i´ll follow up with more details but i´ve been in oaxaca for the past week (leaving tomorrow morning) and maybe i should just list a few things for those who may be here now or here soon.
there have been quite a few standout meals. ç
first on the list is el meson de olivo at 100 zárate. spanish food. this is about 1 km north east of the zocalo, just east of parque llano. if you are a wary tourist, this is a fine neighborhood. the jamon serrano there is one of the best things i have tasted ever, and the (spanish) tortilla finally made it clear to me why people eat spanish tortillas. it was somewhat pricy by oaxacan standards (lunch for $20 per person) but we left full and ecstatic.
second on the list is a restaurant whose name i can´t remember at the moment. its theme is ¨food from the isthmus¨ (i.e. the oaxacan isthmus) we have had two late dinners there. the cochinita horneado (fridays and saturdays only) is slow cooked pork in an ancho chile and pineapple sauce; it is amazing. the chileajo (root vegetable paste stew with shredded meat) is special. the mole is excellent too. love the ambience too. i don´t remember the cross streets, but you can get there by going up the alcala past the church and turning left before the long wall on the left and going to the end of the pedestrian only passage; it is on the southwest corner and has a logo like a butterfly.
third: across the street from that place at night is the memelita lady. tlayuda quesadillas, memelitas (openfaced tortillas with tomato sauce and cheese) and chicken empenadas, made while you (and passerbys eating in their parked cars) wait. pure grace.
fourth: pozole at tacos roy on dos pinos and (i think) abasolo (one or two blocks down from constitution). open from 8 pm on. the tacos are not great but the pozole is amazing. this was a tip from susanna trilling by the way.
fifth: nameless comedor in the wednesday market in etla. no street adress; near a main market entrance and a door or two down from the main sanitarios. incredibly complex mole sauce with chicken. the wednesday market in etla is nice and laid back, much smaller than ocotlán or abastos; great cheese, bread, ice cream.
those are my top 5; any one of them would have made a week memorable in NYC.