Happiness Moments: A Perfect Meal in Oaxaca
So a new little writing experiment for the blog. I’ve been wanting to find a way to do some free writing as practice. And I’ve been wanting to capture the moments in my life that have brought me true happiness. I need that little pick me up right now with everything going on in the world and no real chance to travel. So, some writing about happy moments in my life, hope they bring you a little happiness too.
A couple of years ago I moved to Oaxaca City, Mexico for three months. I went to Oaxaca for several reasons. I wanted to do a few weeks of Spanish language skill, I wanted to live in another country for a time, I wanted to check out Oaxaca as a potential retirement location and finally, I was excited to be in Mexico for the Day of the Dead celebration.
My time in Oaxaca was wonderful. The language school experience was wonderful, I loved my little apartment, the weather and city were spectacular and the Day of the Dead celebrations were fascinating. Two things really stood out in Oaxaca, the tremendous amount of art that was present everywhere and the absolutely amazing food that was also available everywhere. On top of the quality, given the economy, the price of the food is insanely inexpensive. Across from my apartment was a little place called Tacos Roy. At Tacos Roy, I could get my favorite type of tacos, a plate of 3 tacos al pastore as well as a bottle of coke for the equivalent of about $1.80 American. Street tamales sold by the little old ladies in the neighborhood were the equivalent of a quarter American and they were fantastic.
Oaxaca is also known for queso Oaxaca which is a type of mozzarella made and sold in Oaxaca that you can find everywhere in Mexico and also in the US. I ate many plates of enchiladas rojas and verdes con queso Oaxaca.
But without a doubt the best meal I had in Oaxaca and one of the best meals of my life was at a restaurant aptly named Casa Oaxaca. They have a great menu full of local ingredients with interesting and amazing dishes. What always makes for a great meal is good company, a great location and of course amazing food. First, it was a beautiful night and we were dining outside on the rooftop patio of the restaurant overlooking the major cathedral in Oaxaca. I was dining with three women who I was taking Spanish language courses with and it was the last night for a couple of them, so the company was excellent. Finally, the food was absolutely spectacular. The appetizers were exotic and tasty including a ground fish and ant pate. The entrees were unbelievable, Oaxaca is known for it’s moles and my dinner choice was a chicken with an almond mole. I will tell you right now, there are a dizzy array of different moles in available in Oaxaca, but the almond mole was so incredibly good I would drink it by the glassful if offered that way. My friends tried various dishes including a molcajete bowl which is served in a soup/stew served in a stone bowl. The entire dinner, appetizers, drinks, entrees, deserts and tip would come to a little over $100 for the four of us. The same, at the same quality in San Francisco or New York would have easily been $500.
While dinner itself was great, when desert came out we were absolutely blown away. Casa Oaxaca uses local ingredients and southern Mexico offers a wide range of fruits and edible flowers to use in their dishes and deserts. I ordered a guava tart with rose petals and vanilla ice cream.
It was every bit of tasty as it was beautiful. All of the deserts were magnificent and the whole meal was truly long series of happiness moments. I leave you with a couple images of our deserts.