Guys, here's the thing. I am really tired. We've had three days in Oaxaca so far that have been just awesome, but have all been very long and tiring. So I'm going to go to bed. But I do want to share with you the pics from our first full day in Oaxaca, during which we:
were surprised at the number of water collection devices we saw everywhere - but hey, we are in a desert.
Were totally wowed by the church of Santo Domenico. Amazing three-dimensional decorations.
Thought about getting our nails did.
Snappy observations and pretty pics continue after the jump.
Had an amazing lunch at Cocina Economica Isabel, on Calle de Cosijoeza #200. No idea of the hours, but they are open normal cocina corrida hours - meaning early afternoon, at the very least. Three course meal 55 pesos, or $4.68 right now. I don't know what I loved more, the queso de crema soup (that actually tasted more like cream of white cheddar popcorn)
or the tostaditas de chayote. I was expecting little fried tortillas topped with chayote squash, but instead got chayote sandwiching queso oaxaqueno, with the whole deal fried in a delicious egg batter and served wtih thin refried black beans flavored heavily with avocado leaf.
And we found a couple of markets, too, including an only-on-friday dealie where we learned about tejate. It's a powdery corn/chocolate beverage that is not my favorite to date.
At the big Oaxaca market, we found lots and lots (and lots and lots) of chapulines. Grasshoppers. These are little and crunchy. And limey. But not like the Brits.
Also, check this out.
Turns out Oaxaca is famous for its chocolate, and there are some great little places doing artisanal-style chocolates in the old (and here, I mean 16h-century old) style. It's not tempered and snappy, it's less homogenized and more crumbly. Mostly you make it into drinks, but we thought it was delicious just as it was. I learned I like mine amargo, or bitter.
La Soledad makes a nice cuppa (and apparently has a super-duper cheap hotel attached to the back, too).
We didn't have tummy-room for the sweet, eggy pan de yema,
And no kitchen to get any meats from the carniceria (though we did make a note that in Oaxaca, they like their chorizo in much teenier links than they do elsewhere)
And I still want to buy a dress or something woven, but I just can't quite bring myself to do it.
I love this picture. These ladies were hanging out near a small street protest that we couldn't quite decipher.
Dinner that night was at Cenuderia Libres Tlayudas Dona Martha. It's a streetside kitchen where tlayudas (huge tortillas stuffed with refried beans, lettuce, onions, queso oaxaqueno and salsa) are cooked directly on the coals. There's a dining room behind it where you can sit, unless you want to double park and get your tlayudas to go - seemed like a popular option.
(I am totally spottable in this picture. Hi!)
We got ours topped with tesajo (thin-cut marinated beef that's been slightly dried) and cecina (basically the same thing, but here with pork leg). They were bumnormously huge.
We were very impressed with their coal-cooking method. Casa Comtesse (where we stayed in Mexico City) filled the bottom of these traditional grills with rocks, covered the top with glass, and used them as bedside tables. Neat idea.
Of course, those weren't nearly as well-loved as these were.
And hot darn. Good night. Tomorrow we do a Oaxacan cooking class! I am very excited and simultaneously rather intimidated. I know Logan's going to excel, but me? Let's see...