Lunch at Mary’s and Off to the Cinema

I used to go to the movies a lot, but with the decline in film quality over the years and difficulty to get to a cinema when there is something good playing, I’ve lost the habit. The only movie I really wanted to see last winter never came to Maz, so I never got motivated to figure out Going to the Movies in Mexico. But there was a big movie coming out this fall that I wanted to see in theatres and it just happened to be opening in Mexico today: Spectre, the new Bond movie.

I figured that with the number of Mexicans who speak English I could surely find a showing of Spectre in English, possibly with Spanish subtitles. Absolutely! In fact, I had quite my pick of showtimes and locations. I chose the 2:20 show at the Gran Plaza Cinépolis. 2:20 because it was a very long movie and I didn’t want to get home too late. Gran Plaza because of its convenient location near Mega. I knew that I could walk to the store after, get some groceries, and then easily grab a cab to the embarcadero.

I left home around 11:30 this morning and did my usual walk to the Fisherman’s Monument to grab a bus. For the first time, I managed to flag one down outside an official stop! I got off deep in the Golden Zone since I wanted to grab lunch at Mary’s, a burger joint reader Sandy has recommended more than once.

I wish that I had glowing reviews for Mary’s, but it just wasn’t my thing. Sorry, Sandy. Yes, the burger was good, but last year I could grab a really good plain burger just up the road for half the price or a fancier burger at Beach Burger at the Plazuela Machado for a third of the price. I also didn’t care for the Gringo ambiance, with the English only and late ’90s’ music that I was sick of listening to 17 years ago.

Look at these prices. They’re steep even by US standards!


I had the Texas burger, with jalapeño, cheese, BBQ sauce, onions and bacon. Beach Burger does something very similar, only with avocado instead of jalapeño. I found Mary’s burger quite salty, but I liked the mix of ingredients. The peppers weren’t spicy at all, but added some zing.


I did appreciate that they serve Heinz ketchup!


The bill came in both pesos and USD, so disheartening. The peso price is a better value, by a full USD.


I would go to Mary’s again if that’s where someone wanted to meet me or if I had a guest who was craving a little slice of the States, but not on my own. I’m glad I tried it out, but it’s not the Mexico I came here for.

From Mary’s, I headed south towards Rafael Buelna, stopping to get a cold bottle of water at an Oxxo and an ice cream at Thrifty’s (in lieu of a snack at the theatre). I had no sooner turned onto Rafael Buelna when I was accosted by a gang of Mexican tourists from out of state who mistook me for a Mexican! I sent them off to Taco Loco, after they complained that they couldn’t find a taco joint with ‘real’ prices, no English on the menu, and spicy salsa. I have a feeling that my directing Mexican tourists to authentic tacos in the heart of Gringoland is going to be my favourite story of the winter!

By the time I reached the Gran Plaza, I was more than ready for air conditioning! The cinema is located in a mall, a very similar setup to what you see NOB. I had no trouble buying my ticket (saying, literally, “Double zero seven” because I had no idea how to pronounce Spectre in Spanish! One thing that surprised me is that they have assigned seating. I had to pick my seat without ever having been in their theatres, so I chose one right smack in the middle of the theatre, which wound up being row G. G is not an easy letter to pronounce in Spanish (it’s sort of like yeah, but more guttural), but I was apparently very clear. What can I say, I like a challenge! A movie ticket was just $43!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s 2.56USD or 3.40CAD!

I was early, so I sat with my phone in the lounge until it was close to start time. I had a glance at the food, and it was super pricy, close to NOB prices. Popcorn is ‘palomitas.’ Then, I went in. The seats were very comfy and reclined slightly. Row G was one row too close to the screen for me, so I’ll go with H next time.

Pirating warnings, commercials, and previews started promptly at 2:20 and lasted for what seemed forever. So going to the cinema in Mexico is just like going to the cinema in Canada and the US. I went to the cinema twice when I was in Scotland, and mind you this was almost 20 years ago and in very small town theatres, but if the movie started at 2:20, it started at 2:20. All the previews and whatnot were before then.

The movie was absolutely amazing! I can’t believe how bad Quantum of Solace was when Casino Royale, Skyfall, and Spectre were so good. I’m tempted to go back and give Quantum of Solace another chance now that some of its issues have been addressed…

I sometimes have difficulty with the British accent and wish I had subtitles, so I was glad to have them for this one, even if they were in Spanish! They actually helped me out a few times.

The movie finished at 5:00 and I spent a full 10 minutes wandering around the mall looking for an exit! I finally made my way back to the entrance I’d come in on, clear across the mall from the cinema, so the equivalent of walking two extra blocks from Mega. It was still light out and I headed off to the grocery store, refusing service from a pulmonía along the way.

While I prefer to shop at Soriana and Ley, each grocery store has some things the other doesn’t. Mega has the best bakery section (Raisin bread with no sugar! Pumpernickel!) and I can count on it to have hummus (thanks again, Sandy!). I got what I needed, amounting to three bags’ worth, and headed down to get a taxi.

There was a pulmonía and a regular taxi waiting out front, with the drivers sitting at a table chatting. Normally when you come out of a store laden with packages, taxi drivers will fall on you in droves, but not these guys. I said to them, “Taxi?” and they looked at each other until one finally asked me where I was going. When I told him the embarcadero, he said, “Why do you want to go there?!” That’s very unusual for my experience with Mexico. People here don’t question you and assume you know what you’re doing unless you ask for help. I was tired and retorted, “Hoping to sleep in my bed tonight, thank you very much.” He did a double take and told me that the fare would be $60, which is average for that ride, so not worth bargaining down. He didn’t help me with my door or my packages either at Mega or at the embarcadero, so I didn’t tip. Oh, and this was a real taxi again, dang!

Here’s a map of my day. The red tear drop is Mega. Pemex la Ceiba at the bottom right is across Emilio Barragán from the embarcadero. So I walked from there to Fisherman’s Monument, where I got on the bus to get to Mary’s. From Mary’s, I walked to the cinema, then back to the Mega, where I got a cab. The cab took a winding route that mostly parallels the bus route.



I was tempted to get a couple of hot dogs for supper at the embarcadero, but I was hoping the hot dog lady would be up and running on this side so I could get them to go and put my own mustard relish on them. Turns out, she’s out of business. Dang. I did pick up some beer on the way and decided to have one with some of my bread, cheese, salami, and hummus for a quick and easy supper.

It’s been a long, full, and great day in Maz again! But I think tomorrow will be an Isla day… 🙂

11 thoughts on “Lunch at Mary’s and Off to the Cinema

  1. Subtitles in Spanish are addicting. You become an avid reader as you listen and for those parts with funny accents in English, fast speakers or whispering, it’s invaluable.

    • Absolutely! There was a long whispering scene that I couldn’t make out at all. My reading comprehension is definitely getting bette so I could make it out in Spanish.

      I was rather puzzled that there was a whole scene in *French* that only got the English subtitles, not Spanish. Very bizarre. It wasn’t relevant to the plot, but even more insignificant stuff got subtitled… Not that I needed subtitles for that scene!

    • I think it would be a great spot for some people; it just depends on the Mexico experience you want. I loved how the tables are sheltered at the back of the property and away from the noise of Camaron Sabalo.

  2. I have to say that one of the things I love about Mexico City is that there is no part that is agringado, overrun with Gringos, catering to Gringos, or even much influenced by Gringos. Well, maybe Polanco is a bit influenced by Gringos, but it’s my least favorite part of town, fairly boring, with snooty people, so easily avoided.

    I’m glad to see you are more interested in authentic, Mexican experiences.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where there aren’t any parts that are “Mexicanized” either, though there are some suburbs that have been “Brazilianized.”

    • I don’t want the Gringo life NOB so why would I want it here?! I should probably clarify, although I’m sure I’ll do so poorly and offend a bunch of people…

      I associate the ‘Gringo’ life with that of affluent people who dress up for dinner and drop big bucks on a bottle of wine and live in those shiny condos you see in magazines. That’s just not me. I’m just not sophisticated. I like to live simply and spend my money on experiences rather than stuff. When I know I can get a truly wonderful meal for 40 pesos, why would I want to pay 300 pesos for a mediocre one (but I would pay that for a truly great meal — it’s all about value for me, not just the price) just because the restaurant meets NOB appearance standards?

      I’ll be shopping for a dentist soon and the recommendations from the Gringos tend to be for dentists located in the Golden Zone who have shiny clinics and charge much less than the dentists back home, but still much more than a Mexican would pay. I’ll be looking for a dentist trained in the US with a simple and clean clinic where Mexicans go and who will likely be a third, if not half, the cost of one of the Golden Zone dentists.

      I had a bad attitude about the Golden Zone last year, but have explored parts of it and found some lovely spots where I feel I fit in, so I accept it as part of Maz, but approach businesses there with caution.

      • I didn’t much like the Zona Dorada when I was there, but perhaps I need to give it a second chance. We spent most of our time in Old Town.

        • I didn’t like it either, but I walk a lot and got to find some gems. I buy my coffee at Café Rico’s up there.

          Centró is definitely my favourite part of Maz!

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