Wil Jobse

New York, New York Travel Agent

Delving into Mexico City

For me, part of the joy of travel is spending enough time in a place to meet locals, taste genuine local foods and discover what is truly specific to that place. My four-day stay in Mexico City, tacked on to a week-long relaxation vacation along the Riviera Maya, was just that kind of experience.

My husband and I hired a local guide through Context, a company I often use that specializes in private guides and small group tours led by local historians, architects, artists, food writers, and other subject matter experts. We were curious about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her renowned artist husband Diego Rivera, so our guide took us to the Casa Azul, the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Studio House Museum and the Leon Trotsky House where we learned a lot more than we ever expected.

We also always try to fit in a visit to a local market. Every country has wildly different fruits and foods, and that is certainly true of Mexico. So, we also booked a culinary tour through Context. The tour involved going to a market and taking a cooking class where we learned to make salsa and guacamole. One of the most interesting experiences happened in the produce market. Our guide took us to a stand where we had a mini-class on peppers from a third-generation pepper vendor.  We never realized how many shapes and degrees of hotness peppers came in.

Taking our lead from the late Anthony Bourdain, whether we’re in Istanbul, Turkey or Santiago, Chile, we always look to eat where locals do and to try the local dishes they enjoy. With chefs and ethnic fast food chains spreading their brands around the world, it’s getting harder to find dishes—expensive or cheap—that are unique to a place. But it is still possible, and it’s fun to track them down. Thanks to our guide, we had some really memorable meals in Mexico City.