Restaurants & Bars 4

Oaxaca-first morning

David Haun | Feb 12, 2006 02:10 PM

After an overnight bus trip from Palenque, I arrived in Oaxaca surprisingly refreshed. Napping most of the way, I managed to sleep through my favorite villages of Tlacalula and Mitla, finally waking as the bus pulled into Oaxaca's Central Bus Station. There went my grand entrance into Oaxaca.

My favorite room at the Hotel Trebol was not ready, so I strolled to the Zocalo to view the massive remodeling of the prettiest city-center in all of Mexico. The antique band shell was completely refurbished and was brilliant in the center of the Park! Large marble block were artfully used around the giant Bay Trees and were perfect for setting. Flowers were overflowing around every tree. Fountains were flowing with water.

My reward for another arrival in Oaxaca was to eat at the nicest Hotel in town, the 4-star Camino Real. Their breakfast buffet is famous for the best in Oaxacan treats. Walking into the buffet area, I was immediately intoxicated by the aroma of huge pots of Oaxaca's famous hot, chocolate drink. What the heck, if it was good enough for the Aztec kings, it was good enough for me. Freshly ground coffee was also brewing.
My favorite part of Mexican breakfasts are the plates of fresh fruits. All sorts of melons, pineapple, and chopped fruits were served with yoghurt, cottage cheese, cereal or granola. Carrot juice was chosen from half a dozen freshly squeezed drinks.

Omelettes and egg dishes were made to order by young women chefs in starched white uniforms and pleated white hats. Keeping with the Aztec proverb that if you eat chapulines, you "will return to Oaxaca," I had a cheese and grasshopper omelette.

You will be pleased to know that grasshoppers are, like France's escargot, (snails), purged of poop. The chapulines are either sundried or grilled with onions or garlic. Grasshoppers are high in protein, and extremely low in fat.

When you think of the crops that are NOT being devoured by these ravenous insects, eating grasshoppers is environmentally correct.

On a smaller grill, another chef was cooking memelitas, small 3 inch tortillas with edges pinched up to form a rim. As they are grilled, each was filled with sauces, meats, vegatables and cheese.

Traditional Oaxacan breakfasts were their speciality. My favorite were the tamales wrapped in banana leaves and filled with either chicken mole, rajas (strips of mild peppers), or a sweet sauce. The three different types were in a varietey of corn hunks, making each tamale different in size, color and flavor.

The setting for this buffet is in a colonial kitchen with colorful, ceramic, tiled walls and counters. Nestled around the grills were large, ceramic pots with lids, each filled with another Oaxacan treat.
The chicken with vegetables was in a cream sauce that I wanted to drink like a soup. The Eggs with Nopales were scrambled with fresh slices of cactus paddles, minus the pricks, of course. I lost track of the dishes as I made-up for the missed meals on the bus.

A variety of cakes, rolls, pastries and endless coffee refills finished my meal. I have noticed that Mexicans usually start their breakfast with these sweets, which are often server right after pouring the coffee.

The highlight of the breakfast was the lovely setting of the dining area in what is clamed to be the "most romantic patio in Oaxaca." Once again, I fell in love with Oaxaca.

Camino Real, 5 de Mayo #300, one block east of pedestrian mall on Alcalá Street. Breakfast buffet ($148.00p) is everyday from 8 am to 11 am.

Link: http://www.oaxacan.org

Image: http://oaxacan.homestead.com/files/gr...

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