Food Travel America / Mexico / Perfect Days

My unplanned adventure to Minas with Omar

For the first half of my life so far, I used to be shy. So many times I’d sit on the sidelines as I watched the world go by in front of me. In my adult years though, I’ve made a conscious effort to put myself out there. I tell myself life is too short and I need to seize opportunities when they present themselves.

I recently started living my life with an “in before you’re out” mentality and encouraging those around me to do the same. I must admit that this attitude has helped me break through my shy insecurities in Oaxaca the most, (even though sometimes I find myself getting caught).

So when Omar called on Sunday to ask if I wanted to go out with his friends to Minas, my only question was, “what’s Minas?”, when I found out it was a town that had mezcal, I asked no more and said “sure”!

An hour later I found myself standing on the street waiting to be picked up by Omar’s friends, who I’d never met before,  to do what? I wasn’t sure. I was totally pushing at my comfort zone, but knew sometimes, the best times in life come from unplanned adventures.

road-trip-oaxaca

In the car before we picked Omar up, his friend Julian filled me in a bit about where we were headed. It turns out that Minas is an area in Oaxaca, like Matatlan that makes mezcal. Minas differes from Matatlan, where I’d visited last year, because rather than distilling in copper pots, they use clay.  Julian described that the difference in the taste would be that I would find hints of “the smell of earth after it rains for the first time in a long time”. I also learned that we were going to Minas because there was a mezcal fair going on. Ok, sounded cool enough.

After picking Omar up, we drove around an hour into the tiny town of Minas. I had moments of doubt as we got there though as we were up and down bumpy dirt roads. Trying to find what? I’m not sure, and googlemaps wasn’t helping us either. But being clueless and of no help in navigation, I decided just to enjoy the scenery.

minas-oaxaca

road-trip-minas-oaxaca

We finally parked and it seemed we were “there”. As we wandered around trying to find where the event was talking place, we couldn’t help but stop and take photos.

susy-bando-minas-oaxaca

PC: Omar Alonso

The event turned out to be a mezcal and mole event, where for $15, you could have 8 tastes of mole and 4 of mezcal. As I wandered up with Omar and his friends, I had a small moment of pride in myself at putting myself out there and agreeing to go on this unknown adventure. I was also thankful to have met someone like Omar who included in his day’s plans. Perhaps I was being mushy, but I couldn’t help feeling so sparkly in the environment I was in.

minas-sunshine-oaxaca

The event was great! It turned out that visiting Chef Joan Bagur, who has restaurants in Barcelona and CDMX, was there to prepare the meal.

minas-mole-pots

The various colours and aromas coming from the pots of mole were all so inviting that I didn’t know where to start. But with 8 tickets in hand, I realized I was going to get a chance to sample them all!

minas-estofado

Green estofado which is typically made during celebrations.

susy-bando-mezcal-minas

There were so many mezcal choices as well…

 

minas-minero-mezcal-oaxaca

Superman helped me find the way!

minas-oaxacking-mole

Omar decided the best approach (and photo opp) was to put as many moles he could on a plate.

many-moles-minas

I decided that sounded like a fabulous plan. On my plate from the top were mole verde, mole coloradito, estofado verde, mole amarillo and mole chichilo (my favourite of the event).

minas-mezcal-julian-omar

We had so many mezcal tickets left as the event ended, so the boys hatched a plan to have our remaining samples poured into larger glasses to take on the road with us.

minas-mezcal-oaxaca

minas-sunset

Sunsets in Oaxaca are always so magical.

We wandered around town a bit and found ourselves at a rodeo. The admission was free so of course we went in!

minas-rodeo

The event of the night was bull riding by the town’s community members. It didn’t take us long to realize that no one could stay on for more than a few seconds and that we had to wait a long time between rides. So we decided to go have more to eat.

oaxacking-minas-susy-bando

Omar showing me how to properly dress a tostada.

tostada-minas-oaxaca

Tostada spread with beef fat, topped with black beans, beef head, lettuce onions and cilantro, dressed with a good amount of guacamole. To drink was ponche, a traditional Mexican Christmas punch.

We wandered through the fair where I ended up riding bumper cars and playing carnival games.

susy-bumper-car

Thanks for capturing my moment Omar!

minas-balloons

As we drove back towards Oaxaca at the end of the night, I was happy I took the chance on adventure for the day. Omar and his friends were so kind and welcoming and I had the opportunity to spend a day experiencing true Oaxacan life in a way most travellers would never have the opportunity to do.

Susy Bando Omar Alonso.jpg

Gracias Omar for the amazing day!

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