Celebrating Oaxaca – Origen’s 6th Anniversary (Part 1)

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One of the many things I appreciate about the people I’ve met in Oaxaca is that they celebrate special occasions, (big and small) with gusto. Their enthusiasm reminds me of something my Great Uncle Arthur once shared with me. He stressed the importance of celebrating milestones because, without recognition, life can easily pass you by.  That life was a journey through ups and downs, but it was only by taking time to celebrate the good things in life that you had the opportunity to see how much you’ve learned and grown in the process.*

Understanding some of the hardships of being a business owner in Oaxaca, from natural disasters to political strife, the recognition of goodness is even more important. Celebrating an anniversary means taking the time to surround yourself with the people who are important to you, push away any thoughts of the difficulties that may surround you in your everyday life and just put your party on.

I was excited to learn that this year’s visit to Oaxaca, coincided with the opportunity to witness the planning and execution of an amazing weekend’s worth of events to celebrate Origen‘s 6th Anniversary. On the slate was a special Friday dinner at the restaurant along with a fun fiesta on Saturday night including street eats, beer, cocktails and dancing, with a DJ flown in from LA.

While I understood this was a weekend to recognize Origen’s 6th Anniversary, I learned that Origen was sharing these events to mark Mezcal Los Danzante’s 20th Anniversary as well, which was a bonus that I’d later be included on, (see Part 2 of this post).

I see amazing events in Oaxaca being posted weekly on my Instagram feed and constantly feel like I’m missing out. Coming into Oaxaca for this trip, I was excited as the promotion for the events starting coming out, that I knew I was going to attend.



A week before the events, I was invited to the venue that was going to be used for the Saturday fiesta. As I walked in, I couldn’t believe the rustic space, empty space, as it looked miles away from event-worthy.  But this is Oaxaca, and knowing the talent of the people involved, I had faith that they knew how to pull it off in the short time frame.

Origen Oaxaca anniversary planning
Meeting of the minds with the contributors to the Anniversary Fiesta.
Origen Anniversary Rodolfo Los Danzantes
Chef Rodolfo showing off Los Danzantes special 20th Anniversary edition mezcal.
Origen Anniversary 6 group
All smiles, even from me behind the camera. I loved the feeling of community among the people involved and was happy to get a glimpse of the work behind the event.

The Origen Anniversary celebration was not only a collaborative effort within Oaxaca, but guests were also flown in to help with the festivities as well. Rodolfo’s business partner Hugo Ortega, a James Beard award-winning Chef came in from Houston. I was excited to meet him after hearing so many wonderful things about Chef Hugo from Rodolfo and then on top of that, watching him on the CBS Morning show the weekend before I landed in Oaxaca. Chef Hugo in person was even kinder and more gracious than I’d imagined.

Chef Anastasia Quinones was a special guest chef from Dallas. She and Rodolfo met in San Francisco where she was a great mentor to him when they worked together at Traci Des Jardins’ Jardiniere. I only spoke to her briefly, but her pride in what Rodolfo had accomplished since he’d worked under her in San Francisco to today was evident.

The Friday festivities at Origen began with a cocktail hour hosted by Mezcal Los Danzantes. Bartender Jose Luis Leon, whose Baltra Bar and Licorería Limantour in Mexico City are rated tops in the world, was behind the bar mixing creative mezcal cocktails.

Origen Anniversary Jose Luis Leon bartender

The room downstairs was packed, with many faces I recognize through my years in Oaxaca, including Rodolfo’s lovely parents and wife Lizette. Accompanying me were cousin Alex from Nashville and her pal Bryan who were both experiencing Oaxaca for the first time.  At 8pm, we were promptly led upstairs for the meal to begin.

Origen Oaxaca
Dinner included many media visiting from Mexico City and the who’s who from the kitchens of Oaxaca’s best restaurants.
Los Danzantes Oaxaca Origen anniversary
The meal came complete with beverage pairings, and of course, Los Danzantes mezcal was well represented in this feast.
Origen Oaxaca anniversary ceviche Juan Manuel Vega
Ceviche de almeja chocolate from Chef Juan Manuel Vega.
Origen Oaxaca anniversary Rodolfo sopa
Sopa de chayocamote with squid ink and bacon from Chef Rodolfo
Origen Oaxaca anniversary taco chef Anastasia Quinones
Taco de cabrito (baby goat) from Chef Anastasia Quinones
Origen Oaxaca anniversary dorado
Dorado wrapped in hoja santa leaf from Chef Anastasia Quinones
Origen Oaxaca anniversary Hugo Ortega pollo
Pollo de Rancho with a Zapotilla mole from Chef Hugo Ortega
Origen Oaxaca anniversary dulce Wendy Peralta
Dulce de Zapatoes – a mamay flan with mandarin sorbet- from Chef Wendy Peralta and Milipsa Domínguez
Rodolfo Castellanos Susy Bando Hugo Ortega Origen
A delicious evening shared with good friends!

Gracias Chef Rodolfo and Omar for including me during the weekend’s events. The time spent in the “in” of Oaxaca is greatly appreciated, the food and fun are always memorable. ♥

Part 2 of the weekend’s festivities to come soon…

*I know I’m paraphrasing my Uncle Arthur’s words of wisdom, but I think I’m close to the original sentiments. 


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