Sunday, June 9, 2024

Weekend in Boise

Trip date: July 2023

My friend Aaron has been to almost every state in the US, he's only missing a few and Idaho was one. So last July, after reading about Kris Komori, the chef of KIN Restaurant in Boise, taking home the James Beard award for Best Chef in the Mountain region, we decided to meet up and have dinner there. Even though I grew up very close to the northern Idaho state line, I'd never been to the capitol city. I called the restaurant, because all of their online booking was completely full after their big news, and co-owner Remy found us a ressie after I explained we wanted to come to Boise just for dinner!

At SEA I checked out the Alaska C Gate lounge beforehand and even though it is small it is really nice with great cocktails and nice food options. Then it was just a 45 minute flight to BOI. Aaron's flight arrived just 10 minutes before mine so we were able to meet in the airport and share a ride to the hotel. 

We figured it was going to be pretty hot in Boise since we were going at the end of July, so we chose the Hyatt Place mainly as it had a pool and it wasn't ridiculously priced. This ended up being a great hotel! The rooms were really big, it was super centrally located, my room had a view of the capitol, and of course there was the pool.

After dropping our bags we headed out to one of Boise's growing number of wineries. Split Rail has a really cute tasting room but neither of us loved the wines. YMMV as wine is very subjective! 

We took a walk down the Riverwalk along the Boise River and watched people cooling off by surfing and paddle boarding. Boise is really easy to walk around in as it's very flat and at least most of the things we were checking out were quite centrally located. 

That evening before dinner we headed to The Modern Bar which is in the hotel by the same name. I absolutely loved my Celery & Smoke cocktail; tequila, mezcal, celery, lime, and agave! It was so refreshing and just perfectly balanced. Really great! The atmosphere of the bar was pretty meh for me though. Maybe it was because it was early evening? Maybe it would be better at night? Not sure but I would still stop in for a tasty drink!

Dinner at KIN was lovely. We got there a bit early and had a drink in a little waiting-like area. Then everyone found their seats at one of two communal tables. I really liked the set up, it gave you a chance to talk to others, but you had a designated seat. 

The set menu was 5-courses and we also chose the wine pairings. All the dishes were very good but I think my favorite was this rabbit with apricot, plum, umeboshi and Parisian gnocchi. 

After dinner we headed to one of Boise's many speakeasies (seriously, there are like 8 of them!). We found the ally and then the unmarked door, were let into a small library crowded with books, and then a bookcase opened and we were shown inside.  

We had made reservations at Gatsby but it didn't seem that busy on this Thursday evening and the space is quite large. The drinks are mostly takes on classics but with kitschy additions. My Josephine Baker (tequila, mezcal, chocolate bitters, agave, smoked) arrived in a chest which when opened was filled with smoke. 

It was a nice space and the drinks were well made and presented but they leaned a bit sweet for both of us. When you exit, you leave through a seperate door and find yourself also in an ally. 

The next morning we decided to walk to the Hyde Park neighborhood to check out Certified Kitchen which one of Aaron's friends had said have the "best english muffins in the world". We'd be the judge of that!

100% TRUTH! Damn! The english muffin was in fact the best I've had (better even than Model Bakery) and the bakery is super cute, has great coffee and a whole slew of other tasty treats. I'd say this is a must-stop-at while in Boise. And the neighborhood is lovely as well; great for strolling.

It was another hot day so we decided to cool off like the locals do- on a raft in the the Boise River! I had spent most of my summers, from high school until my late 20's, on a tube in rivers around eastern and western Washington, so I was very excited!  

Aaron had ordered a couple of beach towels from Amazon that had been delivered to the hotel, we bought some cold canned beverages from the lobby store and filled a plastic laundry bag with ice, then had an Uber take us to Barber Park where we rented our gear

We each had our own tube and paddle and spent the next 2 hours floating 6-miles down the very chilly river. It was soooo fun!! The river actually has 3 class-2 rapids, all in the first half of the float, so those paddles came in handy! 

Aaron had left our towels in the sealed plastic bag they had come in so that when we reached the take-out we would have them to dry off with. Unfortunately as he was getting out of his tube in the river the plastic ripped and both towels soaked up as much water as possible! It was sooo funny as we were pretty wet at the end and were planning on toweling off and calling an Uber to take us back to the hotel. We ended up walking back since it would have been really rude to be dripping wet in someone's car!

Back at the hotel we decided to cool back off with a quick swim before getting cleaned up for our night on the town! 

Our big bar crawl night started at, you guessed it, another speakeasy! Thick as Thieves had pineapple daiquiris on their $10 happy hour menu and that is exactly what I wanted in the sweltering early evening heat! We found the door in a parking lot, marked only by two birds, used the old-timey telephone inside to gain entrance to the cozy den, planning on just having one and then moving on. 

As soon as we sat down at the bar though we were both instantly charmed by the bartenders, the menu, and then the drinks. We started with the happy hour menu, then started reading thru the regular menu, and then were handed flashlights which decoded secret offerings!

We had a ball! And truly, to find a bar of this caliber in Boise was just amazing! Thick as Thieves would be right at home in Seattle, LA, or New York. Highly recommend!

We exited through a back door into another ally and made our way to Bar Guernica in the Basque Block for an early dinner. We knew that Boise has the 3rd largest population of Basque people (they came to the area about 200 years ago to herd sheep), what we didn't know was that the San Inazio Festival was going on!

Because of the large crowds the menu was more casual, but we still had some delicious croquettas and fried peppers and Aaron got the lamb grinder while I got the chorizo sausage roll. And we washed it all down with a bottle of txakoli wine, just like you'd do in the mother country!

Afterwards we joined the festivities which are in honor of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the patron saint of the Basques. There were musicians, and dancers, and stands selling pretty much the same things we had just eaten. It was fun!

But we had a cocktail crawl to get back to so we said agur and walked to Press & Pony. Surprisingly, not a speakeasy, but still an old-timey western vibe going on. Aaron and I grabbed a couple of stools at the bar and ordered a drink. The bar was about half full and all of a sudden some guy who was in a group of about 6 announced that he was buying everyone a shot! Now I have been in a lot of bars over the years, and I've had many free drinks, but I've never been in a bar when an average customer bought a round for everyone! 

The bartenders made some juicy shots, each with a gummy bear in it. That's the way they roll at Press & Pony! haha!

Aaron loves a tiki bar, which is what Devil's Den promoted themselves as, so that is where we headed next. They were doing Christmas in July with full on decorations and waitresses in costumes, which could be fun, but the drinks were so bad nothing could save it. I see that they are now closed permanently so I don't have to bother telling you just how bad it was.

Finally we met my friend Jeritt, who lives in Boise, at the bar at the newly re-opened Avery Hotel. Tiner’s Alley was still working out their menu when we were there but our drinks were good and the space was very fun. I'd be more than happy to go back and check it out again if I return to Boise. 

On our last day our flights did not leave until almost 7pm so we got one more full day to explore. We started by walking to Janjou Patisserie for some delicious morning treats. The cases were full of temping things but I finally decided on a gorgeous strawberry and pistachio tart. It was very good!

We made a stop at the farmer's market, which seemed to have a lot of tasty lunch options but we had lunch plans back in town so we just walked around for a bit. 

We had our Uber driver drop us off at The Wylder for pizza lunch. It's a really great space, very big so would be excellent for groups, and the pizza was soooo good. Mine was cacio e pepe! We could not finish the pies so we took the rest home and I can say mine made a great late dinner.

We walked back towards our hotel, passing thru the San Inazio Festival again, this time there were displays of the wagons the sheep herders lived in. Then to the last cocktail bar on our list, Water Bear -woman owned and operated.

What a fantastic bar this is! The interior is filled full with house plants & books, and is a very welcoming space. And the drinks were delicious! They have an Old Fashioned of the day (brilliant idea!) as well as a full menu of classics and classy riffs on classics. We ended up staying for 2 rounds and if I get back to Boise it will be my 2nd stop (right after Thick as Thieves!)

We had been chatting with the bartender about how cool Boise seemed, even though it was such a conservative state, and she told us how it is still legal to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in public without a permit as long as you are over 18!! Holy hell!! Then at the airport we saw this on the doors:

So yes, Boise was very fun and delicious, but laws like this are real head scratchers to me in this day and age.

I was upgraded to first class on the way home which is always nice. It was a very small plane and a super quick flight and I had an amazing view of Rainier, St. Helens, and Adams coming into Seattle. 

All Boise photos here

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Mezcal Day Trips Around Oaxaca

Trip date: October 2023 

Oaxaca isn't just a city in Mexico, it is also a state. And in this state 90% of the mezcal in Mexico is produced. Certified mezcal can only be from the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Durango, San Luis Potosí, Puebla and Zacatecas. Traditionally, and to be certified, all mezcal is made from 100% agave or maguey (maguey is a member of the agave family) and no other sugars may be added during fermentation.

There are plenty of places in town to taste mezcal, but I really wanted to go out into the growing regions and see some working palenques (mezcal distilleries). So Aaron reached out to his friend Dari Silva, who does private tours in the area, and Dari created a plan for a full day trip for us. 

He picked us up early one morning, stopped at his favorite coffee spot on the way out of Oaxaca so we could fuel up, and then we hit the road, driving for about 1 ½ hours south. Our first stop was for breakfast!

Dari stopped in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere and pulled up to an outdoor kitchen set up near Zoritana. We started with tamales, one with beef and one with green chili, and then he ordered us birria tacos with a delicious consummé. Fantastic!

Back on the road, we reached our first palenque about 2 ½ hours south of Oaxaca in the area of Miahuatlán. This area is in the mountainous Sierra Sur region and is known for the large diversity of agave, both wild and cultivated, as well as the long tradition of distilling. 

Dari introduced us to 75-year old Felipe Cortés Venegas who has been a maestro since 1960. A maestro mezcalero, or master mezcal maker, is more than just a title for someone making the agave spirit. These men come from generations of traditional family mezcal production and continue to use artisanal processes today. Felipe learned the craft from his father, who learned it from his father before him, and his son Ageo is now the 4th generation to produce mezcal. Felipe's younger brother Margarito is also a maestro.
We sat down outside on the covered patio and Dari started pouring us tastes of mezcal from different plastic bottles while Felipe explained each. 

A little about mezcal for those of you who might not know what it is. Mezcal is made from the agave plant and can be made from many different varietals. Maguey is the name for about 30 different varieties of plants in the agave genus. The most well-known maguey is the blue weber agave, which is the only plant allowed in the making of tequila. So technically, all tequila is mezcal and all magueys are agaves, but not all agaves are magueys. Claro?

The writing on the bottles include the year the mezcal was made, who made it (Felipe or Ageo) and the varietals of maguey used; such as Tepextate, Espadín, Coyote, Tobalá, Bicuixe, Tobaziche, Arroqueño... 

Almost immediately I realized that this is very similar to wine making/grape varietals/terroir. Once I started thinking of it like that I found it much easier to follow along. I mean I don't see a bunch of grapes and immediately know if they are grenache or merlot, same for those maguays! 

Each taste was a bit different, and none had the overly smoky charistic that we so often think of with mezcal. It was really interesting! After a bit of tasting, Dari led us out on the property to the traditional outdoor distilling setup. 

Everything is done here on the property; Felipe has a very large field where he grows his maguey (as well as some corn and beans) and unlike other maestros, he rarely has the need to buy from others. 

Mezcal is made from the heart of the agave plant, called the piña, so when it's time to harvest the leaves are hacked off until just the piña remains. These are then roasted in huge pits dug into the ground, covered, and left for days.

Then they bring the roasted piña to the palenque and grind it using an ox and stone wheel. 

The pulp and juices are then put into open-air wooden vessels to ferment for anywhere from 3 to 8 days. Their palenque is 30 years old and as is traditional has a wood-fired oven that heats the 2 copper alambique stills during distillation. No electricity, no temperature gauges, just Felipe or Ageo deciding when things are ready. Truly artisan. 

We headed back for more tastings, we did almost 20! This time Felipe pulled out some older vintages and also a few pechuga mezcals. This is when fresh fruit (or raw chicken or turkey breast) are added with the agave in the distillation stage. I loved the one that he had done with pineapple! The flavor was so faint, it was just barely there and it was delicious. 

We decided what we wanted to buy (cash only) and Felipe went back into his storage area to siphon our spirits into plastic bottles labeled with painters tape. 

What a great first stop! Dari pointed out the different varietals of maguey as we drove past agave fields on our way to our next stop- Palenque de los Ramos.

Here is another multi-generational home, farm, and palenque with Victor Ramos learning the craft of mezcal production from his father and becoming a maestro 39 years ago and his son, Emanuel, becoming one in 2005. The two work together in the fields and in the distillery, but they have their own products which are noted on the labels similarly to Cortes and his son. 

Emanuel and Dari showed us around the outdoor distillery. This one is a tad newer, about 20 years old, before that they both worked at Victor's father's, Pablo Ramos Sanchez.

It was great to get to walk around in the fields here and look at the different maguey. The maguey belongs to the Agavaceae family of agave and most of the plants are "monocarpic", they only flower once and after flowering they die. On top of that it takes 8 to 10 years for most of these to reach maturity before they can be harvested! It's a long process!
We left the fields and entered the Ramos' storage area, filled with glass and plastic jugs and barrels, to do some more tasting. Again, various varietals, blends, vintages, etc. All delicious and much more delicate than I was expecting. Really lovely. 

We were a bit into tasting when Dari told Victor that we would be leaving soon as we hadn't had lunch yet. Victor offered his wife to make us a snack! So we headed into the kitchen and the generous Mrs. Ramos served us some delicious homemade beans (they grow them on their property), tortillas, fresh pico, and an absolutely delicious cucumber juice! So sweet!!

Back in the tasting/store room, when we made our decision on what we wanted to buy, the mezcal was again siphoned out of huge plastic barrels and into the bottles. 

Great mezcal, great family! 

Before driving the 2+ hours back to Oaxaca, Dari took us for a late lunch at Xhobe Humo y Sal.  The restaurant is down a set of dirt roads which doesn't seem to lead anywhere, but then you are there! The ladies in the open kitchen showed me the pots of mole they were cooking and how they blew on the fire to keep the stove top hot. All of the food was excellent and the accompanying sauces had a great depth of flavor from chilis and seasonings. This Oaxacan style chili relleno was particularly good!  

You don't have to head 2+ hours outside of Oaxaca to tour and taste mezcal, but Aaron had already been to some of the areas closer and I was happy to go for a day trip. I highly recommend Dari if you want a private guide who can create a plan on where to taste. He can take you to the maestros in many areas. He's been working with them and importers for years. He's on WhatsApp at +52 951 547 2645

Now if you already know where you want to go, you can hire Sami who is a private taxi driver and is on WhatsApp at +52 951 222 5426. We booked Sami to take us to the Matatlán area, which is just about 50 mins away.

Sami picked us up in the morning and we had him take us to the absolutely delicious Itanoni, a small restaurant and tortilla factory using locally grown corn. I had a quesadilla with squash blossoms, so good, and also a fried egg on a tortilla.

Santiago Matatlán is considered the "World Capital Of Mezcal". Our destination was the Dixeebe palenque which is owned by maestro mezcalero Valentin Cortes and his son Asis Cortes. The Cortes family has an almost 200 year tradition of making mezcal in the area and Asis is very well known both in Mexico and the US as a distiller and evangelist of the spirit. 

We were greeted by Asis' brother Giovani and his lovely fiancé Fernanda and shown around the distillery. They had recently roasted piñas and the vats were full and fermenting. Giovani gave us bits of roasted maguey, which was so good!

They then invited us into the cellar to taste; here the mezcal is stored in huge glass vessels which is quite a beautiful site in the dim cellar. 
Then we moved upstairs where they have a nice little tasting bar set up with views of the surrounding mountains and the town. Here we tasted from actual bottled product, ready to be sold and packed in suitcases- which is exactly what we did!

Before leaving Matatlán, Giovani and Fernanda took us into town to visit El Pulquito. Pulque is the fermented sap of the maguey plant, it's not distilled and has about the same alcohol level as a beer. They also serve aguamiel which is the sap that is not fermented. All great! I bought some sal de Chapulin here also (grasshopper salt) which goes great with mezcal!

Giovani told us about a roadside grilled chicken spot for lunch, so we had Sami take us there and invited him to lunch with us before heading back to Oaxaca. Another great day tasting and learning about mezcal!

I also booked Sami to take me to the airport on my way out of Oaxaca. Highly recommend him as a private taxi!

**Don't forget! If you are heading out to do tastings 1) the majority of these maestros do not speak English, so unless you are fluent, have an English speaking guide or friend with you. 2) be sure to have cash. There will likely not be cash machines anywhere unless you are at a big tourist spot**

All Oaxaca photos here.

Other post from this trip:

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

All Around Oaxaca

Trip date: October 2023 

Oaxaca had been on my wish list to visit for so many years! I was super excited to go with my friend Aaron who had been 4 or 5 times before and absolutely loves the town. When he created an itinerary for us, made restaurant recommendations, arranged for private drivers, and booked our hotel rooms I felt like it was my birthday! As someone who is pretty much always researching and planning a few trips, this was truly a gift. Aaron and I have traveled a lot together over the years, and we have similar interests, so I knew I could trust all his choices competeley. 

Our flight from Mexico City on Aeromexico was just over an hour. At the airport we signed up for a shared taxi into town (there are no ride shares options around the area) and were dropped off at our hotel, Las Golondrinas about 1 hour after we had landed. 

We had 4 days in town, and 2 of them would be spent out in the palenques, tasting mezcal! More on that later. So we dropped our bags at the hotel, the rooms would be ready later in the afternoon, and walked around town on our way to lunch. The town is absolutely adorable with lots of bright colored 1 and 2-story buildings.

Our first lunch was at Cocina de Humo, Chef Thalia Barrios Garcia's newest restaurant. Similarly to sitting at a kitchen pass, everyone sits on one side of a long wooden table. The other side is what they call a smoke kitchen with traditional wood stoves and a hot comal. It was already warm that afternoon, and sitting right in front of all the open fire made me really hot!

Our chef served us 7-courses along with some traditional drinks like horchata and hibiscus tea. She toasted spices, roasted tomatoes and peppers, made fresh tortillas, mixed up sauces, etc. Everything was very good, and it was a really cool experience, but I felt uncomfortably full from eating so many varieties of corn! That would be an ongoing challenge throughout town! ha! 

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking off lunch at the Museum of Oaxacan Cultures, which is inside the monastery buildings adjoining the Templo de Santo Domingo. This museum contains treasures from the pre-Hispanic era up to the present. There is a library with 30,000 books, contents of a found tomb at Monte Albán, jewelry, earthenware, religious relics, etc.
It's a fascinating look at the culture and timeline of the people of the Oaxaca area! There are also some great views of the botanical gardens from the upstairs balconies.

We were ready for a little sit down before going out for the night, so headed back to the hotel and got checked into our rooms. Mine was huge! I also had a little covered porch, and the grounds throughout the courtyards were filled with plants and flowers. It's a very relaxing property!

That evening we started at El Destilado for a tasting of 5 Sentidos mezcal. This is such a cute spot, with a great rooftop terrace and lots of delicious sounding things on the menu. Unfortunately we were still so stuffed from lunch so we stuck to the mezcal, which was delicious!

5 Sentidos works directly with a small group of mezcal producers, called maestro mezcaleros, who are making exceptional spirits around Oaxaca. The company bottles and markets these mezcals but does not blend or alter them. You can make an appointment to do a formal tasting at their mezcaleria or here at their restaurant. 

As we were walking the short distance to Casa Oaxaca, we came across a traditional wedding parade called a Calenda. There were giant dolls called “Monos de Calenda”, musicians, traditionally dressed folk dancers, and of course the entire wedding party and their guests dancing and singing through the streets. It was such a cool thing to run into!

We made our way to the rooftop at Casa Oaxaca, where Aaron had made reservations, and continued watching the parade as it continued on below us. 

This is a stunning rooftop for dinner, right next to the Tempo Santo Domingo. We had excellent cocktails and a couple of light dishes that did not have any corn in them! ha!

Nightcap mezcals were had at Mezcaleria In Situ where Aaron's friend/bar owner Sandra helped us choose a few to taste. This mezcaleria also has a collection of maestros that they work with who are making traditional style agave spirits. Sandra is super knowledgeable and is happy to explain the differences of the styles. 

One evening we ate at Chef Thalia Barrios Garcia's other restaurant Levadura de Olla. Again, the use of heirloom masa's and vegetables and traditional cooking styles is the theme here, but this restaurant is more modern with creative interpretations and gorgeous plating. 

The do-not-miss dish is a huge platter of an assortment of Oaxacan tomatoes. It also has a beet puree, unfortunately for me who hates beets, but Aaron assured me that I could easily eat around the puree and he was right. It was a stunning dish with slightly different textures and tastes from each variety. 

I also had a tamale made with a local cheese and zucchini blossoms with 2 types of mole. I really liked this restaurant and if I were to choose just one of Chef's places to eat this is the one I would go to. 

Another restaurant where we had good dinner was at Origen. There was a little bit of the food being prettier than tastier, but not by a lot. the location is upstairs in one of the downtown buildings and the window balconies were open, letting in a lovely breeze and also faint sounds from the town below. Great ambience. 

The kitchen sent out an amuse to start, but it was either shellfish or pork, which Aaron doesn't eat and had mentioned when he made the reservation. So that was disappointing. But then we ordered a ceviche which was fresh and tasty and gorgeous to look at. 

My duck confit enchilada with mole was so dark it was basically a rich black puddle on my plate! It was delicious but the duck was a tad tough. 

I loved the cart of mezcals they brought around after dinner! We absolutely chose a couple!

Oaxaca isn't just a mezcal town though, there are also a few wonderful cocktail bars! 

Selva is absolutely my style of cocktail den. It's dim, with comfy leather furniture, funky artwork, and a beautiful bar. 

The creative cocktail menu pays homage to local ingredients, such as in my namesake Selva cocktail with mezcal, hoja santa, lemon, agave honey, chilli liquor, quesillo and basil, juniper bitters. It was gorgeous and tasty!

Another great spot for cocktails is Sabina Sabe. The bar has multiple rooms and feels slightly subterranean. The focus is on agave spirits but the talented staff can make off menu drinks with other spirits as well!

After my friend Aaron returned to LA, I had a couple of days on my own to explore the city. I set out to see some of the sights he and I hadn't had time for. First up was the beautiful Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. 

Construction on this church started in 1535 and its had to be rebuilt a few times because of earthquakes. I wandered around inside for a bit before heading to the Zocalo which is the old main square. The buildings here are especially pretty and the park has multiple fountains and benches to relax on. 

While wandering around, I ended up in a very cool hat shop, Sombreros Alberly, which custom makes hats as well as custom fits hats they have in the shop for customers. I wasn't in the market for a hat but the selection was really impressive and the gentleman who was working was super nice.

I continued walking around, stopping in various galleries, shops selling spices, dried chilis, clothing, etc. There's also a fair amount of street art around which is fun.

For brunch, I headed to Boulenc which had been recommended to me. The space is really cool; it looks like it might have been an old warehouse at one time. It was a tad tough for me to spot as I didn't see signs from across the street but once I located the huge entrance door, I was seated upstairs after only about a 5 min wait.

I couldn't decide between the agua fresca of the day or the Mezcalita, so I got both. I also ordered their version of molletas, black beans and grilled cheese on their fresh baked Ciabatta bread instead of masa and with a trio of sauces; salsa, pico de gallo and crema.. delicious!  I had such a great meal here (& on a Monday!)
The restaurant is flanked by its bakery on one side and its cute little cafe/shop on the other. Great stuff, highly recommend checking them out! 

Back out to exploring, I headed to a new-to-me area of town and went to The Instituto de Artesanias Oaxaqueños or ARIPO. This is a government funded center with handicrafts from artisans all over the region. The building has different areas of ceramics, jewelry, clothing, art, etc. There's a courtyard in the center with some sculpture. It's really a great place to browse or shop!

This area is super cute and worth walking around even if your aren't checking out the galleries. But if you are gallery hopping, I'd suggest stopping in to CoOp 1050 also to take a look at some incredible pottery.

I loved just wandering around the city and exploring different shops and galleries. There is a lot of art in this town! I headed back towards the center and went up to the rooftop of the Hotel Los Amantes for a glass of wine with this view:

So gorgeous! Just a head's up that the prices up on this terrace were pretty high compared to the rest of the city, that view isn't free! But I enjoyed it. 

That evening I had dinner at Las Quince Letras, which also specializes in the region's chilis, mole, and corn. I started with some guacamole and chapulines (fried grasshoppers) which are a very traditional food of Oaxaca. 

Then I had one of the restaurant's specials, a Tlayuda which is also another Oaxacan specialty. Usually they are an open faced or folded, crunchy, toasted tortilla but this one was rolled up. It was filled with refried beans, cabbage, beef, and Oaxaca cheese.  

I decided to have a nightcap back at Sabina Sabe and as I walked down the streets, under the papel picado (traditional Mexican paper flags) gently swaying in the breeze, I thought how I had never felt unsafe by myself, not even at night, in Oaxaca. It really seems like a very safe town.
The next morning I had a bit of time before my hired taxi driver would pick me up and take me to the airport. I decided on street food for breakfast. But not just any street food... I made my way to Tacos del Carmen for a chorizo taco which cost me all of $1.20! Tacos here are rolled and hot off the comal. They have a handful of flavors, but I was told the chorizo is super and it was! When I was there the stand was busy with both locals and tourists, including a food tour.
Don't be fooled though, you'll see various "Carmen" stands around the block by Santo Domingo Church, so watch for the right banner! 

All photos from Oaxaca here.

Other post from this trip:

Weekend in Boise

Trip date: July 2023 My friend Aaron has been to almost every state in the US, he's only missing a few and Idaho was one. So last July, ...

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