I have not felt myself lately. I needed a hard reset on life, and I knew just how to do it. I got on a plane and returned to Oaxaca to take a few days to slow down, hear myself breathe and surround myself with goodness.

Oaxaca has the ability to fill me with happiness and remind me of the value of community, family and creative spirit. Each time I return to Oaxaca, I am received with a welcome embrace and I feel like I’ve come home. I am inspired by the positivity of the people I meet and it’s my hope when I leave, to keep the spirit and energy that I feel in Oaxaca within me as long as possible.

I always tell people that the best thing about being in Oaxaca is “being” in Oaxaca. With my frequent visits to Oaxaca the past few years, I’ve found myself getting caught up in doing, rather than in being. My goal for this short visit was to be careful with my time, focus on being and allow myself to absorb as much goodness as I could.

Even before I landed in Oaxaca, I knew my romantic notions of a slow and easy being would be hard to accomplish considering I suffer from fear of missing out (FOMO) and want of being included. But in whatever scenario I was presented, I was committed to continue with my mentality of being IN before I’m OUT and to approach it with positivity. However my time was going to be spent, I knew it would be fabulous and add to my bank of amazing Oaxaca memories.

When I asked my Oaxaca bff Omar (aka @Oaxacking) to pick me up from the airport on Sunday morning, I knew I’d be at his whim, but I also knew if I allowed myself to relax and enjoy, whatever we did would be incredible. 

As I hopped into Omar’s car, I knew this trip was exactly what my mind needed. As we drove through the familiar streets, we slipped comfortably back into our banter and my heart filled with #oaxappiness.

Omar had friends in town from LA who wanted to explore, so we picked up them and drove out of town to the Tlacaloula Sunday market.

It took a moment for my mind, tired from the red-eye flight I’d just taken, to adjust to the energetic pace of the Tlacaloula market, but after a quick sip of coconut water, I was ready to go.

The vibrancy of colours and aromas at the market put a smile on my face and I strolled from stall to stall taking in the energy from the people around me. Omar’s friends were shoppers so we spent the next few hours wandering through Tlacaloula (and then Teotitlán) checking out crafts and visiting various artisans. I sat happily with the sun on my face, appreciating the time to slowly witness the warmth of Oaxaca that surrounded me.

Our first stop was for sustenance, delivered perfectly with consomé de barbacoa from Doña Adolfa. The rich savoury broth with tender chunks of meat, sopped up with a flavourful corn tortilla was a wonderful welcome back to Oaxaca.
A sip of tejate, made from ground maize, cacao, mamay seed and flor de cacao.
It was a hot day so we grabbed a nieve from a road-side vendor to delight in as we made our way back to the city.

It was late afternoon and after a full day of shopping, we were ready to eat again. Luckily the group was easy and it wasn’t hard to decide where we’d feast for comida. 

Sirilo has fast become one of my Oaxaca favourites when I’m craving seafood and fresh flavours in a setting that makes me feel like I’ve been transported to the beach. Everything I’ve tried at Sirilo is delicious but the garlic chile sauce that drapes the jaibas (crab) enchipotladas is something I have at the top of my list to return to on my next trip to Oaxaca.

I met up with my fabulous photographer friend Frank (aka @fcoronado) in Centro and we decided to walk around the city before we stopped at La Mezcalerita for a glass (or 2) of mezcal. 

It was getting late considering I was existing off of very little sleep but I needed a bite before bed. I had just the place in mind to sit down for a small bite. El Techo, which is El Destilado’s taqueria on their top patio with its peekaboo view of the top of Santo Domingo is open Thu-Sun evenings. Its small outdoor space and limited operating hours has made it tough for me to visit in the past, but I was happy to finally get the chance to visit. My mezcal negroni and carne asada tacos were just what my body needed to help push me into a deep content sleep.

After just one day in Oaxaca, I was able to feel more grounded than I had in months. I was filled with #oaxappiness and I knew returning to Oaxaca was the right decision for me. I couldn’t wait to see what other adventures I’d find myself on in the following days…

2 Replies to “Returning to #Oaxappiness”

  1. Hi there,

    I’m spending 4 nights in Oaxaca in December and notice you’ve spent a lot of time there. My wife and I want to splurge at least twice and we enjoy Michelin-starred restaurant quality. What would be your recommendations?

    Note, I am a sucker for the food trickery of places like DiverXO and Tapas Molecular Bar, and prefer Quintonil over Pujol any day.

    1. It’s funny, a few years ago it would have been easy to point you to places of food trickery, but the flashiest didn’t survive. Splurging is a relative term when it comes to Oaxaca because even the most expensive tasting menus are a fraction of the cost of what you’d find anywhere else.

      But for what you’re looking for, I’d recommend the Chef’s menu at El Destilado and Origen. Criollo is wonderful, but as it’s Olvera driven, it’s might be more “Pujol” than you’re looking for? One I haven’t been to in a while, but also might be what you’re looking for it Pitiona. Also, not sure if you’re into cocktails, but if you are, you should also check out Selva while you’re there.

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