Friday, January 01, 2016

Mexico - Food - November & December 2015

What I learned is that Mexicans have a passion for food. Whether it's from the side of the road, a marketplace or high end restaurant, it's all good - at least what I experienced.

Local market in Cancun where I ate the best ceviche of the trip. Quite unexpected. 

Meat roasting on a spit and woman is making tortillas

The Terrace at the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico over looking the Zocalo. Very creative salad and the best glass of wine I had all trip. 

Chocolates at Que Bo! chocolateria mexicana. Located in Polanca neighbourhood of Mexico City. 

They go even better with Mezcal. 
Chocolate and Mezcal my new favourite flavour combo. 

At the Mercado de Coyoacan, Mexico City. I was looking for salad and this place delivered. 

It doesn't look that attractive but this salad was so good. All kinds of vegetables and then some protein. 

At the Mercado de San Juan in the historical centre of Mexico City. Another lunch spot where I got a sandwich to go. 

Noche Buena beer - only made at Christmas time. 

While biking outside Oaxaca city we stopped at a local market where the ladies were making lunch. This is the owner - Dolores. 

I had the best chicken mole here. Doesn't look like much but the flavour of all the spices and the chicken cooked in it was heaven. 

Oaxaca is known for its chocolate and in particular hot chocolate. I had one after my chicken mole and it was also heaven. 

Snails and a martini in Mexico City. 

Mexicans love pastries and bread. They have lots of shops that cater to every taste. This was a rather large one near my apartment in Mexico City. 

Puebla is known for it's special cuisine. I visited Moyuela for it's cemitas but first started with something I cannot remember what it was called. Sort of like parsley tempura. Very tasty. 

I then had their specialty: Cemita Arrachera. It's basically a steak sandwich but they dress it with all kinds of good stuff like guacamole, roasted peanuts with chilli guajillo, cheese, red onion creole and cilantro

Oaxaca and the shrimp with chilies at El Quinque. Only these chilies weren't hot. They had a real smokey flavour. The restaurant was near where I was staying, family run and excellent food. I ate there a couple of times. 

Well speaking of smokey. You cannot go to Oaxaca and not taste the mezcal. There are bars dedicated to only serving mezcal. And, Mexicans drink mezcal quite a bit it turns out. It seems they mostly take as an aperitif but I could be wrong. I prefer it after a meal, or with chocolate or alone. This one is Joven which means "young". Seems this is very popular. But I prefer Añejo which is aged. It's smoother and has less of an edge. Also a more smokey taste. 

At the alter of mezcal

At Cabuche cafe in Oaxaca. A lentil soup to start with fried plantain as a garnish

Then stuffed chayotes (from the gourd family) 

Another day another meal. This one at Los Danzantes, Oaxaca. Starting with some rib eye rinds, served with morita chile sauce and guacamole and accompanied with handmade tortillas  

Then onto something very local - Chapulines or grasshoppers. 
This dish is fussilli with sauteed Oaxacan grasshoppers in herbs and lemon. Very tasty. 

By the way, a great tool that most restaurants in Mexico have is a purse stand. They bring one to the table and women can hang their purses. About four fit. Keeps your purse close by and at eye level so you can see it at all times. We need these here in Toronto. 

Also at Los Danzantes some mezcal to finish. They make their own artisanal mezcal. It's very common to serve it with slices of orange and a salt mixed with chili. 

Well I was almost finished. This looks like ice cream but its a goat cheese flan with figs, honey and bitter chocolate sauce. 

At the local organic farmer's market in Oaxaca I bought some mezcal from this gentleman to take home. 

Street vendors everywhere in Oaxaca and it's all good food. 

Last meal in Oaxaca at Casa Oaxaca. This was a ceviche with guacamole and pomegranate. 

Then black mole with turkey, mashed banana, rice chepil, bean paste and fried plantains. I have to say I was disappointed in this dish. The mole was fantastic but it had been poured over the turkey rather than the turkey cooked in the mole which I think would have been much better. The turkey was a bit dry and lacked taste. By cooking it in the mole which is the traditonal way I think the turkey would have been infused with the mole flavours and the dish more cohesive. But what do I know?

Oaxaca City - December 2015

I left Puebla headed for Oaxaca by bus. There are no trains in Mexico but the bus system is excellent and very cost effective.

Dramatic scenery which only got more intense the closer I got to Oaxaca. Unfortunately I was not sitting on the right side of the bus for truly impressive views and my bus mates mostly wanted to pull down the shades and sleep. 
Headed into a desert like environment. 
View of courtyard, where I was staying in Oaxaca. 

A lovely place to rest after a busy day of sight seeing.
Casa Panchita 

Street view near Casa Panchita

Very old viaduct 

Another street view. 

Local square 
Another square 
The Oaxaca Zocalo
Street vendor 
Santo Domingo
Headed out on a bike ride with my guide Roberto. 
Hitting the dirt roads

Great views, great day. 

Hola ! 

A little bit of a creek to cross. 

Roberto surveying his domain. Although he told me he lives in the city. 
Another church along the bike trail 
Some local students who were excited to practice their English as I was to practice my Spanish. 
I saw these vehicles throughout Mexico and was told they were Moto-taxis. I know them to be Tuk-tuks from India. 
Santo Domingo at night

Local mezcal bar

In the evening everyone heads to the main square. And balloons are a favourite with Mexican children. 
Street vendor selling cooked corn, smothered in mayonnaise, rolled in shredded cheese and then chili pepper sprinklse and a squeeze of fresh lime. The line up for this was long!
At an organic market where tacos are being made and sold. 

Another view of the front of Santo Domingo and Oaxaca streets
In one of the museums, a diorama of a music shop

Human skull covered with turquoise (or jade?) 


Leaving Oaxaca by plane. Monte Alban (Pre-Columbian archaeological site) can be seen on the top of the ridge.