We went to The Sinclair in Harvard Square last week. It’s a much needed live music venue with multi levels to view a show. Bruce in the USA was playing and if you’re a Springsteen fan and need a fix, find this guy. Three hours, yes three hours of Bruce. A look alike, with all the mannerisms, a great band and if you closed your eyes, you would think you were hearing the Boss himselfRead More
If you read my blogs you know we love markets. They’re the heartbeat of a city. So we had to go to the Mercado 20 de Noviembre (named for the anniversary of the movement which led to the overthrow of dictator Jose de la Cruz Porfirio Diaz Mori (who was from Oaxaca). It’s all about food and is the original take on a food court. There’s no Sbarro or Subway here. Everything is fresh and made to order and it’s almost impossible to get a seat at a counter. They are arranged by type of food. You just pick one food stall that looks good and grab a seat. It’s some of the best food experiences you could have in Oaxaca. Each one is individually owned and they are called a fonda. No one speaks English but I use my best high school Spanish to place our order. Roy orders his breakfast in French.
I had to have a famous Oaxaca breakfast consisting of hot chocolate and pan which is a big sweet roll. The hot chocolate is hand mixed and poured into a ceramic bowl. It’s hot and frothy. It tastes like chocolate and cinnamon and it’s the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.
Roy wanted an orange juice so someone from our food stall ran to another food stall that specializes in juices and brought back a hand squeezed tall glass of juice. Roy had a quesidilla with Oaxaca cheese. Some other traditional breakfast foods at our counter were bowls of the most delicious looking chicken soup with cheese, avocado, chunks of chicken and rice and it looked so good.
After breakfast we walked around the market. It was a jumble of vendors from surrounding villages selling their wares, roving musicians and this family playing the marimba. The young boy was playing with three sticks – 2 in one hand. They were fantastic.
Skirt Steak is the meat of choice, along with chorizo; pick your choice of meats and have them barbecued on a hibachi. Add a little guacamole or pico de gallo.
One of the favorite snacks in Oaxaca is Chapulines. Do you know what that is? Grasshoppers! There are two kinds. One comes from corn and one comes from alfalfa. They are fried with garlic, onion and with chili and are sold everywhere. You can order them as snacks in the best restaurants. I had to pass.
Here are some more market scenes:
After breakfast we had to do a little shopping. Some of the best shops are cooperatives selling the crafts from artists of surrounding villages. We bought this frog and coincidentally the artist was in the courtyard working so we were introduced to him!
My last purchase. A handbag with a tapestry handwoven by a craftsperson from the town of Itsmo. You see variations of this design all over Oaxaca. But this shop sells only original designs and the handbag has a different design on each side. There are no others like it. I couldn’t resist!
Italian food in Oaxaca? Yes! The best actually. The owner of Mexita is from Napoli! We had an excellent carbonera and veal scaloppine! After dinner glasses of homemade limoncello and amaretto! Who’d think??
On our way back to the hotel, this is what was happening on the street. Street food with cars double parked and people waiting in line for tacos.
Oaxaca at night:
Our hotel, because of it’s historical significance and beauty, seems to be the site where every girl having a quineanera has her formal pictures taken. There were probably 5 or 6 photo shoots while we were at the hotel. I took a picture of this girl. She was stunning and so was her dress. Just one of two that were worn for her photo shoot. The other dress had a similar design as my handbag!
Our last day had to be cut short. Roy came down with a 24 hour bug and that ended our plans. But we did everything we wanted. We loved Oaxaca. Would we go back? Probably not. Not because we didn’t love it but because there are so many places to visit.
Where are we going next? Panama!!
See you at the bar……Read More
Christmas Eve 2013 – flying into Oaxaca all you can see are the flashes of fireworks. On the ground it’s a big party. In the Zocalo, the main square, Midnight Mass, held 10P, is happening. The church is crowded with parishioners and tourists and the bells are ringing inside and outside the church. Surrounding the Zocalo and adjoining park are restaurants and they are all open and crowded. So what’s for dinner on Christmas Eve? For us it consisted of tacos al pastor, guacamole and a beer. How good is that? And that was only an hour after we landed!Read More
Watch out Capital Grille. There’s a new kid on “The Street” and it’s name is Del Frisco’s Grille. What’s The Street? It’s the new very exciting shopping and restaurant complex in Chestnut Hill, MA.Read More
My blogs are about good things – travel, food, our adventures. But today it’s about the passing of a life. My mother-in-law’s.
Let me tell you a little about her.
My first memory of my mother-in-law was being greeted at the door for a family Hannukah party which Roy brought me to. She was so happy that her son had met a Jewish girl!
When Roy and I finally got married, I called her Shirley. She said absolutely not. We’re mom and dad.
She loved her family more than life itself. She was fiercely loyal and “kvelled” at her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren’s every accomplishment. She was a loving wife with a marriage that lasted 63 years. She was a sister. She was an aunt. She was a cousin.
She was a worrier on a grand scale. Worrying about things before they happened.
She was one of the first women to sell real estate agent in Newton, MA. She worked hard. She never lived above her means, probably below her means. She checked every receipt to make sure there were no mistakes almost like a game.
She traveled the world with Max, her husband. Theirs was a match made in heaven.
She was a competitor. She taught me the in’s and out’s of Scrabble which we played every Sunday night. She played bridge and loved Suduko.
We argued every week about politics.
And, she was a realist. She did everything she wanted to in her life and knew that it was coming to an end and was at peace. Her’s was a storybook ending. She passed away the way most people wish for. At her daughter’s home, surrounded by people who loved her.
And now, her family is left with a legacy which they will carry on, laugh and cry about and say that’s how mom and grammy would have done it.
So, R.I.P - mom.
There’s a new restaurant in Harvard Square brought to us by the group that owns Beehive in the South End. It’s been on my radar and we finally made it there last Saturday.
I liked the feel of the restaurant. It’s very funky and eclectic, has some fun pscyhedelic style artwork, mismatched chandeliers and a good bar scene. The tables are set apart so that you’re not on top of the people next to you which is very important to me. Someone’s into music because the background music was excellent from my point of view. Why? Because anyone including Mink DeVille on a play list knows a little something!
Now for the food. There were some hits and some misses.
We started with smoky Chipolte BBQ spare ribs. They were a hit. Melt in your mouth kind of ribs. Pulled lamb nachos were cold and had to be returned. They came back to the table hot and were not reheated but a new order. I liked them but thought there was a little more cheese than pulled lamb.
Spaghetti with crispy artichoke, shrimp, pecorino and EVOO was delicious. It had a bite to it and was even better as a reheat the next day.
A burger with Gorgonzola was ordered rare but came to the table medium rare.
An organic chicken piccata with gnocchi was okay but nothing outstanding.
Wines can be ordered by the ounce or a carafe which is about 2 1/2 glasses. The selection is all American. They are choosing wines from sustainable vineyards and I like that concept but from my perspective, a Verdelho from the West Coast was not a match for one from Portugal. Just my opinion. Then, on a nod from the owner I tried an Albarino. Again, it didn’t quite equal a Spanish Albarino. I’m in no way a wine snob but I know what I like and these didn’t quite make it for me.
So would I go back? Yes, to listen to the live music and sit at the bar. As I said, I liked the vibe of the restaurant and I’d give it another chance.
See you at the bar…
Roma! A train from Naples, a taxi to Trastervere where we would be staying. The taxi stopped across the street from the building we were going to be staying in for two nights. No sign on the door, nothing to welcome us. We had to schlep our bags across a busy street, ring a doorbell and either walk up four easy flights of marble stairs or take an old fashioned lift which could only fit Roy and the bags.Read More