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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.

You can't grow cocoa either.

Do you seriously think roasting cocoa or coffee is anything like roasting maguey for mezcal?


A Palenque is where mezcal is made in the natural, artisanal and traditional way (generally open sides, dirt or rudimentary floors and located in smaller pueblos.) The Palenquero is the mezcal maker. This process has been fine tuned over the last 500 or so years.

The cut maguey piñas (heart of the maguey plant) are roasted in deeply dug pits. Stones at the bottom of the pit are heated by an intense wood fire clambake style. The piñas are loaded in, covered and roasted anywhere from 3-7 days depending on the conditions (temperature, humidity) and the Palenquero’s recipe.

After the piñas have cooled, they are moved into a round, stone lined and banked mill. A giant stone wheel, attached to a horse (or sometimes a tractor in larger palenques) then presses the piñas.

As the piñas are broken down into a mash, it is moved to fermenting barrels, where they remain for 24-72 hours (or more, again depending on conditions.)

Once the fermentation process is completed, everything (mash and liquid) is moved to the copper distillers. After the first distillation, the liquid is drained and the mash removed. Depending on the palenquero and the mezcal, it can be distilled 2-3 times.


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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 year later...

We left the DF after two days and are spending all our time down here in Oaxaca.' Excited to share my trip. Taking a crap load of photos. Just read through this Thread again.

Does anyone have any new suggestions since Sneak last went?


So far, Yu Ne Nisa has been my favorite place so far. Drinking lots of mezcal and eating with reckless abounded.

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Well the eating has stopped and we have returned back home.. Our trip ended up being three days longer than we had planned! There are worse places to be snowed in? Or were we snowed out! We started our trip in D.F, we then took the bus down to Oaxaca and from Oaxaca, we ended up renting a car and spending the rest of our time in Puerto Escondido.. We had city, towns, villages, mountains and beaches all in one vacation, it was a great mix... But, Mexico is a beautiful place. Happy to say all of my fears were unfounded.. We were not kidnapped, or robbed or treated anyway besides a friend or a visiting dignitary..

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After a harrowing ride 7 hour bus ride from Mexico City to Oaxaca we finally arrived.. People speak of the bus ride from Mexico City from Oaxaca as a luxurious ride.. That there is internet and movies and separate bathrooms but, really, its not that great.. Yes there is air conditioning, yes for 2 of the 7.5 hours there is fun stuff to look at but, there is no internet, the movies are in Spanish and you could be taking a half hour plane ride and spending perhaps 150 dollars more.. But, I am happy I did it the one time..


The drive is mostly along cliffs and your bus driver is weaving in and out of traffic.. there are tractor trailers barreling at you on the opposite side of the road.. It's not a lot of fun.. And if someone you know is scared to fly, speeding along the side of a cliff is not much of an upgrade.. At least the pilot has more training or licensing at the very least..


This is a two lane road by the way. He is in our lane we are on the shoulder, next to the shoulder is the rocky abyss.






We arrived at our hotel, Hotel San Miguel which was right in the middle of everything.. It was perhaps two blocks away from the Zocalo.. We checked in to our little hotel and hit the ground running.. Our first stop was on the street and we got ourselves some ear tostadas.




And some amazing Posole:




We walked around a bit and made it to the 20 Noviembre Market where they have the meat vendors grilling food or regular small little counter restaurants.. It was amazing to see.. These meat markets are set up each with their own grill.. You point at what meat you want them to cook for you.. Then you go buy some vegetables from another vendor who gives them to the grill person, then they provide you with tortillas, you can buy sides and salsa and beers from someone else.. After all of these transactions, you have yourself a meal


This is what the long corridor looks like.. Well, with a lot less smoke:





We bought guacamole, tomato salad and salsa:





We just got a small sampling.. Chorizo, pork and beef: Grilled scallions and green agua de chiles which have an awesome bite.. The scallions were so sweet.. Delicious.



Here is the plate.. Not a great shot but, the meat was cooked well and tasted really nice..




also had some chapulinas with chile:


Really nice few hours in Oaxaca.. So, at this point, we were pretty stuffed so, it was time to go drink some Mezcal Obviously.. Or not right away, we walked around for a couple of hours before hitting a bar/restaurant.. walking past a church that had the whole church singing Blowing in the Wind in Spanish. we ducked a couple of bats, walked around the amazing art galleries and craft shops..


We ended up at a place called Zanduga. It boasts of being the only restaurant in town that serves Pre-Hispanic Food from Southern Oaxaca but, there are other places serving similar dishes.. But, we were not very hungry and spent three hours or so drinking Mezcal and talking to the bartenders.. Bartenders there by the way aren't really chatty at first, perhaps apprehensive. Where bartenders in NYC or America are part of the conversation, I feel Mexico has more of a they are the help kind of approach.. But eventually, the guy at the bar warmed up and he was nice to talk to.. We drank several different styles. There most expensive was 12 dollars US and it was delicious. They made a big deal about us ordering it.


They have these appetizers they bring out for free.. It;s a dried fish that was pounded, onions in lime juice, a smokey chile sauce, an avocado sauce and a habanero salsa.. Obviously homemade chips



We started with like 2 cocktails each.. The cocktails I believe were something like $3.50 USD a piece.. They were fantastic and well crafted and balanced..



Local Craft Beer is a big thing in Oaxaca right now.. But, we were on vacation and craft beer is now work



Dried Shrimp.. These things are freaking salty.. They have been dried and then reconstituted.. Delicious and salty and great with beer.. Miss A hated these.. I loved them.. She also hated the dried fish.. I loved it..



Next up fried plantains stuffed with crema, served with fresh cheese.. We both didn't like these.. not the dish but, this version.. the sourness of the crema didn't work with how far gone the maduras were.. It was way too sour.. We had a better version days later.



Out comes the mezcal:




and more mezcal:




Here is more of their bottle list:





Then we hit up another really wonderful cocktail bar and had more mezcal drinks.. This one with grasshoppers"




and the couple next to us, from Mexico bought us shots and told us places to check out..




And we walked around for another hour or so before safely making it back to our hotel.. A very successful first night in Oaxaca.

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