|mole negro, fresh salsa and guacamole|
|un omelette saludable (healthy)|
with unlimited coffee and fresh grapefruit juice cost under $10.
The restaurants that I choose are all nicely decorated with bright colours. They are excellent spots to watch people or quietly read my book as I wait. Many of the waiters in Oaxaca speak English as they have worked in the United States. Since there were few jobs in Oaxaca, many left but have returned and outside many restaurants, shops and bakeries, there are signs seeking employees. Remember the minimum wage is 66 pesos (less than $5 a day). My omelette cost 85 pesos.
Although it has just started to rain a little. Oaxaca usually is dry from November until April. I don't see greenhouses anywhere so the greens and fish that I tend to order must be trucked in. So much for the 100 Miles Diet.The zucchini flowers are served with just about every dish here so they must be local.
The coast is about 5 hours away by road that winds through the Sierra Madre Mountains so my salmon,probably imported from Chile, is one of the more expensive dishes. I eat fish at least once a week and it is always prepared with fresh salsa made of chopped vegetables sprinkled with citrus juice. Carrots and broccoli are served frequently. Mexico exports more than 100 million dollars worth of broccoli annually.
Oaxaca is famous for its moles, complex sauces usually served over chicken or beef. I have tasted most of the moles and so this visit I am avoiding them. I did, however, visit La Azucena Zapoteca, a restaurant known for its poblanos en nogada, a roasted pepper stuffed with chicken, nuts and fruit, served with a creamy sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate and nuts. I couldn't finish the dish but it was delicious.
Oaxaca is also known for its hot chocolate and its mezcal. Tequila is a mezcal that is made in the state of Jalisco. Mezcal is made from the agave cactus. You drink it in one gulp (for me two). I don't usually drink hard liquor but the orange was juicy sweet, the cayenne was spicy and the mezcal burned on its way down. The contrast of tastes and sensations is the basis of much of Oaxaca's cuisine.
At home in Oaxaca, I have very simple meals but today my brother is coming from Canada to visit. I will go down the street to Carmelita's pastelería to pick up pastries for tomorrow's breakfast. Pastries cost 6 pesos (about 40 cents Canadian). We won't have them every day but after a day of travel, my brother might be hungry tomorrow morning.
|The restaurant is beautifully decorated with flowers, paintings and springtime cutout banners.|
|fresh citrus salad with zucchini flowers|
|fresh salmon with salsa and vegetables|
|poblano en nogada|
|I was served a complimentary mescal.|
Yesterday, I asked my mentor at the library, a lady who has lived here for more than 20 years, about food and sanitation. The people selling food in the street have no running water or refrigeration. They wash their utensils in buckets of water. She does not eat street food for this reason. Food right off a comal (grill) is probably safe but I really don't feel like taking the chance.
My brother has never been to Mexico before so I will enjoy introducing him to all the sights, sounds and tastes of Oaxaca!