of my recent restaurant choices.


Without a doubt my favorite from this list: a mixed ceviche from a restaurant in San Carlos, Sonora, on the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). If memory serves me, the mix was of shrimp, squid or octopus, and some kind of fish. It was almost as great as the view!


The most recent: a jumbo hot dog with mustard/mayo/ketchup, nacho cheese, pickles, onions, and crushed Ruffles chips– served with fries and a diet Coke. This was our first adventure with UberEATS in DF, and I was quite pleased. (Shout-out to Auntie for beautiful placemats from Bronner’s in Frankenmuth!)


Up next: enchiladas suizas from the Sanborns in the Casa de los Azulejos (house of tiles) in downtown Mexico City. Since Mom was here for a visit prior to the wedding, I couldn’t not take her to this famous landmark. She played it safe with a yummy sandwich.


We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood full of great restaurants, like this one, an Argentinian place on the corner called Parrilla Quilmes. I went for the cheapest entree on the menu, fettuccine with my choice of sauce. The chimichurri (an oregano- and vinegar-based sauce) was exceptional! Poor Isla Negra just sat there, unread, while I stuffed my face with delicious carbs.


Probably the grossest-looking picture but the most satisfying meal. Imagine the concept of the old A&Ws: ordering and then eating in your car… but at a taquería. These are tacos al pastor that had a very barbecue-y flavor to them. With each taco costing a mere 10 pesos (about 50 cents US), it’s easy to fill up on a budget.

Teotihuacán time

With the help of one of David’s cousins, Sara (pictured lower right), I checked off a bucket-list item: the pyramids of Teotihuacán!

The Pyramids of the Sun (Sol) and the Moon (Luna) are the major attractions at this massive archaeological site, located northeast of Mexico City. Though the city was established around 100 AD, it took over 150 years to construct the monuments we know today.

I learned from Sara that these pyramids are almost perfectly aligned latitudinally with others in Egypt and China. Interesting, no?

A brief update… or, the one where I got married and moved abroad!

Hello, there! It’s been awhile. Pull up a cozy chair and perhaps locate some caffeine while I provide an update on the past 5 months of my life.


September: quit job, left Maine (it broke my heart into a million pieces), moved home to Michigan. Went to Chicago. Married the most wonderful man on the planet on my parents’ lawn in a bejeweled, pink gown. Cried when he boarded his train 3 days later (yes, indeed, it felt very WWI. I waved and sniffled from the platform until his train was out of sight). Took full advantage of my remaining healthcare coverage (thus scheduling my first chiropractic appointment and ordering mounds of contacts).

October: did a lot of shopping/lounging/errands/nothing. Caught up with family and friends; visited favorite restaurants. Attended two very fancy fundraisers, one of which was Gatsby-themed. Proceeded to drink lots of champagne. Visited D in Mexico City and completed wedding registry (uh-huh, with those little gun-like scanners, just like the movies). Watched lots of Michigan State football. Hung out at our cabin. Felt honored to attend the baby shower of my first college pal to be married and expecting.

November: started getting very anxious about the big move. Got paperwork and “affairs” in order (see also: adulting). Visited Portland (thank God!) and felt so happy. Moved to Mexico City! (Was ill for two weeks… as in, buckets-of-snot sick.) Turned 26. Explored new city when Mom visited. Did lots of Netflix bingeing because of The Crown and Gilmore Girls. Got a gym membership. Finalized wedding details and headed to Guadalajara in preparation for Big Day #2! Enjoyed finally living in the same place as D after a very long time of a very long-distance relationship.

December: got married… AGAIN! This time in a church and with more of D’s family and friends present, with a fairytale reception. Spent a week in Tulum for our honeymoon (amazing despite some nasty bug bites and D losing– and finding– his wedding ring. More on that later). Had an interview of sorts with a potential employer (cross your fingers for me!). Sort of attempted to create a routine for myself while husband worked (more TV bingeing, but also sleeping in every day and using aforementioned gym membership). Traveled back to Guadalajara for cousin’s wedding. Returned to Guadalajara for Christmas; proceeded to travel to Hermosillo and San Carlos, Sonora; traveled from there to Tucson, Arizona to spend New Year’s Eve and do a little shopping.


First Stop in the New World

In preparation for my upcoming move to the beautiful, crazy, smoggy, misunderstood capital of Mexico, I began reading this book a few months ago:
51muac8vfbl-_sx329_bo1204203200_It was a spur-of-the-moment Amazon purchase that I do not regret making (unlike the rain jacket I picked up today at the airport on a whim). David Lida, the author and a prolific journalist who has lived in DF on and off for about three decades now, assembled this book from various pieces he has written over the years, interwoven with new content. Although it’s now 8 years old, the book still offers an interesting perspective on Mexico City’s goings-on.

I find some chapters to be quite funny, particularly those about cultural idiosyncrasies; others make me nervously bite my lip. Most recently, I finished a chapter called “Who’s Afraid of Mexico City?” in which Lida describes the infamous crime problem DF faces. I felt comforted (perhaps a poor choice of words?) by many of the comparative statistics– for instance, that in terms of car theft and homicide, Washington, DC actually has higher rates of occurrence. But what bothered me most were two main issues: 1) how deeply ingrained with corruption the police and (in)justice systems are, and 2) the overall sense, even among chilangos, of uneasiness and concerns about safety in everyday life. These issues merit more than just a blog post, so I won’t attempt to tackle them at length here.

Now, as I mentioned, this book was published close to a decade ago– some things have changed, some haven’t. All major cities are afflicted by crime, particularly those with a wealth disparity between the haves and the have-nots as vast as DF’s. (Rather, CDMX’s: the city has undergone a massive rebranding since it became an autonomous city rather than a federal district in January of this year.) But, as any tourist handbook will tell you, there are plenty of precautions one can take to avoid living in constant fear.

Certainly, Lida didn’t write this chapter/book to scare anyone away from his beloved city. Instead, he aimed to present a more accurate account of what the crime is really like, and to combat the way in which the media sensationalize it.

The take-away here is this: not to live in fear, but to live cautiously, remembering that that newspapers and TV networks profit from covering juicy crime stories. Oh, and that this book is definitely worth your while.

My task now is to go forth and explore the Ciudad de México to find out for myself what David Lida is talking about.

Clever quips

Quotes about travel tend to be contrived, romanticized, or faux-philosophical. And they usually look something like this:

St Augustine quote image

That being said, I still enjoy them. It’s important to me to keep them in the back of my mind before embarking on any new adventure. These are the three I have posted in my office:

The classic (see above):

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

The slightly snarky:

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind. Get up off the couch. Move.” – Anthony Bourdain

And finally, the inspirational:

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

El Ángel

One of the first pictures I took in Mexico City– it will always be my favorite. D was the perfect tour guide during my first visit (summer of 2013). After taking this photo, we made a mad dash across the very busy glorieta (traffic circle or roundabout) surrounding the base of the angel. She is a monument to commemorate the country’s independence from Spain. It’s similar to the victory columns in Berlin and Paris.2013-06-13 17.17.28