Midwesterner in Mexico Rotating Header Image

cerveza

Upcoming Random Events in Mexico City & beyond!

As part of my continuing “Live Vicariously Through My Friends in Mexico” program, I wanted to alert y’all to some upcoming events in DF, Quintana Roo, and Hidalgo state that I thought may be worth checking out. Rest assured I continue to keep my finger on the pulse of kitschy activities despite my absence from Mexico, all in exchange for the small request of merely a few of your cheesy photos to make me feel like I was there. ūüėČ

MORE LUCHA, MORE BETTER:

That’s right folks– the month of July once again brings us the annual Lucha Libre: La Experiencia!! The dates are July 23 & 24 at Centro Banamex. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wonder what it would be like if a bunch of luchadors and lucha libre super fans got together and hung out for two days at a tradeshow that also has a professional wrestling ring set up?” Now is your chance to find out!! For fond memories of LuchaFest 2009, check out my prior post.

Recall this photo of me with a veritable "Who's Who" of up-and-coming lucha libre stars.

Their Facebook site may merit a visit, as there seem to be some hot prizes & giveaways happening in the final feverish moments leading up to the extravaganza.

El Matador is on the right, accompanied by famous "mini" luchador Mascarita Dorada. (photo courtesy El Matador)

Since you folks let me down on live reporting from the Feria Nacional de Burros (which, btw, was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle online!!), I have already nailed down a correspondent for this event. Friend and luchador El Matador, who has also recently relocated back to the DC area, will be flying down to Mexico City for the craziness. Keep an eye out for the gentleman on the right– if you are lucky, perhaps you can get one of his action figures, which currently is gracing my cubicle at work. I have not yet inquired as to whether El Matador will be doing any wrestling here in DC, but I feel like come election time next year, there will surely be some enterprising politician looking for a popularity boost by taking on one of the rudos…!

MEXICAN MICROBREWS: Yes, Virginia, there is a beer besides Corona in Mexico

If you ask the average person about Mexican beer, you’ll probably get an answer restricted to either the Grupo Modelo brands (Corona, Victoria, Pacifico, Negro Modelo, ) or those of FEMSA (Dos Equis, Sol, Indio, Bohemia, Tecate). But a revolution has been brewing, my friends!! (pun intended)

Mexican craft beer festival? Sold!

A number of craft breweries have emerged around Mexico, and they will have their wares on display September 1-3 at the World Trade Center in Mexico City during the Congreso Cerveza M√©xico 2011: Por La Cerveza Libre festival. You will be able to sample more than 100 beers for a mere $150 pesos/day (with advance registration)! This event is part of the Gourmet Show that happens at the same time/place– check out last year’s pics here to see if it merits a visit.

WHALE SHARK SEASON IS NOW!! Come swim next to a fish with a 6-foot-wide mouth!

Swimming with the whale sharks off the coast of Isla Holbox in Quintana Roo state in Mexico is one of those wildlife-interaction experiences that I think you have to do at least once, just like a safari in Africa, seeing the giant tortoise in the Galapagos, and visiting prairie dogs in Nebraska. John and I made it down last June & stayed at the Holbox Dream hotel (thumbs up; great air conditioning, which quickly became my main criteria for a hotel on an island in the summer).

We were too cheap to pay for a guide that took photos of us underwater, but check out my friend Joy’s amazing photos or Kelly’s story & pics on their blogs. While the average whale shark is 25 feet long, they can be up to 40+ feet in length– they are the world’s largest living fish! Even the Washington Post is getting in on the whale shark action. They’re really an added bonus to what is already a lovely beach vacation.

The view from our hotel room on Isla Holbox, Mexico

M√©xico Desconocido has further tibur√≥n ballena details, for those who read Spanish, and if you search for “whale shark” + “Isla Holbox” or “Isla Mujeres” (the other jumping-off point for tours), you’ll find reams of additional details. In fact, el Festival del Tibur√≥n Ballena is happening July 15-17 on Isla Mujeres.

FERIA DE LA BARBACOA!!

I will caveat this alert with the fact that I know nothing about this festival in honor of grilled meats except for the announcement on the M√©xico Desconocido calendar that is backed up by the announcement on the town of Actopan’s homepage.¬† THIS weekend, folks, in scenic Actopan in the state of Hidalgo, a meat festival (probably lamb) is awaiting your arrival. The website indicates the primary attraction at this festival is the competition to win the title of Best Barbacoyero of the Year. The word barbacoyero is not one I’ve come across before, but I will translate it loosely as “one who makes barbacoa“. :)

This photo seems to confirm the event actually exists, though according to this blog we still seem to be awaiting further details…but last year’s agenda was quite thorough!¬† So don’t let the silly logistical details keep you away! Commit wholeheartedly & with low expectations- this is my travel motto & it never fails. If you show up in Actopan on Saturday with the goals of eating barbacoa & meeting a talented barbacoeryo, I can almost promise your expectations will be exceeded. ūüėČ

The 2009 logo for the Feria de la Barbacoa was the best I could find, but I felt it lends a certain air of authenticity. Also, please note the ambitious "463rd anniversary". Just think what might be in store for the 465th year!!

In summary, have a fantastic time wearing a mask to wrestle a whale shark while drinking a Mexican craft beer and eating barbacoa. What a summer Mexico has to offer!!

Las Jirafas y la Mula in Santa Maria la Ribera

Back in December, John, friend Susan & I went on a long overdue visit to one of Mexico City’s up-and-coming neighborhoods, Santa Maria la Ribera. (Read as: no Starbucks yet) For additional colonia commentary, check out SMlR resident Jesus Chairez’s blog, or Lesley’s post re. her visit.¬† There are several cute little spots, like the oft-mentioned Russian restaurant Kolobok. We did not commit to a full meal of Russian food, but I can speak highly of both the empanadas & the wheat bread sold at the to-go window.¬† Jesus also recommends Salon Paris, one of the local cantinas.

But one place I’ve not seen heralded is the restaurant “Las Jirafas y la Mula” (the giraffes & the mule). They get double-bonus-points for having a sweet website complete with animated giraffes running across the screen.

Why is Las Jirafas y la Mula worth a visit? So glad you asked…

  • They have a cohesive, witty marketing theme: everything is tall or long, like a giraffe!! (ok, fine, so I’m not sure where the mule fits in…)
    • The quesadillas are an impressive 45 cm long
    • The beer is served in yard glasses
This mammoth quesadilla happily provided a light snack for 3, when combined with agua de jamaica & a 1/2 yard of beer.

This mammoth quesadilla happily provided a light snack for 3, when combined with agua de jamaica & a 1/2 yard of beer.

  • They have a display case full of kitschy giraffe accoutrements, which speaks to me since I feel giraffes are probably my closest animal relative (tall and elegant…?).
Hello giraffe pals. I always like to see a theme maximized to its full potential.

Hello giraffe pals. I always like to see a theme maximized to its full potential.

  • The yards of beer are stabilized by metal rods that slip into holes PRE-DRILLED into your table. Brilliant!
A well-engineered beer holder, if I've ever seen one. Sidenote: John & I were not intentionally trying to dress/act alike this day... I swear, we are not one of those couples who wear the same brightly colored hawaiian shirt whenever we travel together. Honest.

A well-engineered beer holder, if I've ever seen one. Sidenote: John & I were not intentionally trying to dress/act alike this day... I swear, we are not one of those couples who wear the same brightly colored hawaiian shirt whenever we travel together. Honest.

  • They have a salad-bar-esque station with various toppings for your quesadilla, including an excellent salsa verde (& plenty of chopped-up nopales for anyone who likes the slimy little devils).
  • Flour tortillas for the quesadillas! (yes, it’s true….I kind of like flour better than corn…pls don’t tell anyone in DF)
  • You can order either just plain dark or light beer, or beer with a variety of crazy flavors added to it. We wussed out on our first visit & just got a straight-up dark beer, but we will probably have to go back to try the cerveza de sabor….

We will be making a return trip soon to further bond with my giraffe friends, so will try to report back on the edgier beer options. This could also be a great lunch option after a visit to El Chopo on a Saturday afternoon– it’s just a few blocks west of that market, across Insurgentes.

Las Jirafas y la Mula: Calle Manuel Carpio #93, a la esquina con Doctor Atl, Colonia Santa Maria la Ribera

Here you can review the options for quesadilla fillings & strategize in advance on what you would like your "45 centimetros de sabor" to contain!

Here you can review the options for quesadilla fillings & strategize in advance on what you would like your "45 centimetros de sabor" to contain!

Map of Cantinas in downtown Mexico City!

After a few “bottle service” episodes at the √ľber-trendy clubs & lounges here in Mexico City, we have been itching to check out the more autentico cantinas in the Centro Historico. (For those not in the know, most of the glam spots here are big fans of the “buy a whole bottle of liquor” approach to drinks, which then comes with various mixers like Coke, OJ, tonic, etc. and you/your waiter mixes your drinks at your table. I find it expensive/slightly pretentious but I suppose arguably more cost-effective if you’re out with a large group.)

Anyway, we¬†are¬†making a trek to the cantinas of¬†the Centro Historico of¬†D.F. this Saturday night. More details to follow… if I have the guts to break out a camera in any of these places…¬† Since I’m not making any guarantees, I thought I’d at least share the Streets & Trips map assembled by John and I after an evening of online/guidebook research!¬† Hope this is of use to anyone else looking to make a similar exploratory voyage to the cantinas of Mexico City!! (click on the map to enlarge for a printable version)

Mexico City's Centro Historico marked with all the hot cantina options!

Mexico City's Centro Historico marked with all the hot cantina options!

For the less-bold, the Secretary of Culture here actually hosts a 2-hour cantina tour (paseos de cantinas) on Thursday nights at 8PM for $100 pesos, as blog Wagamama Wonderings tipped me off to. I dropped them an email a while back to confirm details (at paseosculturalesdf@yahoo.com.mx) and was told the $100 pesos includes a glass of wine as well as a narrated history of pulque, wine, and other booze. The tours leave from near the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Wish us luck!!

***UPDATE***: View commentary/photos from the Cantina Crawl here: http://www.midwesternerinmexico.com/2009/03/31/mexico-city-cantina-crawl-report/.  Also note that El Nivel is now closed, and we were unable to find an open entrance for La Terraza del Zocalo post-10PM. Gallo de Oro was either closed that night or shut down, but there is another bar on its street quite nearby. Also, La Faena seemed popular but had a cover charge so we skipped it on principle. Finally, I neglected to mark La Opera, which still has bullet holes in the ceiling from Pancho Villa. It is located on Av. Cinco de Mayo #10 between Lazaro Cardenas & Simon Bolivar.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...