I'm back from Oaxaca, México! I'm feeling grateful for the opportunity to travel to a new place, connect with local organizations and people, try new foods, and explore activities and tours that I'd like to share with students on a Spanish immersion trip. I have an idea of the itinerary that I'd like to offer to future student-travelers, but that plan is currently still in the works. As soon as it's nailed down, I'll share more details.
For now, I'm planning on writing a blog posts to share more information and photos as I'm able. As some of you may know, I work in a high school during the school year, and this past week was my first week back. It's exciting that I'll get to see students and my coworkers again, and it also means I have less time for blogging. But! I do want to share my travel experience with you all, and I'll be posting when I can.
If you didn't follow along on instagram during my trip, you can still see the stories I posted on my profile. They're all saved in a highlight called "Oaxaca." Check it out at @clasesconelizabeth if you haven't yet.
Now, first things first, let's talk about food. Oaxaca is known for its cuisine (among many things!), and I've made a short list of the foods that we were able to cross off the list this time:
Mole (muchos diferentes tipos!)
Taco de chocolate (postre)
Sal de gusano
It is worth noting that this blog post should not be considered your official guide to Oaxaca food; I'm simply sharing some photos of videos of my experience. In no way is this a complete list, and I look forward to continuing the culinary journey with students one day! If you're a true foodie and plan on visiting Oaxaca, I suggest doing a bit of your own research beforehand for an idea of what you'd like to try.
Here's a glance at our meals if you're looking for the quick version.
Scroll down to the larger photos for more details on each experience. :)
This is the tlayuda. It's a large, crunchy tortilla was a variety of toppings. We asked our guide how it's supposed to be eaten, and she said either folded or open, but with your hands. :)
This is a "chile en nogada" which is a stuffed pepper in a walnut sauce with pomegranate seeds and cilantro. The three colors represent the colors of the Mexican flag. See below for a video of the restaurant preparing the pepper at the table. César even got a little card that indicated which number of pepper out of the batch he was served. So official!
No joke - this leaf was one of my favorite dishes. It's called "Santa hoja." The leaf was stuffed with two different kinds of cheeses. One is called "quesillo," which is a specific cheese from Oaxaca. You do eat the leaf, unlike a tamal which usually has a leaf or a corn husk on the outside which you don't. It's sitting on top of a green mole for extra flavor. And uuggh, it was so good! I have two pictures because we returned to the same restaurant and ordered the Santa Hoja once again.
Gnocchi: although the dish itself is not a traditional Mexican dish, all ingredients were locally sourced from Oaxaca.
Fish with green mole and mashed potatoes.
These pears, fruit, and flowers were part of a tasting menu and were absolutely DELICIOUS. Sweet and flavorful. I wanted a second bowl.
Another dish from the tasting menu: fish with mole and a side of mashed potatoes.
More tasting menu: this dish was also quite good, and I wish I could remember all the ingredients. It's technically supposed to be a beef dish, but I don't eat a lot of red meat, so they prepared it with fish for me. As you can see, it's topped off with a pineapple, and I squeezed the lime juice on top right before the first bite. I'm pretty sure this dish was César's favorite of the tasting menu.
And finally: tasting menu dessert! This ice cream is sitting on crushed chocolate and nuts with a wafer on the side.
I do love a good cocktail, so I usually opted for a mezcal drink at meals since we were in the land of mezcal. I don't remember what this drink was, but note the "sal de gusano" around the rim. Did you get that translation? Yes - it's salt made of crushed worm. :)
Paletas are not unique to Oaxaca, but here we are grabbing a treat while walking the streets. I did notice how fresh this pineapple snack tasted - I wouldn't be surprised if there are no artificial flavors in these paletas.
I love a warm drink and any form of bread in the morning.
If you have heard me talk about my trip in person, you have undoubtedly heard me talk about this chocolate taco. It's one of those dishes from travel that is stuck in my memory! I loved it. Oaxaca is known for their chocolate, and this dessert with berries and almonds and crushed chocolate is what dreams are made of for people with a sweet tooth. (So, me!)
Here we have some tetelas: the triangle is made of masa, and César ordered a different kind of meat in each one.
This salsa was incredibly fresh! The waiter came to our table and ground all the ingredients in the moment. We were able to choose which peppers we wanted in the mix. Made in front of our eyes and immediately served; it doesn't get any fresher than that.
White mole with mushrooms. It was a bit spicy for me personally, but still a good dish and I finished it off.
Y'all know I love a good croissant.
I love Peruvian ceviche and I've consequently, accidentally become a ceviche snob (oops), and I'm always looking for lime, canchita, camote, pescado, and no tomato or avocado in my ceviche. However, I realize that I need to broaden my horizons a bit and not always expect the same flavors, because I really enjoyed this vegetarian mango and cucumber version! It was served as a breakfast item and was so fresh and sweet with the mango.
This photo included because I love the little piggie. :)
Here's another breakfast item. Simple but delicious. Fruit, nuts, yogurt, and honey.
This buganvilia flavored ice cream (buganvilia is a flower! spelled bougainvillea in English) was quite the surprise. We had no idea it would arrive in a moon-shaped bowl with an astronaut. I wish I would have gotten it on camera, but it also came with a sparkler on the back. It felt like it was my birthday! The flower-flavored ice cream is accompanied by fruit, such as pear and strawberry, and crushed chocolate underneath.
Oaxaca is known for it's hot chocolate. You can get this drink with milk, but the option with water is the traditional Oaxacan way. Below you'll see a video of some hot chocolate being made in the moment on the way to one of our day excursions. Our guide stopped in a small bakery that has been operated by the same family for four generations, and they also make hot chocolate.
This one is a bit of a bonus. We ate these fish curry with pineapple tacos in Cancún, not Oaxaca.
That's all for now! Before my next blog, let me know which food item caught your eye!