Food Travel America

Overeating in Oaxaca

I have been in Oaxaca for one day and already, I have eaten more than some would over a few days.

For the 3rd time in 4 years, I am back in Oaxaca, crashing the Jo/Henry/Tom&Molly’s annual vacation.

I was picked up at the airport by Henry, Tom and their wonderful driver/friend Thomas and we made our way straight into the city, I dropped my bags off at Casa Murgia, which will be my home away from home for the week. Exhausted but hungry, I was interested in a quick bite so we went to Tlayudas Libres only a few blocks away.

"Tlayudas libres"

Meat straight on the coals.

I visited Tlayudas Libres on my last visit to Oaxaca but was happy to repeat. Although skimpy on the meat, it was still a fantastic treat.

"Tlayudas Libres cecina chorizo"

Half of my tlayuda with chorizo and cecina(red chili pork).

tlayuda libres

My verdict? Too much food but definitely worth the return visit!

The sun was shining the next morning and I realized how beautiful Casa Murgia is. I’m very happy to be spending the next week here!

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After a simple breakfast, I walked with Jo and Henry to their Spanish class with the intentions of wandering around the Friday market at Llano park. I made a quick loop around the market, but my stomach wasn’t prepared for the intense smell of food. Since there was free wifi available in the park, I decided to sit down and enjoy the sunshine. I’d forgotten a certain caveat when travelling; being stationary is an open invitation for people to try to sell you things, or try to sell you on something. I did a good job of shoo-ing most away with my firm “no gracias”, but then I was approached by a group of friendly students. One of them spoke English and explained they were part of a cooking program at school and were looking for people to critique their work.

My thoughts? The bread was horribly dry, but I wasn't sure if that wasn't on purpose because all bread I've had in Mexico is dry.

My thoughts? The bread was horribly dry, but I wasn’t sure if that wasn’t on purpose because all bread I’ve had in Mexico is dry. And really, how could I tell this group of up and coming chefs that their product was terrible?

The gang met up for a coffee at their regular spot, Cafe Brujula. After an hour of chit chat and a delicious big Americano, we thought it was time to put a lunch plan into action. With so many options and only a week in Oaxaca I tried to strategize how to optimize my eating experience. Henry suggested we go to the market and buy a few different things to have for lunch. I was very enthusiastic about this “picky picky” lunch as this is my favourite kind of meal.

We went to buy tamales at the Sánchez Pascuas market but of course we were distracted.

Tom and Molly picking out our tamales.

Tom and Molly picking out our tamales.

Henry wandered back with a baggie of treats. The sampling of carnitas and chicharrón were so delicious we had to go back for more.

Henry wandered back with a bag of treats. The sampling of carnitas and chicharrón were so delicious we had to go back for more.

Molly and Jo picking delicious strawberries.

Molly and Jo picking delicious strawberries.

On the way back to the Casa, we were sidetracked with thoughts of dinner. We needed to pick up dessert as we were having friends over. A few of us had heard of the Museo de Nieves Manolo and since it was on our way we popped in for a treat.

The gang sampled many flavours and found none to our liking. We pity-bought a container because we felt obliged.

We sampled many flavours and found none to our liking. We “pity-bought” a container because we felt obliged.

On our way back to the house, we were sidetracked once more with thoughts of pollo from the Llano Park market. Henry said it was worth it, so of course we had to add it to our lunch.

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Henry "working" the grill.

Henry “working” the grill.

I couldn’t believe how much food we had amassed for our lunch, but was delighted that there was so much variety.

My favourite was definitely the chicken!

3 kinds of tamales, carnitas, and pollo. My favourite was definitely the chicken!

Full from lunch, I treated myself to a siesta. When I woke up, I was still full but needed to be ready for another great meal ahead.

Henry always sets up a "House" mezcal tasting on my visits to Oaxaca.

Henry always sets up a “House” mezcal tasting on my visits to Oaxaca.

One of the gang’s best friends in Oaxaca is the couple who own Cafe Brujula, Kyle and Bere. They were coming for dinner with Kyle’s homemade Texas chili. Kyle is originally from Texas, so I was excited to eat an “authentic Texas chili”. After hearing about his 8 hour process, which included  separately cooking the meats, roasting and blending the chiles, blanching and hand peeling the fresh tomatoes, I knew there was a lot of heart put into the vat of deliciousness he brought over for us.

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We accompanied this meal with Henry’s refried beans and Tom’s guacamole and salsa.

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There was a bit of discussion on what vehicle to use to eat the chili with and what it pairs best with and in the end, Kyle had it right. Forget the nacho chips, saltines make the best dippers and wash it all down with a glass of peach juice.

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Even though I was at my intake limit, Kyle’s Texas chili was so delicious, I had to have seconds. I didn’t feel like I needed to save room for a dessert because although the flan that Jo and Molly bought at the market looked delicious, I am always disappointed with Mexican desserts.

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I was wrong. This was the best flan I’ve ever had in Mexico and I ate more than I needed to. Feeling like I may explode, I rolled myself to bed. I knew I had overdone Day 1 in Oaxaca, but I enjoyed every food loving moment of it.

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