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2.5 fabuloso weeks in Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca!

2.5 fabuloso weeks in Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca!

Old Jun 22nd, 2024, 05:55 AM
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Thanks for the recipe! I am going to try it one of these days. And yes, the dish was on the El Mural de Los Poblanos menu — there was even a sign by the door — but it was not offered in April! Sigh.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2024, 04:30 PM
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BTW reddy, thanks for the awesome TR.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2024, 05:26 AM
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Glad you are enjoying it, bald0ne! A summary of our time in Oaxaca coming up soon!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2024, 09:55 AM
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Si si si. Waiting excitedly for Oaxaca.
I am done. the moles
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Old Jun 28th, 2024, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by reddy2go2
. . . our time in Oaxaca coming up soon!
Is it soon yet?

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Old Jul 3rd, 2024, 06:05 AM
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Thanks zebec and MmePerdu for waiting so patiently for the Oaxaca report. Glad you are following along.

It is time indeed, and here we go!
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Old Jul 3rd, 2024, 06:26 AM
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Oaxaca: Six days in paradise!

Our ADO bus departed Puebla’s main bus terminal at 8.25 am and the team at our hotel insisted we had a hot breakfast — delicious omelettes with avocado — even though it meant some of the staff had to come in earlier than usual. I cannot recommend PosadaXVII enough!

The bus ride is so beautiful — we sat on the driver’s side (thanks again bald0ne for the tip), and drank in the unspoiled countryside and the mountains for 5 hours. No Ubers in Oaxaca so we took a taxi from the busy bus station to La Casa Carlotta, a 10-minute walk to the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman and my Spanish school, Oaxaca Spanish Magic. The Casa was our home for 4 days — after that we moved to Hotel con Corazón just to sample a different part of the city.

We did so much in Oaxaca that I would need to write a book to capture it all in detail. We immediately fell in love with the colors of the buildings, the street art, the enchanting squares that seemed to be always full of dancers, the joie de vivre of the people, the markets, the mole and the mezcal.


Is this a street or a film set?


Dancing with joy!


Calle Alcala

Color and art everywhere!


Rather than a lengthy day by day account, I will describe some of the highlights.

Cooking up a storm!

We did a cooking class at Casa Crespo. A couple we had befriended at the Red Tree House was also going to be in Oaxaca at the same time as us, and when we told them of this class, they had immediately signed up. It was such fun to see them again in a different city!

We were a group of 15 from all over the world, including Denmark and England, and Oscar, our maestro, had us pick a couple of appetizers, the main dish and the dessert. Then we were off to the Mercado Sánchez Pascuas to buy the needed ingredients. Oscar was great at pointing out unique vegetables and spices, and introducing us to different vendors in this smaller market in case we wanted to come back again.


At the market!



Squash blossoms were an ingredient for a tortilla we made.







Back at the Casa, the staff had laid out a beautiful table and we set to work — guacamole with mango, 2 different salsas, a fiery chicken tostada, stuffed peppers, two different tortillas, and of course, mole de fiesta! Dessert was corn ice cream.

Together, we blasted tomatoes, soaked and charred a variety of chilies, chopped and stirred different ingredients for almost 2 hours until voila! we had created a delicious lunch. Beer and mezcal accompanied the complex food and the conversation. It was the most fun cooking class I have taken, and I actually cooked the entire feast for a very special party after returning home!

A quick note about the mole: Oscar showed us how to make and simmer the sauce, but since it takes hours to thicken, we sampled an earlier batch at lunch. It was a layered combination of heat, sweet and savory. Just amazing.

The class runs for about 4 hours and I would highly recommend it.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2024, 06:37 AM
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Highlight #2: A big birthday! The heart of the Old Town is anchored by the gothic majesty of the ornate Santo Domingo de Guzman church on one end, and the lively Zocalo on the other. It happened to be the town’s 492nd birthday, and we were treated to parades along the streets, and fireworks and performances in the Zocalo over the celebratory weekend. It was amazing to realize the town was founded in 1532, and has been witness to much history. As in Puebla, Oaxaca bestowed an unexpected and moving travel gift upon us.


Happy birthday Oaxaca!

Beautiful ballet at the Zocalo!



The streets were alive with parades! .


Highlight #3: The food!

We ate at several excellent restaurants in Mexico’s culinary capital.

After checking into the hotel we walked to El Popular and had tacos and an enormous pozole soup. I had to rush to my Spanish class so I fear I did not savor the meal, but it was substantial and delicious.

The tomato appetizer, the Moles de Mayordomía with two different moles and meats, wonderfully warm corn bread, and the chocolate desert at Levadura de Olla were all delicious and made even more fun because our new friends from Mexico City joined us for dinner. I don’t think I have ever had tomatoes so colorful and fresh.


Colorful tomatoes!

Mole!!!



Michelin-recommended Las Quince Letras was also a great restaurant. We were late and the place was buzzing, but they were able to find us a table. We had a delicate dish of poblano peppers stuffed with pork with a green sauce (my husband was mole-ed out by now, a salad and their famous flan the queso. This dinner was after the huge lunch at the cooking class, so even though we did not order a big meal, service was attentive and easy. They even gave me some mole to sample. Highly recommend.

Drinks at Sabina Sabe were interesting, although the choice of mezcal-based cocktails was limited. The small bar with an attached restaurant is clearly a favorite with tourists and American accents were ringing out from almost every table. We had a really good shrimp aguachile there too.

Boulenc was a place I was told I could not miss, and I can see why! After a hot afternoon of sightseeing, a late lunch in the cool open-air cafe was heaven, as were the almond croissant and pan au chocolate. The real star of the show, though, was the grilled cheese sandwich — sourdough bread, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and olives smothered in three cheeses. I still crave it!


Almond croissant oozing almond butter!

I dream of this.


Moogone, near Hotel con Corazón was a great find! It is a tiny restaurant run by Daniel and his brother. The food is delicious and wonderfully presented, and we enjoyed the ceviche and mole de Oaxaca we had there. Daniel also brought out some complimentary mezcal! The cocktails were excellent, the service perfect, and the prices reasonable.


Moogone’s terrace


Wonderful ceviche.


More highlights coming soon!

Last edited by reddy2go2; Jul 3rd, 2024 at 06:52 AM.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2024, 09:59 AM
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Red', an unexpected travel gift indeed!
Love your shot of that parade woman wearing red & black braids - hope that you get it enlarged, matted and framed on your wall.
I am done. the serendipity
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Old Jul 10th, 2024, 08:27 PM
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Is it soon yet?!
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 06:06 AM
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Yes, mlgb it is!
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 06:50 AM
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More highlights!

— A food tour!
Me Encanta Oaxaca, run by a brother and sister team, takes you on a 6-hour odyssey of the city’s markets and food stalls. Exuberant Betsaida guided our group of 14 and we sampled a dazzling array of dishes: empanadas, quesadillas, tacos, tlayudas, memelas, tamales, all with different meats, salads and moles! Then there was unusual fruit, like the deep pink tuna, the aguacate criollo, and the zapote negro. The forays into the Benito Juarez and 20 November markets brought mezcal tastings along with crunchy flying ants and chapulines. Just when we thought we could not eat another bite, Betsaida took us to an area of the Mercado 20 November where various stalls were grilling meats. Chorizo, tripe, pork and lamb slathered with different sauces and garnishes never tasted so good!






Monte Alban!

We spent a very hot afternoon at Monte Alban. The stunning ancient site, the main center of Zapotec culture for nearly a thousand years, was a 20-minute taxi ride from Oaxaca. It was hard to find an English-speaking guide as most had decamped for the day. We spent several hours walking amongst the magnificent ruins, trying to picture the rich megapolis and the lives of its inhabitants as Monte Alban thrived from 500 BC to about 500 AD.

There are signs in English, which helped us understand what the different buildings and spaces represented. The scale of the city was just mind boggling! There was no shade, and I am glad I had a hat and sunscreen on! As we walked back to the car park, we were lucky to catch one of the last buses back to the city as taxis were scarce at this late hour.





An all-day tour to amazing sights!
We took an all-day guided tour with Oaxaca by Locals to see the Tula Tree — the fattest in the world — Mitla, Hierve de Agua and the Reys distillery. Although it was not advertised, we also visited a carpet weaving store in Teotitlan. To do all this by ourselves would have meant renting a car or a taxi — and this option was far more efficient.

It was a 12-hour day but our guide Rodrigo keep us entertained with stories about the area, and gave us enough time at all the places we visited. The blockbuster sight for me was the petrified waterfall amid the red mountains, and the surrounding green pools that dotted the neighboring rocks. We spent almost two hours at Hierve de Agua — not enough time for us to walk down and get close to the “waterfall” — but it was mesmerizing all the same.


The petrified waterfall




Tule tree


Teotitlan was also very interesting — we learned how the brilliant colors of the carpets are made, and the threads woven into intricate patterns. We of course bought a carpet.

The mezcal distillery was a fun stop; a long bar was arrayed with mezcal bottles, along with small trays of roasted grasshoppers and another worm. We were given small but unlimited samples of reposado and añejo mezcal, as well as a range of fruity liqueurs. No wonder everyone walked out with several bottles!


Carpet weaving

Mezcal!

Mitla


Handicrafts!

Oaxaca is bursting with artisanal stores selling amazing clothes, jewelry, pottery and so much more. But we were enchanted by the fantastical alebrijes and bought a few of the (small) wooden handcrafted whimsical carvings at the Mujeres Artesanas de las Regiones de Oaxaca. The store is a collective, offering many handicrafts from the area. The alebrijes grace my kitchen island now, and give me such joy every day!

A Sunday Market

On Sunday we walked to Periférico Bus Terminal from Hotel con Corazón and caught a bus to the Tlacolula market. The bus dropped us close to the sprawling veins of stalls selling everything under the sun, from food to fashion. Most vendors accepted only cash so the few ATMs had snaking lines of people impatient to make a withdrawal. Carts selling pulque and fruit jostled with pedestrians. The energy was glorious.


Carpets and handicrafts




The outdoor market springs up on Sundays but the coveted market close to the ornate church is a permanent one. We explored both and bought many gifts — handmade blouses, ceramics, an elegant table runner and some necklaces. And yes, another alebrijes!

The covered market is immense and organized into different sections — breads down one row, fruits, vegetables, meats and even shoes down others. We quickly found the barbacoa aisle and sampled the beef and lamb barbacoa at Juanita’s Barbacoa.


Indoor market


Barbacoa!

I found the beef and the accompanying stew too rich, but the lamb was great, piled on a warm tortilla and topped high with onions and salsa. Then we found the ice cream section and cooled down with a tamarind ice.

We caught the bus again to return to Oaxaca and as we were leaving the market, stopped at the church. I was completely taken aback by how ornate a church in such a small town could be. The chapel was covered in gold, and the chandeliers were immense.

But what I remember most is a young father teaching his toddler how to kneel by the alter. A tiny pew seemed to be designed for such training but the little fella was not holding still, and finally the dad gave up.



Father and son




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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 09:37 AM
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Loving it! I'll bet you enjoyed the mezcal tasting judging from your prior chapters.
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 01:48 PM
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'The energy was glorious.'
As is your report, and a​​s are your fotos. Red'!
I am done. the wah-hakka
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 09:38 PM
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I am loving this strip report Reddy2go2. We set off on our second trip to Mexico later this year and cant wait. Your photos are great and the foodie ones are making me yearn for the food. keep it coming
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Old Jul 12th, 2024, 01:35 PM
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Very interested in Oaxaca as that will be our next venture into Mexico. Great report. Thanks.
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