Monday, December 14, 2009

Comida Oaxaqueno

As you might imagine the food here is diverse and delicious.  Above is a photo of an appetizer of chapulines-grasshoppers, a specialty of this area, served with guacamole.  They were actually pretty tasty, fried with salt and chile so they were just crunchy and spicy and the flavor of the grasshoppers wasn't really apparent.  Don't think I'll get them again but had to at least try them.

Some of the best meals I've had have been breakfast.  My hostess Layla feeds me a three course meal every morning before I leave for school and I have to pack it in because I often don't eat again until about 4.  We begin with coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice, a mountain of papaya and sweet breads.  Then a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, followed by the main course which is always interesting.  I've had eggs or huevos in many ways, rancheros, in tomato sauce, and with frijoles negroes.  Queso in tomato sauce, a tortilla of potatoes with eggs, and a lasagne kind of dish with tortillas layered with vegetables, sauce and cheese. We have even had tamales with mole for breakfast and memelas, tortillas topped with refried beans, cheese and salsa.

In the evenings I've tried various tostadas, enchiladas, tacos, chiles rellenos and a tlayuda, which is a huge tostada, browned on the outside over a fire.  The soups are also amazing and my favorite so far was a cream of zucchini flowers served with bits of chewy queso and toasted pumpkin seeds.  I'm hungry for vegetables and salads and have had a few though you have to be careful eating raw veggies here, I only try them in better restaurants.

I've got two more weeks to sample some more variations on these themes and hope to try a little more seafood.  I'd like to eat more street food but it makes me too nervous I do not want to get sick.

Yesterday I went to Monte Alban, considered to be the most important archeological site in Oaxaca.  It was impressive and we had a good guide who gave us the history of the Zapotec civilization who lived in the Valley of Oaxaca for 13 centuries from around 500 BC to 800 AD.  Like the Maya and the Aztec they were advanced astrologists and teh buildings are aligned perfectly to the cardinal directions of N,S,E and W.  There is a sundial that marks the summer and winter solstices.  Many important artifacts were discovered in the tombs here, very few on display at the site, most are in Mexico City.

These are a few of the treasures that are housed here in Oaxaca at the Museum at the Church of Santo Domingo.  Mostly jewelry of jade, silver, and gold as well as bones carved with intricate Zapotec figures.  Cups and bowls of alabaster and quartz crystal are phenomenal.

That's all for today, I'm overwhelmed at times by all I'm seeing and can only share so much in each blog!

No comments: