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Posts Tagged ‘tlayudas’

A couple of weeks ago, my friend K and I spent the day in the land of red clay, San Marcos Tlapazola, at the home of potter, Valentina Cruz. I have accumulated quite a collection (though not nearly as much as K) of barro rojo and several of my favorite pieces are by Valentina.

Getting there was quite the adventure. Leaving from Teotitlán del Valle (where I was spending a long weekend), the journey entailed taking a 3-wheeled moto (aka, tuk-tuk) to the highway, catching a bus to Tlacolula de Matamoros, multiple times asking for directions re where to find transportation to take us to Tlapazola, a bit of wandering around, ten blocks of walking, followed by waiting and wondering if we were in the right place. After 1/2 hour, a combi (a glorified pickup truck with wooden benches in the truck bed) arrived and took us up towards the mountains. Needless to say, the bouncing caused by the dirt roads and potholes were felt! Unfortunately, because the back of the truck was covered, we couldn’t even enjoy the views — that had to wait until we finally arrived at Valentina’s home/workshop/store.

The red clay soil isn’t just good for making pottery. Agave, cactus, corn, and squash also seem to thrive under the tender loving care of Valentina and her husband, Don Luis.

When we arrived, Valentina was busy at the tortilla press and comal — making tlayudas (large crispy tortillas) to accompany the chicken soup prepared by her daughter. After we all finished eating comida, we watched as Valentina took out a smooth river rock and began to burnish several pieces. This extra step puts a lovely sheen on her pottery and is one of the things that makes her work stand out.

Of course, I couldn’t resist buying the two horn-playing rabbits (top photo) at the tienda in her home. They join the face with the lid (also in top photo), among my many utilitarian pieces expertly crafted by Valentina. She and her beautiful barro rojo pottery can also be found at the weekly Sunday market in Tlacolula. After this lovely, but long day, we opted for her to call us a taxi to drive back to Teotitlán.

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Tuesday, not only brought the previously mentioned Carnaval, San Martín Tilcajete style, it also provided comida, muy sabrosa.  No, not one of the 4 restaurants in Oaxaca recently listed in the 101 Best Restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean.  I’m talking about al fresco dining in a roadside restaurant.  Sitting under the branches of a large shade tree on plastic chairs, around a plastic table, with cars and trucks speeding by, it was surprisingly tranquil.

Woman cooking on comal

We had ringside seats as our lunch was prepared on a well seasoned comal.  I couldn’t help thinking as we sat at this unpretentious restaurant, in the middle of the fields that yielded the ingredients for our lunch, prepared according to culinary traditions passed down through generations of Zapotecos, this is quintessential “slow food.”

Woman lifting tlayuda off comal

That’s my tlayuda (sometimes spelled, clayuda) being lifted off the comal — and it was one of the best I’ve eaten!  Fyi, tlayudas are one of the 10 Essential Things To Eat And Drink In Oaxaca.

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For more on our yummy lunch, see Chris’s blog post, Fat Tuesday done right.  Alas, neither one of us took note of the name of the restaurant — all I know is it’s on the east side of Hwy 175, between San Martín Tilcajete and San Tomás Jalieza.

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