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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.

Tlacolula market from what I read is the longest consecutively running market in the Americas.. People from all over the rural villages and mountains come down on Sundays to sell their wares and to purchase supplies for the upcoming week.. Everything from batteries and toothpaste to homemade rugs, clothings, baskets, jewelry food, vegetables and fruit can be found here.. It is almost like traveling back in time in a sense. You see traditional clothing, lifestyles and foods.. It's amazing to see and be apart of..


The ride is about 40 minutes or so outside of Oaxaca City.. We grabbed a cabbie off the street and we settled on a 15 dollar cab ride and for him to pick us up when we call him.. We ended up picking up a girl from England by way of Jordan on the ride back..


We arrived early in the morning and hit the ground running. Our first stop was a lady selling Barbacoa.. This was one of the best if not the best we have ever had.


Sorry about the filter: She also cut us off a nice chunk by the ribs.




When you see these big steaming pots, you should get excited.





wrapped up:




Love this woman.. I asked her if she wanted a job tending bar in Brooklyn.. She didn't understand.. Serving Pulque.. Never had it before but, i felt it was my duty and our duty to patronize many of the women.. It was good enough, not as strong as I was thinking. But good enough



Hambugers are huge in Oaxaca.. Lots of the late night stands in the city sell hambugers.. You are coming back from bar and you see a food stand off in the distance.. you walk towards it only to see them putting a grey lifeless patty on the grill and covering it with a bunch of shit.. I had no desire to try one but, i liked the name of this cart:



Corn cakes great with hot chocolate:




We came upon this lady making tlayudas, mexican pizzas to be simplistic.





I had mine with chorizo and potatoes: 60 cents




Miss A had a tamale with mole.. this was fan-freaking-tastc:


If you keep on digging there is a beautiful mole down in there:





Chiles of all kind: obviously almonds and things too




Lots of hot chocolate:



And rotisserie and oven and charcoal grilled chickens;



There is an indoor area where you see all of these people behind meat stands.. The meat is just hanging in the open air.. They all have these little sticks with tissue or paper attached that they swing back in forth as to keep the flies from settling:




Lamb or goat"




Right next to the meat vendors are grills set up.. you purchase your meat and again you can buy vegetables and tortillas and beers and have yourself a nice indoor bbq right in front of the butcher.. you actually cook yourself! Breaking DOH, Fire Department rules and Department of BUilding Rules.. And look, no one died! It's like they are adults in Mexico or something.



You walk through another area and there are these little benches in front of women with more Barbacoa.. In Mexico, they have the bum rush sales approach.. They feel as long as they keep on talking, or if they get in your face, or if they all simultaneously yell at you, you are going to somehow listen to them.. It's almost like the guys who whistle at women? Does that ever work? Anyway, it's a little confusing and we had to do a couple of passes before we could see passed the screaming and go to what looked good


This woman was standing on a box over her pot and was giving out tastes to people who were walking by.. Here is some hot soup goat right in your bare hand..



But we sat next to this family.. The man was wearing a white shirt and he was covered, i mean, droplets and then just sprays of rich oily red liquid all over his shirt.. He didn't mind.. He and his family looked well kept, i just think he got so into it, that he didn't notice until he stood up at the whole table laughed at him.. This was a good sign for us..





When the soup was getting to the end, she would reach over with a ladle and refill your bowl:




and a wrap:



We took a break after this and sat in a square by the church.. We played a little soccer with this little boy who was so cute.. He got a kick out of you kicking the ball passed him and he would just laugh hysterically.. I can not say enough how amazing the people have been.



Then there is the live animal section.. chickens and turkeys and Miss A noticed livestock being brought in, and someone was selling a cute little puppy..



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Oranges are amazing




Grabbed a cheese stuff Relleno while we stopped at this mezcal booth.. We drank a few shots and bought a few bottles.. It was strange that a 12 and 14 year old were serving us mezcal but, they were super sweet.. We gave them 5 bucks each US and they were so freaking happy.. We noticed them an hour later filled up with all sorts of candy and ice cream.





There are chocolate shops and mole shops that grind fresh mole or grind choclate for you:




We had some chicken:







Bug ladies: these are actually wonderful and so good with beer and mezcal




All in all the market was so amazing.. We purchased a beautiful and huge rug, Alicia got this beautiful wool scarf and jewelry and we bought several bottles of mezcal and it was exactly what we were hoping for.. If you are in Oaxaca on a Sunday, this is the place to go... One of my favorite parts of the trip.

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We returned back to the hotel after the market and hung out for a bit before walking around the Zocalo and seeing all of the families spending their Sunday together... Later that night we went for dinner at Casa Oaxaca..



I truly disliked the place and especially the experience.. The hostess was perhaps the only snotty person we met during out entire trip.. She was a miserable thing who was very proud of her position and her place. She never smiled, was very dismissive and just a general punk.. We opted to sit in the bar area.. We told the bartender that we were just hanging out, in no hurry and that we were going to do some drinking and order some food.. Miss A ordered three things and we said, this may be enough.. Space it out.. He promised to space it out.. Immediately before our drinks arrived, out came the duck tacos and the soup.. We hadn't even gotten our fish or whatever tostadas.


The duck tacos came cold and were soggy and sucked.. The fish soup was a stock made from those salted dried shrimp.. There was literally one clam and a few bits of shrimp and a piece of fish.. But, the stock was salty and one dimensional and just not done well. They whole thing is based around heating the soup up with a hot rock.. They call it Stone Soup and it's a cute idea.. But, i would much prefer actual pieces of fish over a hot rock.


But, here is the most upsetting, or perhaps most scandalous part.. Their Mezcal is 40 proof.. In fact, the three offerings they showed us, were 40 proof.. Now anyone knows that Mezcal has to be at least 45 percent not to be shit.. And their Mezcal is shit.. It's astringent and poorly made. .We asked several people about the brand and they all confirmed it's garbage.


Here you have supposedly the nicest restaurant in town, selling garbage. It's like drinking Yellow Tail in a restaurant in Burgundy or Bordeaux.


The tostadas never arrived.. We had a dessert that was the best part of the whole thing.. Well, the amuse bouche they sent out was really good.. But, that was the last enjoyable thing.. Staff really sucked, unfriendly.. Whole place is a buzz kill..

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I don't want to argue about this -- as we all know, there's no disputing taste -- but to present the other side: this is sort of emblematic of the disrespect Mexican food gets. How do you judge what is (to me) one of the great restaurants in the world by sitting at the bar and ordering snacks as you go along?

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well, i wanted to order other things but, the food did not warrant more ordering.. The best restaurant in the world served us cold soggy duck and a soup made from reconstituted shrimp with a rock in the middle and then forget the third thing and serves perhaps the worst Mezcal I have had. I would have ordered more food if the initial food was good or the wait staff didn't suck.. Thats what I was saying. I am just speaking about my experience... Also, the chef as left since the last time you were there, i believe. Also, they weren't snacks, we ordered three appetizers and would have ordered entrees..

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I don't think he's left. He's started a new restaurant in Mexico City, while (I think) keeping this one. And it may well be that dividing his attention has driven down the quality of his food. I'll be curious to see how the new place is next month. I'm sort of expecting to be disappointed (can you be disappointed if you expect it?).

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Really, worms. They specifically told me fish. Im sure they get more people to enjoy it that way


Could have been fish in that particular bowl.


But in the city of Oaxaca, if you get a bowl of pounded protein as an appetizer, you can generally assume it's worms.

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A few blocks up from my hotel, we were told we had to hit this place up.. They are very popular among the locals.. While we arrived shortly after 10 am, by the time we left the place was super busy.. Oaxaca definitely knows that women rule the roost here and these women killed it.. They had a very simple set up with a huge mound of fresh masa and they were cranking things out.. Nothing written down, orders being called out, they handled it extremely well. Fast by NY standards and lightening fast by Mexico Standards.


Their little stand:


Fresh masa in the corner being cranked out onto the comal.





those hands:






We started with three tacos.. Chorizo, chicken I think and our personal favorite, chille relleno.. All were great but the chile relleno was my second favorite taco next to the Barbacoa all trip



notice the use of space.. in that little pan by the fire, there is chorizo cooking away on the coals.




More hands:






I hate to say it but, i find the Squash Flour and Oaxaca Cheese Quesadilla Boring. The squash doesn't taste like anything and the cheese isn't very salty and the flour tortilla is dry too.. You need to load it up and then, why not just get something else..





So we devised our own dish and though they were not the happiest about it, they did it for us.. Well, it's not like they were angry she was just like, what the hell is this? Are you sure this is what they want? And, to tell you the truth is was freaking great.. So we got a quesadilla amarillo with chicken and cheese.. It reminded me of my Calzone experience in Italy.. The guy shocked that I wanted a calzone with anything but ham and cheese.. Well, if you get it with something besides ham and cheese then, it's not a calzone.. He was more upset, they were the live and let live kind of people.




Place was delicious.. We drank two some horchatta as well and started our walk Mercado de Abastos (sp?)

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Those women hang outside some church.. I forgot the name but, if anyone wants to know, I can find out.. We were making our way to the Market de Abastos which is the largest freaking market ever.. The place is filled to the walls almost entirely with junk.. Knock off clothing, shit from China or Mexico factories making Chinese Crap, plastic stuff, just cheap knock off garbage.. Yes there are beautiful fruit stands and some meat for locals but, outside of that, it's just crap.. It took us on a 3 mile walk through the hills and above the city so that was awesome but, it was more the journey to get there and not destination.


We walked up:




Got to see the city from above:




There are tons of VWs everywhere.. Mexico has the second largest Volkswagon Factory and there are Bugs and Buses everywhere:




Some cool graffiti :






We arrive at the Market and it's overwhelming.. It's just huge.. And there are dark hallways and there are bad smells and good smells but, mainly junk..






I just love the concept of the grill next to the butcher.. It's so simple and so intelligent..











Cream de Coco in a plastic bag.. Plastic bags are more popular than plastic cups around here:




We then walked all the way back to a really cool Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art








Tim Burton apparently had a great influence on these people:




Bottom portion of a skull with carvings:







This place was nice but, really we were just killing an hour until the Mezcal Shop opened up next door..


In SITU..Another place with a voluminous collection of mezcal.. Broken down by plant, process, supplier.. You sit there, drink mezcal and just hang out.. He loved good music, was playing blues and Nina and we gave him suggestions for new music and he gave us suggestions as well.. One of the better Mezcal bars in the area.. I highly recommend this place as well..

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