As you can likely tell from this profile of her life and work, Gabriella Gomez-Mont is one connected lady. Ask her for a list of some of the places she likes in her home of Mexico City, and receive a “who’s who” of people doing super-interesting things in cool and unexpected ways. We asked the photographer Felipe Luna (another of her friends, naturally) to capture some of these people and their places. His whistlestop tour of some truly fine-looking restaurants, cafes, quiet spots, museums, architecture and oases, along with Gabriella’s commentary of why these places matter to her, starts here:
“I believe chocolate can be one of the most exuberant things on earth. Especially when prepared from scratch by my talented friend Héctor Galván (pictured) and his Casa Tropical, whose beans have won international awards right and left. He works closely with cacao growers in Tabasco and is out to remind the world that both chocolate and vanilla–decadently fabulous, both of them–actually had their origins in our region, and should be treated as a luxury ingredient, not only when it hits the market with European labels smacked on them. An evening with just-made chocolate melting on the fingertips and Héctor spinning wild and fabulous stories is as indulgent as you can get.” La Casa Tropical, Chihuahua 77, Col. Roma, Mexico City. See it on a map.
“Cinema is one of my mad loves, and one of my favorite places to see movies is the Cineteca Nacional, run by the incomparable Paula Astorga, a good friend of mine. Five additional theaters were added recently; this place has truly world-class programming.” Cineteca Nacional, Avenida México Coyoacán #389, Col. Xoco, Mexico City. See it on a map.
“I often have breakfast at Duo, a small auteur space very close to my apartment in the Condesa neighborhood. It’s a great place to get a caffeine fix and they usually have some sort of breakfast (like eggs or enchiladas) that includes tangy, crunchy, crickets straight from Oaxaca. Delicious.” Pictured: Chef David Müller. Duo, Avenida Amsterdam #53, Col. Hipódromo, Mexico City. See it on a map.
“My new office, the Laboratorio para la Ciudad, is housed in a jutting colonial tower, hovering above a government building–which I find strangely metaphorical for the type of work we are doing. I love it. From this quirky space we can contemplate both the many planes connecting our city to the rest of the world and also oversee the expanse of the historical city center. For now our space is still in the raw, but our open offices will be designed by Emiliano Godoy and Héctor Esrawe, two of Mexico´s best designers. I can’t wait.” Laboratorio para la Ciudad, Avenida Tlaxcoaque #8, 2nd Floor, Col. Centro, Mexico City. See it on a map.
“One of my favorite buildings in the city is the Loteria Nacional building. I find this tall art deco tower as whimsical as it is elegant. It was one of the first skyscrapers in Mexico. And I love that it is an unspoken monument to dreams, fortune and path alteration, plus either serendipity or sheer randomness, depending on your outlook. On Sunday, Tuesday and Friday at 8pm, you can watch the millionaire sorteo live; those numbered wooden balls drop down, are called out by uniformed pages and change somebody’s unsuspecting life instantly.” Loteria Nacional, Plaza de la Reforma No. 1 Edificio Moro, Col. Tabacalera, Mexico City. See it on a map.
“I love the market places in Mexico City. There is at least one per neighborhood, and they are so much better than an insipid Walmart. The closest one to where I live is Mercado Medellín. Open stalls brim with crunchy vegetables and colorful fruit, you can buy freshly squeezed juices for $1 per liter, and vendors vie for your attention with daily offerings.” Mercado Medellín, Medellín #234, Col. Roma, Mexico City. See it on a map.
“Another of my favorite spots is the Rosetta bakery in the Roma neighborhood. It always has a delicious assortment of freshly baked breads.” Rosetta, Colima #166, Col. Roma Norte, Mexico City. See it on a map.
“Mexican Cuisine is everything they say it is, and yet it surprises everyone who thinks it is limited to what you get elsewhere. At the moment there is a boom of young, experimental chefs doing some crazy stuff, and playing around with the formats–for example Pichón does pop-up brunches on Sundays.” To find out where Pichón will pop up next, check out its Twitter feed.
“When I want to hide from the world and have a quiet meeting, I love the cafeteria at Sanborns Azulejos in the city center. I love the many old-timers who have been going there for several decades and who always sit next to their favorite waiter, who will greet them by name and chitchat all day long.” Sanborns Azulejos, Francisco I. Madero #4, Col. Centro, Mexico City. See it on a map.
“While working on a documentary for the BBC, I once flew above Mexico City and was astounded to see the size of Xochimilco, a protected green area inside of the city full of canalas that you can ride for hours. Many, many migratory birds fly into this area on their way south, and it is also home to the axolotes–wonderful, quasi-magical creatures whose heart can be cut in two and then grow back. Many Mexicans spend days of their youth floating on a small part of these canals, drinking tequila and listening to mariachis who float towards you and then anchor their boat to yours and sing their thoughts away. More recently, I discovered the joys of kayaking among the very peaceful waterways, among storks and cows and farmers still using chinampas, just as they did in Aztec times.” Xochimilco, Camino Xochimilco Tulyehualco s/n, Col. Santa Maria Nativitas Zacapa, Mexico City. See it on a map.
“The Tamayo Museum is in the Chapultepec Forest–Mexico City’s Central Park–and always hosts fantastic temporary exhibitions by renowned national and international contemporary artists, plus other interesting cultural events all year round. I have organized several events there, which they have generously hosted: workshops, talks, film screenings, etc. It’s great to be able to hop on my bike on any given Sunday and relax, read and write while enjoying their open terrace after seeing a good show.” Museo Tamayo, Paseo de la Reforma #51, Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City. See it on a map.
Read the profile about Gabriella Gomez-Mont and her life and work in Mexico City. To see a whole host of other city-related content, go to TED’s Cities topic page »