If New Years is cancelled….then so are all the New Year’s resolutions, right? Okay, then throw out the diets..… LET’S EAT!!
Determined not to let the cancellation of the New Years Eve celebration dampen our spirits, we took to the streets on New Years Day to sample what Oaxaca is famous for…..from its notorious cooking schools to Five-Star restaurants, hands down, it’s “Oaxacan-style Cooking.”
The Mercado in Oaxaca is one of the most famous Mexican markets, as it is a labyrinth of stalls offering mole’s, peppers, spices, fresh vegetables, meats, and hand-made chocolate in all forms. You can buy fresh fruits both in bulk, as well as juiced. There are even quite a few stands of “chapulines,” or chili-crusted grasshoppers, if you are into that sort of thing…..(which has me wondering what those will look like once Monsanto starts GMO-ing them!)
There is an abundance of food here….fresh, healthy, locally grown “real” food. And always so beautifully decorated and displayed. Some of the fancier grocery stores like Whole Foods in the US get it that “It’s all in the presentation,” but you play twice the price for looking nice. Here in Mexico, it is just a way of life…
Our favorite stop in the Mercado is the “Carnes Asadas Hall” which can be located by following the aroma of sizzling meats and smoke from the real hardwood charcoal. An extension of the Mercado 20 de Noviembre, it is one long hallway lined by dozens of charcoal grills, all fired up, sizzling paper-thin strips of flank steak, chorizo, thinly sliced marinated pork, and a few intestines on offer for the offal fans. Definitely NOT a place for my vegetarian friends!
We started the New Year off with a big basket of grilled meats, accompanied by small plates of onions, chilies, radishes, cucumbers, and guacamole. This meal is as much fun as it is tasty, and a particularly good way to start off the New Year, as everyone sits family-style in the “build your own tacos” booth, sharing smiles and sabores (flavors.)
Feliz Año Nuevo 2014!