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Oaxaca Dining


marktynernyc
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buses in Mexico are incredible - first class buses, especially those that travel overnight, are extremely comfortable, often setup with 2 seats on one side of the aisle and one on the other all of which recline almost fully.. there's a small kitchen in the back with packaged snacks, drinks, and cup o'noodles, and the bathrooms have a small anteroom, so there's little, if any smell, that emanates into the bus.. seats are assigned and honored.. 2nd class buses are another story altogether, maybe half the price of Executive or 1st class buses, and are often oversold and make numerous stops.. buy the most expensive bus ticket you can afford for overnight trips, and skimp on day buses if you prefer..

Puerto Escondido is great, it's nothing like Zihua, which is nice, but completely over run by the tourist industry as compared to Puerto.. It doesn't sound like you'll make it to the Pacific Coast this trip, which is a shame as it really is beautiful, but hopefully you'll return..

we're headed to Puerto for the holidays and might go up to Oaxaca City for a few days, depending on reports of violence, access, etc..

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buses in Mexico are incredible

Yeah, won't make it to the Pacific Coast this time, but everyone's been incredibly helpful with making an alternate plan. Looking forward to good eating, and will report back.

Regarding the bus situation, how is traveling on them with suitcases (airline carry-on size with wheels)? Overhead storage, or do they get checked into a storage area? And upon arriving at destinations, are there storage lockers if we're not planning to stay overnight in the town?

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  • 2 weeks later...
buses in Mexico are incredible

Yeah, won't make it to the Pacific Coast this time, but everyone's been incredibly helpful with making an alternate plan. Looking forward to good eating, and will report back.

Regarding the bus situation, how is traveling on them with suitcases (airline carry-on size with wheels)? Overhead storage, or do they get checked into a storage area? And upon arriving at destinations, are there storage lockers if we're not planning to stay overnight in the town?

yes - baggage claim tickets on most, if not all, first and second class buses now.. and most, if not all, of the bus stations have luggage checks for a few pesos, again with numbered claim tickets..

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  • 1 month later...

It seems that things have calmed down, so we've changed our plans and the girlfriend and I will be going to Oaxaca in mid-January.

There's a lot of overwhelming information about eating in Oaxaca out there, so can anyone provide (or point me towards) a simple, straightforward guide to the best eats in Oaxaca? We'll have about four days in the city, and our main interest is rustic, traditional food, although we'd certainly try some "nueva cocina" (if that's the right term) if folks think it's worth doing. Street food as well.

To give a sense of our budget... US$20-30 per person (not incl. drinks) for a meal would definitely be a splurge, although we could do it once or twice during the trip.

So, break it down -- where do we need to eat, and what do we need to try?

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It seems that things have calmed down, so we've changed our plans and the girlfriend and I will be going to Oaxaca in mid-January.

There's a lot of overwhelming information about eating in Oaxaca out there, so can anyone provide (or point me towards) a simple, straightforward guide to the best eats in Oaxaca? We'll have about four days in the city, and our main interest is rustic, traditional food, although we'd certainly try some "nueva cocina" (if that's the right term) if folks think it's worth doing. Street food as well.

To give a sense of our budget... US$20-30 per person (not incl. drinks) for a meal would definitely be a splurge, although we could do it once or twice during the trip.

So, break it down -- where do we need to eat, and what do we need to try?

One question would be who and what is still there. A number of businesses apparently fled. I hope they have returned, but don't know.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I would email Mary Jane of manomagica, or suzanna trilling of seasons of my heart.

both are americans living in Oaxaca for a long time with businesses there.

Recently I heard from Suzanna ( I have gone twice and taken cooking classes from her) and she was saying that people were having to close due to the lack of tourism, not so much running away...

I adore Oaxaca and the area's surrounding it.

have a fabulous time..

and do contact mary Jane and or suzanna.. I am sure they would love to know that people are coming!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I`m sitting in the internet shop on the Zocalo right now. We`ve been here four days, and the city has gotten more and more lively since January 2nd, it`s odd but nice to see. The restaurants and hotels are empty. Literally. Along the zocalo the cafes that used to be, and still should be, packed have been pretty much empty until this morning, there`s been a large influx of Mexicans into town lately. It`s completely safe, but more police-like. All corners of the zocalo are under police control and while it is easy to come and go as a foreigner, it`s weird.

The Camino Real is offering a rate that`s more than 50% off of the regular rate, and most other hotels here are willing to deal. The hotel on the North side of the zocalo reopened this morning and is offering a 25% discount for bookings but they are still doing a lot of renovation to the rooms.

All political grafitti has been covered with white wash making for an odd scene all across the city. There was a significant amount of anti government grafitti so pretty much every wall in the city has at least one white wash.

El Naranjo is still closed, and looks like it will continue to be closed for the near future. The facade is completely covered in paint and the whole thing is slightly depressing. I will post a few pictures upon my return.

In terms of must hits - at the 20 Novembre Market there is an area where you purchase your meat, tortillas, and vegetables and they grill them on indoor charcoal grills. It`s probably the best street food around. Tortas from anyplace that specializes in them are great, generally there are good tacos in these places as well. Both of these options are dirt cheap and should be under $10 in total.

We`ve eaten a couple of meals at La Biznaga, located at Garcia Vigil 512, centro, and found it to be very good. It`s a newer restaurant, featuring what they term cocina mestiza, basically using Oaxacan ingredients in both traditional and more updated versions. It has a great atmosphere, is an interior courtyard restaurant with retractable roof, and is open for lunch, dinner, and drinks and coffee all day and featured a comida corrida at lunch for $60 pesos (the cambios are advertising 10.71 pesos to the dollar right now). It`s casual, but I highly recommend it, it`s basically the best food we`ve had here this trip.

I`d suggest skipping eating lunch and dinner on the zocalo, the food is middling in quality and rather expensive.

Olivo has been closed three nights in a row, and we`ve been disappointed as the meal there was good, but it is not traditional Oaxacan fare, so it`s being closed might not be a big issue for some visiting.

Casa Oaxaca`s menu turned us off, it was just too expensive and the restaurant itself was empty.

Where else are you headed, I`m thinking maybe the coastal beaches¿¿

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  • 1 month later...

Just curious if anyone has any updates on how things have shaken out in Oaxaca? I'll be down there in 2 weeks, and will of course report back, but if anyone else has been there recently, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Hal

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Just curious if anyone has any updates on how things have shaken out in Oaxaca?  I'll be down there in 2 weeks, and will of course report back, but if anyone else has been there recently, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Hal

Today's Mexican newspapers are reporting that the Oaxacan teachers have gone back to the streets--on strike again.

In addition, this: http://cml.vientos.info/node/7750. This conference is scheduled from Feb 23 through Mar 25.

If I hear more tomorrow, I'll post back here.

Edited by esperanza (log)

What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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  • 7 months later...

Wanted to revive this thread in the hopes that people can let me know whether I should consider traveling to Oaxaca in early November. It sounds like an amazing place, but I'm curious to know if this is a good time to visit. Likely to be traveling solo, possibly taking a cooking/language class. Any thoughts? Many thanks in advance.

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Hi Daisy

I bought the airline ticket, so I must be going. :smile: I'll be in Oaxaca at the same time, starting in the last week of October to the beginning of November.

It's difficult to get information out of there. The locals who depend on the tourist industry have been creamed, because of last year's riots, and they are (of course) encouraging people to visit. My tour organizer informed me that there were a couple incidents this summer, with molotov cocktails (or some such) set off in shopping malls. But the city in general seems to be stable. My tour organizer, who cancelled the trip last year, says she feels it will go this year. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

I'll PM you if I learn of anything else.

Donna

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for reviving this thread. We will be in Oaxaca the week of November 10 through November 17, staying at Casa Lidia in Jalatlaco, which is a quiet little neighborhood just a few minutes walk east from the Santo Domingo church. This will be our 20th year of coming to Oaxaca. We were even there during the protests. So, if anyone is there at the same time and wants to meet for dinner? Especially any "first-timers" as I know the markets very well and would be pleased to include you when we tour them. The more the merrier, I say.

Jay

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  • 1 month later...

El Naranjo is still closed, and looks like it will continue to be closed for the near future.  The facade is completely covered in paint and the whole thing is slightly depressing.  I will post a few pictures upon my return.

An article in this morning's NY Times recommends El Naranjo. Does this mean it is re-open (with Iliana?) or are they just behind the times with their information?

"We Don't Throw Stones"

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An article in this morning's NY Times recommends El Naranjo.  Does this mean it is re-open (with Iliana?) or are they just behind the times with their information?

El Naranjo has reopened. Iliana is not running it. She sold the restaurant to an American who has renovated and reopened. There are two threads on the Chowhound Mexico board from people recently returned from Oaxaca. Both have given the new El Naranjo a big thumbs up.

Edited by kalypso (log)
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I'm very proud of the little weblog I created for our recent trip to Oaxaca (lots of food photos) and would like to share it with the hopes that it will give you some tips on things to do and look out for in Oaxaca. Besides our breakfasts at our Casa Lidia bed and breakfast, we dined at El Escapulario, Comedor Francis, Los Pacos, Asador del Vasco, El Naranjo restaurants and didn't even scratch the surface of re-visiting favorites from previous trips. I didn't even get to Abastos or 20 de Noviembre markets on this trip, we were so busy exploring small towns.

Here is the link:

http://journals.aol.com/jaypfrancis/oaxaca-oaxaca-oaxaca/

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  • 3 weeks later...

El Naranjo is still closed, and looks like it will continue to be closed for the near future.  The facade is completely covered in paint and the whole thing is slightly depressing.  I will post a few pictures upon my return.

An article in this morning's NY Times recommends El Naranjo. Does this mean it is re-open (with Iliana?) or are they just behind the times with their information?

the Times article seems to rely on old information, giving the website of the old Naranjo restaurant, and not mentioning that it was sold and has both a new chef and a new menu.

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El Naranjo deserves a visit, at least one meal. But be sure to order the spectacular capirotada for dessert on your visit.

Other noteworth eats: Asador Vasco. Yep, I know it is a Spanish restaurant but my wife swears by their tamal de cazuela. Poblano chiles, cream or milk or both, queso Oaxaqueno, masa, yum. And as mentioned earlier, it would be hard to find a bad meal at El Escapulario. Again, the wife loved the chicken in mango sauce. I had a terrific tlayuda. I could eat every meal there and be happy. The comida corrida is only $4. Main courses are around $8 and worth every penny. And, don't forget to enter from the east side of the 20 de Noviembre market and order some fresh tasajo or cecina to be grilled right on the spot, served with tortillas and guacamole. And if you stay at Casa Lidia, see if they can get you some of those wonderful tamales from Xoxocatlan for breakfast.

Edited by Jay Francis (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Iliana de la Vega, formerly of Oaxaca's El Naranjo is now a chef-instructor at the new Culinary Institute of America San Antonio. She will be teaching courses on Regional Mexican Cuisine: Puebla and Oaxaca and Mexico's Corn Kitchen.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Iliana de la Vega, formerly of Oaxaca's El Naranjo is now a chef-instructor at the new Culinary Institute of America San Antonio. She will be teaching courses on Regional Mexican Cuisine: Puebla and Oaxaca and Mexico's Corn Kitchen.

It's listed as Regional Mexican Cuisine: Peubla and Oaxca. It suggests maybe the CIA isn't the place to do this!

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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  • 5 months later...

Reviving this thread again, as I finally booked my ticket to Oaxaca for end Sept - early Oct. Tips from anyone who's been recently would be appreciated, for markets, good restaurants and street food. May post more specific questions as I continue my reading . . . .

thanks!

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  • 3 years later...

This was in a home so it's kind of cheating, but if you find yourself in the Cañada area, Chile Caldo is incredible. It's a stew with beef and pork, hunks of squash (called Tamala) and fresh runner beans eating like green beans. The whole mess is around chilhuacle chiles, parially dried and it's a masterpiece. it's also unusual to have the flesh of the squash used. Most recipes call for just the seeds. But squash hunks in a clear chile broth is worth exploring.

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This was unusual as it was roasted and peeled eggplant. I've never seen it in Mexico but it was all over Cuicatlan and the region. This was mashed a bit and they added fresh chilhuacles!

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On the street, quesdillas with that great Oaxacan quesillo inside.

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Going south, to Putla, possibly the best dish of my year, Masita de Chivo. It's nixtamal very couraly ground and added to this guajillo/pulla base with shredded goat. The corn starch is released and it's almost gelatinous. I still am dreaming about it.

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On the Costa Chica of Guerrero, the coffee was Nescafe so we had cocos for breakfast.

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Later, in Pto Escondido, a mixed seafood platter mojo de ajo.

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<burp> Excuse me!!!!!

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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