After an uneventful flight on United, we arrived late and got a taxi to Polanco, where we are staying with Danny and Patricia. Danny is the son of our late friend Vy, whose Thanksgiving dinners we attended in 2013 and 2015. This time, we are making a longer visit, to include two days in San Miguel de Allende, Monday to Wednesday.
We had thought that Danny’s sister Laurie would be making a Thanksgiving dinner, but due to work being done on her apartment, she has been staying with a friend and is now going to Playa del Carmen to stay with her daughter Leslie. Consequently, Danny has reserved at the Four Seasons for Thanksgiving dinner and invited a few other people.
After a light breakfast, Paty accompanied us to a local wine store, where we were able to find a good bottle of Pedro Ximenez sherry. We also bought some port and Grand Marnier. We all then took off to the Museo Soumaya, which was built by the billionaire Carlos Slim, and named in honor of his wife, to house his massive collection of art works.
The building was designed by his (now ex-) son-in-law, and certainly makes a statement. Whether it is a positive or negative one is a matter of opinion.
The collection is a hodgepodge of European, Asian, Mexican and Latin-American works, including sculpture, painting, and decorative arts, displayed rather haphazardly.
Apparently it was not vetted by a professional curator. Nonetheless, there were some very impressive works along with a lot of questionable ones. Admission is free.
Our next stop was lunch at Villa Maria, which we had liked on both of our previous visits.
Again, the food was excellent, the service and atmosphere lovely. We shared a number of dishes including roasted bone marrow, two kinds of seared tuna tacos, guacamole, shrimp and octopus in garlic sauce, tongue in green sauce and a wonderful tres leches cake. The massive Margaritas were very tasty, but as in the past, contained relatively little alcohol (not a problem as we would have been unable to move afterward if they’d been more potent).
Before returning to their apartment for a nap, Paty drove us downtown, where we took a look at the murals in the Palacio de Bellas Artes (an opera house with an archtectural museum) and then, after a walk through the park known as Alameda Central, to the Museo Mural Diego Rivera.
This one-room museum was built to house a mural, salvaged from a hotel that was destroyed by fire.
After a short nap, we went to dinner at Hacienda de los Morales, on the western edge of Polanco. This was originally a private house, and its land encompassed what is now all of Polanco.
Hacienda de los Morales:
It’s a formal place, with a small orchestra playing during dinner. The menu is extensive, and includes both Mexican and other cuisines. We started with a lobster taco, my appetizer was a sea bass ceviche, main course was a whole pompano baked in a salt crust. It was absolutely delicious. I love this preparation because the salt seals in the moisture so the fish is tender and does not lose any flavor in cooking. For dessert we shared a souffle, a mixture of chocolate and vanilla with sauces to match. In all, it was a lovely experience.
We drove off in the late morning to the southern part of the city, to the Dolores Olmedo museum. We had been there in 2015, but much of the collection had been lent at the time to the Orangerie in Paris, in exchange for works from that museum. Now the full collection is back.
From a Day of the Dead sculpture exhibit. Note that it is part of the mural by Diego Rivera.
Portrait of Dolores Olmedo
The museum was once Olmedo’s home and is absolutely beautiful, but there is a darker side to the story of how she acquired the collection, through her friendships and affairs with corrupt government officials and other shady characters.
Before lunch, we stopped at the home and studio of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.
Lunch was across the street at the San Angel Inn, a former Carmelite monastery, where we had been with Vy and Laurie on our 2013 visit.
San Angel Inn:
They make a great Margarita, so Stanley and I each had one. I had an appetizer of crepes filled with huitlacoche, topped with melted cheese and a light tomato sauce, then calf brains in green tomato sauce for my main course. Both were scrumptious. For dessert, Stanley and I shared chocolate layer cake, also very good.
Next we had planned to visit the Frida Kahlo house museum but there was a long line so we skipped it, and will try to go later in the week when we return from San Miguel.
After napping and attending to some work, we went out for a light dinner at Los Panchos.
This is a simple, brightly lit place with very tasty food. We had tacos of carnitas mixed with chicharrones, and some queso fundido. Great Margaritas (I had tangerine).
Monday morning we leave for San Miguel. Watch for Part 2.