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How to approach native mercado vendors in Oaxaca City?

From my experience living in Oaxaca, you need a long personal relationship before you will get inside information. You may get some information, have some questions answered because they are being polite and friendly to tourists.

This may come across as rude because of this format but I don't want to sugar-coat reality .There have been numerous others like you wanting secret recipes/obscure ingredients leads. Some have gotten the secrets. If there is no reason to benefit from giving away the bank, so to speak, the natives will not. And I don't blame them.

Mar 30, 2013
mexicophile in Mexico

How to approach native mercado vendors in Oaxaca City?

25?! I paid 50 pesos for a tlayuda at Libres. At another street place I paid 40. Still cheap but any less and there must not be anything inside.

I must confess I am not a fan of tlayudas. They are too dry and hard to chew for me. I prefer tacos and memelas. Fantastic tacos de lechon are 1/2 block up from Tlayudas Libres on the corner in the white trailer/caseta.

Mar 30, 2013
mexicophile in Mexico

Visiting small-batch mezcal distillers in/around Oaxaca

I loved the mezcal tour given by Alvin Starkman of Oaxaca which I took last February with my sister. He took us up into the hills of Matatlan where he has personal relationships with people making mezcal at their houses. We tasted several types from different species. The highlight was driving out before sunset to a field to harvest aguamiel that the family ferments into pulque. We tasted the aguamiel just scraped from a maguey. It doesn't get any fresher than that. The views from up in the hills were incredible. This is not a tour to commercial plants. It might be possible to personalize the tour.

Alvin is a lawyer from Toronto now residing in Oaxaca. His nature is to retain and recall incredible amounts of facts and information. I learned so much. The tour was unique and memorable.

You can contact Alvin through his bed and breakfast, Casa Machaya.

Dec 02, 2012
mexicophile in Mexico

Oaxaca on Christmas Day - Restaurant Recommendations

I have found Christmas Day in Oaxaca to be a great day to watch families in the Zocalo or in Llano. Restaurants are open because there are tourists who need to eat.

If you want to get out to the country, try La Capilla in Zaachila. They are open on Christmas Day. The food is great. Those giant tortillas are special. The setting is beautiful.

Nov 05, 2012
mexicophile in Mexico

Thanksgiving in Oaxaca

There have been restaurants that make Thanksgiving dinner meant for Americans living or vacationing in Oaxaca. The dinners are typically by reservation, with seating at a specific time. I remember that the restaurant La Catrina on Alcalá had Thanksgiving dinner. Otherwise check with the Oaxaca Lending Library to see if they have a special event dinner for Thanksgiving this year.

Oct 25, 2012
mexicophile in Mexico

Need an Update on Oaxaca, Oaxaca Restaurants

Yesterday I went to El Shaddai, located on Hildago at the corner of Galeana, a few blocks west of the Zocalo and one block south from Soledad Church. This is real food of the people, definitely off the tourist path. I enjoyed the comida corrida for 45 pesos, and the people.

The restaurant seems small until you get inside and see it is quite large, with several rooms. It was filled with working class families. I enjoyed seeing the children chowing down on the food, without one "I don't like that".

To start was sopa con pasta, light tomato broth with penne-like pasta. Next was arroz with a choice of vegetables or platano. I chose plantano, thinking it would be plantains but no, it was a whole sliced banana. I noticed almost everyone around me had the same.

Entree choices were estofado con pollo, verde de pollo, guisado pollo, pechuga empanadado, or caldo de menudo. I had the esofado which had a oregano rich sauce with green olives and raisins.

The tortillas were warm although not made to order. The agua was guayaba, which must be the nectar of the gods. Dessert was the ubiquitous gelatina.

The restaurant interior had seen better days but I can not say it was dirty, just worn. I doubt it will be updated anytime soon.

The owner told me that El Shaddai is Egyptian for Deus.

Dec 18, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Looking for bakery for black forest cake

Bittersweet on Belmont. I can guarantee a delicious cake from that all the ingredients high quality and authentic ingredients.

Nov 19, 2011
mexicophile in Chicago Area

Tacos al Pastor

Wow! That was fun to watch. But now I am hungry for tacos al pastor.

They are like choreographed dancers from the tortillas being placed on the griddle, to the shaving of the meat, to the pick-off of the pineapple and more. And it is repeated in puesto after puesto across Mexico.

They have this down to an art.

Nov 15, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Need an Update on Oaxaca, Oaxaca Restaurants

El Morocco Cafe, Calle Reforma 905, just north of Conzatti. Great food, classically Moroccan. A good choice when you want something different. You can choose between eating at hammered copper tabletops, or at comfy couches with low tables. Many people come here for coffee or a drink, and to socialize.

Nid Noi Nah, Avenida Independencia 802. Another great choice when you can't eat another Mexican thing. This one isn't easy to spot from the street.

Nov 14, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Oaxaca questions

You are welcome. I guess this is the "charm" of Oaxaca, using the same name more than once.

Fuego y Sazon is about 15-20 minutes walk east of La Pitiona. And Colonia Jalatlaco is very charming with a great bed and breakfast, Casa Arnel.

Oct 20, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Oaxaca questions

I would like to point out that La Pitiona and Fuego y Sazon are not close to each other. La Pitiona is located on 5 de Mayo in el Centro across from Hotel Camino Real, just a block from Santo Domingo Church. Fuego y Sazon is located on a different 5 de Mayo in a different neighborhood, Colonia Jalatlaco. There are two different 5 de Mayo streets, in two different colonias.

Oct 20, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Breakfast in La Condesa

I like Matisse located on Avenida Amersterdam 260, near the corner with Teotihuacan. Matisse is a restaurant with its own bakery. The menu covers most everything a person would want for breakfast.

Oct 11, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Need an Update on Oaxaca, Oaxaca Restaurants

I have not gone to El Shaddai but it has the look and location of a restaurant I would love to try. I put it on my list.

La Escondida is buffet, and I don't like buffets, but it is highly recommended by Oaxaquenos. They also like Hacienda San Augustin for buffet. Catedral on Garcia Vigil has a buffet on Sunday afternoons which is very popular with middle-class families.

Oct 03, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Need an Update on Oaxaca, Oaxaca Restaurants

First Oaxaca is still pretty safe--enjoy yourselves. My comment referred to the state of Sinoaloa and the Sinoaloa cartel which is one of the two most powerful cartels in Mexico. I apologize for causing any worry.

La Gran Torta is still on Porfirio Diaz between Independencia and Morelos. Two other good places for pozolo are Don Juanito, which has several locations, with one at the corner of Porfirio Diaz and M Bravo, and Tacos Alvaro on Porfirio Diaz at the corner of Quetzalcoatl.

Quince Letras is still there with their pretty patio.

Guerita is still making empanandas.

Not much changes in Oaxaca I guess.

Oct 02, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Need an Update on Oaxaca, Oaxaca Restaurants

All of the places you mention are on the tourist path so for eating adventures I encourage you to try restaurants that are frequented more by regular Oaxacans and less by tourists. I have an apartment in Oaxaca and go back and forth between my home in Chicago and Oaxaca. I do not cook at all in Oaxaca but eat out because the food of everyday people is incredible in Oaxaca.

To start, I suggest Don Camaron, in Colonia Reforma, on Jazmines near Escuela Militar. It has seafood in the style of Sinoaloa. The menu has all the seafood that Marco Polo has but prepared in a much more interesting manner. And you don't have to go into drug cartel territory to get it.

For fresh, made-to-order tortillas, made by unas senoritas working at huge comals in the doorways, I recommend two small restaurants. Cafe San Miguel at Gerrero 319, just a few blocks southeast of the Zocalo has comida corrida for 40 pesos. Terra del Sol on Tacayuba just south of Murguia is filled at comida time with working people and families. The food is fresh and delicious, and the tortillas are worth going off the tourist path.

Have a great trip.

The restaurants you mention are still there (except Naranjo was closed in 2006).


Oct 02, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Need Help Finding the Best German Chocolate Cake in Chicago

I highly recommend the German Chocolate cake from Bittersweet Pastry shop on Belmont. It is as close to homemade as can be. I used to work there and that cake was one of my favorites, and possibly the best in Chicago. I am sorry I didn't see this post sooner to give you more notice.

Sep 18, 2011
mexicophile in Chicago Area

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) officially recognizes a slew of new food-related words and phrases

Is muffin-top in there? That is food-related, right?

Apr 04, 2011
mexicophile in Food Media & News

Chef Ricardo Munoz Zurita now in Condesa - Azul in Condesa

Thanks Ruth! I am going to be in DF the weekend of February 20. I hope to get a reso. This will be so great to have his food close by.

(Joan from Chicago)

Jan 31, 2011
mexicophile in Mexico

Kielbasa & other German & Eastern European Sausages, Chicago Area

I think it's your point of view: to some it is difficult if you don't speak Polish, to others it is an adventure, to make your purchases seem more authentic. I am in the latter category.

I have shopped at all the Andy's and Wally's. There was an Andy's at 3055 Milwaukee and another at 1737 Division. So if you are worried about the neighborhood of the one farthest north on Milwaukee, try one of these. I have shopped at all of them and do not know what the Yelpers are talking about.

Dec 15, 2010
mexicophile in Chicago Area

Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #2 - 12/08/10 (Spoilers)

I, for one, was extrememly unhappy to see Jen go. I don't know if you could hear a loud scream about 10:10 or not. I love her spunk, ability to hang with the big boys, and tendency to focus on cooking and not the personalities. I wondered if lack of sleep affected Jen's reaction since it was very emotional.

Who I thought should go instead--Tre with the bad sauce that he knew was bad, or the two with the frittatas. I think Tre got lucky in that episode because Jen called so much attention to herself.

I don't thinkJen was going to take it all but she should have stayed a lot longer. That was bad judging.

Dec 09, 2010
mexicophile in Food Media & News

Mexico City Recommendations

I don't know your group's ages but keyed in on high-end and kid-friendly in your post. to recommend Contramar on Durango Avenue in Colonia Roma for great seafood prepared in various styles. It might be considered high-end because of the cost but it is very kid-friendly. On Sunday afternoons you will see tables with families of all ages eating and drinking, with so many dishes served family style.

If you decide to make a reservation, it has to be done by three days before. Otherwise you can walk up and wait for a table.

Nov 28, 2010
mexicophile in Mexico

coffee cake

I never visited the old main street bakery so I can't relate to that specific product but Tag's Bakery in Evanston came to mind immediately. They have all those real bakery items. I remember a very gooey nutty coffee cake that I couldn't resist.

Nov 15, 2010
mexicophile in Chicago Area

Pujol, Contramar, Califa, and ...? or ....?

I went to Pujol on September 3 and its luster was brighter than ever. The wine, the food, the service, all were spot-on.

I am a big fan of Pujol and have eaten there several times. For me it is the top restaurant in Mexico.

I am a big fan of Contramar also and it would be perfect for a late lunch. If you make a reservation here, it must be done at least three days before the day you want, although you can walk in without a reso (but you might have to wait). I ate there also in September and it was perfect.

I have also eaten at Jaso and loved it. But if I had to choose between Jaso and Pujol, it would not be a contest--Pujol wins every time for me.

88 Newton, Mexico City 11570, MX

Oct 18, 2010
mexicophile in Mexico

Looking for Speck in Chicago

Just saw speck at Whole Foods this morning.

Aug 21, 2010
mexicophile in Chicago Area

Top Chef - D.C. - Ep. #6 - 07/21/10 (Spoilers)

It was better when it was Wong :)

Jul 23, 2010
mexicophile in Food Media & News

6 hour layover in DF and need dinner rec

Yes! It is very old-world but modern at the same time.

Jul 16, 2010
mexicophile in Mexico

6 hour layover in DF and need dinner rec

Why don't you try Monte Cristo Meson in Colonia Lindaviste which is not too far from the airport? It is authentic, traditional, in a neighborhood, and off the tourist-y path. Rick Bayless took his staff there on their most recent annual staff trip to Mexico. he spoke highly of the food.

Monte Cristo Meson, Insurgentes Norte 1980.

Jul 08, 2010
mexicophile in Mexico