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)
In the very chic neighborhood of Condesa, in a lovely space – originally designed in 1939 by architect Luis Barragan – one finds the cute Bonito Pop Food.
The entry is dominated by a lovely mural with sculpted ceramic birds, making way into four individual spaces: an intimate hidden at a corner, a second floor with windows overlooking the main patio, a 2nd patio with very tall ceiling – head here for a super decked bar with an amazing variety of Mezcal (including our favorite Mezcal Rojo Corazón) and many tequilas – and finally a terrace at the back of the venue with full view.
Bonito Pop food is a good place to go for drinks; but like many places in DF you are asked to consume food as well due to the liquor license laws. It seems that acquiring a bar license is much more difficult then a restaurant with liqueur permit.
The menu here is not the most exciting – centering around burgers, pastas, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and a few Mexican classics – but the service is warm and welcoming . There are certainly worse places to while away an afternoon!
Mexico city has numerous food markets and some of them share the same name, which makes it a bit difficult for the visitor to get to the desired destinations. The Mercado de San Juan Arcos de Belén, is different from the famous Mercado de San Juan – which was our destination. Since we were never able to get a set address and following a multitude of different directions, we found ourselves at here. Funny enough, it was after a few days later that we realizes it was a different Mercado de San Juan!!!
Fortunately our surprise detour brought us to roughly 125 square meters and 400 stales of fruits, vegetables, prepared foods, nuts & seeds, meats, chiles, moles, juices and so on. At first the view of hanging strings with colorful plastic bags and signs everywhere advertising all the wonders of a traditional Mexican food market was a bit overwhelming.
After walking the through all the stimulating aisles of market, we decided to eat at Gloria y Familia Taco Placero located in stalls 191, 208 & 209. Her selection of prepared foods grilled vegetables, rices, stewed huitlacoche, salsas, salads, tamales, beans and soups, seduced our senses each time we passed by. It was also appeared as the most veggie friendly place with its series of ceramic trays displaying all kinds of delectables.
Our lunch really consisted of food that could be used as vehicles for all the different hot sauces. Gloria had at least 10 different kind of freshly made salsas and hot sauces in her booth; all delicious and full of happiness! So much so, that at the end, we asked here to fill our empty water bottles to carry these bursting flavors with us.
We ate grilled nopal cactus, sated onions, yellow rice and vegetable rice, many herbs native to Mexico, as well as stuffed poblano chiles, tamal (a corn based dough wrapped in a leaf, which is steamed or boiled) and elote.
After lunch, we stopped at a few stalls to buy moles and chiles. Our favorite stall being Moles Sarita (55182235) stalls 194 & 195. Here we stuffed our bags with a generous sampler of moles and chiles. In general every place we inquired the people seemed friendly and prompt to answer our many questions regarding names, origins and usages on all the wonderful foods.
Fruit salad with topped with grated cheese
Foreground – chiles cereza ; Background – chiles mora (measures about 4 cm in length)
Like stepping into a sci-fi conference-hall, the Polyforum Siqueiros is a transporting marvel. The Suclpainting technique of David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) creates a three-dimensional interior mural that takes over your mind – it is the largest in the world. If we were to make a cult-movie where the leader gets all of his followers to obey – this is the space.
(above photo foregound the creators statue of artist David Alfaro Siqueiros & benefactor Manuel Suarez y Suarez)
The outer Mural represents the leadership, the dead and the reborn tree, the circus, Moses breaking the law stones, Jesus the leader, the dance and flee of winter and summer, the Mestizaje, the music and the atom. Each face of the outer mural holds great philosophical symbolism related to the lectures of the forum’s inner mural
The interior space, known as the Foro Universal, is dominated by “The March of Humanity”, Siqueiros’s masterwork. A lifelong communist and advocate for social equality, David Alfaro Siqueiros was a member of the big three of Latin Art – including himself along with Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. The main theme of this 237.6 square meter mind-bending mural is the evolution of man to a society where justice and freedom are truly integrated concepts.
It is awe inspiring in its scale and grandeur. Construction on the Polyforum was started in 1966, after it was decided to move the mural from its original location at a hotel conference center at the Hotel Casino de la Selva in Cuernavaca. Inaugurated in 1971, it is used today for political meetings, concerts, readings and gallery exhibitions.
The lobby area is a sleek white modern contrast that is does not quite prepare you for the onslaught of color you will find upon entering the main space. It is much more a 2001: A Space Odyssey foil to the sci-fi feel of the Foro Universal – with its white on white interiors and lines that curve. The lobby is used as an exhibition space, as well as housing a small by design shop that features some of the best creations in Mexican contemporary jewelry, ceramics, books clothing, home objects and more.
above photo “Peace, Culture & Harmony” east wall
The mural is divided in four sections:
“The March of Humanity towards the Bourgeois democratic Revolution” on the south side, represented by multitudes advancing from darkens into a civilization of light.
“The March of Humanity towards the Future Revolution” on the north side showing the hope and obstacles in life and the difficulties in conquering victory towards a further future.
“Peace, Culture & Harmony” on the east side manifested with women’s hands
“Science & Technology” on the west side manifested with man’s hands
Tip: On Sundays the interior platform spins – yes there is a turntable too!