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Where to Eat During a Business Trip to Mexico City

Where to Eat During a Business Trip to Mexico City

If you’re going to Mexico City on business, you probably won’t be doing a lot of sightseeing. Getting around during the week is a precisely timed exercise aimed at avoiding traffic. So while you may not see many sights, you will do plenty of eating and drinking. During a recent business trip I spent almost the entire time in four restaurants in 24 hours. It was a lesson in how business is done in Mexico, and fortunately, it was a delicious one.

We flew direct out of Tijuana, which is a breeze now with the Cross Border Xpress(CBX). Parked the car in long term parking ($15-20 a night) and we were through customs and at the gate in 15 minutes. It was an outstanding experience that I hope more people departing from So. California will try.

Crossing the border at the Cross Border Xpress is easy

Take one step and you’re in a new country!

Eat at the neighborhood restaurants.

There are many famous, destination restaurants in Mexico City like Pujol, and if you have the presence of mind to get a reservation, well lucky you! Our trip was being directed by a local, so we trusted that he would point us in the right direction. He did not let us down.

After landing, our host directed us to a charming restaurant in Polanco called Emilio for a late lunch. We ordered a perfect ceviche, little rounds of foie gras with fresh fig, and what we thought was going to be a duck taco, but was more like a duck egg roll with a tangy-sweet sauce. Surprising and delicious.

Foie Gras at Emilio in Mexico City.

Little bites of Foie Gras? Yes, please.

Duck tacos at Emilio in Mexico City.

Have you ever seen duck tacos like these?

Perhaps even more delightful than the food was the environment. We sat on the open patio and the people watching was superb. Emilio’s is directly across the street from Lincoln Park (yes, there is a statue of Lincoln there). It’s a beautiful green beltway with statues and water features. Musicians stand in front of the patio and play loudly for pesos, but they moved on after five minutes or so. Emilio’s was full of locals and an excellent introduction to where to eat during a business trip in Mexico City.

Live Aqua Hotel in Mexico City

The lobby at Live Aqua is a modern stunner.

Our host showed up as we were finishing and had a quick café. Then we were off to our hotel, the gorgeous Hotel Live Aqua located in Bosques de las Lomas. A little off the beaten path, he had recommended the hotel since it was close to his office. It exceeded my expectations, in design, room comfort and service.

We left our bags and walked through the adjacent mall, ending our jaunt at Costa Guadiana. He promptly ordered tequila for the table. The second meal had begun and we had barely finished digesting our first.

But, as is done in Mexico, we sipped our tequila (El Aguila, a dangerously smooth sipping tequila) and chatted for quite a long while. We eventually ordered a few small plates, including a spectacularly colored and flavored cochinta pibil appetizer. We walked back to our hotel and had an excellent night’s sleep.

Pre-dinner tequila in Mexico City.

Now this is how you start a proper meal in Mexico City.

The next day, after a few hours of work, we went to one of our host’s favorite restaurants, Loma Linda. We headed up to the second floor patio and it was buzzing. Mind you it was already 2 pm, but lunch was really just happening in earnest at that hour. It was clear that lots of business was being conducted here. Loma Linda has five locations in the city and several are in the heart of the business district.

Lunch started with beers and wine (we had a lovely red from Adobe Guadalupe, one of our favorite wineries in Valle de Guadalupe). Have you ever heard of Jugo de Carne (meat juice)? I had not and though I was a little hesitant it was fantastic. It’s a very rich beef broth, thick but without any chunks in it. It’s served with slices of lime, Worcestershire sauce and steak sauce. A little squirt of lime was all it needed and I believe it was created to soothe what ails you.

Our waiter brought a tray of raw meat to the table and our host selected three cuts. The food was all served family style, including guacamole, pork tacos, incredibly flavorful corn and crispy, puffy small potatoes (need I say more?). The meat arrived on a smoking hot plancha that was placed in the center of the table and was accompanied by homemade corn tortillas and various salsas.

The level of service in Mexico City is something to behold.

From the time we sat at our table to being served drinks and our soup was about 12 minutes. There is such a high level of staff to customers that they can really deliver on service.

At the end of our meal, I tried a shaken Carajill – a coffee cocktail enhanced with Licor 43. I don’t know how I’ve missed this treat considering all the times I have been to Mexico, but I am so happy to have discovered it.

Lunch lasted about 3 hours. We went back to the office for some more  work and then took a quick break before heading out to dinner. I couldn’t believe it, but we were going to experience four restaurants in Mexico City within about 24 hours.

Public Art in business office in Mexico City.

Oh, just some incredible art in the lobby of a business office.

Dinner starts late in Mexico City.

We wanted to see at least a little of the city so we drove into the center of town to a restaurant called Blanco Colima in the Roma section. The whole area is beautiful, but as you can see, the historic nature of the building made this a very special place.

Blanco Colima restaurant in the Roma district of Mexico City.

The exterior of Blanco Colima is historic but the interior is very modern.

Once again I started with El Aguila, which worried me as I was already starting to get used to the idea that this was the correct way to begin a meal. Drinking while conducting business is par for the course in Mexico City, like so much of Europe.

We ordered a variety of hot and cold small plates and there were a couple of real standouts (I couldn’t get great photos as the restaurant was so dark). A tiradito of pulpo was the flavor profile I so love in Mexican food. They know how to create the perfect balance of savory, sweet, salt and acid in a dish.

But the dish that bowled over the entire table was dessert.

Imagine a small cake, not too sweet, with a slightly caramelized top crust, filled with Manchego cheese. Oh, but that’s not all. It was served on a membrillo sauce (quince paste) with a perfect quenelle of guava ice cream on the side. We all wanted another, but couldn’t bring ourselves to order it after all the food we had eaten.

I would gladly eat at four restaurants in Mexico City in 24 hours again. The variety of choices is mind boggling. You don’t have to worry about where to eat during a business trip to Mexico City. You just have to worry about having enough time to digest and sleep before the next delicious meal.


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Hotel Review: Live Aqua Urban Resort in Mexico City

Hotel Review: Live Aqua Urban Resort in Mexico City

I hadn’t been to Mexico City for about 25 years, and that initial trip was not my favorite. (Suffice to say I had eaten something that did not agree with me.) All I can remember from that trip is a pink sea of Pepto Bismol. So I was really excited to visit Mexico City again, knowing the city has changed and advanced so remarkably. We booked rooms at the luxurious Live Aqua Urban Resort in Mexico City for our recent trip, and I can’t wait to go back.

In fact, many friends have visited Mexico City recently and every single one comes back singing rave reviews about the food, people, culture, and architecture. And it’s all true. 26 million inhabitants, and somehow CDMX (Cuidad de Mexico) makes it all work.

 

seating area in Live Aqua lobby CDMX

There are plenty of nooks and crannies in which to sit around the lobby of the Live Aqua Urban Resort in Mexico City.

 

Mexico City is World Class

This world-class city reminds me of a cross between New York and Paris. There are huge areas of the city crisscrossed by wide avenues with parks and tall trees down the middle. Sidewalk cafes spill out from buildings of historic architecture, with sophisticated and extremely well-dressed men and women strolling, dining and discussing.

book column at Live Aqua Urbam Resort

This interior column in the lobby of the Live Aqua Urban Resort is artfully decorated with books as a design feature.

 

Interspersed with all this, tall and architecturally significant skyscrapers of gleaming glass and impossible angles dot the skylines of this surprisingly hilly city. Yes, like any large city there are areas of poverty. Driving through the roadways from the airport into town, we viewed neighborhoods of working people struggling to create better lives for themselves and their families. There is a broad difference in Mexico between the have and the have-nots, and many good residents of Mexico City and other areas are working hard to close this gap.

Live Aqua Urban Resort Location

In the Bosques de las Lomas neighborhood just near the famed restaurants, galleries and history of the Polanco area, Live Aqua Urban Resort welcomes discerning guests. Urban Resort is a good moniker for this hotel, because its location connected to a mall and business park is not a typical tourist experience. In fact, the hotel is more geared for international business people. No pool, no playground, no kids.

 

Live Aqua Urban Resort bar patio

Just off the main lobby of the Live Aqua Urban Resort, the patio bar is stylish and private.

 

Connected via glass-enclosed footbridge to a high end shopping mall with world- class restaurants, Live Aqua Mexico City delivers a 5-star luxury experience.

High Design

The lobby and public areas in Live Aqua are just stunning. Entering the lobby, I didn’t know where to look first since there were so many interesting things to see. Gigantic columns are wrapped into the design with whimsy, including one surrounded by seating and sheathed in a stack of real books. An interior reflecting pond and open seating areas are located to the right near the registration desk. To the left, the lobby bar spills out on to an outdoor deck with interesting wood accents. Enormous billowing drapes of cloth hang in curvy rows from the ceiling, a design feature that made me feel under-the-sea. And in the back, the hotel’s signature restaurant and open kitchen are tucked behind impressive florals.

Really, I could have sat in this lobby to drink in the design for hours.

 

lobby Live Aqua Urban Resort

The gorgeous lobby at the Live Aqua Urban Resort is a feast for the senses.

 

Spacious Rooms

Not to be outdone by the lobby, the guest rooms continue this theme of high design. More subdued than the public spaces, the rooms are decorated in warm woods and muted colors. Since the views from the large windows don’t offer anything exciting, the room takes over in the visual department. Every detail was perfect, every corner, every cabinet latch, every amenity – all perfection. At check-in, the staff even asked me what organic scent I would prefer in the room – mint, chamomile or citrus. I chose chamomile for relaxation.

Live Aqua room scents

Guests are asked if they would like to pick the scent of their room at Live Aqua. I chose “Relax”.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m really picky about hotel beds. The mattress has to be the right combination of hard and soft, and the linens have to feel like butter. Oh and the pillows? When they are too hard, it feels like I’m trying to rest my head on a sand bag. Too soft, and my neck gets zero support so I wake up with a crick. But Goldilocks would have been happy with this bedding, and so was I. It was juuuussst right.

Live Aqua Urban Resort guest room

Muted colors and warm woods are accented by soft white bedding at Live Aqua Urban Resort.

Bathrooms To Die For

A true design feature in itself, the bathroom in my room at Live Aqua Mexico City was as large as some bedrooms. The wall and corner facing the bedroom was floor to ceiling glass, covered with wooden slat shades you can raise or lower at your whim. I positioned the louvers open to let in natural light, and checked to see that no one from outside could see me naked. (They couldn’t).

Live Aqua Urban Resort guestroom bath

Even the bathrooms at Live Aqua CDMX are stunning examples of design.

 

Also floor to ceiling glass on two sides, the enormous walk-in shower had a rainshower head and luxury bathroom amenities. If you like baths, you will love this bathtub which would easily fit more than one person.

The Little Things

For me, the signs of a good hotel are the little things we sometimes take for granted. At Live Aqua Mexico City, the elevator lobbies on each floor have a refreshment center complete with turntable and spinning vinyl. On the table next to that, morning refreshments include an urn of fruit infused water, fresh coffee or tea, and apples. In the evenings, the coffee is replaced with a bottle of Mezcal and some shot glasses. (You know, in case you need a quick pick-me-up before hitting the lobby bar.)

 

Mezcal sampler at Live Aqua

A little sip of 400 Conejos Mezcal is available in the elevator lobby of each floor at the Live Aqua Mexico City.

 

In my room, filtered water was served in a colored glass bottle with cork. Nearby, a zen-inducing sand box with rake was available in case I needed stress relief. All the appropriate plugs and outlets are available to charge my devices, and the hotel WiFi is free.

If You Go

Rooms at Live Aqua Urban Resort start at $174 USD. The hotel is located on the other side of downtown Mexico City from the airport, so plan on about an hour with light traffic to get there. Traffic in this city can be pretty jammed, so give yourself proper time to get anywhere.

If I return to Mexico City on business, I will absolutely book at Live Aqua again. I learned they have hotels in other Mexico destinations, so I’m absolutely going to take a look at those too. Can’t say enough good things about this fantastic hotel.

 

Live Aqua CDMX breakfast buffet

Each morning, the breakfast buffet they set out at Live Aqua Urban Resort is overwhelming and delicious.