(Post 17 of 189. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)
For lunch on Friday, I wanted either an upscale menú del día or sushi. I ended up at sushi and it was… meh. And very expensive. I don’t think anything resembling good sushi exists in Mexico, sadly. So I won’t bore you with a picture of my mediocre eel roll or my still frozen tuna nigiri. But I got another fortune cookie that really spoke to me!
I went next door to a shoe store and saw what I thought would be good walking sandals for my excursions and they were not expensive, so I decided not to waste any time on shoe shopping and bought them. I then headed up to do a bunch of blog posts to catch up on everything. The rest of the afternoon went by super fast and by 6:30, I was thinking about dinner.
I headed out, going further south than I’d been so far, looking at restaurants and carts and trying to decide what I wanted for dinner. I reached the conclusion that I wanted a family-style local food joint where I could get a horchata, something like my favourite taquería at home. My first night here, I’d passed a place by the zócalo that appeared to be that, so I set a course for the square. To my surprise, I was almost on top of it!
The restaurant was Chili Guajili (hee!) and despite being by the zócalo and having a tout at the door was not a tourist joint at all, with a Spanish-only menu and super reasonable prices for anywhere in the city and a deal for such a prime location.
I was seated promptly, then ignored. I was a bit confused because staff had been so friendly to that point. Just as I was going to flag someone down, a lady came and told me that I had to order at the till. Oh, this was just like Nando’s in the UK! You get seated and given a menu, but you have to order and pay at the register and then they bring you your meal.
I chose a tlayuda, the iconic food of Oaxaca, adding chorizo and guacamole. All the meals there come with either jamaica or horchata, so I got the horchata I was craving!
The typo on this sign made me realise that I really do have proofreader brain!
When I was brought a whole roll of paper towels in lieu of napkins, I had to wonder what I’d gotten myself into!
The tlayuda is Oaxaca’s answer to the pizza, a thin tortilla spread with lard, beans, and quesillo (Oaxaca cheese outside of the state), and then grilled until crispy. It’s sometimes folder over, as it was here. The tortilla rather reminded me of matzah.
This is as basic as it comes, cheap, filling eats. If I eat this again, I’m going to pull it apart while it’s still hot and add chorizo (or whatever meat I get) and salsas directly into it.
Because of my braces, I couldn’t eat it neatly, by biting into it, so I had to pull off bits that I’d dip into salsa. It got very messy very fast! So the paper towels were a good call! I went light on the super spicy salsas tonight as my lips are really sore, but I did try a creamy light yellow one that was very tasty. I wanted to ask what was in it and also whether I was supposed to eat the pod thing, but I never saw another server. I ended up clueing in that I probably had to eat the contents of the pod thing and found some tasty seeds!
I then went on a ramble to see what centro is like on a Friday night. The zócalo was surprisingly underwhelming — it was full of vendors selling things I see on sale at Plaza Grande when I go on Sunday nights, including marquesitas! Really, with the cathedral to my right, I could have been in Mérida.
So I headed up the Alcalá, which was very lively, with music and giant puppets. The street was lined with vendors all selling the exact same wares. I have a shopping list, but I’m going to wait until I go out to the villages to buy, with the hope of doing so directly from artisans.
I was wearing my new sandals and was disappointed that they weren’t as good as I’d hoped, but they weren’t terrible. I’m just really foot sore like I haven’t been since I was in London. I haven’t been walking as much as I sometimes do, even with the treadmill. Tomorrow and Monday being car days should help a bit.
The night finished with my walking around the block near the apartment so I could see what was open at that hour, as I’ll be getting in late tomorrow and will be happy to be able to go out not too far and get tacos. I found a taco stand… and a place to buy coffins!
I hope the maps I’m posting are useful. The core of centro is really small. I could say I’m at the eastern edge of it and the Boulenc bakery is at the western edge — it’s 950m away. I’m further than that from the market in Chuburná!