Versailles in downtown Mexico City

I’ve written on several occasions about why I like cantinas. A few afternoons ago, I was at La Vaquita, a traditional watering hole on the corner of Mesones and Isabel la Católica in the centro histórico. Lots of botanas were on the menu that day, among them paella, breaded cauliflower in tomato sauce and tuna croquettes. I was with a couple of friends who pointed out, almost as an afterthought, that there was a mural of Versailles along the back wall. I have visited La Vaquita literally dozens of times and had never noticed it before. I wasn’t sure why — I’d noticed the altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the old talavera tile, the juke box. But never the mural. Was it because I always position myself facing the swinging doors to the entrance, rather than the wall? Was it because I, um, drink a little too quickly when I’m there? In any case, I asked my friends to take a picture of me with Versailles in the background. Diego, the exemplary waiter who took care of us (and who is a lot more cheerful than his expression suggests) asked to get into the photo with me. Happy New Year, everyone.

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