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Adam Wiseman

From gastronomic fare to fashion, architecture to art, and decor to design, these six cities are cultural hubs.


With plenty of color and history that spans millenia, Mexico City makes for a layered and fascinating destination. From textiles to cuisine, everything tells a story here. From the soon-to-debut Jumex art collection’s new home to chef-owner Martha Ortiz Chapa’s Dulce y Patria, situated next to the Las Alcobas boutique hotel, the city is most definitely enjoying a moment. Here, chef Ortiz shares her D.F. picks.

Casa Merlos This restaurant is only open from Thursday to Sunday, just for lunch. Very, very traditional fare. It’s run by a mother and daughter, in the Observatorio area, not a trendy district like Polanco or Condesa. They specialize in Puebla food. Order the chile en nogada, which is a chile poblano stuffed with meat and fruit and topped with walnut cream and pomegranate seeds. Victoriano Zepeda 80, 011-52-55-5277-4360; casamerlos.com

Fonda El Refugio It’s been there for the last 50 years. I love their quesadillas and margaritas. It’s a very classic kind of joint and looks like a Mexican house, with that decorative papel picado streaming down. You’ll see a mix of people, from politicians to artists. Liverpool 166, Col. Juárez, 011-52-55-5207-2732; fondaelrefugio.com

GalerÍa Daniel Liebsohn This is an antique store, but he is almost like a gallerist, curating these amazing pieces. They sometimes have plates from old restaurants; they have a lot of beautiful Mexican things. I’ve bought these Michoacan lacquer dishes with flowers from there before. Ubicación, Londres 161-49, Plaza del Ángel, Col. Juárez; liebsohn.com.mx

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Patricia Conde Galería She only does photography. I really like her photos because they remind me of the dishes at my restaurant, meant to catch a beautiful, perfect moment. The space feels like a New York gallery, very white and with high ceilings. The recent show about Mexican landscapes was really amazing. Lafontaine 73, Polanco; patriciacondegaleria.com

Pan de Zacatlán This is a really popular bakery in Coyoacán, in the south of the city. Their Mexican bread is very much the opposite of a baguette. It’s very rustic. They also have sweet breads called polvorones, kind of like shortbread. All you see are shelves of bread and nothing more, but it’s the smell that you remember. My Sunday night ritual is to have a few pieces of their bread with a café con leche. Glorious. Pacífico 350, Col. Los Reyes Coyoacán, 011-52-55-5544-8641

Fiorenza Cordero She can take a piece of lace and mix it with a pearl and gold and Mexican ribbon and create a hairpiece out of these materials. Her pieces have this old Mexican glamour to them, which makes you feel like a movie star, like María Félix or Dolores del Río, these Mexican divas from the 40s. For my wedding, she made me a gorgeous silver-and-gold hairband with the motif of the Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent, which is an important symbol in our culture going back to the Aztecs. By appointment only, 011-52-1-55-4186-2943