Oaxaca, my love for you

By Mariana Castillo Hernandez

“Oaxaca”. Its six letters form a word beautiful, sometimes misunderstood but loved by those who turn to her as in a spell. It is undulating like a snake, and round as a pot of mud.

It is never the same, it is a chameleon, it is a flash or a puff of smoke. May be beautiful woman, night forgettable, quiet street, corn deep, mezcal as a hug, dance frenzied, comal perfect or sun vibrant. You can be everything and nothing at the same time. For me it is pampering, surprises and love, is that flavor that is never the same. Oaxaca: to you time and time again.”

I recently wrote this introduction in one of the many of my texts about this state is that every return I find something new, one more reason to fall in love with not only the capital, but of its peoples.

I walk to get lost in its streets and markets, I have taken a car to stop to observe the clouds and up to the I have riding horses to get to palenque distant roads and forgotten full of cronopios in workshops, villages, and roads.

Yes, in Oaxaca there are many cronopios travelers as those who spoke about Julio Cortázar:

“When the cronopios go on a trip, hotels are full, the trains have already been gone, it’s raining, it screams, and the taxis don’t want to take them or charge them very high prices. The cronopios are not discouraged because they firmly believe that these things happen to everyone, and at bedtime they say to each other: ‘the beautiful city, the beautiful city. And they dream all night that in the city there are big parties and they are invited. The other day rise thrilled, and so is like traveling the cronopios”.

I have spent years with my idyll oaxacan by the way in which I have received and adopted. I find that we are more than one that we can no longer leave our beloved Oaxaca, and here I give you some reasons.

  1. Their flavors and the democracy of good eating in different corners

There is that leave out the cliché fool of the “seven moles” (they are jan thousand as there is one for each region, household and person). Your herbs, flowers, corns, techniques and seasoning are the essentials. The best thing is that since the restaurant is contemporary to the corners you will find exquisite meal and are there for all budgets and that is very much needed, so much more now. So refined are the beans with pennyroyal Yolanda Hernandez how he is the toast of sweetbreads or the pasta with tichindas, pitiona and chile costeño at Source.

My favorite restaurants in the centre of the capital are Zandunga (García Vigil 512-E), Aurora Toledo, and their sons, Marcos and Germán, who are by the age of 15 years of indulging with the best service and exquisite food of the Isthmus; Origin (Hidalgo 820), with the master Rodolfo Castellanos who, with humility and love brings five years of betting for a kitchen with base oaxacan delicious and modern; and The Pot (Reforma 222), Pilar Cabrera who knows the state and has dishes abundant and rich 22-year history the support (the tetelas with cheese, chicharrón (pork rinds), and hoja santa or their enmoladas are pure swing).

Itanoní (Belisarío Domínguez 513, colonia Reforma), Land of the Sun (2nd. Private Tabachines 2, San Francisco Tutla), The fifteen letters (Abasolo 300, Center) and Casa Oaxaca (Manuel Garcia Vigil 407) I also like, and you go on your visits.

I will tell you more about some spaces and cymbals must-haves (especially street and to the outskirts to get out of the Center) in my text, Oaxaca, everything is Magazine Reef (interesting local project of two friends, Betty Ortiz, and Fernando Arce) and the barbecue roll of Zaachila in The Universal. Also I invite you to read more about why I hit that reference to the “exotic” in Oaxaca (and Mexico in general) in this note, in Munchies.

  1. Their markets are the jewels

The markets in our country does not need compared to the other because that is not valid to speak of the cultures (that is a background theme, and approach that of perception or subjectivity). Oaxaca has jewels in this topic because the different indigenous and peasant communities to preserve their inputs by regions and seasons, despite being affected by the industrialization and the disinterest of some of the new generations in the field.

In each time of the year you will find different dealers and forms of trade. And if it does not escape the evil of the objects are chinese, films and pirated cds, you’ll notice that visiting them you will find a huge variety of bread, herbs, insects, flowers, candy, meats, corns, vegetables, fruit, and more. Pay attention, see and stop to talk with people: just so you know. And please: don’t take photos of people if you do not authorise or notes that is bothering them.

Some markets that you must visit are Nochixtlán, Ocotlán, Tlacolula (I will tell you more in The market of Tlacolula is not for tourists), Zaachila and la Central de Abastos. I need to traverse the Isthmus, but since there will be more times to continue the exploration of oaxaca.

  1. There are cooking classes so that you can understand more about their flavors

I think that Reyna Mendoza is a great teacher and cook who in Sabor zapoteco will teach you more about your meals everyday, festive and ritual in your own home. To see the whole family involved in the preparation and the environment of this space in Teotitlán del Valle is unique and authentic.

You can go to House of Flavors with Pilar Cabrera, who has classes in English that are very illustrative as you go to markets and prepare thematic menus: moles, kitchen of la milpa, Day of the Dead and more.

Also Rodolfo Castellanos has this service at Origin and their classes are amazing because we meet in a more relaxed environment, go to the market and having a great time while you learn recipes that are easily replicable at home.

  1. Creativity is a flower of skin

Enchina the skin of a thrill to see so many traditional artists who made textiles and embroidery in Santo Tomás Jalieza, barro negro in San Bartolo Coyotepec, embroidered in wool in Teotitlan of the Valley (as the brother of Reyna, Lupe Mendoza), alebrijes at San Martín Tilcajete (the workshop of Jacobo and Maria is awesome), textile in Santa María Tlahuitoltepec or San Antonino Castillo Velasco, and many others.

And there are also young people who do a good job of contemporary design. Vianney Mendez with Antiga; Mariana Grapain and your project etnodiseño, Liliana del Toro and their bags, blouses and dresses, Silvia Suárez with beautiful pieces, The cicada and its objects of desire for the kitchen and home, Xaquixe and its glass art, among many others that I will tell soon.

It is noted that there are several oaxacan artists that put Mexico in high in several areas: Francis and Natalia Toledo, Sabino Guisu, April Salgado, Olegario Pascual, Sergio Hernández, Alejandro Santiago, the collective Lapiztola (you can read more at The urban art in the restaurants of oaxaca), James, Mary and Ricardo Angeles, among many others. Everywhere there is talent and that infects you.

  1. Their mezcal is a mystic

This drink is the one I like best for your context and magic that you only discover when you go deeper into it. The mezcal peasant is a philosophy and worldview. Teachers mezcalilleros of the old school, responsible development, teachers mezcaleras who have knowledge of him, new generations that believe in sustainability, and families that take generations involved with this topic you have my admiration and one must be willing to learn and to enjoy.

The Mezcaloteca and In Situ, are captive, but their youth and continue to create new spaces and projects. File Maguey (Murguía 218) of Jesus Ortiz and partners is the ideal place to drink mixtures, incomparable and have you dancing all night. Cuish (Diaz Ordaz 712) Felix Hernandez has a good selection mezcalera, and Home Istanbul (Allende 316) and Sabina Knows (may 5, 209) are other bars to drink it in the form of a cocktail.

I failed to mention friends and projects, all my museums and cultural spaces preferred, but will not be the last time that I read here on Flavors of Mexico , nor that you’ll find me praising Oaxaca, that place in our country that whenever I encounter open arms, creativity, and “duende”, of that which spoke to García Lorca.