Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Mercado de la Merced’

Sunday was the last day of B’s Week in Oaxaca and he had some last-minute shopping to do.  Family back home had requested a stack of tlayudas (also spelled, clayudas), the 12″ diameter handmade and dried tortillas, and quesillo, Oaxacan string cheese.  The closest mercado to B’s hotel was Mercado de la Merced.  It’s one of the best in Oaxaca city — selling fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and dried chiles, healing herbs and incense, meats and poultry, breads and cheeses, baskets and oil cloth, housing juice bars and small restaurants (like the well-known Fonda Florecita), and more — almost everything one could ever need.  These mercados make shopping social and fun — way more enjoyable than impersonal supermarkets and shopping malls.

After purchasing the requested items and wandering up and down the maze of aisles, we returned to B’s hotel to off-load the cheese (hotel’s refrigerator) and tlayudas (spread out on the bed to dry).  Our appetites having been stimulated, we walked across the city to the off-the-beaten-path location of Criollo, the year-old creation of Chef Enrique Olvera (Pujol in Mexico City, Cosme in New York), Chef Luis Arellano (originally from the Cañana region of Oaxaca), and architect Javier Sánchez.

It was a good thing we were famished, as the 7-course tasting menu was more than enough.  However, each plate brought such deliciousness, we happily continued on.  And, the setting?  While on an extremely busy street, once one steps inside this modern take on the traditional colonial courtyard, a sense of peace takes over.  Sated, we wandered to their orchard at the back of the restaurant, where we were warmly greeted and offered a cup of poleo tea brewed in the outdoor kitchen set in the orchard.  Our hostess explained this kitchen allows for the traditional preparation of some of the menu items.  In addition, she pointed to another building that she explained was going to be a culinary bed and breakfast.

By the time we left Criollo, it was late afternoon.  Before B returned to his hotel and I to my apartment, we marveled at what a full, delicious, and delightful six days it had been.

Just a note:  A week isn’t nearly enough time to experience all that Oaxaca city and surrounding villages have to offer.  We never made it to the Sunday market in Tlacolula de Matamoros, Hierve el Agua, Centro de las Artes de San Agustín (CASA), the alebrije pueblos of San Martín Tilcajete and San Antonio Arrazola, San Bartolo Coyotepec for their black pottery and Museo Estatal de Arte Popular de Oaxaca (State Museum of Folk Art (MEAPO), Santa María Atzompa for green pottery and the archaeological site, the Pueblos Mancomunados of the Sierra Norte, and then there are the mezcal palenques in the valley of Oaxaca.  I guess B will just have to come back!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Read Full Post »

From today’s NYT…

Market Driven, Oaxaca-Style

By PETER CATAPANO

A vendor at Mercado de la Merced in Oaxaca, Mexico, where produce grown on small local farms is sold throughout the city.

OAXACA, Mexico — “The market is not for shopping,” Pilar Cabrera said.

¿Qué?

We were walking around Oaxaca’s Mercado de la Merced, a covered market where Cabrera, a well-known chef and owner of the popular La Olla Restaurant, does some of her food gathering for a class she teaches at La Casa de los Sabores, a cooking school she runs to which chefs on pilgrimages and food-curious tourists have been flocking for several years. Students who sign up and pay for the class (about $70) gather up the goods with her at one of the town’s markets in the morning, then bring them back to a big, bright, picture-perfect kitchen, where they proceed to cook and consume the meal, a five-course Oaxacan lunch based on Pilar’s recipes, including a taste of mezcal and dessert. (Coloradito, a red mole, was the main event at the class I attended.) They also get to pepper her with questions about the food, recipes and region.

Pilar knows her stuff: she was born and raised here and has a background in food science, as well as decades of cooking experience. La Olla serves a modern menu based on traditional Oaxacan recipes in a modest, clean setting that attracts both tourists and well-heeled locals. Apart from the restaurant and cooking school, she has gained some fame as a sort of ambassador for Oaxacan cuisine, traveling abroad to teach her classes, even making an appearance on “Iron Chef.”

In both the restaurant and the class, Pilar hammers home the main theme of Oaxacan food: an uncompromising devotion to fresh, unprocessed local ingredients (the squash blossoms she chose for the meal that day were still open when the vendor handed them to her). And she can switch from speaking Spanish to English with ease, making it easy for monolingual pilgrims like me to get what’s going on.  [Read full article]

h/t:  gg

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: