Tatiana de Leon’s TRAVEL BLACK BOOK

Mexico City is full of life

DJ Tatiana de Leon says Mexico City has so much going on in terms of culture, design, fashion and music. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF TATIANA DE LEON
DJ Tatiana de Leon says Mexico City has so much going on in terms of culture, design, fashion and music. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF TATIANA DE LEON

DJ Tatiana de Leon counts Mexico City as her favourite because there is so much going on there

Who: Mexican Tatiana de Leon, 29, also known as DJ T.A.T, is a deejay with W Hotels. She was spinning here last month at Heatwave, a monthly pool party held at W Singapore-Sentosa Cove.

Favourite city: Mexico City, Mexico

Why: I travel around the world pretty often, but Mexico City always makes me feel right at home. There's just so much going on in the city in terms of culture, design, fashion and music.

I find it a very cool place, where people constantly seem to be involved in doing something for the community.

Favourite places to stay: Hotel Condesa Df (Avenida Veracruz, 102 Mexico City 06700, tel: +52-55-5241-2600), which has a wonderful design.

A beautiful architectural element is the hotel's central patio, where rows of white shutters create lovely geometric patterns, especially in the sunlight.

Room rates for a night's stay on a weekday begin at about S$250.

Another hotel I would recommend is Downtown Mexico (Isabel la Catolica 30, Colonia Centro, 06010 Ciudad de Mexico, Distrito Federal, tel: +52-55-5521-2098).

It is situated along the very pretty main street of Mexico City, Isabel la Catolica, in the Centro Historico borough of Mexico City.

Room rates for a night's stay on a weekday begin at about S$170. The hotel has great brunch and pool parties.

Best places for brunch: One of these would have to be El Parnita (Avenida Yucatan 84-E2, Cuauhtemoc, Roma Norte, 06700 Ciudad deMexico, D.F., tel: +52-55-5264-7551), where you can get cheap and very good Mexican food.

You have to order its ceviche compadrito (a seafood dish), and rellenitos (dumplings made of mashed plantains stuffed with sweet black beans).

A huge meal would cost only about S$25 a person.

When you're there, be sure to try its flavoured drinks too, which include refreshing concoctions such as coconut water with ginger.

The second brunch place I would suggest is Contramar (Calle Durango 200, Cuauhtemoc, Roma, 06700 Ciudad de Mexico, D.F., tel: +52-55-5514-3169) which is more pricey than El Parnita.

Brunch here would cost about S$60 but you'll be paying for really fresh, well flavoured food.

Its seafood in particular is great. Do try its tuna tostadas (a deep-fried maize flour pancake).

Favourite clubs: I spin house music at a few clubs in Mexico City but my top picks would be Rhodesia (Durango 181, Roma Norte, 06700 Ciudad de Mexico, Distrito Federal, tel: +52-55-5533-8208) and M N Roy (Merida 186, Colonia Roma, 06700 Mexico City, tel: +52-55-5999-4196).

The energy of the crowds at these two places is always great.

Best place for supper: Check out cocktail bar Puebla 109 (Puebla 109, col. Roma, 06700 Mexico, D.F., tel: +52-55-6389-7333), which is very popular with young people. You need to make a reservation at least a week before.

Besides having a wide selection of wines, Puebla 109 is also known for its octopus dishes and short ribs.

Must-see museums: There are always new museums popping up in Mexico City. One of them you should head to which opened last November is Museo Jumex (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Ampliacion Granada, 11529 Ciudad de Mexico, Distrito Federal, tel: +52-55-5395-2618).

It is said to be Latin America's largest contemporary art museum.

Another is a spectacular private museum, Museo Soumaya (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Granada, 11529 Ciudad de Mexico, Distrito Federal, tel: +52-55-1103-9800), which opened in 2011.

This museum displays works by famous Modernist and Impressionist masters, among other artworks.

Do visit the national museum of Mexico, the Anthropology Museum (Av Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi S/N, Chapultepec Polanco, 11560 Ciudad de Mexico, Distrito Federal, tel: +52-55-4040-5300).

The museum has a wide range of exhibits and contains one of the world's largest collections of archaeological and anthropological artifacts dating back to the period of pre-Hispanic Mayan civilisations.

Best place for strolling: Wander around the scenic, artsy neighbourhoods of Condesa and Roma, which have a peaceful atmosphere, and you can admire the colonial houses you see along the way.

Best place to people-watch: That would be the Zocalo, the main plaza of Mexico City.

Must-get souvenir: Buy a bottle of Mezcal (agave-based liquor) and have a great time sharing it with friends.

Advice for travellers: Take at least two weeks to soak up the sights and sounds of Mexico City.

Two weeks will also give you time to try all the good food here.

brynasim@sph.com.sg

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