Up and out the door by 830am for a day of markets. We all crammed into Sandra’s and Abel’s car, with Marie in the hatch space. We drove for about thirty minutes (the minimum it takes to get anywhere, even just across the neighborhood!) to La Cuidadela Mercado de Artesanias or Craft Market of the Citadel. We arrived before most places were open, nearly an hour early. As they opened, we all managed to find a few treasures.
Sue was looking for table runners and found some beautiful handwoven pieces. Marie ended up with a black clay skull, decorated with flowers around the top. Roxy picked up a few pieces of the Talavera pottery (introduced to Mexico by the Spanish artists of the Colonial period) she admired at Sandra’s house and she also bought me a sweet pair of huaraches. I picked up a few sets of prayer flags, a devil skeleton guy and two tiny vignettes to give as gifts. My purchases totaled about $12 US. My huaraches were $25 US. I did almost buy a few espresso cup and saucer sets at the Talavera stand but at $28 US per set, they were out of my travel budget. We packed Marie in the hatch with our treasures and were off to the next market.
We headed to San Angel for El Bazaar Sábado or The Saturday Bazarre. But first! Taco snacks! The best meal I had in Mexico City was at Tacos La Morena, on the outside of one of the market buildings. It was the simplest taco, handed to me as a flat piece of chicken on a corn tortilla. On the front counter of their stand they had topping/condiments: beans, potatoes, salsas, onions and cucumbers. I’m not sure what it was about these tacos, but they were the best street tacos I’ve had. I’m glad I remembered to take a picture of their sign, so I can find them again. From here we went to the middle of the market in the park to meet up with Anthony and Katie. The center of the park was full of paintings, as far as the eye could see. Along the border of the park, more booths with more handmade art and crafts. After perusing the main park area, we went into a tented area with even more vendors. Jewelry, textiles, paintings, you name it. It was in that tent.
On the way back around to the center, Roxy and I met an artist and each bought one of his pieces, me getting a bull scene for $45 US and her getting horses for $55 US. He let us use credit cards and it was evident early in the transaction he wasn’t familiar with a square. He called his wife over and she helped him. As he went to wrap up our paintings, she let us know we had been charged twice. She then asked if we’d like to buy more art. We assured her we were good on art and wanted our money back. Once the artist came back, he took out his wallet and started peeling pesos out 100 by 100 until he had paid us back for the difference. I feel like this was very trusting of him, because Roxy could have easily disputed two exact charges on her credit card.
After we’d had our fill of the market, we needed a restroom. We ended up wandering into Centro Cultural y Biblioteca Isidro Fabela, which houses the documents and photographic archives of a lawyer named…you guessed it…Isidro Fabela. The guard told us we could only use the bathroom if we had admission tickets to the museum. It was our lucky day because admission was free! In addition, they had an a few small rooms of art exhibit and the art was amazing – more bulls and weird puppet type dolls. On the second floor, the galleries were filled with Catholic art. Outside of the building they had giant spider sculptures.
We had been given a lunch recommendation for a restaurant inside of the Bazaar but Anthony had a different idea. He had recently read about a restaurant called Minichelista, created by artists. We loaded up into two ubers and took a VERY long ride to the restaurant. Have I mentioned it takes forever to get anywhere? There is traffic like I’ve never seen before. And no stop signs! Yet, no accidents. People are polite and follow zipper merge protocol like pros.
ANYWAY. Minichelista. The place is weird, which is what makes it so great. There are random seating areas, as this is an old Victorian style house, each made of different table and chair “sets” and also featuring some motorcycle seating. When we first walked in we couldn’t decide if we should sit on couches on a platform or at a smaller couch setting. Luckily, Anthony investigated and found us a regular old table, surrounded by couches on two sides and chairs on the other. We played handmade jenga while we waited for our food. I ordered salmon with rice in a tamarind sauce, espresso and a mineral water for about $8 US. We also shared nachos as a table and that went into the $8. A trip to the bathroom finds you surrounded by dark green tile, a dark green bathtub and neon signs. Upstairs there are a handful of small rooms with people hanging out, smoking hookahs in the closets.
We ubered home and walked up to 7-11 and the liquor store on the corner. We got red wine from liquor store and manchego cheese from 7-11 and put together a nice spread with other snacks we’d had. Anthony was leading an Anthony Camera Photography workshop on the rooftop patio, so Roxy and I hung out in the seating area off the patio until they were finished. It was the perfect end to a great day.