I was excited when Omar aka Oaxacking mentioned he would be coming into CDMX with me and my pals to hang out with us while we were there. I’m happy for any chance I have to hang out with Omar, and it’s an added plus for me to have a Spanish speaker to help navigate the big city.
Omar arranged to have a friend who offers food and drink experiences in CDMX to take us around for the night. I wasn’t sure what to expect and although I was fighting being sick, I knew I had to kick my myself in gear so I could be in for what I knew would be an adventure.
Although it was billed as a cantina crawl, it turned into a cantina/taco/bar hop which was fine with me! As a planner, I rarely give up control, but I trusted that I would be taken to places that I wouldn’t visit or find on my own.
The evening was led by Anais (aka @thecuriousmexican) and joining me and my friends along the way were @marviajaycome, @mexicanfoodporn and @gastrogrammx. I felt like I was hanging out amongst the heavy hitters of eating in CDMX.
The ground rules for the evening were that there would be lots of food and drink, but we need not feel like we had to finish either at any stop along the way. Sometimes it was hard with so much deliciousness placed before us, but I knew I had to pace myself, and thank goodness, we did a lot of walking in between.
I not only welcomed the opportunity to be introduced to new, wonderful, local spots, but also the chance to spend time with the creatives in the food scene in Mexico City. I love the opportunity to talk food, especially in a comfortable and energized environment, where I have so much to learn. An added bonus was their encouragement to me, as a push towards being more committed to Call Me A Food Lover is always appreciated.
Stop 1 – OLD SCHOOL CANTINA – Cantina El Sella is a place I had read about, but not somewhere I’d have gone if I were not taken here by Anais. It was a local’s post-work drinking spot, filled mostly with men on the Monday night we visited. Anais explained that what differentiates a cantina from a bar is that the food must be as delicious as the simple drinks they serve. At the Spanish-slanted Cantina El Sella, the food we ate far surpassed this criterion.
Stop 2 – LOCAL CRAFT BREWERY – Falling Piano, a just-opened, not quite finished brewery was a detour stop on our crawl. It was a great space to check out and will be worth a re-visit on my next visit once it’s all set up.
Stop 3 – A KISS OF MEZCAL – Miz Mezcales was another detour along our route, where we stopped in for a quick sip of mezcal at this Mexico City location of a well-known Oaxacan mezcal store.
Stop 4 – NEW SCHOOL CANTINA – Riviera del Sur served us a table full of food and drink as conversation flowed around the table. I believe this is what cantinas are all about and we were doing it right. The added bonus was our table on the street on a warm and pretty evening. I couldn’t be happier.
Stop 5: OLD SCHOOL TACO JOINT – We stopped at El Jarocho, a classic taquero for a quick (shared) taco.
Stop 6 – NEW STYLE “HIPSTER” TACOS – Taqueria Orinoco felt like an old-school fast food joint, with its white tiles and bright lights. But what really differentiated Orinoco were the flour tortillas they used for their tacos.
Stop 7 (our last) – BEAUTIFUL COCKTAIL BAR – Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons was a complete change from all the other drinking we’d been doing and a wonderful end to our evening. With an impressive space and even more impressive bar program, we were re-energized as we settled into our chairs and sipped some delicious drinks.
Hanging out with my good friends and being introduced to new friendly people and eating and drinking delicious things made this evening a peak experience in Mexico City. I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with others, who are as passionate about eating and drinking as I am. I am constantly inspired by the people Omar has introduced me to, first in Oaxaca and now CDMX as well. It’s so refreshing to spend time with people not caught up in the small stuff of life and have broader visions. The conversations in these settings are so positive and topics to meaningful (to me).
I’m not normally a tour person. The thought of signing up for a tour when I travel makes me uncomfortable. I do not like to be led places on someone else’s schedule. So when I travel, I do the research and try to tackle places on my own. I have been successful in this method and know I eat and drink better when I travel than anyone I know. On the flip side, I know because of this, especially in places where English is not the first language, I’m only experiencing the surface of things.
My exception to this has been arranging to have @oaxacking take me around Oaxaca the past few visits. Omar is thoughtful with where he takes his clients. He customizes his days to satisfy the desires of his clients. He’s often told me that he offers experiences rather than tours and I understand that. In my discussions with Anais, she expressed the same feelings. She thinks of herself as a food concierge, someone who will customize an itinerary on exploring Mexico City to suit your needs. A day with @thecuriousmexican is a unique experience, catered towards each client’s desires.
It’s because of this, it’s with less hesitation that I divulged the stops along the course of our evening. Try if you may to recreate the route of our adventure, it just wouldn’t be the same because what made this experience so wonderful is that Anais was guiding us along the way. Anais is a lovely person with great energy and an abundance of knowledge for the city. She introduced my taste buds to new flavours and unlocked doors to Mexico City in a way only a professional eater can do.
I can’t wait to contact her for another experience on my next trip to CDMX.