Tag Archives: Food & Dining


By Alfredo Patiño

You can find mezcal in just about every mercado or tourist stop throughout Oaxaca. There are aged mezcals, mezcals mixed with fruit and creams and more and more are available for export, showing up in New York City or Tokyo. However, many households in the Oaxaca Valley produce just enough mezcal for their own consumption and some make a little bit more to sell. They are the men and women who lumber into town carrying jerry cans filled with mezcal where they stop at restaurants and bars to sell to owners. They pull out a jicara and a bamboo straw to demonstrate the purity of the mezcal. The mezcal is placed in the jicara and then you suck a little bit with the straw and then let the mezcal fall back into the jicara- bubbles are good, no bubbles means the mezcal has been watered down. Continue reading Mezcaloteca

Señorita Manners

John was furious when his steak arrived too rare. “Waiter,” he shouted, “Didn’t you hear me say ‘well done’?” “I can’t thank you enough, sir,” replied the waiter. “I hardly ever get a compliment.”

Most of us have worked at one time or another in the restaurant industry, maybe it was a lemonade stand in grade school or as a waitress in college. But when travelling no one wants to be the chump and many of us are wary and guarded for fear of being taken advantage of. Tipping is a subject of much discussion on travel message boards; when and how much is appropriate? Please do not confuse tipping with charity. It is as insulting to tip with used clothing or school supplies in Mexico as it would be at Denny’s. Tipping your server has been a long-standing North American tradition. While tipping 15% of the total bill has been the standard for a long time, that tip can vary depending on the service you receive. It is a system of payment, especially in job sectors where wages are low. In Australia for instance, the minimum wage for waiters is $15 Australian dollars/hour. As a result, eating out is a lot more costly in Melbourne than in Mexico. Continue reading Señorita Manners

The “Seven” Moles of Oaxaca

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By Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken

Our friend, Sol, categorically stated, “I do not like mole; I do not eat mole.” We tried, unsuccessfully for several years, to convince him that the term mole (MOH-lay) encompasses many different sauces with different tastes and textures. But, even in one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca City renowned for its quality moles, he chose to order plain shrimp. Continue reading The “Seven” Moles of Oaxaca

From Tacos to Tiramisu: The Pleasure of Eating Out in Mexico City

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By Carole Reedy

Yeast breads rising in bakeries, the scent of grilling tacos in the streets, steam rising from tamale pots and a rich chocolate scent emanating from foamy milk…follow your nose in Mexico City. The streets are a constellation of smells that enchant tourists and long-term residents alike. Everywhere you turn there’s something to eat: restaurants on corners and in between, food stands at every conceivable location (in front of schools, businesses, subways, etc), small tiendas with snack foods tucked into their nooks and crannies and still more food at any event you attend. Continue reading From Tacos to Tiramisu: The Pleasure of Eating Out in Mexico City

Edible Greens

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By Julie Etra

Huatulco, with its tropical climate, is an incredible to place to grow not just fruits and common garden vegetables (if the iguanas don’t get them first), but also other edible plants that are easy to grow from seed or gather in the wild, and just as easy to harvest and prepare. Some of these plants have a fairly wide range of occurrence and are grown and prepared throughout Mexico. Although some are natives, others may be considered as ‘weeds’ or maleza when they out-compete other plants for space, water, and nutrients, or when they become mature and too tough to digest. Although we have equivalents in the northern part of North America, in many cases we no longer use these plants due to the labor entailed in their harvest, and their use is overlooked or forgotten. Some obvious examples are dandelions (Taraxacum arvense), a non-native weed that used to be collected to make a fermented drink (dandelion wine). Its leaves, when harvested young, were used in salads. Another commonly harvested plant was lambsquarter (Chenopodium alba) whose leaves can also be eaten when young. Continue reading Edible Greens

Beyond the Guelagetza 10 things to do in Oaxaca City

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By Jane Bauer

  1. Art Classes at Frida Kahlo Art Store Saturday mornings from 10am-3pm FREE oil painting art classes are given at the store. Bring your own material or purchase on the spot. Frida Kahlo Armenta Y Lopez 503 Oaxaca Centre, Oaxaca 951.514-5349
  2. Cooking Class with Pilar Cabrera – A delicious way to explore Oaxacan culture. Start off with a shopping excursion in a local market and finish with a family style meal you prepared. http://www.casadelossabores.com/
  3. Streets in Historical Center Closed for Bicycling – With an ever growing bike culture there are lots of places to rent or borrow bicycles. Ask your hosts or hotel for the nearest location. Sunday 9 am to 1 pm – Free Independencia to Reforma to Conzatti Park to García Vigil back to Independencia.
  4. Mushroom Festival – July 21st & 22nd San Antonio Cuahimoloyas Tel: 951 175 6762 micologica.oaxaca@gmail.com
  5. San Pablo Cultural Center  – This beautifully open renovated space has a café, an area with children’s books and bean bag chairs for lounging. Stop in and rest. FREE Antiquo calle jonde SanPablo (Independencia 904
  6. Xochimilco Organic Market– Held in the courtyard of the local church this open air market is full of organic delicacies from sopes made with nut butter instead of lard to vegetarian sushi. Come hungry and leave happy. Fridays and Saturday mornings.
  7. Touring villages with Alvin Starkman – If you missed the Mushroom Festival but are interested in exploring the area, Alvin Starkman is the go to guy. With a wealth of knowledge from mezcal to chapulines to barro negro he will give you the inside on the villages around Oaxaca. oaxacadream@hotmail.com
  8. Danzón with the Marimba Band –  Although danzón is the official genre and dance of Cuba it is also an active musical form in Mexico. Enjoy this vibrant outdoor music show. Wednesdays 6:30pm – Free Zócalo
  9. .Ethnobotanical Garden  – The only way to see this wonderful garden is on a tour, come prepared with water and sunscreen. Arrive ten minutes before the tours to purchase tickets. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 11am – $100 pesos Entrance Reforma & Constitutión.
  10. Museo Filatelia de Oaxaca (Stamp Museum)  – The permanent collection houses letters from Frida Kahlo to her doctor Leo Eloesser. It is fascinating to read about the spinal injuries whose pain had such a huge influence on her art. Museo de Filatelia de Oaxaca, A.C. Reforma 504, Centro Histórico, Oaxaca, www.mufi.org.mx 10am-8pm

Land of the Maguey

By Julie Etra

Maguey or Agave comes from the Greek word Agavo, which means magnificent, noble, admirable. Other common names are pita, cabuya, fique, mescal, toba (in Zapotec) and ki (Maya). One of the 9 bays of Huatulco is named for this plant. They are abundant in the Mexican landscape and form a dominant portion of the vegetation in many parts of Mexico, especially in semi-arid regions. Distribution is from the Canadian-US border to Bolivia, including the Caribbean. The greatest diversity is in Mexico, home to 76% of the world’s population or 157 species of which 71% (111) are endemic, meaning they occur nowhere else. Fifty-two species occur in the state of Oaxaca. The origin of this group of plants dates to the Miocene or about 15 million years ago. They flower only once, after about 10-12 years and also reproduce vegetatively which is how they are generally cultivated. They have lifespan of about 25 years and are pollinated by bats and hummingbirds.  Continue reading Land of the Maguey

A Taste of Honey

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By Kathy Taylor

If you were inclined to subscribe to a “100 mile” diet, Huatulco is a pretty good place to live: all the fish and shrimp you can eat, shade grown coffee, mescal, fresh cheeses, sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, stone ground corn for tender tortillas, and of course, honey. Bees are what make the agricultural world go round. The relationship between bees and flowers is much like the conundrum of the chicken and the egg. Which came first?  Continue reading A Taste of Honey

Chopped Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

  •  2 ½ cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 ½ cups black beans (if canned, rinse before using)
  • 3/4 cup chopped seeded tomato
  • 3/4 cup chopped peeled jicama
  • 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels, uncooked (or frozen or canned)
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • Half a ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese

Honey-Lime Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp chopped jalapeño pepper (use canned for less heat)

Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over mixture and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.