After years of wanting to go, I finally made the trek to Juchitan de Zaragoza and hid it in the old – we’ll take the non-mountainous way to Puerto Escondido which just happens to go by Juchitan – trick to get the family on board with this semi out of the way excursion. En route on the Pan American Highway, we got waylaid by a bloqueo (road block) and waited it out at a Pemex station for three hours. This meant driving in the dark and trying to navigate the streets of Juchitan, in the dark with google maps as our guide, until we finally arrived at the beautiful home where we stayed for two nights. Read more
Posts tagged ‘Puerto Escondido’
This is a cross post from one of our frequent collaborators, Ferron Salniker. You can read her excellent blog Ferronlandia here.
I’m pretty sure I learned the magic of eating garlic shrimp, down to the shells and heads, when I was six on our first family trip to Mexico, in Puerto Angel, which happens to be just a few towns down from where I stayed this trip. I’ve come full circle, because when stuck on what to order last week I remembered how difficult it is to fuck up garlic shrimp (camarones al ajo). It’s just butter, garlic, shrimp. I had it two days in a row.
After eating and drinking in Oaxaca city for five days, coming to the coast was a welcome relief from eating meat and cheese at almost every meal. But like in many beach towns across Mexico I didn’t find a lot of variety. Up and down the Oaxacan coast you’ll find restaurants catering to the western ex-pats and traveling flowy-pant wearers with hodgepodge menus of wraps and fried things, and a lot of tiny establishments offering much of the same staples: grilled fish and other simple seafood dishes or tlayudas (like Oaxacan pizzas).
First stop up on this round of Oaxacan adventures – Puerto Escondido. An actual vacation and a whole week at the beach with friends from San Francisco and Oaxaca. Micheladas, fresh grilled fish, shrimp, oysters, Lila Downs at the Mazunte Jazz Festival – what more could a person ask for?
Alas, the only thing missing was mezcal, or to be more specific, mezcal that I like (remember – there is no bad mezcal, just mezcal you don’t like.) If you like cremas, flavored and deeply smoke infused mezcals, well, you are in luck.
We went through the bottle that fellow Mezcalista Ana brought from Oaxaca in two days. It was a hearty and flavorful espadin from Reunion de los Palenqueros and was the perfect accompaniment to Lila Downs singing her heart out before the throngs who had journeyed to see her.
It is not surprising that Puerto Escondido is bereft of a selection of mezcal – not much is produced on the coast, it is hot, and it caters to very specific beach tourist more interested in cheap beer and big waves. There is one spot – Barfly – at the far end of Zicatela that had a few mezcals, plus some tasty cocktails. Ordering the mezcals, and asking questions about them, however, was an exercise in complete frustration as the waiter assumed Ana and I were idiots and therefore had to have everything explained in the most basic terms:
Where is this mezcal from?
Es de Mexico, de Oaxaca.
What kind of maguey is it, is it Mexicano?
Si, es de Mexico, es de agave.
And on and on it went until we finally were able to get that it was in fact from Guerrero and was an espadin with an incredibly sweet and earthy flavor. We also had a few Alipus (San Luis is the most popular on the coast it seems) and Real Matlatl (espadin, tobala.)
But mainly, aside from the Barfly foray, we stuck with beer, and that was fine.