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Posts Tagged ‘Waje’

Our first stop on day five of B’s Week in Oaxaca was the Palacio de Gobierno to see the magnificent Mural of Oaxaca history.  Ooops!  I had forgotten that the Government Palace was now closed to the public.  However, a polite appeal to see the mural, addressed to one of the guards by a couple of tourists (okay, one tourist and one resident), resulted in the guard receiving permission from a superior to let us in.  We were instructed, mural only!  We obeyed, walking only half-way up the grand staircase to take in the entire work of art.  I love this mural by Arturo García Bustos and hope the palacio will again be opened to the public.

Once we had finished marveling at the Bustos history of Oaxaca, we walked up the Macedonio Alcalá to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO) to check out the Espejos de Cal mural being painted in the courtyard by Jesús González.  Engrossed in watching the mural unfold and fascinated in the technique explained by the artist’s Russian assistant, we never made it inside this treasure of a museum.  Next time!

We strolled further up the Alcalá to the Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO), founded in 1988 by renown artist, philanthropist, and social activist, Francisco Toledo.  First we wandered through the exhibition rooms and then into the impressive library.  The 60,000+ books on art, architecture, design, photography, and much more is one of the most extensive arts-related collections in Latin America.  A photography professor friend raved to me about finding a book at IAGO that he had been searching for and B (the architect) was ooh-ing and ahh-ing at titles he eyed — and pulled a few off the shelves to leaf through.  IAGO also hosts lectures, conferences, musical performances, workshops, poetry readings, and film showings.

Needless to say, by the time we finally left, we were hungry.  Lucky for us, the acclaimed restaurant Pitiona was only a block away.  Born in Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Chef José Manuel Baños spent time in Spain under the tutelage of innovative chefs Feran Adrià and Juan Mari Arzak.  However, as the name Pitiona (a native herb frequently used in Oaxacan cooking) suggests, the starting point for Baños is local ingredients.  The simple elegance of the old colonial building and attention to detail in table settings, service, and especially food, made for a sublime interlude in the day’s activities.

We descended the stairs of Pitiona to the sound of music coming from the atrium of Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán.  It was Saturday and that means wedding day at Santo Domingo – each featuring a band, folkloric dancers, marmotas (giant cloth balloons), bride and groom monos (giant puppets), a wedding procession down the Alcalá, and scores of tourists and locals stopping to watch — which we did, too!

Our final stop was at the photography museum Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo, another brainchild of Francisco Toledo.  The museum has over 18,000 photographs in its permanent collection, including by its namesake Manuel Álvarez Bravo, his first wife Lola Alvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Tina Modotti, Guillermo Kahlo (yes, Frida Kahlo’s father), and Mary Ellen Mark.  Works from the collection and by photographers from all over the world are exhibited in galleries surrounding a beautiful courtyard featuring a reflecting pool.

However, that wasn’t the end.  After a siesta, we gathered with eight other diners for a Waje pop-up dinner.  The June menu was an homage to mole and the setting was at the restaurant Mezquite Gastronomia Y Destilado where Waje chef, José Daniel Delgado is the new chef.  As always, José Daniel and his Waje team provided a creative, delicious, and delightful evening.  An added bonus was being seated across from Jason Cox, co-owner and mezcal steward of El Destilado — a restaurant I definitely need to try.

Only one day left in B’s Week in Oaxaca.  Where to go?  What to do?  Stay tuned!

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I know, it’s been a week since a new post has appeared on this blog.  My excuse is that I flew up to the San Francisco Bay Area last Saturday — an all day event that, under the easiest of circumstances (and this was), is exhausting.  However, an email this morning from Margie Barclay (formerly of Oaxaca Calendar) alerted me to the next Waje dinner.

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What is Waje, you ask?  It is a monthly pop-up dining experience created by two young (early 20s) Oaxacan chefs, José Daniel López Delgado and Maday Alexander Luis Garfias — both recent graduates of Universidad Anáhuac.

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With an appreciation of, and dedication to, the bounty and traditions of Oaxaca, they create themed dinners that fill the senses, educate, and encourage communication.

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Traditional ingredients are married in new and innovative ways and artfully presented.

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With amazing energy and pride, both chefs emerge from the kitchen to describe the ingredients, preparation, and thought behind each course.

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Their creativity and attention to flavors extends to the beverage pairings.  For the July dinner, a different flavored pulque was presented with each course and in August, mezcal cocktails were served.

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The venue for the dinners was a secret and, in both instances, we were picked up at a pre-arranged location and taken to the final destination.  The photos are from the July dinner, which was held on the front lawn of a stunning private home in San Andrés Huayapam.

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Their next offering, September 24, 2016 at 7 PM, is to be a cena of six desserts paired with coffee cocktails in a collaboration with Axiom Coffee Ventures and Viajero Café Arte.  Seating is limited and prepayment is required.  Reservations can be made by calling 951 236-868 or 951-124-9090 or sending a message from the Waje Facebook page.

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By the way, both times, my friend and I were the only gringos and oldest people in attendance.  You will definitely meet some young hip and very eloquent Oaxaqueños.  I wish I could be there…  Alas, I’ll still be in el norte.  ¡Buen provecho!

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