Comida en Oaxaca

January 23rd, 2011 § Comments Off on Comida en Oaxaca § permalink

A brief snapshot of the food we’ve eaten in Oaxaca…

Huevos Divorciados | Cafe de Olla, 65 pesos ($5.40)

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Huevos Rancheros | Cafe de Olla, 65 pesos ($5.40)

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Nido de Grillos, Rancho Zapata Restaurante | 90 pesos ($7.50)
Grasshoppers with chips and guacamole

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Tamal Oaxaqueña, Rancho Zapata Restaurante | 60 pesos ($5.00)

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Comida Corrida: Albondigas | 40 pesos ($3.30)
Comida Corrida is a set meal of 3 or more dishes. This one included pasta soup, rice, and agua de jamaica.

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Mole Coloradito | El Escapulario, 60 pesos ($5.00)

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Tlayuda con Cecina | El Escapulario, 40 pesos ($3.30)

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Pozole Roja con Pollo | 65 pesos ($5.40)

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Traditional Chocolate Water at the Etla Market

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Enchilada at the Etla Market

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Enfrijolata at the Etla Market

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A brief snapshot of the food we’ve eaten in Oaxaca…

The Flu Blues

January 23rd, 2011 § Comments Off on The Flu Blues § permalink

Having the flu while traveling is right up there at the top of the suck-o-meter. Between Benjamin and myself, and our past travels, we’ve dealt with the normal maladies: food poisoning, traveler’s diarrhea, blistered feet and sunburns, colds and sinus infections…even Giardia. But usually one of us remained healthy while the other was stuck in bed for brief bit of time.

Getting the flu in Oaxaca, though, has had us both bed-bound for days. For me, today is day #4 and my temperature is still above normal though I am able to actually get out of bed and amble about. The first 2 days passed by in a timeless-seeming bout of shivers and sweat, with what felt like an axe through my head while a truck bulldozed my body. The other day (#2 of the flu), Pablo, the owner of the house we’re renting, came by and said, “Your face does not look good.” It was swollen and puffy and haggard, so I was not offended.

Benjamin had the illness 2 days before me (it was his birthday gift to me). We think he caught it at the market outside of town, where the villagers who came there sneezed and coughed without covering their noses and mouths. He came down with the thing a few days after that.

It has been an expensive flu. Not only have we missed out sightseeing in Oaxaca (I have memorized every crack and crevice in the bedroom wall and ceiling, though)…we had to change our departure to Taxco because I was too sick to travel. Our flight change cost almost the same as the original price of the tickets, and the extended stay at our rented house in Oaxaca is costly, too, especially given that there are only 2 of us in a 3-bdrm house. My mom and brother, our travel companions, had to move on to the next leg of the journey without us. I hope they’ve had a great time in Taxco, and I also hope to not find one of them sick when we meet back up in Mexico City tomorrow.

Lesson learned: get the flu shot, especially if traveling.

…Make that five things to eat and drink in Oaxaca

January 18th, 2011 § Comments Off on …Make that five things to eat and drink in Oaxaca § permalink

Tlayuda


Oaxacan chefs are proud of their food. They cook from their heart, you can feel the love in the food. They are especially proud of their local fare. Asking for a recommendation at any restaurant will result in advice to order from the Especial Típico Oaxaqueño menu. Usually full of moles and things made with chapulines (grasshoppers), Tlayuda was also on the menu at El Escapulario ((If you’re going to Oaxaca, definitely eat here! The address is Garciá Vigil #617 Altos., near the Santo Domingo cathedral)).

Similar to a tostada, and called by some “Mexican pizza,” Tlayudas are made by coating a giant baked tortilla with refried beans, lard, vegetables, Oaxacan cheese, and a main topping (or more). At El Escapulario, I ordered the Tlayuda con Cecina — thin strips of pork with a chili powder crust. It was excellent, and for 40 pesos (a little over $3.00 U.S.) quite filling!

Four things to eat and drink in Oaxaca

January 17th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Mole is sold as a paste at the Benito Juarez Market

1. Mole
Mole is a complex sauce that takes days to make with a long list of ingredients. There are seven varieties and I’ve tried 5 so far: negro (black), colorado (red), amarillo (yellow), verde (green), almendrado (almond).

Cocoa beans for sale at the Tlacolula Sunday Market

2. Hot chocolate
Cocoa beans are imported from elsewhere in Mexico, but are an important item here in Oaxaca. Chocolate is mainly used in the mole and as a hot beverage made with water or milk (and flavored with other spices like cinnamon or vanilla). I will soon be taking a walk down the “chocolate factory street” called Mina to find the best hot chocolate…

3. Grasshoppers
I still need to buy a handful of fried hoppers from the market to eat like peanuts…those I have tried thus far have been incorporated into sauces.

4. Mezcal
It’s smoky liquor from the agave plant…similar to tequila, but a totally unique flavor. I’ve had it in a drink with grapefruit soda, from the shot glass, and have tasted several of the cream-style flavors (like coconut, coffee, etc).

Back to México…and not leaving home without Me No Speak Spanish!

January 11th, 2011 § Comments Off on Back to México…and not leaving home without Me No Speak Spanish! § permalink

Mayan sites visited en todo

May 14th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Ek’ Balam
Chichén Itzá
Dzibilchaltún
Uxmal
Kabah
Labná
Edzná
Palenque
Calakmul
Chicanná
Xpujil

Next up: Coba & Tulum

Comida & bebidas

May 14th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Guacamole is often made table-side

A shot of tequila is good for sippin' if you get the good stuff.

Sangria at a cuban-style bar in Campeche for lunch

Coconut water (is yucky)

Enchiladas (a couple bucks, near the Bécan ruins in the Xpujil area)

Tostadas (4 for a couple bucks, near the Bécan ruins in the Xpujil area)

Eco-friendly Mexico

May 14th, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

Sorry my California friends–especially those who might think of Mexico as a dirty, backwards place–the country kicks our asses in terms of consideration toward the environment.

Not only have I travelled through and stayed in many a bioreserve, protected park, or eco-lodge, now I am staying in a beach house that generates it’s own power and water, 100%. Conservation may be born from necessity, but people do it and, what’s refreshing, they don’t flap their gums about how great they are for it.

Gasolina

May 6th, 2010 § Comments Off on Gasolina § permalink

Went to Edzna today–amazing and barely visited ruins southwest of Campeche. It was populated from 600 BC to 1450 AD. Aside from us, there were only a handful of people there. In addition to the excavated pyramids and buildings, there are mounds (buried buildings), and half-exposed structures partially dug free from the dirt, rocks, and vegetation growing upon them. It’s a good opportunity to see the various stages of uncovering these wonders, and also to contemplate the massive amount of work that goes into piecing them back together and restoring them.

When we got in the car in the a.m. to go there, Benjamin said, “We need gas.” And then we proceeded to follow a route via our gps that on a map would be one of those squiggly lines the width of a hair. The type of back road that has no gas stations.

All the way there, I couldn’t stop my left eye from drifting away from the passing fields and patches of jungle to the gas guage that showed 2 out of 8 bars full. The sun was baking the world outside our car (it’s the hot and dry season), and we were in the middle of nowhere; hopes for a gas station decreased when I saw that the road signage was overgrown with jungle vines.

We made it there OK, and learned from the site attendant there was gas 1km from Edzna. About 1km down the road, we pulled over to ask a family hiding in the cool shadows of what looked like a small store, “Donde hay gasolina?”

There was a lot of Spanish we couldn’t understand in reply, interlaced, now and then, with the words we did know: “aqui,” and, “casa.” The man was pointing next door, but the house on the other side of the small dirt road looked abandoned. Certainly, it was not a gas station; we continued down the highway thinking he meant something else.

Nada.

We turned off the highway, into a tiny village, and ended up circling back to the store where we’d started. The whole family: man, wife, and 2 small children were out in the sun, now, waving their arms at us. “Aqui! Aqui!” the man shouted. Again, he pointed at the abandoned house. He motioned that we should pull behind the house and honk our horn.

Once there, we saw a wonky gas pump. Apparently, residents of small villages, such as this, assume the duty of gas station. It’s too bad, though, that these people have lives to lead and don’t sit around waiting for people on empty to show up. There was no one there except for an angry dog that tried to eat the car.

We had to head back to Campeche on those 2 bars. We made it, on fumes, with a little knowledge gained; much of the rest of our trip will be on those small squiggles of roads. I now know 2 bars on the gas gauge will get us about 100 km at least, and when in the middle of nowhere, someone will have gas in his back yard…as long as we have time to wait for him.

Mayan archaeological sites visited thus far

May 4th, 2010 § Comments Off on Mayan archaeological sites visited thus far § permalink

Ek’ Balam
Chichén Itzá
Dzibilchaltún
Uxmal
Kabah
Labná

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