Friday, February 22, 2008

Eating Oaxaca—Part Three

Susan was coming down with a cold. Various remedies were applied and taken.
But two days of bed rest proved most efficacious...

As there were no limones available in the kitchen of La Casa de Los Sabores (review) with which to make cold combating hot drinks, I went out for extended walks in search of them. I eventually ended up at el Mercado de La Merced, on Calzada de República, about 5 or 6 blocks east of the B&B. This is the same mercado where the Sabores classes shop for the ingredients of their meal. While it's not as busy as the Mercado 20 de Noviembre, it's easier to move about, get what you need, and, as Pilar says, the prices are lower.

Videos thanks to Jay P. Francis. Click Video "Menu" for more.

Meanwhile, my rambles took me toward Centro, and the Pastelería La Vasconia, at Independencia # 907, across from the Teatro Macedonio Alcalá; where I renewed acquaintances with the two sisters who operate it. We'd visited the place in the mid-90s, when I ran a bakery in Mountain View, Arkansas. At the earlier visit, Inés and I talked shop. I was pleased to see that they'd gone ahead and purchased a very nice refrigerated showcase for their fine cakes and cream filled pastries. The sisters are at an age where they want to sell the business. It has a fine location, a few blocks from the Zócalo, and may include the extensive living quarters in back and above. The business has been in their family for about 70 years.

There were a few curiosities, as well. We'd walked past Mariscos Las Nereidas, on Calle Xicoténcatl #111, where a window sign advertised "Cucarachas al Mojo de Ajo". On my lone ramble, I went in and inquired about them. I was kindly shown a cooked crustacean tail, somewhat like a langostino or lobster tail. The concept was interesting, but we never got around to trying any of their fare. The restaurant is large, fairly bare of decor (typical of many marisquerías), prices moderately expensive, and is open 8:00 to 12 for breakfast; Sunday through Monday (all week), live music Thursdays through Sundays. Tel: 51-49455.

A wonderful find, just around the corner from Los Sabores B&B, at the corner of Morelos and Pino Súarez, was the Super Cocina Lucía's. It had scarcely been open a week when I "found" it. It's a small shop, open from 12:30 to about 4:30 M-F. The offerings, displayed in open pans are appetizing and fresh. The salads are clean and outstanding. Each day there are different guisados. I bought two salads, one of citrus fruits, very good; but the spinach-broccoli was terrific; some Tortitas de Elote, and Sopa de Fideos, to take back to Susan. I enjoyed so
me of it myself, meanwhile having some of those previously mentioned Tacos Árabes from El Balcón de La Lechuza.

The owner, Lucía, her assistant, Mónica, and I had a nice conversation about the food and the business. I learned of Lucías father's other two or three restaurants, one of which is called "La Escondida", rather a major operation, on the outskirts of Oaxaca. There is also the original Super Cocina Lucía's, in the north part of the city, and somewhat larger, but I didn't get the location/address. After Susan I ate the take out food from Lucía's, I returned to take some photographs of the ladies and their foods.
(This is what I like most about traveling in Mexico: a chance to meet and connect with others of similar interests and enthusiasms. I think we have made new friends at Lucía's)

That evening, other guests returned with steamingly hot tamales, purchased from a Señora seated at the corner of Calle Abasolo and Pino Súarez, about three blocks fron Los Sabores. Her varied tamales were meatless, but very good, and only $5 MXP each. Even though I was tired from all the walking I'd done, and the hot Oaxacan sun, I went out and bought 5 of these treats.

The next day was Wednesday, when my class would take place.


Steve Cotton said...

Michael -- You obviously love good food. That raises a question. Everything I have heard about Pátzcuaro is that there are very few places to eat good food. You have mentioned good restaurants in Morelia. Why did you choose to live out by the lake rather than in Morelia?

Don Cuevas said...

There's actually more to La Vida Buena than good food. (I can't believe I said that!)

Anyway, Morelia is only 40 minutes or so away. And we have great food at home. (We live almost 9 miles from the Lake, by the way. A un Ranchito en el campo.

The best food in Pátzcuaro is not in restaurants, especially not in the over-priced tourist places, but in the fondas of the mercado and I think, in the homes of good cooks. (Wherever they are!)

Soon you shall see a photo series on La Comida de La Vigilia, which were taken today in Pátzcuaro's Mercado.

There, you never have to worry about which fork to use: they just give you a big spoon and a stack of tortillas calientitas del comal.

Buen provecho,