19 May, 2014

A Perfect Day in Coyoacan, Mexico City

I adore Coyoacan, a bohemian neighborhood in the middle of Mexico City.  It is my respite from the hustle and bustle that is Mexico City and I relish my moments there.  But of course, my perfect day in Coyoacan is centered around the delectable treats more than the museums.

I have attached my walking MAP  here so that you can change it and plan your own trip.  Walking is easy in Coyocan because it is so small.  DO check out the museums!  Add at least one to your daily itinerary (but beware most Churches and Museums are CLOSED on Monday's).

My day in Coyoacan always starts out at Cafe el Jarocho, a famous coffee shop that has been making coffee for...well... forever.  But you wont find your Mocca Frappe Starbucks stuff here.  You get COFFEE, and if you ask nice... some milk.  Just around the corner about half a block you can pop in for some Churros to go with your coffee or plop down on a bench in front of the Cafe and chew the fat with the old timers, or just mosey on down the road to the park.  

After enjoying my coffee in the Art Plaza, it is all you can do to keep me away from the public market where I can now find the Tostadas Coyoacan stand with my eyes closed!  Piles and mountains of the most delectable tostada toppings severed with a rainbow of Aguas Frescas.  It is a sensory overload for the taste buds!  Or as I like to think of it: Heaven!!! 

*Take note: there is only ONE Tostadas Coyoacan!  They have 4 stalls in the near center of the market all clustered together, 2 for Tostadas and 2 for Aguas, it does not matter where you sit, the many waiters will certainly help you find a place.  Every single stand in the place will tell you that THEY are the real deal, so read the signs. In the last few years they have continued growing and adding more stalls a little more scattered off of the central cluster.  The waiters will direct you to a seat and give you a slip to start ordering away, you will know when you are in the right place.

After all that food it is time to walk!  So it is on to visit the church where Boris was Baptized San Juan Bautista, and of course the famous park: Jardin del Centenario.  These two parks and plazas are right across the street from each other and are the heart of Coyoacan.  There is much to see and do and taste in this area.  

You can also catch a Trolley Tour from in front of the San Juan Bautista Church that will show you the sights in less than an hour.  

Just off of the plaza to the far side of the Church is a hidden street food gem.  If Tostadas are not your thing, or you are my food hero and you can still eat more behind the (sadly now closed) La Guadalupana is a market of street food stalls. 

Delicious fried Quesadillas, Esquites, Menudo... all you need to absorb alcohol and muster enough strength for the party to rage on.  This is the ideal night stop... but they go all day!  It is conveniently in the area where you will find the most bars and cantinas.

I love the Conchita Church, and always make a point to wander past and through the little park.  You will find many the star struck lovers snuggled together on the park benches. 

The Frida Plaza is also in that same area and often has festivals or art shows.  It is worth walking by to see what is going on.  There is many a cute shop or stand to check out in between Conchita Church and the center of Coyoacan.  Wandering around is highly recommended.  You cannot really get too lost.

Since all that exercise deserves a treat: time to stop at Las Nieves Coyoacan to try one of their sorbets or ice creams  of exotic fruits!  My personal favorite is Helado de Mamey....so creamy!  

A must to sit in the park to enjoy your treat and rest your feet.

To bring the tour full circle it is on to the artisan stalls at the Mercado Coyoacan.  But NO TOUCHING!  They get really fussy about that!  Pictures are not recommended either.

That is a one day shot at Coyocan but you could easily stay a week.  There is so much to do and see.  But it is also nice just to stay and relax.

Extra Tid Bits:
Sunday is my all time favorite day in Coyoacan.  The vendors really roll it out.  

There is every type of treat you can imagine.  My favorite stop on Sunday's is just across from the Market.  There is a small Plaza that they fill with Art for sale.  But in order to work up the much needed appetite for Tostadas they have live music and dancing on one corner of the plaza.  Stop in and check it out.  

But be warned: if you stand too close or look too interested in this amazing dance called Danzon a lively elder will grab you up before you can say Boo! and give you an impromptu dance lesson!  Great fun!!!

Do not even attempt to visit the Frida Museum on a Sunday, unless you feel like wasting your whole day in a line that wraps around the block.

The only down side to only visiting Coyoacan on a Sunday is that the week days are when you can get Tacos de Canasta.  Early morning on the way to work is when you get this specialty that I have only ever found in Coyoacan, although they do sell it in other parts of the country the true version is found here.  

Look for a man on a bicycle with a large basket covered with blue plastic. Usually he will set up on a street corner about a block in from a busy main street.  Inside are the little treasures known as Tacos de Canasta.  They come in various flavors but usually stick to potato, Adobado spiced potato, Chicharon en Salsa, and beans.  Be VERY CAREFUL of the salsa.  

It may look like unassuming Guacamole but the Chilangos are some of the few Mexicans who love their spice.  That salsa will destroy the best of you spice lovers!  No joke!!!

The only other day to be aware of is Monday.  A lot of Churches and Museums close on Monday's.  

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