Paseo de la Reforma 509,
Nueva Cobertura, México, D.F.
To honor Mexico’s 200th year of independence from Spain, an open competition produced the impressive Estela de Luz.
The winning design by architect César Pérez Becerril consists of 1,700 panels of translucent quartz designed on a 104 meters height structure. It is a real marvel, this ‘Pillar of Light’.
César Pérez in conjunction with Austrian Robert Müller, devised a special engineered material that expands the light homogeneously across the entire panel creating the strong effect.
Located next to the main entrance to Chapultepec Park, we found one of the more interesting things about the Estela de Luz to be how it easily transformed in perspective. Sometimes it would seem it’s normal size, other times it would feel like it was a 1,000 meters tall … but kilometers away!
Cebeth Apothecary & Gallery Store
10:00 am – 7:00pm Monday Saturday
Envisioned in 2010 by Celeste Magazine editor Vanesa Fernández and her husband artist Aldo Chaparro this amazing gallery lives in a very chic 1940s house restored by Productora Architects. The result is a truly amazing job – specifically the ingenious placement of the cement tiles and the design of a modernist Vienna coffee shop.
The house is located in the Anzures neighborhood of Mexico City, a lovely area where every street is named after a literary author.
The House has three sections:
First is the Concept store/gallery, were one can find all sort of interesting items. They include paintings, functional and nonfunctional objects, rare fossils, collectible fashion, jewelry and more. Products from around the globe, and others ether designed by Aldo and Vanessa or the top designers in Mexico. Celeste House really shows breadth of design contained in this world-class metropolis.
Continuing on one finds a homeopathic apothecary specialized in phytotherapy treatments. Here, personalized formulas are created in a very Victorian way for each customer.
The third, and most delicious part, is the champagne tea room. While Viennese in design, they serve the classic English ritual; complete with tiered plates of pastries, scones and small sandwiches. They also offer a rich Champagne menu as well as an extraordinary selection of teas. Top this off with Cantonese-style Dim Sum, and during the late evening, Celeste transforms to a destination for the trendy and happening.
The above photo illustrates the combination of traditional and modern culinary thought by celebrated chef Enrique Olvera. Graduating from the Culinary Institute of America Snr. Olvera set himself back in the culinary mecca of DF. Rather then imitating the New York food scene, Enrique opened Pujol with a daring approach – combing modern culinary techniques with the traditional ancient jewels of Mexican cuisine.
You can taste his success, but if you are looking for rankings, in 2012 Pujol ranked number 36th best restaurant in the world. In 2014 we see a big jump up to number 20. Kudos to well deserved accolades.
Pujol offers two tasting menus: ocean and earth. We ordered both, only adjusting Earth to be vegetarian. Thankfully – and contrary to many cities – this request was not an issue; quite contrary, the chef was pleased to adapt and create special courses for us.
As an overture to our evening we were presented with perfectly round pumpkin emitting a aromatic smoke. Inside, to our delight, were smoked elotes skewers (baby corns) with a dipping coffee mayonnaise and ant dust.
An then the parade of mezcals and memorable delights began, starting with an extensive list of mezcals and the best sangritas we had in all of Mexico!
Service was to the top, no pretension and just lovely service. Again, like Biko and Dulce Patria, the sommeliers and waiters, were educated patient and knowledgeable; giving detailed descriptions and answers to our endless list of questions.
From left to right:
Salsa Roja: roasted garlic, onion, manzano and habanero chiles
Salsa Yucateca: pumpkin seeds, chamomile, lime and cilantro
Salsa Verde: habanero chiles, cilantro with its roots y and tomatillo
Chicharron de Queso is a cheese tuile topped with three different avocado puree; one with chapulines (grasshoppers); the second one with pico de gallo (fresh chopped red onion, tomato, chile and lime) and the third avocado pure topped with tomatillo, cilntro and a bit of green chile.
Inflaita de huevo is an inflated fried tortilla filled with potato mousse, a little bit of black bean puree, red chile sauce with chapulines (grasshoppers) and wild cilantro topped with a perfectly cooked egg. Yes it is a sous vide cooked egg – perfect texture all around.
Heirloom tomato salad with breaded Oaxaca cheese balls resting over avocado puree, fried tomato skin, bean leafs, sesame and chili vinaigrette. On this dish the fried tomato skin was a revelation on color, texture and flavor
One grilled octopus tentacle tempura’d on one end and topped with pico de gallo (fresh chopped red onion, tomato, chile and lime) on the other. Adorned with olive sauce and basil reduction.
This dish has a striking presentation and is cooked point to perfection. This is one of the menu items were you can clearly appreciate the quality and freshness of the ingredients and see where the top ranking is deserved.
Fish (robalo) ceviche taco; the tortilla was made with chayote and hoja santa topped with black bean puree, serrano chile, totomoxtle (the dried husk of an ear of corn) powder and dry chiles with lime juice.
Pan seared Guachinango (red snapper) with ginger orange mojo (garlic sauce) and tatemado (tatemar is a special charring technique in Mexican culinary that utilizes a cast iron pan) male plantain and onion puree
Thinly blown sugar sphere filled with piloncillo (unrefined sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking), ice cream and guava puree. It is topped with tiny lime meringues, peanut powder, amaranth crumble and mandarin gelatin.
We don’t know what was more impressive, the texture or the flavours – not to mention the super skilled pastry kitchen, blowing sugar so thin and perfect requires years of practice and patience.
At the very end of our meal we had the Chipilín Sorbet. Chipilin in an herb similar to the verdolaga and it grows in southern Mexico places like Chiapas and Oaxaca. It was flambe’d in mescal in a colorful last performance.
(above photo The very skilled team that makes it happen)