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As you know, I love the food of Oaxaca.  However, having spent most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to cuisine from all over the world, there are times when the palate craves a little international flavor.  So, I was delighted to finally try the Indian restaurant, Mini Taj, located in the Plaza Bugambilias building at Garcia Vigil 304, between Matamoros and M. Bravo.

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Opened in 2012 (yes, I’m late to the party), it is the delicious creation of Chef Ramesh Chawla.  Originally from Haryana, India, he was born into a caste of chefs and has been cooking and refining his talents since he was twelve years old.  Chef is very exacting in his flavors and travels to the USA every two months to personally source the herbs and spices needed for his recipes.

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It is well worth it.  The Chicken Tikka Masala that I had last week and the Lamb Korma and Lamb Rogan Josh that my amiga J and I shared today were all exquisite.  The Steamed Basmati Rice and Naan were perfectly prepared and the Mango Lassi is one of the most refreshing beverages one could ever hope to drink.  If you don’t believe me, check out the rave reviews on Trip Advisor.  So get thee to Mini Taj and never mind the current road construction.

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Mini Taj is open 11 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Sunday.  Spread the word and, as their website says, “Be prepared to be blown away.”

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Day three of Oaxaca Sabe took me to meet a gal pal for comida at El Olivo.  She has become a regular there but I hadn’t yet been to their new location on Constitución and was pleasantly surprised by the sophistication and warmth of the space.  After several sips of a nice glass of Tempranillo (included in the prix fixe menu) and conversation, our divine starters arrived…

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Rollo de quesillo relleno de huitlachoche con puré aguacate y ensalada de arúgula (Roll of quesillo cheese stuffed with corn smut, garnished with avocado puree and arugula salad)

As I’ve mentioned before, I have become a huitlacoche enthusiast and thus savored the mushroomy corn flavors.  The main course was Ballotine de lomo de cerdo acompañado de pure de manzana y piña asada con reducción de pomelo y zanahorias horneadas (Rolled pork loin accompanied by applesauce and roasted pineapple sauce with a grapefruit reduction and baked baby carrots).  Dessert, which I “forced” myself to eat, was a yummy Tarta de manzana al cardamomo (Cardamom apple tart).

Then there was yesterday’s comida with my recently returned (from el norte) blogger buddy Chris.  On the seventh day of last spring’s Oaxaca Sabe, we were tired but determined to continue our restaurant-a-day record and had somewhat randomly chosen Sabina Sabe.  It was a great decision and so was yesterday’s return.  I began with the Crema de mejillones al vino blanco con crotones de pan amarillo (Cream of mussels in white wine soup with croutons) — not very photogenic, but muy sabrosa.  It was followed by…

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Trucha en vara, asada con chimichurri de poleo (Trout on a stick grilled with a chimichurri sauce of pennyroyal)

It was my second trout meal in less than two weeks, was cooked to perfection, and the poleo offered an unexpected, but welcome, flavor to the chimichurri.  Have I mentioned, how much I love how Oaxaca Sabe affords being exposed to new restaurants and the way their chefs combine and create with familiar and new (to me) ingredients?  My dessert, was another yummy delight…

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Dulce Istmeño de yuca y piña con cada y coulis de zarzamoras (Dessert from Isthmus of Tehuantepec of yucca and pineapple with blackberry coulis)

Today, I was up early for this year’s fifth Viernes del Llano promenade and competition, where I again rendezvoused with Chris.  Once it was over, we walked up to El Asador Vasco Plaza Parque in Colonia Reforma for a Oaxaca Sabe desayuno (breakfast).  Seated on their terrace, amidst the chatter and laughter of other patrons, we were quickly provided with coffee and jugo primavera (spring fruit juice).

Our first course of copa de yogurt con fruta y granola (yogurt with fruit and granola) was layered in a wine goblet, with small bowl of honey and honey dipper to the side.  It was lovely to look at, but after an hour and a half of taking photos of the young women parading around the statue of Benito Juárez in Llano Park, neither one of us remembered to take out our cameras until we had finished it.  However, we were camera-ready for our main course…

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Huevos César (Bacon coddled egg on a potato pancake served of a bed of greens)

Coffee was refilled and the final and sweet course arrived.  Though I’d already eaten more than I ever eat for breakfast, I did manage a few bites of the panqué de naranja con mermelada de la casa (Orange cake served with a red fruit marmalade).  The entire meal was a delicious way to start the day!

Mañana?  Who knows where Oaxaca Sabe will take us…

 

 

 

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Early this morning, I bid my BFF a fond farewell after a fun, freezing (more about that another day), and food filled two weeks.  Delicious dining options are few and far between in her neck of the woods — the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska.  So, the aforementioned cooking class and restaurants were at the top of her list.  We made the most of her time here with comidas at Biznaga, Las Quince Letras, Restaurante Catedral, and Zandunga, along with some tasty street food up in the mountains in Capulalpam and Llano Grande (the chilly part of her visit).

And, as luck and good timing would have it, Oaxaca Sabe (Oaxaca’s version of restaurant week) opened two days ago.  Thus, it was Tres Bistro on Monday.  She had the “Aire” (Air) and I had the “Mar” (Sea) menu.  All of our choices were prepared and presented to perfection and left both of us stuffed and smiling.

Rollitos de salmón al eneldo (Salmon rolls with dill cream cheese)

Rollitos de salmón al eneldo (Salmon rolls with dill cream cheese)

Captura del día rellena de mariscos (Fish of the day stuffed with seafood)

Captura del día rellena de mariscos (Fish of the day stuffed with seafood)

Panna cotta de coco con coulis de jamaica (Coconut panna cotta with a coulis of hibiscus flowers)

Panna cotta de coco con coulis de jamaica (Coconut panna cotta with a coulis of hibiscus flowers)

Tuesday, we had planned to go to Casa Crespo but when we arrived at 3 PM, they explained the Oaxaca Sabe menu would not be ready until 6 PM, because they were conducting a cooking class.  There were rumblings coming from our stomachs and BFF had to finish packing, so we opted not to wait and, instead, took ourselves to La Olla.  We ran into chef/owner Pilar Cabrera as we arrived, were seated upstairs, and were greeted from across the room by expat foodie friends, who were also enjoying the Oaxaca Sabe menu.

BFF began with the Ensalada de tomates criollos, quintoniles cenizos, arúgula y aderezo de tomate riñon (salad of native tomatoes, native Mexican greens, arugula, with a tomato dressing) and I had the Sopa de garbanzo (garbanzo bean soup).  I was expecting a heavier creamy blender soup, but this was an extremely light and flavorful broth.  However, it wasn’t very photogenic, so I will leave it to your imagination.  On the other hand, my main course and dessert both looked lovely and tasted yummy.

Camarones al mojo de chile meco (Shrimp with dried smoked chiles)

Camarones al mojo de chile meco (Shrimp with dried smoked chiles)

Panacotta de tejate (Tejate flavored pana cotta)

Panacotta de tejate (Tejate flavored pana cotta)

By the way, BFF raved that her main course of Amarillo con flores de calabaza rellenas de requesón (Squash blossoms stuffed with cheese in a yellow mole sauce) had the lightest tempura-like batter she had ever tasted.

Oaxaca Sabe again so soon?  Yippee!!!  Today, I’m off to El Olivo with another friend.  I’ll keep you posted…

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Can you believe it?  It seemed that no sooner had last month’s Oaxaca Sabe culinary adventure concluded, than the seventh annual Saber del Sabor: Festival Gastronómico 2015 kicked off.  This past Friday, the Plaza de la Danza was tented and decorated for a buffet dinner prepared by cooks from the eight regions of the state of Oaxaca.

For only 300 pesos (approximate $18.50), one could feast on a mind-blowing and waist-expanding galaxy of gastronomic delights.

Menu inauguacion Saber del saborThe dinner seeks to recognize and promote Oaxaca’s traditional cuisine.  Always a highlight are the maestros of barbacoa, who brave blistering heat and eye-stinging smoke as they turn and tend the spit-roasted piglets, lambs, and chickens.   Alas, this year by 8 PM the line was too long and I elected to miss these always succulent and mouth-watering delights.  However, I was in no danger of starving!

Of course, the chefs were the stars of the show and young and old alike savored their creations.

This year El Saber del Sabor is honoring two regional chefs:  Young chef, Ixchel Ornelas from Tlaxiaco, in the Mixteca Alta region of Oaxaca and Teotitlán del Valle’s own, Abigail Mendoza, who has done so much to promote and bring respect for Oaxaca’s traditional indigenous methods and flavors.

The festival continues with lectures, workshops, and gourmet meals prepared in the kitchens of Oaxaca’s top restaurants by celebrated chefs from all over Mexico — as well as a couple from Spain and the USA.

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September 29 was Día Nacional del Maíz (National Day of Corn) in Mexico.  Corn was first cultivated approximately 8,000 years ago in the valley of Oaxaca and native varieties are still grown by the descendants of those original farmers.  This was a day to, not only pay homage to Mother Corn but, as Mexican painter Francisco Toledo reminded those along Oaxaca’s Alcalá, to continue the struggle to defend native corn against impending invasion by Monsanto and its genetically modified seeds.P1130669 The year revolves around the cycle of corn, which is planted in the same fields as beans and squash to make a perfect growing environment.P1130658The cornstalk grows, the bean plant crawls up the corn, and the squash vine sprawls out and shades the ground to keep it moist… Some of the corn is harvested in August and eaten fresh, while the rest is left on the stalks to dry.P1130662All parts of the corn plant are used — kernels, husks (for tamales), cobs (pig feed), and stalks (cow feed).  The dried corn is stored and used in many ways throughout the year.P1130675Text in italics is from the Seasons of My Heart cookbook by Susana Trilling.

The artists of the above, used the signature “olote” which is derived from Nahuatl word, olotl.  In English, it translates to “corncob” and “a nobody.”  Thank you to a couple of “nobodies,” Coral Saucedo and Ricardo Aeme, for such an expressive and beautiful piece of art honoring the sacred corn.

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Dare I admit…  It took a couple of phone conversations with blogger buddy Chris on Sunday to motivate us to keep our Oaxaca Sabe restaurant-a-day streak going.  Who knew it would be so tiring to dine, photograph, and write about diverse and delicious meals???

We decided to rendezvous at Sabina Sabe — a restaurant that we knew nothing about, but was casual and offered interesting menu choices.  I chose the vegetarian and, while not on the menu, its starter was a light and flavorful salad.

Mixed greens with apples and dried cranberries

Mixed greens with apples, figs, and dried cranberries

I love huitlacoche and my main course did not disappoint.

Gratín de papa con huitlacoche y adobo de chile guajillo (Potato gratin with

Gratín de papa con huitlacoche y adobo de chile guajillo (Potato gratin with “corn smut” and dressing of guajillo chili)

The meal concluded with a yummy dessert.  We spotted the smiling chef Miguel Jiménez in the kitchen as we left and gave him a thumbs up for our delicious meals.

Gaznates rellenos de mouse de almendra con salsa de chocolate amargo (Cannoli stuffed with almond mousse with dark chocolate sauce)

Gaznates rellenos de mouse de almendra con salsa de chocolate amargo (Cannoli stuffed with almond mousse with dark chocolate sauce)

By the way, I gather that Sabina Sabe used to be on the zócalo, however now it is located on 5 de mayo, across the street from Mujeres Artesanas de las Regiones de Oaxaca (MARO) — you can’t miss the building’s aqua color!

P1140319Today, there is no question, we WILL be going to our eighth and final restaurant during Oaxaca Sabe.  Stay tuned…

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Yesterday, albeit with flagging energy, blogger buddy Chris and I climbed the narrow winding staircase that looks down into the tiny kitchen, making our way to the rooftop terrace of Casa Crespo for day six of our odyssey through Oaxaca’s Oaxaca Sabe restaurant scene.  However, we perked up when our personable and efficient waiter brought up the fixings for my starter course and a show began.

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Table side preparation of a Prehispanic soup unique-to-Oaxaca

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Hot river stone dropped into the broth

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Seafood cooks and vegetables wait to be added to bubbling broth

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Caldo de piedra (Stone soup)

Yes, it was as delicious as it looks, as was my entrée.

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Estofado de bodas con pure de papa istmeño (Wedding stew, accompanied by mashed potatoes in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec style)

And then came the divine dessert…

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Helado de chocolate de metate (Chocolate ice cream, ingredients ground using a metate)

You can check out Chris’s blog for the spectacular rooftop view and the alternate menu.  And, yes we shared!  Another day, another tasty  meal…

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Yesterday was day five of Oaxaca Sabe and restaurant number five for your intrepid foodies.  Yes, we are still on a-restaurant-a-day pace.   Our choice?  Tres Bistro, or as the sign says, Tr3s 3istro.

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We had watched as this second floor space above Del Jardín was renovated two years ago and a visiting gal pal and I had eaten there in July 2014.  While the food was delicious, the cacophony coming from the occupied zócalo (pirated CDs blasting, amplified speeches blaring, etc.) through the balcony’s giant open sliding glass doors made it a less than pleasurable experience.

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However, currently all is quiet on the zócalo front, save for the occasional marimba players, and the menu beckoned.  Thus we decided to give it a try.  We climbed the beautifully designed curving wooden staircase under the portales and were seated at the second from the left table above.  Chips, salsas, and herb butter for our choice of flavorful breads soon followed.

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Choices made from the Oaxaca Sabe menu, the fun began!  My first course…

Laminado de pulpo con mojo verde, aceite de cacahuate, rábanos y cilantro (Rolled octopus with green sauce, peanut oil, radishes and cilantro)

Laminado de pulpo con mojo verde, aceite de cacahuate, rábanos y cilantro (Rolled octopus with green sauce, peanut oil, radishes and cilantro)

My entrée…

Risotto de gorgonzola con camarones (Gorgonzola risotto with shrimp)

Risotto de gorgonzola con camarones (Gorgonzola risotto with shrimp)

And, my dessert…

Panacota de frutos rojos y coulis de fresa (Panna cotta of red fruit with strawberry coulis)

Panacota de frutos rojos y coulis de fresa (Panna cotta of red fruit with strawberry coulis)

For Chris’s menu choices, see his blog post, Oaxaca Sabe – Oaxaca knows….. food!… Day 5 – Tres Bistro.  I’ve got to say, the portion sizes were more generous than we’ve become used to and we pushed away from the table feeling quite sated.

Many thanks to chef Fermín López Damián, who was born in the Sierra Norte region of Oaxaca, for a delicious, relaxing, and thoroughly enjoyable dining experience.

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Another day another Oaxaca Sabe lunch.  Yesterday, along with a couple of friends, we celebrated the ## birthday of blogger Chris at Luvina.

The birthday boy!

The “gifted” birthday boy!

As you can see below, the menu chef Carlos García created was beautifully presented, imaginative and, I can assure you, muy sabrosa.  Our first course was out-of-this world, in my humble opinion.

Arroz cremoso con legumbres, calamares y mollejas asadas (Creamy rice with vegetables, grilled calamari and sweetbreads)

Arroz cremoso con legumbres, calamares y mollejas asadas (Creamy rice with vegetables, grilled calamari and sweetbreads)

Ahhh… Which main course to choose?  I chose the rabbit and, naturally, sampled a table mate’s sea bass.  Both were delicious.

Conejo chimeco con verduras rostizadas con manteca de pato (Rabbit with roasted vegetables and duck fat)

Conejo chimeco con verduras rostizadas con manteca de pato (Rabbit with roasted vegetables and duck fat)

Robálo al pastor con chichilo negro (Sea bass with chichilo mole)

Robálo al pastor con chichilo negro (Sea bass with chichilo mole)

The dessert got mixed reviews, but I liked the lightness of the brioche.  And, yes, the birthday boy’s came with a candle!

Espuma de requesón con bizcocho de pan brioche (Foam of ricotta with a cake of brioche)

Espuma de requesón con bizcocho de pan brioche (Foam of ricotta with a cake of brioche)

It’s somewhat out-of-the way location (off Republica on the block-long Mártires de Tacubaya and across the street from the Kiss the girl goodbye mural) shouldn’t hinder a visit to this light and airy restaurant. By the way, the service was excellent.

 

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It’s Wednesday and day three of the Oaxaca Sabe restaurant festival.  Yesterday, we dined at Pitiona, one of Oaxaca’s most sophisticated and innovative restaurants.  Chris, my partner in blogging and food-fest dining crime, beat me to the punch in posting photos of our meal, so I will let his entry speak for both of us.

Today, our Oaxaca Sabe choice was La Olla, one of Oaxaca’s best known restaurants with one of her best loved chefs, Pilar Cabrera at the helm.  Here, we were offered an either/or choice for each of the three courses, so I ordered “either” and Chris ordered “or.”  Thus, I began with a salad that tasted as delicate and flavorful as it looked.

Ensalada de durazno y queso istmeño (Salad of peaches and cheese from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec)

Ensalada de durazno y queso istmeño (Salad of peaches and cheese from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec)

I’m a sucker 😉  for octopus and this was cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection and saucing it with the “usually reserved for special occasions” chichilo mole, provided the taste buds an unexpected flavor explosion.

Chichilo servido con pulpo y arroz (Chichilo mole served with octopus and rice)

Chichilo servido con pulpo y arroz (Chichilo mole served with octopus and rice)

And then there was dessert.  I opted for the tiramisu, which is an old favorite of mine.  It did not disappoint and its layers looked lovely served in a glass, garnished with coffee beans and a single viola blossom.

Tiramisú oaxaqueño (Self explanatory, methinks)

Tiramisú oaxaqueño (Self explanatory, methinks)

Our compliments to chef Pilar Cabrera and muchisimas gracias for a delicious dining experience.  We are sorry to have missed you!

As our meal came to a close, we poured over the Oaxaca Sabe list of restaurants and their menus.  More to come.  What can I say?  This is yummy and fun!

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Yesterday, Oaxaca Sabe kicked off a week of delicious dining; three-course meals, including beer, mezcal, or wine, for only 250 pesos per person at some of the top restaurants in the city.  As readers of Oaxaca-The Year After already know, blogger buddy Chris and yours truly couldn’t resist and we were first to the table at Las Quince Letras.  No sooner had we been seated in the lovely shaded patio, than chef Celia Florian came out to welcome us.

Celia Florian, chefWith every course, she continued to check in with us, explaining the ingredients and asking our opinion.  She also turned the tables on us and took out her smart phone to take our picture!

Sopa de tortilla de tomate de milpa (Tortilla soup with tomatillos and little balls of quesillo)

Sopa de tortilla de tomate de milpa (Tortilla soup with tomatillos and little balls of quesillo)

Camarones flameados en mezcal con mole negro de chicatana (Shrimp flambéed in mezcal on a bed of chicatana black mole sauce)

Camarones flameados en mezcal con mole negro de chicatana (Shrimp flambéed in mezcal on a bed of black mole made with the rainy season insect, chicatanas)

Helado de maracuya con buñelos con miel de piloncillo (Maracuya sorbet with buñuelos drizzled with melted piloncillo, which is similar to brown sugar)

Helado de maracuya con buñelos con miel de piloncillo (Maracuya sorbet with buñuelos drizzled with a honey of piloncillo, which is similar to brown sugar)

Every dish conveyed Chef Florian’s pride in her heritage — from the fresh locally sourced ingredients to her original interpretations of traditional Oaxacan cuisine — and then there was the love and joy she radiated.

By the way, this is what it looks like to sit across the table from a blogger…

Chile en nogada

Chris photographing his Chile en Nogada

If it’s Tuesday, it must mean another Oaxaca Sabe restaurant to try…  ¡Buen provecho!

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Oaxacan cuisine, with its pre-Columbian roots, is a major attraction and the state’s tourism board and restaurant association continue to do their utmost to promote this cultural heritage during the Guelaguetza festivities.  Last Friday, set amidst the beauty and tranquility of the Jardín Etnobotánico, it was the opening degustación (sampling) for the Festival de los Moles.       P1110341This was my fourth time attending this buffet luncheon celebrating the 7 moles of Oaxaca.  And, like the previous years, my plate was swimming in moles and I came away sated and smiling!

P1110337 The Expo Feria del Queso y Quesillo in Reyes Etla beckoned on Saturday.  When we arrived, students from the Universidad Tecnológica de los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca were giving a demonstration on the cheese making process.

P1110422Despite how tempting the various cheeses looked, I only managed tiny tastes of a couple; Alas, I was just too full from the previous day’s feast to fully appreciate them.

P1110426However, by Sunday, my mouth was watering for wild mushroom empanadas, but we were foiled in our attempt to head up into the mountains for the Feria Regional de los Hongos Silvestres in San Antonio Cuajimoloyas.  A bike race had closed the highway and several of the major streets getting into and out of my part of town and, as you can imagine, alternate routes were gridlocked.  Grrrr…  I think the Guelaguetza events committee needs to rethink the schedule and transportation logistics!

Lucky for me, the Plaza de la Danza is only a block and a half from Casita Colibrí and so, late this morning, there were no impediments to walking over to the 10th Annual Feria del Tejate y el Tamal.  The women from the municipality of San Andrés Huayapam (about 7 kilometers northeast of the city), were ready and waiting to welcome visitors with their ancient drink and variety of tamales.

P1120599 The leis the women (above) are wearing are made from Rosita de Cacao flowers, one of the ingredients in tejate.  For the uninitiated, tejate is a foamy, quite refreshing, and nutritious non-alcoholic pre-Columbian beverage made from nixtamal corn, mixed with tree ash, toasted cacao beans, mamey seeds, and Rosita de Cacao flowers and is called, “la bebida de los Dioses” (the drink of the Gods).

P1120562The tejateras of the Unión de Mujeres Productoras del Tejate prepared and served their tejate to inquiring novices and aficionados, alike.  The sale of tejate is the main economic activity in San Andrés Huayapam.

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And then there were the tamales… Pots and baskets, covered with hand embroidered and crocheted tea towels, were filled with steaming tamales nestled in corn husks — verde, chapulin, amarillo, frijol, dulce, rajas, chepil, and chichilo.  If you’ve never tasted tamales in Oaxaca, you are missing something!

P1120551Huayapam’s chichilo tamales are well-known and loved.  Chichilo is one of the seven moles of Oaxaca and it is only served on special occasions, such as weddings and christenings or when the crops have been harvested.  It is made from chilhuacle negro, mulatto, and pasilla chiles; blackened tortillas and seeds of the chiles; and avocado leaves, the latter imparting a subtle anise flavor.  Of course, no tamal festival would be complete without mole tamales wrapped in banana leaves…

P1120557Today and tomorrow (July 22 & 23), if you are in Oaxaca, the Plaza de la Danza is THE happening place for tasting some delicious local specialties between 10:00 AM and 8:00 PM.  ¡Buen provecho!

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If it’s Sunday, it must be market day in Tlacolula de Matamoros.

Women doing their marketing.

Women doing their marketing, and the men who follow.

Carne for the carnivores

Carne, right off the hoof, for the carnivores.

Delicious dining for the rest of us!

And, delicious dining for all!

Another delightful domingo in Oaxaca.

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As if Thursday’s Thanksgiving of 2 turkeys, 2 styles of stuffing, 2 kinds of cranberry sauce, 2 types of potatoes (sweet and garlic mashed), and 2 desserts (pumpkin pie and chocolate cake) weren’t enough….  Believe it or not, Friday night, eating was again on the minds of neighbors (and co-Thanksgiving Day cooks) David and Marilyn and I, as we walked over to the Plaza de la Danza for the kickoff cena (dinner) of Oaxaca’s annual El Saber del Sabor gastronomy festival.

The transformation of the Plaza de la Danza began on Wednesday.

By Friday night’s dinner, it had morphed into an elegant banquet hall, with an open air rotisserie pit.

Fifty traditional cooks from the eight regions of Oaxaca offered guests a sample of the culinary wealth of the state.

The results were dazzling and delicious.  All for only 300 pesos (a little over $20 US)!

On a clear cold night, with the Basílica de la Soledad looming above, there was also mezcal and music to warm body and spirit!

Following Thursday night’s inaugural banquet, the festival moves to Oaxaca’s upscale restaurants and other venues where, along with workshops and lectures, seventeen renowned chefs from around Mexico will be offering specially created gourmet menus.  El Saber del Sabor closes tomorrow afternoon with a tribute to chef Pedro Ortega of Grupo Estoril, accompanied by a comida prepared by Ortega and three other distinguished chefs.  Yummm…  Alas, at 1500 pesos, it’s a little too pricey for me.

In previous years, El Saber del Sabor was held in late August and early September.  I don’t know why this year it was moved to the end of November, but I do know Friday night was a little chilly for an outside venue and, for gringos, it was way too close to Thanksgiving — the gluttony was almost (but not quite) too much!

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What is it about October?  If I was still living in Mill Valley (California), this weekend I’d probably be joining friends in Golden Gate Park at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco.  Of course, I’d have to weigh the days and times of “can’t miss” performers with “must see” films at the Mill Valley Film Festival, which opened October 2 — not to mention trying to catch the San Francisco Giants post-season games.  Here in Oaxaca, the song is the same!  The Oaxaca FilmFest opened Friday night (Oct. 4) and runs through October 11.  Yesterday, the Día del Amaranto (Day of Amaranth) festival was held in the Plaza de la Danza.  In addition, during the week, various communities, both in the city and out, are celebrating the Virgen del Rosario (more to come on this).

AND, on Friday and Saturday Oaxaca city’s Mercado Organico (also known as, Pochote-Xochimilco or Pochimilco) located in the plaza of Templo de Santo Tomas Xochimilco, celebrated its 11th anniversary.  There was music, folkloric dancers, stalls filled with food and drink, and people (including me) enjoying it all.

A grandmother and little girl sharing plate of food

The produce at this stand was SO fresh and tempting, even though I didn’t need anything!

Carrots, lettuce, squash blossoms, fennel, and more.

Lucky for me, I found the gal who sells my favorite jamaica (hibiscus) concentrate, as I’d run out last week.

Woman selling jamaica products

Then there was this guy selling jars of homemade chutney.  He even remembered me, even though I hadn’t been there for several months!  I wanted them all, but managed to restrain myself and come home with just the peach chutney.

Smiling young man selling jars of chutney

The chutney samples were offered on tostadas with a small slice of queso de cabra (goat cheese).  ¡My sabroso!  “Where?”  I asked.  “Right over there,” he answered.  I made a beeline for the aisle where he pointed and bought some of this yummy cheese.

Packages of goat cheese.

As always, whenever I venture up the hill to the organic market, I came home with way more than I can possibly eat in a week.  Guess I need a little help from my friends.  ¡Feliz cumpleaños, Pochimilco! — another of Oaxaca’s treasures.

For more on the market, check out the Pochimilco page on the Oaxaca Wiki.

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