Friday, February 20, 2009

Time-Warp in the Big Taco - DF Institutions

One of the things that makes Mexico City so appealing is that the past and present sit cheek by jowl continuously, and thus you can time travel without setting foot outside of the metropolis, making Mexico City the true home of magic realism. Stepping back in time is easiest done in the Centro Historico. Check out all the different historical periods in these DF Institutions..

First up is the Sanborns Restaurant housed in the beautiful 1596 Casa de Azulejos (House of Tiles) with the most exquisite 18th Moorish tiles covering the facade of the building. Sanborns itself is a true DF Institution with its department stores being very reminiscent of the "Are you being served" variety. Next up is the wonderful Casino Espanol, the most traditional of restaurants, located in a 17thc Palace complete with chandeliers, and a full size ballroom.

There are beautiful stained glass panels and ceilings to complete that opulent dining experience...

and the dining room boasts the highest ratio of immaculate, pristine waiters to diners that I have ever witnessed, lending that air of luxury and old-fashioned attentiveness..

For the sweet-toothed a visit to the Institution of Celaya, established 1874, is mandatory. It sells all kinds of decadent sweet treats all with a somewhat archaic flavour...

Fancy something a bit more savoury and substantial?? Forget Subway and head to La Casa de Pavo which has been dishing up hearty, hot turkey sandwiches since 1901 to a very appreciative crowd at this little traditional cafe on Motolina...

Moving on through the centuries, the next Institution of note is the immensely popular and atmospheric Art Deco Cafe Tacuba founded in 1915. Always swinging with Mariachi bands, it is a great place to take visitors for an authentic taste of Mexico..

Yes it does look a bit like you are being served by doctors and nurses here which perhaps enhances the Institutionalised surroundings... but what gorgeous Art Deco architecture is on display...

Want to move on a bit more timewise?? Well how about a bit of 1950s retro chic where you can buy all things 50s kitsch here at Las Galerias el Triunfo.....

And where is my next visit to a DF Institution?? Well actually the expansive, marble bathrooms of Palacio Bellas Artes where the Irish play "Ladies and Gents" is being staged amongst the porcelain urinals and luxurious Ladies...will keep you posted!!

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11 comments:

hitch writer said...

Mexico is becoming more and more appealling as i keep following you !

Michael Warshauer said...

I'm enjoying your blog, but I was mildly frustrated in that I couldn't figure out how to comment on the "Colours of Mexico" post.

Saludos,
Mike

Arija said...

A restaurant crawl in Mexico city looks to be a real treat! Nice post.

M.Kate said...

Came here from heyharriet, love all the pictures and information on Mexico :D

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

How fun that we were both included on Hey Harriet's collage! I'm going to go shadow hunting today....

Your posts certainly negate the previously held impression that Mexico City is big, dirty and polluted. Of course, any big city could be seen that way I suppose...

Loved all the stained glass today!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Thanks for the tour of such a colourful and exotic city.

Monna said...

Hi Catherine,
Just a quick note to let you know that I am loving your posts about living in DF and I have sat at that very Sanborns as a HUGE protest went by (very scary for a girl from Ottawa).
You should know that I have been some problems commenting on your blog for a number of days.

Fly Girl said...

What gorgeous images! I love the Art Deco accents and fabulous chandeliers. I believe that's the namesake of the popular Cafe Tacuba rock en Espanol band. I've always wondered about the reference and it looks like it fits there sensibility.

Catherine said...

Hi Hitch, Arija,M.Kate, cecile, Eg, thanks as always for all your appreciative comments..
Michael...glad you made a comment...don't know why there was a problem with Colours Of mexico...could you try again and see if it works??
Monna - understand you used to live here..so hope it is bringing back some good memories..please let me know if the comment problem persists...
Fly Girl - you are indeed correct it is the inspiration for the enormously popular rock band from here in Mexico City... Cafe Tacuba

Hey Harriet said...

What a great post! All that talk of food has me drooling all over my keyboard! And I love 50s retro kitsch. I so want to visit!!!

Ruth said...

Your blog makes me want to return to Mexico City every time I read it and look at the pictures. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures, adventures, observations. Don't ever stop, at least while you are still in Mexico City. Someday I will be back.