Mexico City: A Cultural Smorgasbord
AKA countless reasons Mexico is cultural af - from
Most people think of Mexico and their minds are automatically drawn to blindingly beautiful beaches, tequila and ruins aplenty.
Well MTV headed over to the country's capital, Mexico City, to see the artsier, more modern and decidedly cultural side. Turns out there is a LOT to choose from.
WATCH A VIDEO OF THE TRIP BELOW (FEATURES LOTS AND LOTS OF FOOD)
The Food... So... much... food
Burrito fan or no, there really is something for everyone when it comes to the country's cuisine.
Seemingly every street corner has street carts selling filled tacos made fresh to order for a preposterously bargainous 11 pesos (about 30p). Mole is the region's most popular sauce; a rich chocolatey chilli goo stuffed full of over 30 ingredients (although every family's is distinct). Salsa is made at the table, pounding tomatillo, tomato and chillies together to serve with crunchy tortillas.
Then there's the country's decidedly avant garde approach to consuming insects - we loved cocopache, soft cheese stuffed courgette flowers with crunchy beetles sat proudly on top.
Head to Azul Historico to try their 'grasshopper and mango guacamole'; undoubtedly the tastiest guac we've ever NOMmed. We also dined at Lorea, a brand-new top-end modern restaurant with a menu that changes every two weeks, and which boasts either a nine or fourteen plate tasting courses. Halfway through the meal you're invited to talk to the chefs, ask questions and put a face to the mastery that goes behind the dishes. Rather special and rather amazing.
Go one better and cook with the locals
MTV went to a Mexican cooking class at Casa Jacaranda in the Roma Norte district. An eclectic mash up of vintage art and paintings, even the furniture is designed by the two lovely men whose home you're invited into. Jorge and Beto taught us traditional home cooking dishes, and we made guacamole, and two different salsas (roja and verde) from scratch, followed by fish tacos with an escabeche, corn tamales, tequila cocktails, and a dessert made of zapote purée mixed with tangerine juice and cointreau.
Did we mention the cocktails?
You will become very familiar with mezcal and tequila during your visit - two liquers we became acquainted with during a cocktail-making class at Baltra Bar.
The bar makes its own syrups, trending on twists of the classics with tropical, herbal, citrus and floral notes. Then there was a punch from Paloma, a smoky Apium Mezcal, and a mixture of cardamom, cucumber syrup, egg white, tequila and lime mixed up made a perfect Old George sour.
There are beautiful buildings and murals aplenty
The National Palace holds inside huge wall murals by Diego Rivera, a very famous mural painter who used his work to convey important messages of social commentary. In the palace they stretch out through the walls, and reference all of Mexico's culture across the ages; the Aztecs' rise and birth of coca beans, the corrupt church and economic crises.
The Zocalo is the third largest square in the world (and recently appeared in the latest James Bond, Spectre). Built in 1572 and finished in 1808, it sits just across from the Templo Mayor, and houses a gilded altar and one huge Baroque organ. It's stunning.
Follow in the steps of Frida
Everyone with even a passing interest in amazing art (and incredible monobrows) will be familiar with Frida Kahlo. You can visit her home in the Coyoacan district, and see where she spent her life along with many of her iconic art pieces. Nearby, you can also visit Frida's former school, the El Antiguo Colegio De San Ildefonso, where she met Diego (and where scenes from the Salma Hayek-starring biopic Frida was filmed).
Play out your Romeo & Juliet fantasies
The Chapultepec Castle was originally a military college, before eleven consecutive presidents took over inhabitance, and made modifications with huge art work and gold furniture. The most awe-inspiring part of it though? Film fans will recognise the staircase at the entrance, from the iconic fish tank scene in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet.
Get your classics on
Bella Artes is (in our eyes) the most beautiful Art Deco inspired building in the city, both outside and within.
The Man On The Crossroads mural is splayed within. Originally painted by Diego Rivera, it was destroyed due to its political message, and so has been reconstructed to marvellous effect. The Centro Historico culture festival hosts events here (a not-too-shabby surrounding, with stained glass curtains on either side). We experienced a bewitchingly beautiful special ballet performance of Beauty & The Beast, which was a fittingly stunning way to end our visit to this stunning city.