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Goat barbeque


shelora
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My first visit to La Capilla, an open air restaurant in Zachila, 30 minutes outside of Oaxaca City, was 12 years ago. Peacocks roamed the grounds then, dazzling diners with their display of iridescent feathers. It was time for another visit.

La Capilla has expanded somewhat to become more of a theme park with a penned off area holding scads of peacocks and monkeys, a gift shop, an area for hammock resting after comida, and a lot more seating. It is still open air but with a roof to keep away the harsh sun or, God forbid, rain.

With a posse of 40 other tourists, La Capilla was the perfect place to be on Christmas day for their famous goat barbacoa.

The open kitchen lines one length of the property, beginning with a section devoted to making the giant tlayudas, so common in Oaxaca. These handmade over-sized tortillas are laid expertly on top of the wood-fired comales.

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The tlayudas become appetizers while we wait for the barbeque pit to be un-earthed.

Smeared with asiento, and layered with chorizo, tomato, lettuce, avocado, fire roasted chile de agua and mole rojo, we dive in like fiends.

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Our major fortification today lies buried beneath the cross of hot pink bouganvillas. (Note the bright orange handle of the shovel. Those colours are so Mexico).

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Smarty dressed waiters are in charge of the barbeque pit. Earth is swept away to reveal a metal lid on top of the 800 degree brick-lined oven. Here, two bottles of mezcal are removed. Warm from the oven, shots are poured all round, while we watch today's comida be pulled up from the pit.

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Straw mats are then removed, immediately filling the air with the aroma of avocado leaves, an essential flavouring of the meat. The head is removed first, then the stomach stuffed with other organ meats and red chile. Then a large pot of consomme, containing green beans, garbanzos, chile guajillo and pieces of liver. Large pieces of meat tied together with avocado leaves, like Christmas gifts, are revealed one by one. The charred leaves are removed and containers of meat are whisked away by the efficient staff to be plated up for our party.

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The soup was served first. Intense, earthy and richly chilied. Served alongside more shots of mezcal, this was a true resortative, up there with a blood transfusion.

Right about now is when we forgot about the camera and just enjoyed the experience. The tender flavourful meat, infused with red chile and the anise-like avocado, was plated up with a simple salad of lettuce, tomato and radish, some stewed black beans and blood sausage. More mezcal.

The goat's head was then presented to our host. who divvied up the eyes and brain to the brave among the group.

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More mezcal.

We drifted off into conversations, some retired to the adjoining hammock area, others off to bother the caged wildlife.

A sublime way to spend an afternoon, meeting new people, enjoying new flavours or rekindling pleasant memories of Mexico.

Edited by shelora (log)
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Shelora,

After lurking for awhile on this forum, I simply had to sign up after seeing your amazing series of posts on Oaxaca! This is the level of interest and dedication that I have for cooking, and I love to see this type of dedication for getting the real deal.

Thanks again for the lovely photos and narration!

Caarina

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shelora,

I second Caarina's comments. Great posts.  And Caarina, welcome to egullet,

Rachel

Many thanks to you both. It's very kind. I second the welcome to Carrina, looking forward to more of your posts.

Shelora

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Ah, Shelora, what memories you've rekindled. Great photos too, I should do as well with the camera. :laugh:

I've eaten at La Capilla twice. Once with a bunch of food (and quasi-food) people for a feast much like what you had. The second time was on a week day with 3 other folks and we ordered off the regular menu. Though the meals were completely different, both were quite good and throuoghly enjoyable. Totally relaxing place; good food, good drinks and good conversation. I could easily loose several hours there and not even care.

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The hollowed-out segment of bamboo stalk I was given at La Capilla from which to drink mezcal is still hanging on my wall at home. I take it w/me everytime I return. Thanks for wonderful, wonderful posts and remindingme of what a truly magic place that is.

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Shelora,

I was very interested in your post on Capilla and your post on Sierra Juarez. My wife and I are traveling to Oaxaca next week. Can you give me a little more information regarding the two restaurants?

In particular, would you recommend going to Capilla on a normal day? That is, not as part of a group, but simply to visit the restaurant? That brings up a more basic question, is the restaurant open to the public, or do they only cater to groups?

Rancho Benito Juarez: Clearly, Sunday is the day to go, but do you think it would be worth going on another day if we cant make it on Sunday? And further, if you had to choose (recognizing, it would be best to go to both) between Tlamanelli and Ranco Benito Juarez, is there one you would choose over the other? Should we make any prior arrangements or can we just show up. Last, do you think we could drive there ourselves? At the moment, we are planning to rent a car, but are not finally decided on that.

Any other updated thoughts you have on Oaxaca and the surrounds would be great. I have looked through the old posts, including the Oaxaca dedicated posts, and have some ideas, but the more the better. My wife and I are very excited. She is half Guate (and that half is half Mayan) so we are also looking forward to "comparing" the indigenous culture in Oaxaca, with that in Guatemala. We are also bringing our seven month old son, so that we can begin exposing him to his Mayan roots (or more realistically, begin exposing ourselves, so that we can expose him later).

Look forward to your thoughts.

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I was very interested in your post on Capilla and your post on Sierra Juarez.  My wife and I are traveling to Oaxaca next week.  Can you give me a little more information regarding the two restaurants?

In particular, would you recommend going to Capilla on a normal day? That is, not as part of a group, but simply to visit the restaurant?  That brings up a more basic question, is the restaurant open to the public, or do they only cater to groups?

It's open everyday to the public.

Rancho Benito Juarez:  Clearly, Sunday is the day to go, but do you think it would be worth going on another day if we cant make it on Sunday?  And further, if you had to choose (recognizing, it would be best to go to both) between Tlamanelli and Ranco Benito Juarez, is there one you would choose over the other?  Should we make any prior arrangements or can we just show up.  Last, do you think we could drive there ourselves?  At the moment, we are planning to rent a car, but are not finally decided on that.

You can go any day but Casa Piedra is closed on Saturday. There is also a trout farm up there should you find yourself up there on a Saturday that serves comida. Between Tlamanalli or Rancho Benito? Two different things really. If you have never been to either, I would consider going to both.

Driving up to Benito Juarez? Mmmn, are you familiar with manoeuvering hairpin turns? If so, go for it.

Any other updated thoughts you  have on Oaxaca and the surrounds would be great.  I have looked through the old posts, including the Oaxaca dedicated posts, and have some ideas, but the more the better.  My wife and I are very excited.  She is half Guate (and that half is half Mayan) so we are also looking forward to "comparing" the indigenous culture in Oaxaca, with that in Guatemala.  We are also bringing our seven month old son, so that we can begin exposing him to his Mayan roots (or more realistically, begin exposing ourselves, so that we can expose him later).

There is some very helpful information on this forum, especially about Oaxaca. I'm sure you'll have a great time exploring and having your own unique experience. Don't forget to post about it when you get back.

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