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NYTimes has a guide to the city...

 

3) OAXACAN RAVIOLI

 

The dining scene is known more for hearty ingredients — fat stuffed chilies, stringy white Oaxacan cheese, thick and spicy moles — than for style, but the design-conscious Restaurante los Danzantes (Macedonio Alcalá 403-404; 951-501-1184; www.losdanzantes.com) serves both with a flourish. Contemporary Oaxacan-Mexican cuisine is served in the al fresco courtyard warmed by soaring terra-cotta walls and sparkling pools. Standouts include the chile relleno filled with duck and drenched in mole, huitlacoche ravioli tossed with a squash blossom cream sauce and a refreshing apple-avocado salad. Dinner for two is about 500 pesos, or $46 at 11.07 pesos to the dollar.

 

Travel section

 

5) CULINARY IMMERSION

 

Get more intimate with Oaxacan food. For those comfortable in an apron, sign up for one of the many four-hour cooking classes in English given around town. You will find a great one at the small B&B Casa de los Sabores (Libres 205; 951-516-5704; www.laolla.com.mx/Oaxaca/sabores1.htm), led by the affable and skilled Pilar Cabrera for 600 pesos. She takes her charges shopping for groceries at a tucked-away market before having everyone pitch in to cook a delectable four-course luncheon. Or linger all morning in the Mercado del Abastos, a frenzied feast for the senses where locals hustle and bustle, and tourists are few. The sights and smells of cilantro bundles, hacked sugar cane, homemade cheeses, mountains of chilies and freshly ground chocolate are intoxicating

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NYTimes has a guide to the city...     Travel section  

And I want to thank you for getting back with us and letting us know how it went.   All too often, folks give advice and recommendations and suggestions...   And then never hear nuttin'.   Fr

I'm not surprised. I think the whole Rancho Gordo thing is a scam. Mexico has pinto beans, black beans, and green beans. All these other things Rancho is selling are synthetic. Just wait.

Apparently El Naranjo has recently reopened. New owner, most likely a new chef as well.

 

there must be a huge pr campaign going on right now, Travel and Leisure and the NY Times have both run multiple multi-page discussions about Oaxaca recently..

 

Yes, new chef as owner of El Naranjo- American, I believe. I've heard good reports.

I thought the article was just fine. Considering it was only 36 hours, the writer managed to hit the right notes: ruins, cooking class, markets, artesania and took in a few diverse restaurants. Business owners I've spoken to of late have mentioned the increase in bookings well into 2009. This is good. People are returning to Oaxaca.

 

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there must be a huge pr campaign going on right now, Travel and Leisure and the NY Times have both run multiple multi-page discussions about Oaxaca recently..

 

I've noticed this, as well. The money seems well spent, as they're getting a lot of mentions.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Apparently El Naranjo has recently reopened. New owner, most likely a new chef as well.

 

there must be a huge pr campaign going on right now, Travel and Leisure and the NY Times have both run multiple multi-page discussions about Oaxaca recently..

 

Yes, new chef as owner of El Naranjo- American, I believe. I've heard good reports.

I thought the article was just fine. Considering it was only 36 hours, the writer managed to hit the right notes: ruins, cooking class, markets, artesania and took in a few diverse restaurants. Business owners I've spoken to of late have mentioned the increase in bookings well into 2009. This is good. People are returning to Oaxaca.

 

Except that the article links to El Naranjo's original website, even though it's been closed for one year. The website isn't updated to indicate that the previous chef/owner (apparently of five+ years) has left and that there is a new chef/owner. I'm unsure whether he kept the same menu and the offering of the seven mole's that El Naranjo had originally offered.

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I'm cashing in my 300K+ reward points and am flying with my spouse to Oaxaca in mid-October for 7 days. We'll be cash poor but I'd like to hit a good representation of non-tourist restaurants (we speak Spanish functionally) as well as a cooking class that would be appropriate for me - meaning I cook professionally, so not a entry level class. I'll also be looking at any interesting chocolate or pastry shops. Any suggestions?

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Hello, gfron -

 

there have been a few threads about visiting Oaxaca, and even several about cooking classes in the various styles of Mexico.

 

Rancho Gordo posted an extensive diary of his 2008 trip here, with some gorgeous photography. Shelora's first post here, opened up a thread on cooking schools in Oaxaca and elsewhere.

 

One of the charms of MF is the lengths to which thread drift will open new adventures, un-hinted and unhindered by the nominal topic of the thread.

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You can't beat just walking around. Meals in the market and on the street are cheap and I think the best bet. There are lots of tourists and restaurants that cater to them. You HAVE to go to Itanoni, near the bus station, for the corn kitchen. One local, heirloom corn is used and the tortillas are hand made and from a clay comal.

I'm envious!

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There are some chowhound posts from a few years back on Tlayuderias in oaxaca -- they are very good posts & I will try to dig them up. I don't remember who wrote them but it was someone from Chicago I think. The tlayderias are only open at night and are not to be missed.

 

I will try to dig up my notes as well, though I bet things have changed a bit in the past few years in Oaxaca city. The surrounding towns are very interesting as well, though I didn't try to eat in them.

 

You could also ask Susanna Trilling in your email about tacquerias and tlayuderias in Oaxaca. I took a cooking class from her and she gave me some very good advice.

 

 

ETA: The chowhound notes were by RST, and they were from 2003. Here's a link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/262553. There may be others from him as well. He's still active on CH.

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Thanks guys. What about places to find either authentic or antique cooking equipment and supplies?

What would you like to find? 'Authentic' in what respect? Clay comales and cazuelas? Rancho Gordo, the consummate collector of clay (your new slogan, Ranchito!), will no doubt have some pointers.

 

You'll want to go to the Mayordomo fábrica de chocolate to see the process and buy chocolate. It's arguably the best commercially-made chocolate in Mexico. In addition, you'll probably want to see how chocolate is hand-made to order in traditional shops--look for chocolate de metate. It's been a very long time since I was in Oaxaca, so I unfortunately can't point you in a direction for this. Maybe someone else can.

 

If you're ever in the vicinity of Morelia, let me know, and click the link below for other kinds of Mexican culinary and cultural information.

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traditionally the smaller outlying towns each specialized in the production of one thing. so some towns will have much better selections of comales/cazuelas than others.

if you are interested in textiles, teotitlan del valle. i liked this town a lot.

those little oaxacan animals, go to arazola.

if i remember right, the market at ocotlan was pretty great with respect to comales/cazueles etc; ocotlan is a terrific market. and a lot of the town has been restored at the whim of a famous artist who is from there. not famous enough for me to remember his name though.

etla also had a lot of clay pots too if i remember right;.

 

you should look up market the schedules -- most markets happen only once or twice a week. going to the town markets was my favorite thing to do in oaxaca.

 

of course you can find everything at the main market (esp abastos) if you insist -- that place is dizzzzzying.

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I was in Oaxaca in Feb 2009 when there were blessedly few tourists. Like Rancho, I'd suggest walking around, especially if you leave the "walking street" and explore other parts of the city.

 

I found the street food, & market fondas safe, & much better than the restaurants in the guide books. Here are a few, mostly from the center of the city, in and around the tourist spots: tortas from the truck La Hormiga in Conzatti Park; pozole: La Red (a basic cafe, Bustamonte y Colon); memelas: at night, across from Rest. Zandunga, on the walking street; tacos de amarillo: permanent stand near Carmen del Arriba, Calle Carranza; tlayudas, at night, maybe after 9: Libres 212 (seats inside or on curb); tamales: in the Merced market at Tamales Leti; at the Sanchez & Pascua market, any or all; esquites: Sñra Angelita at El Llano Park. I especially liked the fondas at the Merced Market which is not to dismiss the other markets. If you are intrigued by the ancient drink Tejate, but uncertain of its safety, try the organic market, Pochote, on Fri and Sat...there's only one stand, forget the name, with safe & excellent tejate and atoles. I found chocolate de metate by asking and asking....both in the Ocotlan Market and in the Juarez Market (the label says stall #800). There's good ice cream all over, most fun, maybe, at La Soledad, where there are several places, in the plaza. If you get to Hierve El Agua, make sure to stop along the way at at the very local, very rustic fabricantes de mezcal...

 

Itanoni, a cafe/tortilleria, is very close to my heart, so try that. Armado Ramirez Leyva might be around, ask for him: Belisario Domínguez 513, Col. Reforma. He's located and is growing regional native corns and making simple regional antojitos with the right corn variety using a re-worked verison of the beehive oven with a flat comal-like top, take a look: http://www.itanoni.com.mx/

 

There is "cookware" all over. The Tlacolula Market has comals and cazuelas from San Marcos which have been in constant use for centuries, but they are not alone. The best metates that I saw were also at Tlacolula but of immense weight. Not sure what else your looking for. I used my luggage allowance for corn, beans, salt, comals and one bean pot, plus a very heavy and large tortilla press.

 

Just try to connect with Oaxacans, away from the tourist mobs, and you will be amazed and happy.

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